SoxProspects News

October 16, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Chase Shugart and Andrew Politi

FORT MYERS, Fla -- The initial returns on the Red Sox 2018 draft class were that the organization went heavy on hitters and potential bullpen arms.  Chase Shugart, the team’s 12th-round pick out of the University of Texas, was seen as one of these potential bullpen arms in part because of his frame (listed at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds). Despite his only making four starts after a long delay before his debut after his signing, I have now seen him twice and believe he has a chance to be a potential starting pitcher. In this Instructs start, he was very effective, throwing two perfect innings and striking out four.

Shugart is a plus athlete and doesn’t have any projection remaining, but his arm is loose and he repeats his delivery well. He throws from a high-three quarters arm slot and shows strong pitchability and feel on the mound.
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October 9, 2018 at 9:10 AM

Scouting Scratch: Yoan Aybar

FORT MYERS, Fla - Left-hander Yoan Aybar was once seen as a raw but intriguing center field prospect. But after signing for $450,000 in 2013 and four seasons in which he failed to distinguish himself at the plate, Aybar moved to the mound in Spring Training 2018 and very quickly has established himself as one of the most intriguing bullpen arms in the Red Sox system. 

In his mound debut split between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and a couple appearances with short-season A Lowell, he posted a 4.13 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 14 walks in 28 1/3 innings. While the line may not stand out, it was impressive for a young player who had spent four years as an outfielder, and he had some buzz coming into my Instructs look at him.

Aybar is still on the skinny side and doesn’t look like he will add much size. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 173 pounds, which looks accurate, and he has retained the athleticism he showed in the outfield. Aybar throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a simple delivery that has some effort. 
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October 4, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Minor Notes: Scouting scratch on Alex Scherff; Michael Chavis a big mover at MLB Pipeline

Here are Thursday's Minor Notes:
  •'s Ian Cundall was down at Instructs last week and his first piece from the weekend, a Scouting Scratch on Alex Scherff (pictured), was released on Thursday, citing an above-average curveball as part of an improved look at the right-hander from Texas.
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at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Alex Scherff

FORT MYERS, Fla --- Alex Scherff’s first full professional season had its ups and downs. The 2017 fifth-round pick initially struggled in an aggressive assignment to Low A Greenville. But after a rough April in which he allowed 19 runs, 18 earned, in 17 1/3 innings over four starts, walking 13 while recording just 11 strikeouts, he righted the ship in May and early June, posting a more palatable 2.60 ERA in six starts, striking out 24 and walking 8 in 27 2/3. His momentum was halted by an intercostal strain that kept him out almost two months, but after his return on August 8, the right-hander excelled for the rest of the season. After two rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League, he returned to the Drive and made four starts, Allowing just 3 runs in 18 innings, striking out 16 while walking just two.

Looking to build on his strong return from injury, Scherff got the start in the Red Sox Fall Instructional League opener against the Orioles minor leaguers and threw three innings. He got into some trouble in the first inning, but fared better in the next two innings. In the outing, he allowed three hits while walking one and hitting one batter, recording two strikeouts and inducing four swinging strikes.
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October 1, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Podcast Ep. #146 That's a heckuva signing for 10K

Last year, the Sox cancelled Instructs following the damage from Hurricane Irma. And we love Instructs. It's a fresh look at players who we haven't seen since Spring Training and a first look for guys who are new in the system.  Ian went to Instructs. And he liked what he saw. Chris and Ian went deep on some of the guys and lightning round through all the players in Instructs. They welcome Chris Becerra to the front office. And they wrap up the show with a trip into the mailbag.

Listen in!
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September 24, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Maddox has surgery; can free agency be changed?

