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November 29, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Cordero, Crawford highlight winter league action


The winter leagues continued for Sox prospects, highlighted by the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues. Franchy Cordero (pictured) and Pedro Castellanos highlight the hitters, while Kutter Crawford and Victor Santos threw well on the mound. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously throughout January. This week's roundup covers the week of November 22 through November 28. 

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Dominican Professional Baseball League

Franchy Cordero played a lot again this past week, racking up 24 plate appearances. He recorded five hits, including a double and a triple, to go along with three walks and just three strikeouts. He is hitting .271/.327/.417 this fall so far. Kutter Crawford also saw action in one game, tossing three solid innings. He did not allow an earned run, struck out five, and walked a pair. Victor Santos appeared in a couple games, totaling three innings. He did not allow a run and surrendered just one hit, walking three and punching out three. 
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November 23, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Podcast Ep. #234: Four to the 40, FA targets


Last week, the Red Sox added the four players we thought were sure things to the 40-man roster... and nobody else. What does that mean? Chris and Ian break it down, then look ahead to free agency and potential Red Sox targets. Plus, we've got a big old bag of your emails as our Thanksgiving appetizer. 
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November 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: AFL season ends, Casas takes OBP crown


The Arizona Fall League came to its conclusion, while baseball in the Caribbean winter leagues continued. Triston Casas (pictured) and Pedro Castellanos starred in the desert and Venezuela, respectively. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the week of November 16 through November 21. 

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Arizona Fall League

Another edition of the AFL was completed, and Triston Casas finished in style. The system's top-ranked player reached base five times on Tuesday, going 2 for 2 with three walks. A 1-for-3 performance on Wednesday in his final appearance left him with a .495 on-base percentage, top in the circuit among players with 50 plate appearances. Jeter Downs, who got off to a scorching start before slumping, finished with a solid 3-for-7 effort on the week. Christian Koss was 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base, while Kole Cottam was 1 for 5 in his lone start. 
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November 19, 2021 at 12:35 PM

First Take: Projecting protection day


Today, we'll learn what the organization really thinks about a handful of prospects, as teams have until 6:00 pm EST today to add players to the 40-man roster and protect them from selection in the Rule 5 Draft. This year, the Red Sox have a number of players who could potentially be selected, some of whom are easy decisions to protect—such as Josh Winckowski (pictured, left)—or not. However, a number of players are on the cusp, and the team's decisions on whether or not to protect those players will tell us about the players' standing in the organization's evaluation.

I will get to my projections below, but first, some general thoughts about Rule 5 that are always good to keep in mind. I would also suggest reading Ian Cundall's Scouting Scratch on eligible players, as well as listening to our podcast discussing this issue.

Having a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft is not a crisis
I project that the Red Sox will have a player selected from their farm system this year. The question is simply who that player is. However, while the club has not had any player selected from its farm system in the past 4 years, keep in mind that not every Rule 5 pick turns into Garrett Whitlock. From 2007 to 2016, the Red Sox had 13 players (really 12, with one selected in consecutive years) selected from their system. Nine of those selections were returned, and only one, Ryan Pressly, would qualify as a player the team probably wishes it could get back. As I will get into below, it is certainly possible that, say, Zack Kelly gets selected by a team that saw and really liked him in 2021. However, Kelly would have to stick with the selecting team for that to truly be any kind of loss, and even at that, it would be more likely that he turns into a Josh Fields or Cesar Cabral than a Pressly.
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November 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Red Sox 2021 Rule 5 Preview


By Friday, the Red Sox must decide which prospects to add to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Currently, the Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for December 9, but exactly when it would be held is unclear, should the team owners lock out the players on December 1.

Currently, the Red Sox 40-man roster is at 33 players, and if necessary, players such as Phillips Valdez, Jeisson Rosario and Hudson Potts could be removed from the roster in order to create more space. Because a lockout is possible, I don’t think it is out of the question for the Red Sox to overprotect players now and then figure out what to do after signing free agents later in the offseason once a CBA agreement has been reached. While I currently would not project this to be the case, it also would not surprise me if they ended up protecting eight or more prospects. 

