Espinoza flashes tremendous potential in his season debut

Red Sox No. 4 prospect throws five scoreless, allows just two hits

Espinoza flashes tremendous potential in his season debut

In his very first game of 2016, Venezuelan pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza is already giving Red Sox fans reasons to be excited about his future.

Espinoza -- Boston's No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- tossed five scoreless frames in his season debut with Class A Greenville on Friday. The right-hander, who is baseball's No. 38 overall prospect, limited Asheville to just two hits while striking out four batters. He tossed 63 pitches, 43 of them for strikes.

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Despite Espinoza's five scoreless frames, he did not win as Greenville allowed six runs in the seventh and ultimately lost, 6-4.

Espinoza, who turned 18 last month, signed with the Red Sox in August 2014 for $1.8 million, doubling the Venezuelan bonus record set by Francisco Rodriguez in 1998. He posted a 0.68 ERA in 10 starts (40 innings) with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox last season.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.