SoxProspects News

July 4, 2020 at 9:39 AM

Podcast Ep. #185 - Get things started and ramp up


Major League Baseball has announced plans for a return to the field. Meanwhile, Minor League Baseball cancelled its 2020 season. That gets Chris and Ian back behind their mics. Leading off, Noah Song finally has direction for the next 12-18 months of his military career. Then on to the big news of the week. MLB imposed a 60-games-in-66-days framework. They discuss how the 60-man player pool will work. From there, the guys break out who is on the Sox squad and debate which players should be added to the 60-man. Then it’s time for a somber topic, the cancelation of the minor league season. Finally, Chris and Ian reach into the deep mailbag and answer your excellent questions.

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July 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Revisiting the 2004 draft: Pedroia symbolizes Red Sox successes


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2004, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2004 MLB Draft

Background: 
After a solid 2003 draft, the Red Sox had two consecutive franchise-altering editions in 2004 and 2005. Today we focus on the former, as the Red Sox found a cornerstone who would spend a decade and a half defining Boston's success.

For the third time in four years, the Red Sox were left without a first-round pick because of the signing of a marquee free agent. In each instance, the free agent signee became a key part of the 2004 championship team (Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, and Keith Foulke), while the latter two second-round picks (Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia) proved to be cornerstones for the 2007 and 2013 titles. While the debate over traditional closer usage patterns rages on, the 2003 season clearly displayed the value in having a more traditional bullpen anchor; people may debate how you should use your best reliever, but nobody questions that a team needs relievers who are very good. To fill that role, the team set its sights on Oakland closer Foulke. The system was seen as being on the upswing after getting gutted at the tail end of the Duquette years, with Lester, Hanley Ramirez, and Kevin Youkilis getting attention from national publications. 
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July 2, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2004 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2004 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

Headed into the 2004 draft, the landscape looked much different for Boston than it did in 2003. A year after having four picks in the top 52, the Red Sox would not be selecting at all until the 65th-overall pick. After coming tantalizingly close the World Series the previous year, the team gambled that bolstering the major league bullpen with an elite reliever in the short term would be worth a potential sacrifice in long-term value. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (24) (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing Keith Foulke)  
For the third time in four years, the Red Sox did not have a first-round pick due to the signing of a free agent. Foulke had only one effective season with Boston, but it was one of obvious historical importance to the franchise. The Oakland Athletics used this pick to select catcher Landon Powell from the University of South Carolina. 
Notable players "passed" on: Gio Gonzalez (38), Huston Street (40) 

2  (65). Dustin Pedroia, SS, Arizona State
Bonus: $575,000
Dominant in the Pac-10 despite being undersized and with an uppercut swing, Pedroia proved Boston scouts correct. His 51.6 bWAR for the Red Sox is 10th best in team history and fourth all-time among players they drafted. Only Justin Verlander has a higher mark among 2004 draftees. 
SoxProspects.com Peak Rank: 3
Baseball America Top 100: 77 in 2006
Notable players passed on: Kurt Suzuki (67), Jason Vargas (68) 
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July 1, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Revisiting the 2003 draft: Epstein era dawns


Thank you for checking out the second part of our 2003 draft retrospective. Yesterday was a pick-by-pick rundown, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2003 MLB Draft 

Background
As mentioned in yesterday's introduction, the 2003 draft is an interesting place to start not just because the hiring of Theo Epstein marks the unofficial start of the modern Red Sox era, but also because the Red Sox were slotted 17th, the same position they were in when they drafted Nick Yorke two weeks ago. 2003 was also the year that statistical analysis really seemed to get a lot of press around draft time. Sabermetrics, rather than analytics, was the buzzword of the day, and Moneyball’s release was nigh. Organizations, at least the smart ones, were approaching the draft very differently than they were just a couple years earlier. The misinterpretation of the Michael Lewis bestseller that OBP-equals-good and high school pitchers-equals-bad seemed to play out—lots of college bats got priority, while Peabody High School phenom Jeff Allison, with a profile that would have made him a certain top-ten pick in the past, fell all the way to 16th.
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at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Minor league baseball season cancelled


Here are Wednesday's minor league notes:

  • After getting Jim Callis' immediate thoughts on the Red Sox draft, the SoxPrsopects podcast team of Chris Hatfield and Ian Cundall did their own recap of the draft as well as the undrafted free agent signing period thus far. Unexpectedly, much of the discussion was spent on the two highly rated high school bats, Blaze Jordan and Nick Yorke, who the podcast team feels will need to be carried by their bats.
  • On Tuesday, SoxProspects.com kicked off a new project that aims to look back at the successes and failures of Red Sox drafts past. The draft retrospective project kicked off by looking at the 2003 MLB Draft, which was Theo Epstein's first draft in charge and saw the team select the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, David Murphy, and current manager of the Lowell Spinners, Iggy Suarez
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at 7:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Focusing on some DSL bats


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update sheds light on a group of teenage international signees, including power-hitting Albert Feliz. Feliz, at 18, will require a great deal of development as a hitter, but possesses impressive raw pop that is among the best in the system. 

Today's reports are all compiled from sources. They'll all be updated once we see the players in person.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting report team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Albert Feliz, First baseman/Outfielder

Physical Description: Thick, physically mature frame. Very strong already. Minimal projection remaining.

Hit: Starts with a wide base. Utilizes a short leg lift. Long swing. Very rudimentary approach. Pitch recognition skills are very basic. Needs to improve contact skills.

Power: Plus-plus raw power. Generates massive raw power due to his strength. Has shown the ability already to drive the ball out of the ballpark. Power is almost exclusively to the pull side.

Run: Well below-average speed already and likely will get slower as he gets older.

Field: Raw. Limited mobility and instincts. First base or left field profile.

Arm: Average arm strength.
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June 30, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2003 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the first of our SoxProspects.com Draft retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era (and, conveniently enough, the start of the Theo Epstein era). Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

The 2003 draft is a particularly useful starting point in the context of the 2020 draft, as the Red Sox had the 17th overall selection that year as well. For all drafts prior to 2012, it is worth keeping in mind that apples-to-apples comparisons before and after that date are difficult given the presence, or lack thereof, of a cap on draft spending. In this year, Epstein's first as GM and David Chadd's second as amateur scouting director, there was a clear focus on college players, as only one of Boston's first 18 picks was used on a high school player. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (17). David Murphy, OF, Baylor
Bonus: $1,525,000
The first pick of the Theo Epstein era was also the team’s first chance to take a first-rounder since 2000, having surrendered top picks the previous two years to sign Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. A .413/.487/.614 slash line at Baylor and ability to stick in center attracted the team to Murphy. That strategy quickly became the archetype – the up-the-middle college bat with a plus hit tool. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 5
Notable players passed on: Chad Billingsley (24), Carlos Quentin (29)

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June 24, 2020 at 9:11 AM

Podcast Ep. #184 - Maybe it worked, I don't know


Having gone outside the pod for opinions last episode, Chris and Ian got their chance to talk through the draft. The guys talk through each draft selection, and all the undrafted free agents who had signed as of the time we recorded. They go in depth on both Nick Yorke and Blaze Jordan, the two high schoolers whose bats will need to carry them. Then it’s time to talk about the two college pitchers.  And of course, we read another batch of your exceptional emails!
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June 22, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Minor Notes: Draft review & undrafted signings continue


Here are Monday's minor league notes:
  • The MLB draft is over but there will still be plenty of related content on SoxProspects.com over the next six weeks. The signing deadline for drafted players this year has been moved back from July 10 to August 1, so it may take a while before we start to hear finalized numbers for any of the four players drafted by the Red Sox.
  • It is never too early to start talking about the Red Sox draft where they selected second baseman Nick Yorke, third baseman Blaze Jordan, and left-handed pitchers Jeremy Wu-Yelland and Shane Drohan. The SoxProspects.com Podcast team brought in industry expert Jim Callis from MLB.com to discuss the Red Sox draft strategy, the shortened draft format, and his thoughts on the Boston's selections.
  • Just when it seems like the Red Sox undrafted free agent signings had slowed down, the team signed three more players this week. The first was Maceo Campbell, a right-handed pitcher from Longwood University. He is a redshirt junior after missing the 2019 season for undisclosed reasons. The six-foot, 21-year-old pitcher is a bit short for a traditional starter but worked as both a starter and reliever at Longwood. His body of work is very small, as he has only thrown a total of 22 2/3 innings between 2018 and a shortened 2019 campaign. In 2019, he threw 14 innings with 18 strikeouts and 13 walks while reportedly topping out at 96 mph. As SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall points out, he is the third player the Red Sox have signed out of Longwood, including Kyri Washington (now a pro scout with the Red Sox) and infielder Michael Osinski who finished the 2019 season in Pawtucket.
  • Next up was first baseman Cuba Bess (pictured, left) out of Grand Canyon University. The redshirt junior took his redshirt in 2018 after a knee injury forced him to miss the season, and Bess also missed the start of this season with a hamstring injury, ultimately only getting nine at-bats. Between his two injuries, Bess broke out in 2019, hitting .341/.476/.632 for GCU with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, and walking more than he struck out. 
  • According to AZCentral.com, the Red Sox have been in touch with Bess ever since his senior year of high school when he was selected in the 39th round by Colorado. Those conversations really came to life after his breakout when he led GCU in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. As WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes, Red Sox scout Vaughn Williams knew other teams would be after Bess, so Williams sent a recruiting video to Bess from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts the very moment the signing period opened. Bess' father, Johnny, was also drafted and played minor league baseball, making it as high as Triple-A.
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June 19, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Podcast Ep.: #183 - Jim Callis from MLB.com Talks Draft


Chris and Ian welcome Jim Callis to the pod (his fifth appearance on the podcast!) to talk all things MLB Draft. And as always, he’s got plenty of knowledge to bring to the table! Jim shared his thoughts on Boston’s draft strategy, his thorough thoughts on the players the Sox picked in the draft, and the abbreviated draft in general. And of course, we got to your emails!

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June 16, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Can Feltman Bounce Back After Lackluster 2019?


The latest SoxProspects scouting report update includes new information on a quintet of pitchers (most notably, Durbin Feltman and Hunter Haworth) and a pair of catchers. Feltman was drafted in the third round in 2018 and was thought to be a candidate to be the first player from his draft class to reach the majors. His 2019, however, did not go according to plan, as his report details. Haworth was a late-round pick (22nd) in 2017, but has shown flashes of intrigue that, if sustained more consistently, could help him fill a role at the major league level.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting report team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Durbin Feltman, Right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Short, stocky frame. Average build with minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics:
Throws from an over-the-top arm slot. Max effort delivery. Starts on the third base side of the rubber and doesn't use a windup. Very quick arm. Short, stiff arm action behind. Hides the ball well.

Fastball:
92-96 mph. Topped out at 99 mph in college. Sat 94-96 mph after signing in 2018, but velo was down in 2019, often sitting 92-94 and only touching 96. Reports from spring training 2020 had his velocity down even more to the low-90s. At its best, the pitch explodes out of his hand and has late life, making it tough to square up. Club had him work on locating the pitch up in the zone early in 2019 after he had focused on locating it down in the zone in college and in 2018 pro debut. After struggling through the adjustment, particularly with his command and with needing to sacrifice velocity to locate the pitch, returned to locating it lower in the zone near the end of the season, with improved statistical results. Command still needs improvement and is inconsistent from outing to outing. Potential plus offering.

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June 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Minor Notes: 2020 draft class nearly finalized


Here are Monday's minor league notes:
  • All eyes were on the MLB Draft last week, and there was a lot of discussion about the Red Sox first-round pick. Boston selected Nick Yorke, a high school second baseman from San Jose, CA, which was a surprise to everyone. The most bullish ranking for Yorke was from Baseball America, who had him ranked 96th, while Perfect Game USA ranked him at 236th. No media outlet had him ranked close to his 17th overall selection. 
  • Chris and Ian recorded a podcast after the first night of the draft, discussing Yorke in more detail as well as going over the different strategies the Red Sox could employ on day two of the draft. 
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June 12, 2020 at 7:00 AM

2020 Draft Recap: How Boston's picks ranked


With the high school and college seasons being cut short in March, the rankings across the publications varied greatly this year. The Red Sox had only four picks in this draft, and all were ranked in the Baseball America Top 500, Perfect Game USA Top 400, and the Fangraphs Top 230. Only three ranked in MLB.com's Top 200, with fourth-rounder Jeremy Wu-Yelland not making the cut. While the majority of the players were ranked, their final rankings varied by around 100 slots depending on which outlets you are looking at. 

The full list of this year's draft selections can be found over at the SoxProspects.com Draft History page. This page will be updated with any undrafted signees, so be sure to check back during the signing period. 

Round-Pick: Player, Position (Rank)

1-17: Nick Yorke, 2B (BA: 96; MLB: 139; PG: 236; FG: 165)
3-89: Blaze Jordan, 3B (BA: 90; MLB: 42; PG: 35; FG: 115)
4-118: Jeremy Wu-Yelland, LHP (BA: 261; PG: 202; FG: 183)
5-148: Shane Drohan, LHP (BA: 189; MLB: 147; PG: 104; FG: 202)

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June 11, 2020 at 10:22 PM

Red Sox select Shane Drohan with fifth-round pick


With its fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Boston has selected Shane Drohan, a left-handed pitcher out of Florida State University. He is ranked 189th by Baseball America, 147th by MLB Pipeline, and 104th by Perfect Game USA.
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at 9:03 PM

Red Sox select Jeremy Wu-Yelland with fourth-round pick


With the 118th overall selection, the Red Sox drafted left-handed pitcher Jeremy Wu-Yelland out of the University of Hawaii. Coming into the draft, the Seattle native was not especially highly rated, ranked 261st by Baseball America, 183rd by Fangraphs, 176th by Perfect Game, and did not crack the top 200 draft prospects according to MLB.com.
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