Another possibility is the Red Sox make a trade before the deadline. Certain prospects, like Gilberto Jimenez and Ceddanne Rafaela, have no chance of contributing in the big leagues in the near term. While it could be a little difficult for the Red Sox to keep those developmental players on the 40-man roster for several years until they could make an impact at the MLB level, it might be easier for some rebuilding teams to do so. As a result, we could see the team look to make a trade like they did last year, when they traded Yoan Aybar, who needed to be protected, to the Colorado Rockies for Christian Koss, who does not need to be added until December 2022. 

Here's a short list of players who are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Locks to be protected:
Jeter Downs, SS/2B
2021 highest level: Worcester
Even though he hit .190/.272/.333 this year, Downs has too much upside not to protect him. He did show flashes this year, notably at the end of the season and at the start of the AFL, but he also had long streaks where he was overmatched at the plate and clearly pressing. In the AFL, he is hitting .200/.385/.500 in 64 PA and has shown above-average raw power and the ability to take a walk, but also too much swing-and-miss and a poor approach that leads to him giving away too many at-bats. 
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November 17, 2021 at 3:15 PM

Podcast Ep. #233: Bye ERod, Rule 5 protection preview


A former top prospect in the SoxProspects rankings (Summer 2015) has left the organization, and Chris and Ian broke down Eduardo Rodirguez's departure and gave some thoughts on early rumors linking the Red Sox to free agents. Plus, the Rule 5 Draft protection deadline is this Friday. The guys broke down the long list of potential additions and picks and spelled out how a long list of candidates does not mean there's a logjam.
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November 15, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Casas, Cottam are AFL Fall Stars


The highlight of the week was in the AFL, which held its mid-season East vs. West All-Star Game as the conclusion of a big week for SoxProspects.com top-ranked prospect, first baseman Triston Casas (pictured right). For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the week of November 8 through November 15. 
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Arizona Fall League

Casas got the start at first base in the AFL Fall Stars Game for the East side, batting sixth. In his first at-bat, he hit a line drive, ground rule double down the right field line and scored when the next batter doubled. In his other two at-bats, he grounded out to second twice before being removed in the top of the sixth with most of the starters as the East went on to win 6-5. Kole Cottam caught the last two innings of the game and reached on a fielder's choice in his lone plate appearance. 

That wasn't the top-ranked Casas' only action this week. Prior to the All-Star game, Casas went 7 for 14 with two doubles, three runs, two RBI, two walks, and a strikeout over four other games. 
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November 8, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Cottam blasts pair; Winckowski starts fireworks


There was much going on in the Fall and Winter leagues as the Arizona Fall League crossed its halfway point. Top prospects Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, and Connor Seabold appeared, while Kole Cottam (pictured) had a monster effort on Tuesday. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the week of November 1 through November 8.

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Arizona Fall League
All eight active players in Scottsdale saw significant playing time. Top prospect Triston Casas continues to be one of the toughest outs in the desert. The first baseman was 5 for 13 with five walks against just one strikeout on the week. He also doubled, scored four runs, and drove in four, giving him a .385/.556/.462 line for the week. Kole Cottam's bat exploded on Tuesday, as the backstop homered twice as part of a 4-for-5 effort. Cottam drove in six runs in three games, going 5 for 12 overall. Jeter Downs, the hottest player during the circuit's first week, hit a bit of a rough patch, going 0 for 12 with a walk, run scored, and four strikeouts. Christian Koss went 1 for 3 in both of his two starts.
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November 4, 2021 at 11:06 PM

Podcast Ep. #232: On to the offseason


With freshly restored wills (and internet), Chris and Ian opened the offseason officially with a new podcast. The guys reviewed the end of the Red Sox playoff run and how they did on their pre-season predictions before looking ahead to the next milestones of the offseason, in particular decisions on contract options and qualifying offers. There were some recent transactions (players and coaches) to discuss, and updates on the Arizona Fall League and international winter leagues to be had. Then, as always, your emails.

