The Red Sox selected Ball seventh overall in the 2013 draft and committed $2.75M to steal him away from the University of Texas. Considered the best two-way player in the draft, the Red Sox drafted him as a pitcher, believing in his athleticism and potential to throw three plus offerings.
The lanky lefty made his Class A debut on April 27th against Lexington, the Kansas City Royals’ affiliate. Here are my notes from that start:
Runs: 3 (all earned)
Batters faced: 23
Strikeout breakdown: 1 looking, 1 swinging; 2 with fastball; 0 vs. LH batter, 2 vs. RH batter.
Summary: Ball struggled with his command throughout the outing, failing to get ahead of hitters and missing up in the zone often with his fastball. His changeup was his best and most consistent pitch, and he went to it often when behind in the count. His fastball ran 88-93 mph, and it was most effective down in the zone, where it exhibited late sink.
His curveball was a no-show early in the outing; the few times he threw it, he couldn’t get on top of it and it was more of a cement mixer up and away. As the outing went on, however, he got a better feel of the pitch, yet he still wasn’t throwing it for strikes. Still, considering he only started throwing a curve two years ago, it looks like it could eventually be a plus pitch.
Ball’s fastball, which he threw up in the zone too often, was squared up in every inning. The second inning was his most laborious, in which he allowed five baserunners (four hits, one walk) and three runs. Even the outs were loud.
Ball was able to get ground balls when he needed them, coaxing double plays in two of his five innings. His changeup kept hitters off balance throughout the outing, and he showed more confidence in the pitch than he did in any other.
He finished the outing in style, blowing a batter away with a 3-2 fastball up in the zone.
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