For Pawtucket Red Sox Opening Day on Friday, April 6th , there is a 100% chance of rain. Somewhat fitting for all the news that surrounds the team and their future. Nevertheless, the excitement for a new upcoming season is what Pawtucket needs. Tickets remain cheap, parking is free, and amazing fan giveaways will continue this season. Attendance is going to make or break the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox this season. I encourage all readers to make the trip down, it is well worth it.
The powerhouse Bryce Brentz and his 30 homeruns will not be on display in Pawtucket this season. The roster is hurting following the prospects that were sent away in trades involving Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. I am not saying those trades are bad. However, the Red Sox farm system is not what it once was. Also, players graduating to the majors as well. Although this may be true, there are some names to look out for this season at McCoy Stadium.
Sam Travis continued his tradition of raking in Spring Training. Although the first base position is currently in use, Travis is not out of the running for the foreseeable future. In spite of Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, maybe even Blake Swihart and Brock Holt manning the bag this season, it is unclear if they will be here next season. Tzu-Wei Lin, who made his name known this past season, is also a guy to watch out for. The $72.5 million man, Rusney Castillo looks to repeat his strong 2017 Minor League campaign. Ivan DeJesus Jr. and his Mexico career .289 batting average looks to make his name known as well.
Michael Chavis, who is currently recovering from his oblique injury, is going to start the season in Portland. If Chavis can continue to put up impressive numbers, a Triple-A call up is in his future. When that happens, all eyes are going to be on him. The only way Chavis is going to play at Fenway Park this season is if they continue the Futures at Fenway Series. Be that as it may, the McCoy Stadium faithful look upon future stars with high expectations.
Jeremy Barfield is looking to be the reincarnate of Bryce Brentz. The 29 year-old sent 27 long balls over the fence in Portland last season. If he mashes the ball in Pawtucket like he did last season, fans are going to be clamoring for him to make an appearance during September call ups.
Minor League baseball is famous for the wacky and incredible giveaways throughout the season. This season is no different for the Paw Sox. The Paw Sox will be giving away wall calendars, ceramic mugs, replica jerseys, and everyone’s favorite; bobbleheads. Rafael Devers, the G.O.A.T., and Mo Vaughn bobbleheads will be given away to the first 3,000 fans on the respective day. Replica jerseys will include Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs. Of course, Saturday night fireworks will continue with a new theme each week.
This season for the Paw Sox can sway the relocation process either way. If it is successful and every game is sold out, it makes it harder for Larry Lucchino to move them away. If every game is empty, what is the point in staying?
Follow Matt McGurn on Twitter: @MickGurn
Cover image courtesy of Rhode Island Public Radio.