Connor Seabold Offers Rotation Depth
Of the seven prospects the Red Sox added to their 40-man roster in November, four were acquired in trades in 2020. Of those four, righthander Connor Seabold seems best positioned to make a meaningful contribution in 2021.
Upon Seabold's arrival in the Boston organization, the 2017 third-rounder from Cal State Fullerton immediately became one of the most advanced starting pitchers in the system.
The 25-year-old Seabold spent 2020 at the alternate training sites of the Phillies and Red Sox after logging just 56.1 innings, mostly at Double-A Reading, in 2019—a number depressed by an oblique injury. He threw 17 more innings in the Arizona Fall League.
But his performance in 2019—a 2.24 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 11 walks—offered a glimpse of his starter potential.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Seabold arrived with a three-pitch mix, with a low-90s fastball and slider that grade as average and a changeup with sink and armside fade that grades as above-average to plus. At the alternate site in Pawtucket, he started incorporating a curveball as a fourth offering.
In a vacuum, Seabold's fastball and slider are unspectacular, but he has a clear feel for his craft to make the pitches play up. He tunnels the two pitches well, and his ability to command his fastball to different areas of the zone with some deception gives Seabold back-of-the-rotation potential.
Seabold should start 2021 in Triple-A, but between his advanced feel to pitch and spot on the 40-man roster, he could emerge quickly as a big league rotation depth option.
“His stuff across the board is middle of the road, slightly above-average. His changeup is a top-of-the-food chain type pitch,” Triple-A pitching coach Paul Abbott said. “I like his makeup. I like his pitchability. He’s the guy who can eat up some innings and hopefully give some quality starts down the road.”
— Corner infielder Blaze Jordan, a 2020 third-rounder who turns 18 in December, displayed what one evaluator called “huge power” in instructional league play, demonstrating a rare ability as a teenager to drive the ball out to all fields.
— Righthanded reliever Eduard Bazardo, 25, was added to the 40-man roster one year after being left unprotected, largely on the strength of increased fastball velocity—he topped out at 97 mph—to complement his swing-and-miss curveball, as well as a slider and developing splitter, in instructional league.