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The Red Sox selected right-handed pitchers Wikelman Gonzalez and Luis Perales to their 40-man roster on Tuesday. These two players likely won’t play in the Majors this season, but the team added them to the roster to avoid being picked in December’s Rule 5 Draft.
Gonzalez had a rough start to start the season, but he turned it around enough to finish the year with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 111.1 innings pitched. He currently plays for Double-A Portland, where he posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and .162 opponents average in 48.1 innings after being promoted midway through last season.
He is widely considered one of the Red Sox’ best pitchers, and he is the highest-rated pitcher in the system. per MLB Pipeline at No. 9. That potential was reflected on the mound, as he was named the Red Sox Starting Pitcher of the Year among all minor leaguers.
Perales lands just below Gonzalez on the MLB Pipeline’s List at No. 10. He finished his year with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 89.2 innings for two teams, starting at Single-A Salem and ending at High-A Greenville. He’s known around the farm for his electric 90-mph fastball Baseball America considers the best fastball in the Red Sox organization.
The Red Sox’ decision to protect Gonzalez and Perales from Rule 5 selection was expected considering how impressive they were last season and how much potential they showed. But what came as a surprise to many was that they didn’t do the same for left-hander Shane Drohan, who dominated Double-A at the start of last season and was promoted to Triple-A Worcester shortly after.
Drohan struggled in his promotion to Triple-A (6.47 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in Worcester compared to his 1.32 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in Portland), but he is on the cusp of a Major League call-up and is the best left-handed pitcher in the system, per pipeline. There’s a chance a team could take him in December’s Rule 5 Draft.
In addition to Drohan, the Red Sox also opted not to protect High-A outfielder Allan Castro, High-A right-hander Zach Penrod, Double-A right-hander Angel Bastardo (No. 16) and Triple-A right-hander Grant Gambrell, all of whom could be selected become.
The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 6 during the Winter Meetings. Some minor leaguers will move to new organizations on that day, but the Red Sox can rest easy knowing Gonzalez and Perales won’t be going anywhere.
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