2009 Offseason: Setting the 40-man roster

With the Rule 5 draft coming up, today was the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters. The Red Sox added three players to protect them from being draftable by other teams: left-handed reliever Hunter Jones, left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront, and catcher Mark Wagner. Boston now has 37 players on that roster, meaning they also have space to take available players when the Rule 5 draft happens on December 11. Those slots are also necessary for any free agents we might sign before then.

At the very least, this decision shows that they value these three prospects and see them as potentially helping the parent club in the future. This also means that in order for them to be removed from the 40-man roster, they must first pass through waivers. Paul DePodesta offers a rundown of the whole process on his blog.

Here’s a brief rundown of the three:

Hunter Jones, 24 yo LHP. Jones was an undrafted free agent out of Florida State (missed a lot of time with a broken arm), and is starting to look like a steal. This big lefty throws just over 90 mph with good control on his two-seamer and has a nice slurve to complement it. Unlike most lefties, Jones really throws strikes and actually does better against right-handed hitters than lefties. Go figure. Hunter isn’t overpowering, but he avoids the long ball and won’t walk many. He’s put up very solid numbers at every level, including Pawtucket.

Felix Doubront, 20 yo LHP. Doubront was an international free agent out of Venezuela who signed with the Sox in summer 2004. He doesn’t throw that hard, but already has a plus curveball and a decent slider. Very good control, and has fanned about a batter per inning at the Single-A and High-A levels. Also has had a reverse split, being less effective against left-handed hitters at times.

Mark Wagner, 24yo C. If the Sox have a high-potential prospect at catcher who’s anywhere close to the big leagues, it’s Wagner. He’s already very steady behind the plate, and has flashed some power at Single-A. Athletic and smooth, scouts saw him as a potential defensive whiz early on, but that buzz is starting to fade a little bit. Has a strong work ethic by all accounts, but durability could be a concern, as he tires over the course of the season.


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