Yesterday the Boston Red Sox announced that right-handed pitcher Ben Taylor, a non-roster invitee to spring training, had made the 25-man roster and will open the year in the big league bullpen. Let’s take a look.
Taylor was drafted less than two years ago, a seventh round pick in 2015 from the University of South Alabama. He ranked 20th on our 2017 Top 20 Boston Red Sox prospect list written before spring training, with the following comment:
20) Ben Taylor, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, seventh round pick in 2015 from South Alabama; posted 2.96 ERA with 98/22 K/BB in 79 innings between High-A and Double-A, 63 hits allowed; low-90s fastball with average change-up and slider; stuff plays up due to command and deceptive delivery; another middle relief option; note high strikeout rate. ETA 2018.
An impressive spring training moved the ETA up a year, with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings and an excellent 19/3 K/BB ratio.
Taylor is listed at 6-3, 225. As noted in the comment his stats last year were excellent, with a notably high strikeout rate, which he maintained this spring. His velocity has ticked up since he was drafted; he’s been clocked as high as 96 MPH in pro ball, although even at lower velocities he is still tough to hit.
"He can be throwing 88-89 mph, he'll get swing-and-miss on it," said Portland manager Carlos Febles
If his command holds up, he should be a very effective middle relief man.