Red Sox add two pitching prospects to 40-man roster

Red Sox

By adding Wikelman Gonzalez and Luis Perales to their 40-man roster, the Red Sox protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Wikelman Gonzalez was one of two pitchers added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster on Tuesday. Ella Hannaford

The Red Sox‘ roster has a couple of new additions.

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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 are not likely to play in the majors this season, but the team added them to the roster to protect them from being chosen in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Gonzalez had a rough start to begin 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 registered a 2.42 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and .162 opposing batter average in 48.1 innings after his promotion in the middle of this past season.

He is universally regarded as one of the Red Sox’ best pitching prospects, and he’s the highest-rated pitcher in the system per MLB Pipeline at No. 9. That potential showed itself 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 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 across the farm for his electric, 98-mph fastball, which 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, given how impressive they were last season and how much potential they displayed. But what came as a surprise to many was that they did not do the same for left-hander Shane Drohan, who dominated Double-A to begin last season and was promoted to Triple-A Worcester shortly after.

Drohan struggled upon 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’s on the cusp of a major league callup and is the best left-handed pitcher in the system, per Pipeline. There’s a chance that a team takes him in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

In addition to Drohan, the Red Sox also chose 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 are able to be selected.

The Rule 5 Draft will take place on Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings. Some minor leaguers will move to new organizations on that day, but the Red Sox can rest assured knowing that Gonzalez and Perales will not be going anywhere.