The Fascinating Life of Noah Song

I certainly won’t count him out.

Back in 2019, one of the most talented college pitchers in the nation went undrafted until the fourth round of the MLB draft. When the Red Sox eventually selected Noah Song with the 137th pick, they understood the distinct possibility that he would have to serve in the Navy, rather than play professional baseball. Song was able to play one season with the Class A Lowell Spinners, recording an impressive 1.06 ERA, .167 batting average against, and 19 strikeouts over 17 innings. However, because his request for a service deferment was denied, he had to leave pro ball to begin his military career at the end of 2019.

Song spent the next three years working as a naval flight officer working with the P-8 Poseidon aircraft in Florida. As a Red Sox fan, I remained vaguely aware of him, because the team still held his baseball rights. However, it did not appear he’d be pitching any time soon.

Song recently rose back into prominence for two reasons. First, the Philadelphia Phillies selected him via the Rule 5 draft in December. This oddity of baseball allows teams to pilfer players from the rosters of other teams, and it meant that if Song played baseball, it would be for the Phillies. This still seemed unlikely, however, until his application to transfer from active duty to selective reserves was approved> Thanks to this change, Song can resume his attempt to make it to the major leagues.

Because Song had his service transferred this offseason, he does not need to be placed on the Phillies’ 40-man roster until Opening Day. But because Song is a Rule 5 Draft pick, he must be placed on the Opening Day roster to remain in the organization. If he makes the Phils, he would be the No. 8 man in the bullpen.

If Song does not make the team, he can be traded or placed on waivers. If he clears waivers, Boston can take him back and send him to the Minor Leagues.

Baseball has an absurd amount of minutia, but the short of it this: For the Phillies to keep him, Song must go from not having pitched competitively in over three years (and never at anything even close to the big league level) to a major league roster in a matter of weeks, and he must stay there all season. That’s unprecedented and it’s a hell of a long shot. In the likely event that he can’t perform that miracle, the Red Sox can take Song back, and allow him to develop further in their minor league system.

Despite the abilities he previously displayed, it is perhaps unlikely that Song will wind up a Hall of Famer, as his fellow Navy alum (and Lieutenant junior grade) David Robinson did following his time in the NBA. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see just how far he can make it in professional baseball. My own hope is to see him as a star with the Red Sox in a year or three. As it has been for several years, this story will continue to be interesting to watch.

Update (August 27, 2023): Sure enough, the Phillies were unable to keep Song on their major league roster all season. He’s now