Here are Monday's Minor Notes:
  • Right-handed pitcher Austin Maddox had surgery on his right rotator cuff on September 19. The 27-year-old only threw 7 2/3 innings in 2018, dealing with inflammation in his throwing shoulder through much of the season.
  •'s Rob Bradford has been projecting who might be on the Red Sox postseason roster and has Ryan Brasier, who was called up on July 8 after pitching well in Pawtucket all year, as a lock to make the American League Division series pitching staff.
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September 17, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Minor Notes: Instructs set to begin, award season wraps up

Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • The Red Sox 2018 Fall Instructional League schedule and roster were announced last week, highlighted by Trey Ball (pictured) being listed as an outfielder and the Red Sox' first three selections in the 2018 draft in Triston Casas, Nick Decker, and Durbin Feltman. Contributing Editor Shawn McGrath has a full write-up on the players that will be in Fort Myers starting on Monday. 
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September 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM Awards: Offensive Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year

This week was award week: On Monday All-Star hitters were announced, Tuesday was dedicated to the All-Star pitchers; Wednesday we announced the Graduate of the Year, Homegrown Prospect of the Year and Ex-Prospect of the Year; and Thursday featured the Rookie of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.

The biggest awards were saved for last. The Offensive Player of the Year goes to Bobby Dalbec and the Pitcher of the Year is awarded to Denyi Reyes.
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September 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Podcast Ep. #145 - We're letting it roll, so just go ahead

Our minor league revels now are ended for 2018. Before we turn our attention to the big club and their quest to break the franchise record for wins in a season, Chris and Ian wrap up the minor league season. They preview the Arizona Fall League, highlighting the strong contingent of Sox Prospects who will play for Mesa. They begin to game plan the off-season, before getting down to the in-depth review of the system at season end. Ian concludes that the system is coming back, thanks to a great draft and high volume of international signings. But first, Chris and Ian welcome unofficial podcast ombudsman and Senior Web Editor Matt Picard to refute Chris' slanderous comments about Kevin Youkilis.

Listen in!

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at 12:00 PM Awards: Rookie, Breakout Player and Comeback Player of the Year award season continues after all-star hitters were announced on Monday, followed by all-star pitchers on Tuesday and the graduate, homegrown prospect and ex-prospect of the year on Wednesday.'s rookie of the year is Jarren Duran, the breakout player of the year is Kutter Crawford and CJ Chatham earns the nod for comeback player of the year.

Rookie of the Year

Jarren Duran was also named one of three All-Star outfielders on Monday after having a spectacular professional debut in 2018. Duran was selected in the seventh round of this year's draft after three years playing for Long Beach State and made an immediate impact, going 3 for 5 with two triples in his professional debut on June 17. Duran had hits in 13 of his first 15 games and was slashing .348/.393/.548 with 10 triples through 37 games with Lowell before his promotion to Greenvile on August 1.

While the triples were lacking for the Drive over the final month of the season, the 22-year-old still put up a strong slash line of .367/.396/.477. In addition to 11 triples across both levels, Duran was 24 for 34 in stolen base attempts and was third in the system in steals. With almost a 50 percent groundball rate, Duran has been effectively using his plus-plus speed to take the extra base and he was a strong contributor across two levels.

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September 12, 2018 at 2:12 PM

Trey Ball's outfield conversion to highlight Fall Instructional League

A year after being mostly washed out by Hurricane Irma, the Red Sox 2018 Fall Instructional League will open on September 17, running through October 9 and featuring many of the system's top prospects.

"Fall Instructs," as it is often called, is used to develop players in the low minors and includes both classroom training as well as on-field workouts. The organization will have 55 players in Fort Myers this year, although the game schedule has been noticably slimmed to just nine games, five of which come against the Orioles, with two more each against the Rays and Germany's Under-23 team.
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at 8:00 AM Awards: Homegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate and of the Year award season continues after All-Star hitters were announced on Monday and were followed by All-Star pitchers on Tuesday. Today we cover three of the more widely known award winners, all of whom have graduated from their status as prospects.

Homegrown Player of the Year
Part of the reason the Red Sox farm system is not as elite as in past years is because so many players have recently been traded or graduated. In another year, outstanding performances from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts or outfielder Andrew Benintendi might have put them in the running for this award with their impressive 2018 performances. However, Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (pictured, left) is not just the Homegrown Player of the Year this season, he is the best position player in all of baseball. 

