SoxProspects News

October 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Help Wanted: Writers


SoxProspects.com is seeking applicants to join our writing staff. See below for details.

Position Overview: SoxProspects.com is looking for staff writers to join the staff through at least November 2015. Primary responsibilities for the position will include covering breaking news stories as they happen, including promotions, signings, the draft, and awards, among other topics. Writers will likely also be asked to take a regular weekly turn on the Cup of Coffee recap, once or perhaps twice a week, as well as contribute to our Weekly Notes feature. There also may be opportunities for enterprising writers to attend games in order to write feature stories for our News Page.
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Heath Hembree and Steven Wright


Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#22: Heath Hembree, RP
2014 Teams: Fresno Grizzlies (SF - AAA), Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 46.0 IP, 1-4, 20 SV, 3.72 ERA, 45 H, 20 ER/19 R, 18 BB, 55 K, 1.37 WHIP (minors)
10 IP, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 11 H, 5 R/5 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 1.600 WHIP (majors)

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Season in Review: Hembree came to the Sox as one half of the return for Jake Peavy on July 26. After making his major league debut in September 2013 for the Giants, he had spent 2014 as the closer for Fresno of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, finishing out games in 35 of his 41 appearances and notching 18 saves. He was named a PCL All-Star, but the right-hander, who was once being groomed to become San Francisco's closer, was somewhat inconsistent. He put together consecutive clean outings only twice in his first 36 appearances before a six-game stretch in July in which he allowed just three baserunners while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings. In all, at the time of the trade, he had notched a 3.89 ERA in 39 1/3 innings, allowing 40 hits and 13 walks while striking out 46 hitters.

After the trade, Hembree rode the I-95 shuttle, getting recalled to Boston three times in the season's final two months. In Pawtucket, he slotted right into the closer's role, but after two scoreless outings, he was needed in the majors. He made one appearance in that call-up, putting zeros on the board in innings 15 through 18 before Boston finally lost in the 19th to the Angels on August 9. Sent down the next day, Hembree made three appearances before getting the call again on August 24. His stay this time was for two appearances, and he was back in Triple-A on the 27th. Hembree made two scoreless appearances to close out the regular season, then was leaned on heavily as the PawSox's closer in the International League playoffs. In five appearances over nine days, he picked up a win and saves in two of three chances, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks in six innings, striking out six. Hembree capped his season with three more appearances in the Bigs, two of them scoreless, allowing five hits but striking out four and allowing no walks in four innings. - Chris Hatfield
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October 23, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Javier Guerra and Henry Ramos


Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#24: Javier Guerra, SS
2014 Team: GCL Red Sox
Final Stats: 207 PA, .269/.286/.408, 14 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 42 K, 1 SB

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Season in Review: After putting up an unspectacular offensive stat line and playing far from the eyes of journalists and scouts in his 2013 debut in the DSL, Guerra turned heads at the Fall Instructional League last year, sneaking into Baseball America's Red Sox top 30 prospects list. The Red Sox brought Guerra stateside in 2014,  where he held his own in the GCL at the age of 18. His final line may not stand out, but Guerra did impress scouts and coaches alike--GCL Red Sox manager Tom Kotchman called Guerra the best shortstop he'd worked with in his 35 years in the game. As of August 6, his line was a much more robust .299/.314/.440 in his first 137 plate appearances, and he hit safely in 18 of his first 20 games for the GCL Sox, but a 9 for 54 slump over his next 13 games (.167/.196/.259) dragged his numbers down. The Panamanian was able to finish the season on a tear, particularly coming alive in the GCL playoffs. He went 3 for 6 with the go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh in the one-game GCL semifinal to lead the Sox to a 7-4 win, then was 5 for 13 with two doubles, two walks, and another bomb in the Red Sox' three-game GCL championship series victory. - Alex Skillin
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October 22, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Simon Mercedes and Carlos Asuaje


Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#26: Simon Mercedes, SP
2014 Teams: Salem Red Sox (Rehab: Lowell Spinners)
Final Stats: 96 IP, 5-10, 1 SV, 4.41 ERA, 98 H, 52 R/47 ER, 41 BB, 79 K, 1.45 WHIP

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Season in Review: It was a bit of a tale of two halves for Mercedes this season. Coming off of a very successful 2013 at Lowell, Mercedes began the season with the Salem Red Sox. It seemed as though his 2013 success would carry over into 2014, as the 22 year-old was able to put up a 3.76 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over his first 40 2/3 innings to start the year. However, he hit the DL after a 3 2/3-inning start on June 4, and missed about a month before starting a rehab assignment with Lowell on July 3. That assignment lasted three games, and upon his return to Salem he struggled mightily over his final eight games. Four times in those eight starts he gave up five earned runs, including three starts in a row between July 24 and August 5. Over the final 40 2/3 innings of the season, he had a 5.53 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts to 17 walks. - Will Woodward
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October 21, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Anderson Espinoza and Alex Hassan


Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

Yet to debut

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Season in Review: Inked alongside Christopher Acosta at the opening of the international free agent signing period on July 2, the 16-year-old right-hander signed for $1.8 million plus $200,000 in scholarship money. Espinoza, who hails from Venezuela, was Baseball America’s fourth-ranked international amateur prospect and top-ranked pitcher, while grabbing the number 10 spot on MLB.com’s list. The Red Sox's decision to splurge beyond their allocated international bonus pool and face a 100-percent tax on the overages while making them unable to sign any international amateurs for above $300,000 the next two seasons, makes evident the high regard and expectations the team has for both Espinoza and Acosta. - Matt Picard
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October 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Rivero, Castillo make early impressions


This week's roundup covers play from the period of October 13-19. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in off-season action, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. 