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November 1, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Downs stays hot, Dominican league kicks off


Action in the winter leagues continued, with the Dominican Professional Baseball League starting play on October 27. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the week of October 25 through October 31.

Arizona Fall League
A grand slam on Monday started the week off on the right foot for Jeter Downs. The league seemed to catch on to his hot streak, however, as he was walked four times over the last two games. In all, Downs went 3 for 13 with six walks, four strikeouts, and three steals. He was moved up to the leadoff spot on Thursday and even played shortstop on Saturday. He did commit two more errors this week and is already up to four this fall. Triston Casas hit .353 last week, going 6 for 17 with four walks, three strikeouts, and a double. While he did not hit for much power, an on-base percentage of .476 shows he is putting up great at-bats. Over three starts, Kole Cottam went 1 for 10 with two walks. Christian Koss had some more success in his three starts, going 4 for 13 with a double and three RBI. 

On the mound, Connor Seabold was inconsistent over his two starts. On Monday, he allowed just one run and struck out four without walking a batter over four innings. But on Saturday he took the loss after surrendering two home runs and walking three over four innings. In all, he was charged with three runs, though he did strike out four. 
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October 27, 2021 at 11:43 AM

Scouting Scratch: Breaking down the Arizona Fall League contingent


The Arizona Fall League is back after a one-year hiatus in 2020, and the Red Sox have an extremely strong contingent playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions this autumn, led by SoxProspects.com’s number one prospect, Triston Casas. The group is comprised of five* hitters and four pitchers, and eight of the nine prospects are ranked in the #SP60, including five in the top 20. Here are some thoughts on each Red Sox prospect heading to Arizona and what I will be looking for from each.

(* - Connor Wong has been with the Major League club on the taxi squad. He will likely now report
 following Boston’s elimination.)

The top prospect in our rankings, Triston Casas was an easy choice to send to the AFL given how much time he missed due to his participation in the Olympics. He was gone from May 24 to June 8 for qualifying and then again from July 16 to August 11 for the Games themselves, and during those roughly six weeks, he got just 38 at-bats for Team USA as the silver medal-winning squad’s starting first baseman. The experience Casas got on a huge stage helps make up for the missed time, but the AFL is an obvious chance to make up for those lost at-bats. For the minor league season, he ended up playing 86 games and got 371 plate appearances with Portland and Worcester, hitting .279/.394/.484 with 14 home runs and a 19.1% strikeout rate and 15.4% walk rate. The AFL should be great experience for Casas, as he will face quality, high-minors pitching, with some big names including 2020 first-round picks Asa Lacy, Bobby Miller, and Slade Cecconi.

Shortstop Jeter Downs (#SP60 no. 5) had a rough season in Worcester, but he heads to Arizona looking to build on a strong end to the season. Entering the last three weeks of the season, Downs was hitting .174/.259/.293 with 33.1% strikeout rate and 9.7% walk rate, but he closed strong by hitting .316/.372/.579 in his final 43 plate appearances. Despite his struggles, Downs did hit 14 home runs, steal 18 bases and played much improved defense at shortstop, where he was more agile than I expected and showed plenty of arm. He will never be a plus shortstop, but I think he could get to at least average and maybe above-average if he maintains his athleticism. The focus in Arizona for Downs will be at the plate. During the regular season, he looked tentative and had a lot of trouble on fastballs. He seemed to lose confidence at the plate as the year went on and was really pressing, swinging through fastballs and expanding the zone on secondary pitches once he was down in the count. His ability to handle velocity up in the zone is definitely a question mark. Something I will be keeping an open ear for is how his approach looks, as that was still on the raw side in Worcester. Downs still has the ability to develop into an everyday player, but he comes with more risk now than he did heading into the season. A strong AFL will go a long way to returning his prospect stock closer to where it was heading into 2021. 
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at 10:00 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Downs has power surge


Now that the minor league season has been completed, the fall and winter league campaigns have begun. The first to get rolling is the Arizona Fall League, which is approaching its third week after Opening Day on October 13. The Red Sox sent four arms and five bats to Arizona, though Connor Wong has yet to debut as he was on the taxi squad for the major league club during its postseason run. The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League had its Opening Day on Saturday, while the Mexican Pacific League started earlier in October. The Dominican Professional Baseball League got underway this week, as well.

