Moving forward with our series of MLB rookie and prospect profiles, we turn our attention to Austin Maddox of the Boston Red Sox system. If you blinked you may have missed him: he was promoted to the major leagues on June 15th, pitched out of the bullpen on the 17th and 19th, with two shutout innings, and was sent back to the minors on the 20th. He’s likely to be back at some point so here’s a quick take.
The Red Sox drafted Maddox in the third round in 2012 from the University of Florida. He was a two-way guy in college, hitting .303/.345/.461 over three seasons with 23 homers in 573 at-bats, but the Sox preferred him on the mound, where he’d posted a 1.87 ERA in 82 college innings.
He struggled at first as a pitcher, with a combined 5.75 ERA in 2013 and 2014. He threw only 27 innings in 2015 but was more effective, with a 3.71 ERA and a 22/5 K/BB, then followed up with a 3.59 ERA in 68 innings in 2016, finishing the season in Triple-A. He was even better this year, with a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
Maddox is listed at 6-2, 220, a right-handed hitter and thrower born May 13th, 1991. In college he threw 92-96 MPH, but for most of his pro career Maddox has been reported with a fastball about 90-93, a mediocre slider, and a decent change-up.
In his first two MLB games he exceeded those pro velocity reports, featuring a fastball in the 93-96 range along with the change-up in the mid-80s, which is a lot more like his college self. His breaking ball and overall command remain erratic but extra oomph on the fastball improves his margin for error.
If he keeps his command in gear, Maddox can be a solid middle reliever.