The Boston Red Sox have always had a deep farm system. However, with the Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg deals of this offseason, their system has been depleted somewhat. Nevertheless, there are some talented prospects who could make their breakthrough with the Red Sox this season.
A second-round pick in 2014 out of Indiana University, Travis is rated as the fourth-best prospect in Boston's farm system, according to SoxProspects.com. Travis has turned into one of the best offensive prospects in the high majors, but missed most of last season with a torn ACL. Despite that, the 23-year-old hit .272/.332/.434 in 47 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, along with six home runs and 29 runs batted in. With former Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw now in Milwaukee and Hanley Ramirez moving to a full time designated hitter role, Mitch Moreland assumes the full-time first baseman duties in Boston. However, they have thin depth at the position beyond Moreland and Travis, and assuming Travis is healthy, he is likely to make his major-league debut this season.
The 24-year-old reliever is another interesting potential debutant, as he is a former 13th-round selection in 2014 out of the University of Kentucky. Shepherd dominated Double-A Portland last season, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 22 appearances, before being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 18 appearances. Shepherd possesses two solid pitches: a fastball that sits between 91-93 mph and a tricky slider. The reliever is now in line for a 40-man roster spot and could make an impact in Boston next season.
The 25-year-old reliever is a former ninth-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Texas A&M, as Martin was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, meaning he could be the quickest to make their big league Debut. Martin spent his first full season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he ended up going 3-4 with a 3.37 ERA. The Red Sox have some unanswered questions in their bullpen, including whether or not Carson Smith will be healthy, if Tyler Thornburg can sustain success, and if any relievers can take a step forward. Martin appears to be poised to make his debut next season.
The Red Sox are looking to make a push for another World Series title, and will likely have to dip into their farm system to sustain success. Travis, Shepherd and Martin all are on the doorstep of the major leagues, and could provide important help for the team in the dog days of summer.