Arizona Fall League

Rusney Castillo continued to do well at the plate, going 5 for 19 with two doubles and an RBI. After seven games, Castillo is hitting .294/.351/.382 with three doubles and stellar defensive play in center field for Surprise.

Deven Marrero appeared in four games this week, going 2 for 13 with three walks. Marrero is currently hitting .217/.379/.217 through seven contests. Marrero's infield partner, Sean Coyle appeared in only three games, going 2 for 10 with a double. 
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Noe Ramirez and Luis Diaz


Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#30: Noe Ramirez, RP
2014 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox (playoffs only)
Final Stats: 67 1/3 IP, 2-1, 18 SV, 2.14 ERA, 56 H, 17 R/16 ER, 16 BB, 56 K, 1.07 WHIP

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Season in Review: Ramirez began the year back in Portland, where he had finished his breakout 2013 campaign, and picked up right where he had left off. He was a model of consistency for the loaded Sea Dogs, leading all Red Sox minor leaguers with 18 saves. He never really faced any particular bouts of ineffectiveness, but his most effective stretch came from the end of April through early August, when he allowed just six runs, five earned, on 30 hits and 10 walks over 44 2/3 innings in 26 appearances, good for a 1.01 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Ironically, Ramirez took the loss in his only appearance in the Eastern League playoffs for Portland, allowing two inherited runners to score in the eighth and allowing three unearned runs in the ninth as the Sea Dogs fell to Binghamton in game two of their series. He was promoted to Pawtucket on September 5, and made one appearance in the International League playoffs, allowing one run over three innings in a PawSox loss to Durham. - Chris Hatfield
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October 17, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Bryce Brentz and Christopher Acosta


For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its end-of-season top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and looking at what's ahead for them in 2015. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

#32: Bryce Brentz, OF
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox (Rehab: GCL Red Sox, Lowell Spinners)
Final Stats: 298 PA, .227/.326/.430, 12 HR, 12 2B, 3 3B, 65 K, 36 BB (minors)
26 PA, .308/.308/.385, 2 2B, 9K, 0 BB (majors)

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Season in Review: Brentz came out of the gate showing improved patience, walking 20 times over his first 35 games with the PawSox, matching the number of walks he had in 82 games with Pawtucket in 2013. While he still was not making consistent contact, he did hit for power, with 14 extra-base hits, including six home runs, over his first 135 at-bats. On May 15, Brentz strained his hamstring, an injury originally putting him in day-to-day status, but lingered for long enough that he did not start a rehab assignment until over two months later. For the second year in a row, Brentz likely missed out on a major league call-up due to injury, as the Red Sox outfield thinned significantly during that period. He returned to Pawtucket on August 2, and he ended the season on a roll, batting .263/.349/.516 over his last 95 regular season at-bats. He continued to hit in the postseason, batting .263 with three doubles in eight games as he helped lead the PawSox to the Governors' Cup. After the PawSox playoff run finished, Brentz was promoted to Boston, and he played well in his first major league call-up, recording at least one hit in six of the eight games he appeared in. - Jim Crowell
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October 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Justin Haley and Jake Cosart


For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its end-of-season top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and looking at what's ahead for them in 2015. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

#34: Justin Haley, SP
2014 Teams: Salem Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs
Final Stats: 130 1/3 IP, 10-6, 1 SV, 2.35 ERA, 107 H, 39 R/34 ER, 39 BB, 107 K, 1.12 WHIP

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Season in Review: After a solid 2013 season with Greenville, Haley pitched well right out of the gate with High-A Salem, splitting his time between starting and relieving early in the year before forcing his way into the rotation for good in June. An area of immediate improvement for Haley was his ability to limit walks. After allowing more than five free passes per nine innings with the Drive last season, Haley cut that mark by more than half in his time with Salem. In 92 2/3 innings, Haley was 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA, allowing just 77 hits and posting a career-high 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 23-year-old right-hander continued his fantastic season after a promotion to Portland by going 3-2 with a 1.19 ERA in six starts to round out the season. While continued to limit hits, his walk rate did creep back up, as he allowed 16 in 17 2/3 innings. However, 10 of those free passes came in two starts, and Haley went at least six innings in each of his starts with Portland. - John Gray
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October 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Drake Britton and Dalier Hinojosa


For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its end-of-season top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and looking at what's ahead for them in 2015. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

#36: Drake Britton, RP
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 58 1/3 IP, 2-3, 5 SV, 5.86 ERA, 77 H, 41 R, 38 ER, 38 BB, 37 K, 1.97 WHIP (minors)
6 2/3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.05 WHIP (majors)

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Season in Review: Britton started the year back in Pawtucket, with an eye towards getting the call to Boston if the opportunity arose. He allowed only two earned runs in 12 innings in April, but a deeper look at his numbers showed signs of issues that would dog him all year, a 12-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.71 WHIP showing that the control problems that have plagued him throughout his career were not completely exorcised. Things started to go downhill and over his next 35 innings, Britton pitched to a 9.26 ERA with 22 walks and only 16 strikeouts. Batters hit .372 against him while slugging .622. Britton admitted in interviews near the end of the season that he had lost focus and struggled with the fact that he was still in Pawtucket. He did manage to rebound and toss 9 2/3 scoreless innings over his last five appearances with Pawtucket, and he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings over seven appearances in the majors to give him some positive momentum as he enters a very important offseason. - Jim Crowell
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