posted 8 years ago
The emergence of youngsters has become a Red Sox [team stats] rite of fall.
In 2005, it was Jonathan Papelbon [stats] and his electric stuff as a set-up man. Without him, the Sox probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs.
Last year brought Dustin Pedroia [stats] and Jacoby Ellsbury [stats]. The former was named Rookie of the Year, while the latter burst onto the scene down the stretch. Both were World Series heroes.
Now it’s Jed Lowrie’s and Justin Masterson’s turn.
The two played pivotal roles in the Division Series. Masterson kept the heart of the Angels order at bay in Game 1, pitching a scoreless eighth inning and protecting a 2-1 Sox lead. Lowrie merely laced the series-winning single to right field in Monday night’s Game 4.
They’re just the latest in a line of contributors from a farm system that once was barren but now ranks among the game’s best.
“What we tell our players from Day One in instructional league when they’re 18 is, ‘You have no idea when your opportunity is going to come,’ ” Sox farm director Mike Hazen said. “Once you get to Double A, it could happen at any moment, and you’ve got to be ready - not just to go up there so you can say, ‘Hey, I made the big leagues,’ but to stay up and contribute.”
The days of the Red Sox ditching minor league talent for mediocre veterans are a thing of the past. Since Theo Epstein took the reins as general manager, the Sox have all but refused to swap youngsters for big-name players.
This past winter, Lowrie and Masterson were discussed as possible pieces, along with starter Jon Lester [stats], in a Johan Santana deal. As good as Santana is, the Red Sox likely would be sitting home right now without the aforementioned trio.