Follow along each week with more updates as the remaining winter leagues start their seasons in the coming weeks and months, and follow along daily on our Fall and Winter Leagues page.

Arizona Fall League

Jeter Downs (pictured) has continued his hot streak to end the regular season at Triple-A out West, slashing .333/.515/.958 across 24 at-bats, adding nine walks. His 1.473 OPS and 13 RBIs are each second in the league, while his five home runs leads the Arizona Fall League. He isn't the only one hitting well in the early going, as Triston Casas has started off strongly, hitting .294/.351/.441 over his 34 at-bats, though he has struck out 12 times. Kole Cottam, who has slashed .211/.333/.263 over 19 at-bats, as well as Christian Koss (.143/.250/.143), have earned part-time roles as well.

Connor Seabold has led Scottsdale on the mound, pacing the squad with 9 1/3 innings pitched. However, despite a .222 batting average against, he has pitched to a 5.79 ERA across his three appearances this fall. Despite a similar .240 batting average against, AJ Politi has been better at run prevention, with a 1.35 ERA over 6 2/3 innings. Josh Winckowski (9.53 ERA) and Brendan Cellucci (14.40 ERA) have also each made appearances for Scottsdale.

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Early on, Pedro Castellanos has appeared in three games for Lara, hitting 2 for 10 with a home run. On the mound, Oddanier Mosqueda has pitched 2/3 of an inning. He surrendered a hit and a walk, but struck out two hitters in his lone appearance, which came on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Jeter Downs by Kelly O'Connor
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October 21, 2021 at 11:29 AM

Podcast Ep. #231: The redemption of Jeter Downs?


The Red Sox dropped game 5 of the ALCS minutes before Chris and Ian got on the line, but it's not all doom and gloom on this episode. As the Red Sox head to Houston for the end of the series, where do things stand? Chris and Ian broke down what has and has not worked thus far for Boston. Meanwhile, the Arizona Fall League is making its triumphant return after a one-year layoff, and while Triston Casas has two home runs in the season's first week, he's not the biggest Red Sox story from Scottsdale. Is Jeter Downs' hot start for real? What does it mean going forward? The guys discussed, and added some quick rankings update thoughts to close.
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October 13, 2021 at 10:15 PM

Podcast Ep. #230: On to the ALCS


Nice and simple: The Red Sox are moving on to the ALCS. Chris and Ian break down the ALDS win over the Rays, preview the ALCS against the Astros, and leave it up to you to determine if Chris made it weird with his Dancing on My Own reference.
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October 8, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Brandon Walter: 2021 SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Year


Friday makes the final day of SoxProspects.com Awards week, as we announce the 2021 Player and Pitcher of the Year. 

Pitcher of the Year

On May 5th, the Salem Red Sox called on an unheralded 24-year-old lefty to pitch the final two innings of an opening day doubleheader necessitated by rain. Brandon Walter allowed two hits in three innings but struck out five of the 10 batters he faced. Two days later, Walter again pitched two scoreless while striking out half the batters he faced, but he did not appear in game action again for 10 days. The University of Delaware product, a 26th-round pick in the 2019 draft, finished the season's first month with five appearances and a solid 3.00 ERA, similar to the several college arms picked up by the organization in the last two years who made up the Salem bullpen. 
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at 8:00 AM

Nick Yorke: 2021 SoxProspects.com Player of the Year


This week is SoxProspects.com award week, with several accolades being handed out over the last few days. We have announced the All-Star pitchers, All-Star position players, Homegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate of the Year, and the Rookie, Breakout, and Comeback Player of the Year. Now it is time to name the winner of the top award given out by SoxProspets.com each year, the Player of the Year.

