Red Sox Make Historic Signing After Hard-Throwing RHP’s Viral Video

The Red Sox added hard-throwing pitcher Danny Kirwin this week.

Getty The Red Sox added hard-throwing pitcher Danny Kirwin this week.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a viral video worth? For one new member of the Red Sox organization, it could well be worth millions. That’s if newly minted prospect Danny Kirwin, who was signed this weekend by the Red Sox, fulfills his MLB promise as a hard-throwing righty pitcher.

Kirwin was a pitcher of no great repute for four years at Rider University in New Jersey, where he made 80 relief appearances in his career and put up 18 saves. But his WHIP was 1.549 and his career ERA was 5.06. Kirwin did manage to put together a solid senior season in which he went 7-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 14 saves in 50.1 innings of relief work.

He was not drafted, but still signed on with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the MLB Draft League, a sort-of second-chance stop for players who are keeping their big-league dreams alive. He went from Mahoning Valley to the independent Oakland Ballers of the Pioneer League this season where, before he even through a competitive pitch for the team, the Red Sox acquired his contract.

A bit of a whirlwind, for sure, thanks to the help of a viral video that apparently caught Boston’s attention.

Danny Kirwin Hitting High 90s on Radar Gun

Of course, it was what was in the video that got Kirwin noticed. He showed off a new, improved cut fastball with dynamic movement that he could throw in the low 90s. And his fastball had gained velocity—he was hitting in the high 90s on the gun. This was all a significant improvement over what he’d shown in college and over last summer.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Kirwin spent the offseason working out diligently at Tread Athletics, a baseball performance company, and that paid off with more consistent upper-90s velocity. Tread sent the Red Sox Kirwin’s Trackman information from his bullpen session Friday, and Boston texted him the next day.

“Kirwin will get a physical Wednesday.”

Credit the Red Sox and new general manager Craig Breslow for moving quickly to nab Kirwin, who is slated to start off in Class A ball in the coming days.

Considering his age (24) and experience level in college, it’s possible that Kirwin could move up the ranks quickly, especially if he can keep throwing hard and if he can limit the number of walks he hands out. He had 163 strikeouts in 144 innings in college, but also had 87 walks.

Red Sox Make History With Signing

Either way, the new Red Sox pitcher counts as a bit of history for the Oakland Ballers organization, which was set up to replace the departing A’s, who are leaving behind a long history in the Bay Area that has been recently tarnished by poor management and shabby treatment of local fans.

Kirwin is the first player the team has sent on to the majors, despite having never played a game for them.

“We want to create the best player program in the country in the partner league system,” Ballers assistant general manager Tyler Petersen told The Athletic. “As a new team, this (signing) is a great way for us to show players what our pitch is … (that), yes, we do think we are better equipped than other teams to make you more visible. We do think that this situation is a better one than you can find with other clubs.

“These are the kinds of players we want to attract, the players that would have been drafted, but for the fact that there’s only 20 rounds now.”



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