Nationals Select Red Sox Prospect With First Pick Of MLB Rule 5 Draft

It didn't take long for a Red Sox prospect to go off the board

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December 7, 2022

The Boston Red Sox elected not to put Thad Ward on the 40-man roster this offseason, and now have to part with the 25-year-old prospect through the Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft.

The Washington Nationals didn’t waste any time Wednesday scooping up Ward, selecting the right-handed pitcher with the first pick of the draft.

“Excited for this new opportunity!” Ward tweeted. “Let’s get to work!”

Ward, who was a fifth-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2018, made a return to the mound this past season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of 2021. Ward pitched in four different levels of Boston’s minor league system in 2022, making it back to Double-A Portland where he made seven starts and recorded a 2.43 ERA. He also struck out 41 batters in 33 1/3 innings pitched. Ward had a successful Arizona Fall League season as well.

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Ward’s best season in the Red Sox organization came in 2019 when he posted an 8-5 record with a 2.14 ERA across 25 starts between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem. Ward was viewed as the Red Sox’s No. 15 best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Ward wasn’t the only player the Red Sox saw pried away through the Rule 5 draft. The Baltimore Orioles drafted Andrew Politi, a 26-year-old right-handed relief pitcher who went 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA with Triple-A Worcester this past season while the Philadelphia Phillies selected Noah Song. Boston drafted Song in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, but the right-handed pitcher hasn’t played since that year as he fulfills his commitment to the U.S. Navy.

The three players taken from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft will have to stay on the major league roster of their new respective teams for the entire upcoming season.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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