Red Sox Farm System Hidden Gem: Anderson Espinoza

by Mark Gallant | Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
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Earlier today, Keith Law ranked the Red Sox farm system as the best in baseball. Sox fans have all heard about Yoan Moncada, while some have started hearing about other top prospects like Rafael Devers and Manuel Margot. Perhaps the most exciting of all is just 17-years-old, but is already approaching triple digits on the radar gun.

There’s not much footage of Anderson Espinoza throwing a baseball. A series of scouting videos taken in June of 2013 show a skinny 15-year-old topping out at around 86 MPH. Essentially a freshman in high school at that time, Espinoza garnered interest from big league clubs with his raw ability. Last July, the Red Sox signed the then 16-year-old and gave him the highest signing bonus a Venezuelan has ever received at $1.8 million. At that time, Espinoza was throwing in the low 90s.

A year later, Espinoza is dominating low-level professional opponents. Not only has he been throwing between 96-99 MPH, he has also shown a strong curveball and changeup. Baseball America’s Ben Badler even said that he would have taken Espinoza over any of the pitchers taken in this year’s draft, which is pretty incredible considering he would still have a full year left of high school baseball in America.

Some are beginning to compare Espinoza to the soon-to-be Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, as outlandish as that may be. After just reading Martinez’s autobiography myself, I can’t help to look at the similarities.

While Espinoza stands an inch taller at the moment, they both possess the same thin frame that isn’t typically associated with power pitchers. Listed at 170 pounds, Espinoza is already throwing as hard or harder than Martinez ever could, though, and I’ve never heard of any pitchers whose fastball tops off at the age of 17. While the thinner pitchers generally create some health concerns, we can only hope Espinoza stays on a fast track through the minors without being put on the shelf.

After four starts in the Dominican Summer League, Espinoza put up 21 strikeouts in 15 innings while allowing just two earned runs. The numbers along with his ability was enough for his first promotion to the Gulf Coast League, where he has continued dominating. In five starts, he is limiting opposing batters to a .186 average and .460 OPS over 20 innings. While his strikeouts are down (14), his ERA and WHIP are both below one.

Soxprospects.com awarded him the organization’s pitcher of the month for June, and he could easily receive that award again in July. Though there is still plenty of unknowns about Espinoza, he is the only player in the system that has a ceiling of 8 on the prospect scouting scale, even higher than the highly-touted Yoan Moncada.

Though the Red Sox clearly have their pitching problems already, Espinoza looks like he will be worth the wait.

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Mark Gallant
About the Author

Mark has contributed to isportsweb, the Yawkey Way Report, Fansided's Chowder and Champions, and The Hockey Writers. He is also the host of the weekly radio show Top Shelf Sports on Bryant University's WJMF radio. Follow him on Twitter @TopShelfSports5







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