Instead, 39-year-old Kevin Boles is the team's new skipper, tasked with prepping those players who are one step away.
Coming into the 2014 season he will be the youngest manager in the International League by five years, but he brings 13 years of managerial experience to the table and has seen much of the recent crop of Red Sox top prospects through the system, making him the ideal candidate for the job as those players stand on the cusp of their big league dreams.
"It's a unique opportunity and obviously these positions don't come around too often,” said Boles, who has a career 797-786 record as a manager. “Just to be here and watch these guys go from A-ball, double-A, triple-A, see the process and how it starts to finish up, the time that they put in, the hard work…we still have a lot of work to do and hopefully we can get these guys to Boston sooner than later."
Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 42nd round of the 1998 draft, Boles' playing days lasted just 20 games with Williamsport in the New York-Penn League.
Just two short years later he emerged as the 25-year-old manager for the Gulf Coast Marlins (Rookie level), leading the team to a 40-20 season.
In 2009, after stints in the Royals and Twins organizations, Boles linked up with the Red Sox, becoming manager of the Single-A Greenville Drive, succeeding Gabe Kapler.
Like the players he was helping to develop Boles started climbing the ranks and after spending two years in Greenville, and another year in High-A Salem, he wound up with Double-A Portland.
Boles spent three memorable seasons with the Sea Dogs, honing some of the best talent to come through the system while also honing his own skills in developing talent.
“It's a great transition going from A-ball to double-A where the attention starts getting bigger,” said Boles. “It's one of the best affiliates in all of Minor League Baseball. The people of Portland, the front office and ownership, [SeaDogs’ Chairman] Bill Burke, [team President] Charlie Eshbach, [Vice President] Geoff Iacuessa and everybody there...just terrific people. It's a great place to develop players.”
With Portland now in his rear view Boles is gearing up for his new role, trying to see players through that final step up the ladder, a step he may take someday soon himself, like many of his predecessors in Pawtucket.
And at his disposal this season is a wealth of talent that could include one of the best pitching staffs in Pawtucket’s history.
"I think the starting pitching that we potentially have are guys that have the chance to pitch in the major leagues as starters,” said Boles whose staff could include the likes of Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Henry Owens. “I think that’s one of our strengths.”
Of course a seasoned vet like Boles knows that nothing is set in stone until they arrive at McCoy Stadium during the first week in April.
“You don't actually know until they make those decisions what the roster is going to be,” said Boles. “You can speculate all you want, but the talent level and the consistency of that talent level…there is definitely a lot to be excited about, there's no doubt."
There is also no doubt that Boles has been around long enough to know how to handle such talent, regardless of age…his or theirs.
The PawSox open their season on April 3rd when they host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
The author is solely responsible for the content.