Red Sox Leave Promising Pitcher Shane Drohan Unprotected in Rule 5 Draft
In a surprising move, the Boston Red Sox have left left-hander Shane Drohan unprotected on their 40-man roster, making him available to other clubs in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. This decision has raised questions about the direction of the team under new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow, who is looking to differentiate his tenure from that of his predecessor, Chaim Bloom.
Drohan, who was ranked as the 18th top prospect in the Red Sox organization by MLB Pipeline, had shown great promise early last season. After an impressive start with a 1.32 ERA at Double-A Portland, he received high praise for his improved fastball velocity and a formidable changeup. Many believed that continued success at Triple-A would have earned him a spot in the major leagues last summer.
However, Drohan’s performance took a downturn at Triple-A Worcester. He struggled with his command, issuing 63 walks in 89 innings, and had difficulty keeping the ball in the park, allowing 19 home runs. As a result, the Red Sox decided to shut him down, citing an innings limit as the reason.
It appears that Breslow, known for his emphasis on velocity and stuff over immediate results, has made a calculated decision to leave Drohan unprotected. The new Chief Baseball Officer has a track record of overhauling minor league pitching operations, as seen during his time with the Chicago Cubs. Under Breslow’s guidance, the Cubs saw their homegrown pitchers thrive in the big leagues, with left-hander Justin Steele even earning an All-Star selection.
While the Cubs focused on hard-throwing pitchers, Breslow understands that not every prospect needs an elite fastball. However, Drohan’s average velocity and concerns about the effectiveness of his pitches above Double-A may have influenced the decision to leave him unprotected. Breslow has made it clear that he won’t hesitate to make tough calls and evaluate the farm system objectively.
Instead of protecting Drohan, the Red Sox safeguarded their minor league pitcher of the year, right-hander Wikelman Gonzalez, and Single-A righty Luis Perales. Both pitchers possess impressive velocity, with Gonzalez featuring a mid to upper 90s fastball and Perales reaching 99 mph. These two hurlers have the potential to develop into elite pitchers, making their protection crucial for the organization.
While Drohan may still have a chance to contribute in the major leagues, his age (turning 25 in January) and limited experience at Triple-A make him an attractive target for rival organizations in the Rule 5 Draft. If he does leave, it will be a testament to Breslow’s commitment to evaluating and shaping the Red Sox farm system to build a competitive team for the future.