His 2018 season did not come out of nowhere. Entering 2018, Betts was a career .292/.351/.488 hitter with two All-Star appearances and finishes in the top-20 in MVP voting each of the last three seasons. This season, Betts took what was an already impressive track record to the next level and, as of September 11th, he is hitting .342 (best in baseball) with a .433 OBP (second in baseball) and .633 slugging (second in baseball) with 42 doubles, 29 home runs, 116 runs, 71 RBI, and 27 stolen bases. 

It is not just his offense though - he is regarded as one of the best baserunners in baseball, and he continues to produce highlight-reel plays in the field. Defense is especially important for a right fielder for the Red Sox as Fenway Park boasts one of the largest and most difficult to play right fields in baseball. Even the advanced statistics cannot deny Betts' greatness this season with him leading all of baseball in positional player WAR according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. That unrivaled five-tool production is why Mookie Betts was an easy choice for the Homegrown Player of the Year.
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September 11, 2018 at 12:00 PM

2018 All-Stars: Pitchers

Following up Monday's All-Star Position Players post, we are presenting the top five starters and three relievers from the 2018 season. The list includes four players from the lower minors, three players from the upper minors, and one starter who was traded at the end of July. 

Starting Pitcher: Denyi Reyes
After starting the season in Greenville bouncing between starting and a piggyback role, Reyes earned a full-time slot in the rotation by the end of April and he never looked back. Once he locked down a starting role in Greenville he went 8-3 with a 1.70 ERA, striking out 104 and walking only 13 over 106 innings. He won the Pitcher of the Month award in May, June, and July over this span and was subsequently promoted to Salem to begin August. While he was not quite as dominant in Salem, he still put up great numbers while facing competition about two years older than him on average. Over six starts he went 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 32 innings.

Reyes was also a All-Star and a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2017 and he was named the 2018 South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic has pitched his way onto the radar, rising from being outside of the top 60 to start the year to being ranked 24th at the end of the year. 
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September 10, 2018 at 2:00 PM

2018 All-Stars: Position Players

This year, we are presenting our Awards and All-Star teams a bit differently. Instead of one All-Star post and one awards post, we will be rolling everything out over the course of the week. Here is the schedule:

Monday: All-Star position players
Tuesday: All-Star pitchers
Wednesday: Graduate of the Year; Homegrown Player of the Year; Ex-Prospect of the Year
Thursday: Rookie of the Year; Breakout Player of the Year; Comeback Player of the Yer
Friday: Player of the Year; Postion Player of the Year

The 2018 All-Star lineup includes a June draftee who burst onto the scene with an outstanding first pro campaign, a pair of 2016 draftees who re-established themselves among the top ten prospects in the system. It is also a new-look roster of stars, as only two of the nine position players have been honored previously.

Catcher: Austin Rei
Rei's inclusion on this list seemed pretty unlikely in late April, when the 2015 third-round pick was mired in a season opening 2-for-34 slump that included 21 strikeouts. He turned things around soon after, with a very solid .277/.374/.433 from April 25 onward, including an outstanding July when he reached safely in 16 of 17 games and hit .339/.439/.500. Rei set career highs in all three slash stats, as well as with his seven home runs. He also provided stability behind the plate as Portland shuffled through 28 pitchers on the year: his 81 games caught led the organization.

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at 12:00 PM

Minor Notes: Boles not returning to the PawSox

Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • With the minor league season over, the staff has voted on season-end All-Stars and award winners. The results will be posted throughout the week, with the All-Star hitters coming out on Monday, the All-Star pitchers on Tuesday, the Graduate of the Year, Homegrown Player of the Year, and Ex-Prospect of the Year posting on Wednesday, Rookie of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year coming on Thursday, and the Pitcher and Hitter of the Year wrapping things up on Friday.
  • Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times reported that PawSox manager Kevin Boles (pictured, right) will not be returning to the team. Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald reported that this was Boles's decision. Boles was not under contract for 2019 and he decided to pursue other opportunities. Boles was with the organization for 11 years, with the last five coming as Pawtucket's manager. He won the Governors' Cup in 2014 with the PawSox and was named the Best Managerial Prospect in the International League this summer by Baseball America
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