The Boston Red Sox made a couple of moves Thursday thanks to the Rule 5 Draft.
Boston selected Garrett Whitlock from the New York Yankees with the No. 4 pick. The 24-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019.
Whitlock is expected to get a shot at Boston’s starting rotation, which is a bit unusual for a Rule 5 pick to go right to their new roster. But the Red Sox will be thin at pitching with Chris Sale rehabbing from a Tommy John surgery of his own, while Eduardo Rodriguez, though expected to have a normal spring training, still will have concerns surrounding him after missing all of last season.
And even though the Tommy John surgery may raise questions about Whitlock’s health going into the 2021 season, Red Sox vice president of professional scouting Gus Quattlebaum likes what he has seen.
“We?re really excited to land someone that we think has upside as a potential starter or, at a minimum, can assume some volume in a role either out of the ?pen or as a starter,” Quattlebaum told reporters Thursday. “We?re really excited to land him.”
Whitlock missed all of the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season, but has been throwing bullpen sessions since the summer.
“All things are trending upwards,” Quattlebaum said. “He?s on a normal progression leading into this upcoming season.”
So, what exactly can Whitlock bring to the table?
“He?s a physical right-handed pitcher with real arm strength and, most importantly, a real feel to execute and change speeds,” Quattlebaum said. “… He keeps the ball on the ground. The way we defend and the way we shift, I think that can play well in our hands where we can keep the ball on the ground.
“He?s fearless, aggressive and a tireless worker. Someone who?s not afraid to attack the strike zone either.”
These certainly are all positive attributes that should get Red Sox fans excited to potentially see Whitlock when the season begins April 1.