As MLB.com's Spring Training primer continues, it's time to focus on some of the prospects who will get a chance to demonstrate their growth.Though the Red Sox don't have many roster spots up for grabs, spring is the time when prospects can prove they are ready in the event something
As MLB.com's Spring Training primer continues, it's time to focus on some of the prospects who will get a chance to demonstrate their growth.
Though the Red Sox don't have many roster spots up for grabs, spring is the time when prospects can prove they are ready in the event something opens up over the course of the season.
Here are the top prospects (in alphabetical order) to keep an eye on during camp:
• Newcomers | Comeback candidates
LHP Brian Johnson: If not for a left elbow injury he sustained back in August, Johnson would have had the chance to be in Boston's rotation for the final month of the 2015 season. Now back to full health, his goal is to show the Red Sox he should be the first person called up if there's an injury to a starter. Johnson has a durable frame and works at a fast pace. Boston also likes his poise. Johnson has a low-to-occasionally-mid 90s fastball and a solid curveball. His changeup and slider are pitches he is trying to improve.
RHP Pat Light: One of the hardest throwers in the farm system, Light became a full-time reliever last year. Recently added to the 40-man roster, this will be the righty's first Spring Training in Major League camp. He leads with his fastball, but he also has a plus splitter. Light, who went 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA in the Minors last season, finished 2015 at Triple-A Pawtucket. He should get more reps there in '16.
SSDeven Marrero: The Arizona State product is already strong enough defensively to play in the Major Leagues. However, Marrero's offense (.258 career average in the Minors) remains a work in progress. His main position is shortstop, but he can also play second and third. The Red Sox currently have a full infield, with Brock Holt in the fold as the super-utilityman, blocking Marrero's path to the Majors. In the meantime, Marrero provides organizational depth.
LHPHenry Owens: The lanky lefty made 11 starts down the stretch for the Red Sox last season with mixed results (4-4, 4.57 ERA). There were times Owens was brilliant, such as the night he fired 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Orioles. Boston doesn't have a rotation opening for him, so he'll start the season in the Minors unless there is an injury to someone in Spring Training.
RHPNoe Ramirez: The righty with the deceptive delivery got his first taste of life in the Major Leagues last season, making 17 appearances and going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA. Ramirez's fastball isn't overpowering, but right-handed hitters often have a hard time making solid contact from his tough-to-read arm angle. He walked seven in just 13 innings, so he'll have to improve his command if he wants to have an extended stay in the Majors.
1BSam Travis: The 22-year-old, who was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of 2014, has roared through the farm system and could be the team's first baseman of the future. Travis is a pure hitter with a compact swing known for the ability to hit line drives and doubles into the gaps. The right-handed hitter spent the second half of '15 at Double-A Portland (.300, 17 doubles, four homers, 38 RBIs) and could make it to Triple-A before '16 is through. The fact Boston invited Travis to big league camp demonstrates how highly the club thinks of him.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.