With spring training drawing ever closer, we look at who could potentially be a dark horse candidate to make the opening day roster.
Garin Cecchini, 3B: Cecchini split 2013 between the Salem Red Sox and the Portland Sea Dogs with a line of .322/.443/471 and 7 home runs in 129 games, according to the MLB.com. He could be on the Opening Day roster as a back up for Will Middlebrooks if Stephen Drew doesn't remain with the Sox. If Drew leaves, Xander Bogaerts will likely be the starting shortstop, and that could open a place up for someone like Cecchini to be a back up or even start at 3rd (however unlikely that may be).
Henry Owens, LHP: Owens had a solid 2013 season, finishing at 11-6 between Salem and Portland again. He finished the year with 169 K's to 68 walks, according to the MLB.com, and he has pretty decent stuff. The Red Sox website has him as a possible #3 starter, which is still pretty good. Of the 4 guys I will talk about with this, he and Matt Barnes are probably the least likely to be on the Opening Day roster, as the Red Sox have 6 starters on the roster right now, but he could get a call later in the season if the rotation sustains injuries.
Matt Barnes,RHP:Not really a likely candidate to make the Opening Day roster, as he is a starter. But, like Owens, the kid has decent stuff. He had 142 strikeouts to 48 walks between Portland and Pawtucket, but a 6-10 record and a 4.13 ERA in 2013, according to MLB.com. I wouldn't expect him to be the 1st choice if the Sox need to call a pitcher up during the course of the year.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP:`He probably will be in the back of the Red Sox organization's head should significant injuries occur to multiple starters, as he had an 11-5 record, a 2.96 era, and 127 K's to 47 walks according to MLB.com. But, I wouldn't really consider him a dark horse candidate to make the Opening Day roster. He could get a call up at some point this season if there are significant injuries to the rotation.
If any of these guys has a legit shot to be on the opening day roster, I would say it would be Cecchini. The other 3 guys are starting pitchers, and we have 6 on the roster right now, so there is not much of a chance for any of these guys to make the roster. Cecchini, on the other hand could fit in as a back up to Middlebrooks, especially if Stephen Drew doesn't re-sign. If that doesn't happen, Bogaerts would become the starting shortstop, like I mentioned above, and Middlebrooks will likely start at 3rd and Cecchini could be a back up if he impresses in Spring Training.
Thoughts? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment.