Red Sox’s Casey Sutherland Fulfilling Childhood Dreamby Jamie Gatlin February 4, 2021 0 comments
Over the past year, many Minor Leaguers witnessed their careers being put on pause. In 2020, as the Minor League season was canceled, several players were even cut. One prospect that was off to an impressive start was reliever Casey Sutherland. The Davidson product made his pro debut in 2019 and owns a unique journey to the Red Sox organization.
Two years ago, the Orlando native was preparing for life after baseball when he got a call that would change his life. The Red Sox were on the line and offered him a spot in the Florida Gulf Coast League.
“I was actually in the airport when the Red Sox called,” said Sutherland. ” I was planning on attending Vanderbilt for graduate school and was going to look at apartments. So I called the school and asked if I could do this without losing my spot. They were great and told me to go live the dream, and if it doesn’t work out, come back to us in a couple of years.”
For Sutherland, it was a dream come true. The Red Sox were his favorite team growing up and the first Little League team he ever played with.
“The whole process was unreal,” he added. “Walking around the facility and seeing all these guys, I was starstruck. At Spring Training, I walked past guys like Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez, and Steve Pearce. It was unbelievable.”
Sutherland’s career so far
Although Sutherland has only been at one big league camp, he has received advice from several of the Red Sox’s veterans, including Chris Sale.
“Sale came up to me during workouts and told me what to focus on and what I was doing wrong,” said Sutherland. A lot of the veterans did that with the younger guys. It was cool that they gave us advice rather than treating us like someone trying to take their jobs.”
Since joining the Red Sox, Sutherland has been dominant in his pro career. In 12 games, he has posted a 0.64 ERA. Additionally, the Davidson product has struck out 28 batters in 28.1 innings of work. The Orlando, Fla., native has also shown excellent control, walking just one batter.
While Sutherland has been used out of the bullpen, he does have some experience as a starter. At Davidson, the Red Sox prospect made 22 starts throughout his collegiate career. However, his best year was in 2018 when 20 of his 21 appearances came out of the bullpen.
“The summer heading into my junior year, I realized baseball wasn’t everything and I would be okay without it. That put things in perspective,” said Sutherland. “It allowed me to focus on playing and not on the stats. It’s a mindset that’s helped me a lot in my career.”
What to expect from Sutherland in 2021
Despite Sutherland’s success, he is not taking anything for granted. With fewer Minor League teams this upcoming season, the pressure will increase. However, for the Red Sox righty, it is a challenge he is prepared for as he looks to repeat his 2019 numbers.
“My biggest thing is just building on what was there last season,” said Sutherland. “Bringing back the changeup and focusing on velocity, Just trying to clean up the arm path. My main goal is to stay healthy because I think this year will be much more competitive.”
As Sutherland looks to rise in the Red Sox system, he has modeled his game after Kyle Hendricks, which could be good news for Boston in 2021 and beyond.
“The guy I compare myself the most to is Kyle Hendricks,” said Sutherland. “I don’t try to overpower with velocity, and I’ve actually been working on his two-seamed grip the past two months. It’s fun to kind of copy and incorporate into my game.”
With Opening Day only weeks away, Sutherland is a player that fans should keep an eye on this season.
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