On Sunday the Boston Red Sox promoted rookie right-hander Pat Light to the major league roster. Light's minor league career has been erratic but he made good progress after converting to the bullpen in 2015. Let's take a look.
Basic facts from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Pat Light, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-5 WT: 195 DOB: March 29, 1991
2013: Grade B-; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C
The Red Sox drafted Light as a supplemental first round pick in 2012 from Monmouth. I liked him a lot coming out of the draft and gave him a B- entering 2013, but his first two full seasons were disastrous. 2015 was better. Moving to the bullpen, he junked his mediocre slider and below-average change-up, replacing them with a splitter that flashes plus. Pitching in relief boosted his velocity, moving from 90-95 as a starter to 93-98 in the pen, with some reports of 99 MPH. His command still needs a lot of work but the Red Sox saw enough potential to add him to the 40-man roster in November. Permanent progress will show up first in his K/BB ratio. Grade C.
Light posted a 2.43 ERA with a 32/11 K/BB in 30 innings for Double-A Portland last year. He had some command issues after moving up to Triple-A Pawtucket (5.18, 35/26 K/BB in 33 innings) but overall the season restored his prospect status after struggles in 2013 and 2014. In 6.2 innings over five games for Pawtucket in 2016, he gave up three hits, three walks, and three runs but fanned 10.
Although still something of a work in progress, moving to the bullpen flipped the switch with this one. Light's mechanics are more consistent in shorter outings, leading to both improved command and more frequent high-end velocity. There are still some control wobbles but overall Light has found his role.
The splitter was Light's key secondary pitch in college at Monmouth but he stopped throwing it in 2013 and 2014 to concentrate on the slider and change-up Those pitches never really developed, so he went back to using the splitter after he converted to the bullpen.
This Milb.com video is just a few days old and shows the kind of action Light gets low in the strike zone.
The announcer says the strikeout pitch was a slider but it looks more like the splitter to me with the straight-down angle. What do you guys think? Either way, it is a better secondary pitch compared to the stuff he was throwing in '13 and '14.
Overall, if Light maintains his control he should be a useful bullpen asset. If his command maxes out he could close games eventually.