Coming off a disastrous 2012 season that left them near the absolute bottom of the big league barrel, the 2013 Red Sox--somehow in first place by a wide margin--were also gifted with the seventh overall pick in the draft. Serendipity.
However, instead of beefing up their elite farm system, they selected lefty high school starter Trey Ball.
Ball simply never developed as a starter, displaying a lack of control and inviting far too much contact for a hard-throwing lefty. His off-track career all culminated with a 7.58 ERA this season, finally forcing him off the mound and into an opportunity with his second passion.
Yes, Ball's an outfielder now.
At this point, the choice is hard to argue with. Ball's not going to be a successful major league pitcher with a snap of his fingers at this point, so any value Boston can get out of their once-vaunted prospect would be a major plus.
To be fair, some objective scouts really do think Ball has a shot to Ankiel this whole thing.
From an NL scout:"His timing isn't there yet, but it is a really good swing. Hopefully he can go get swings and see if it works. He's got a chance, and he looks relieved"— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) September 4, 2018
Yes, in true 2018 Red Sox fashion, Ball knocked a game-winning seventh-inning double in his first start at DH in the penultimate game of Double-A Portland's season, prior to going 0-for-5 the next day.
As the offseason builds, Ball's transition is definitely something to keep a side-eye on.