Player of the Year

Nick Yorke was a bit of a surprise when he was announced as the Red Sox first pick in the shortened 2020 MLB draft with the 17th overall pick out of Archbishop Mitty HS (CA). It was an odd year with many seasons cut short and a truncated scouting process that had many outlets listing Yorke as a likely second-round pick. Despite his youth and inexperience, the second baseman was assigned to the Alternative Training Site last year, and even though he received glowing reports, Red Sox fans would have to wait until 2021 to get their first look at him in real game action.
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October 7, 2021 at 11:04 PM

Podcast Ep. #229: A Wild Start


It's playoff time and the Red Sox have one win in the books! Chris and Ian recapped the Wild Card Game win over the Yankees and preview the ALDS against the Rays (including a discussion of the potential roster that will likely sound hilarious in hindsight - we'll address that next week...).  Back in the minors, we finally know the Red Sox delegation to the Arizona Fall League, which included a few surprises in addition to the system's top prospect, Triston Casas. We wrapped with a spirited discussion of the SoxProspects.com All-Stars and award winners for the 2021 season and, of course, your emails!
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at 12:00 PM

2021 SoxProspects.com Awards: Rookie, Breakout, and Comeback players of the year


SoxProspects.com
award season rolls on, after All-Star hitters and pitchers were released on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, followed by the Homegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate of the Year on Wednesday. Thursday's awards focus on the Rookie, Breakout, and Comeback players of the year.

Rookie of the Year
Nick Yorke (pictured, left) was an easy choice for this award, as the 2020 first-round pick had a tremendous first season as a professional. The 19-year-old hit .325/.412/.516 over 97 games between Low-A and High-A, and he is now a consensus top-100 prospect in baseball. The 2021 Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, Yorke will likely return to Greenville in 2022, but a promotion to Portland will be in the cards if he hits anything like he did this year. Marcelo Mayer was solid in his debut as well, hitting .275/.377/.440, but that was not enough to catch Yorke. 
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October 6, 2021 at 11:00 AM

2021 SoxProspects.com Awards: Graduate, Homegrown and Ex-Prospect


We continue our SoxProspects.com Awards season with the 2021 Graduate of the Year, Homegrown Player of the Year, and the Ex-Prospect of the Year. The graduate and homegrown player of the year each played big roles in getting Boston to the postseason, while the ex-prospect had a career year on the opposite side of the country.

Follow along with us all week: 
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 Year
Friday: Player of the Year; Pitcher of the Year
 
Graduate of the Year: Tanner Houck
Though he wore out the Mass Pike headed back and forth between Worcester and Boston, Tanner Houck (pictured, left) was one of the crucial arms for the Red Sox on their way to a Wild Card berth. The Missouri product followed up a tremendous 2020 debut with 87 strikeouts in just 69 innings pitched across 18 outings, 13 of which were starts. Houck was fifth among Boston pitchers in bWAR, at 1.6, and allowed an OPS of just .608.
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October 5, 2021 at 2:00 PM

2021 SoxProspects.com All-Stars: Pitchers


We continue our SoxProspects.com Awards season with the 2021 All-Star pitching staff. This years list includes a former first-round pick, an out-of-nowhere 2019 draftee, and a 22-year-old righty who was an early-season sensation.

Follow along with us all week: 
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 Year
Friday: Player of the Year; Pitcher of the Year

Starting Pitcher: Brayan Bello
Coming out of the lost 2020 season, there were pitchers all over baseball who had seen notable improvement in their stuff, and Bello was someone who got a lot of attention in early 2021. He was a sensation on his way to getting the May SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Month as he struck out 30 batters and posted a .192 opposing batting average. He finished the season with a 3.87 ERA, 132 strikeouts, and only 31 walks in 95 1/3 innings split between Salem and Portland. He was noted by Baseball America as one of the 10 players who most raised their stock in 2021 and at #6 is the top-ranked pitcher in the system.
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