Drohan a Red Sox prospect to keep an eye on

Double-A left-hander's improved pitch mix earns him Eastern League honors for April

May 7th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking for a prospect you haven’t heard much about that you should start paying attention to right away?

Double-A Portland lefty starter Shane Drohan, fresh off earning Eastern League Pitcher of the Month honors for April, is your man.

Teams are having a hard time just scoring a run or two against Drohan early in the season.

Fresh off that brilliant April (4-0, 0.78 ERA), Drohan started May with another tremendous start, firing six scoreless innings on Thursday night -- allowing one hit and two walks while striking out four.

Drohan is ranked No. 29 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline and will obviously move up if he keeps this up.

“He has continued to grow and mature in all facets of the game -- physically and mentally,” Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said. “He has a better understanding of what is expected out of him and what he needs to do for success.”

Drohan, 24, has worked hard to improve his pitch mix.

“His arsenal has changed over the past year plus, really adding his changeup last year, using it to both sides and then adding a cutter this offseason,” Abraham said. “On top of that, physically he’s gotten stronger, had a focus on adding good weight through work in the weight room and proper nutrition.

“That has translated into a tick up in velocity that he’s been able to sustain so far deep into games and it has made all of his pitches more effective and usable throughout the count to any hitter.”

During his career at Florida State, Drohan had control issues that were extreme at times, such as in 2019, when he issued 48 walks in 51 2/3 innings.

“He’s been open minded, willing to improve, willing to challenge himself and willing to fail and/or struggle to ultimately find what is best for him to get better year to year,” Abraham said. His athleticism and intelligence has allowed all of those things to happen.”

Dante Ricciardi (son of longtime MLB executive J.P. Ricciardi) is the scout who recommended Boston’s selection of Drohan in the fifth round (No. 148 overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft.

“His athleticism, work ethic, and the potential for added growth/strength were areas that we were intrigued by,” Abraham said. “He was someone we felt could grow within the organization and his mindset/commitment to improve would provide him the opportunity to do so.”

Triple-A Worcester: Hamilton gaining Cora’s attention

Though there was a case to be made for the Sox recalling speedy No. 27 prospect David Hamilton on Sunday when was placed on the 10-day injured list, the club instead went with  because his right-handed bat fits the team’s roster construction better at this point.

But Boston manager Alex Cora has been keeping tabs on the improvement of Hamilton, who now has a solid bat to go along with his blazing speed. Hamilton mainly plays shortstop, but he can also play center field. He entered Sunday slashing .311/.398/.557 with six homers, 15 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

“He’s hitting the ball hard,” Cora said. “Batspeed is a lot better than last year. He went with a program with our Minor League group and it’s playing dividends right now. He’s hitting the ball harder than ever and obviously the speed plays.

“He makes all the plays up the middle. We’re very pleased with the way he’s going about it.”

High-A Greenville: No. 1 prospect Mayer raking

The must-watch prospect in Boston’s system is Marcelo Mayer, who is ranked as the No. 1 Red Sox prospect and No. 7 overall in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, has been crushing the ball of late, making you wonder when he will get a promotion to Double-A.

In his last 46 plate appearances entering Sunday, Mayer had a slash line of .357/.413/.619 with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.

Low-A Salem: Bolden mowing them down

Though righty sidewinder Caleb Bolden isn’t a ranked prospect, he has been missing a lot of bats at Salem so far this season. In his first eight appearances, all in relief, the 24-year-old Bolden had 25 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings and a 1.043 WHIP.

The Red Sox selected Bolden in the seventh round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of TCU.