SoxProspects News

September 16, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Awards week and transition to fall ball


During the season, the Minor Notes run two times a week. Now that the minor league regular season has officially come to an end, the Notes will move to once a week, running every Monday.

Here are Monday's notes:
  • The final piece during SoxProspects.com Awards Week was the announcement of the two biggest awards, the Pitcher of the Year and the Hitter of the Year. First baseman Triston Casas (pictured, right) took home the Hitter of the Year in a season where he hit .256/.350/.480 as a 19-year-old. Despite a horrible April, he rebounded to put up very impressive numbers and has now risen to the top spot in the SoxProspects.com rankings.
  • Jarren Duran and Bobby Dalbec were on the fridge of the debate between the staffers, but the actual runner up was outfielder Gilberto Jimenez. The 19-year-old signed as an international free agent in 2017 and went on to play in 2018 for the DSL Red Sox, ultimately taking home the Red Sox Latin Program Position Player of the Year. This season he was selected as a SoxProspects.com Pre-Season All-Star and did not disappoint. Playing the entire season for Lowell where he was almost three years younger than the average hitter, he continued to rake, hitting .359/.393/.470. His consistency was incredible, aside from his eight September at-bats, he never hit lower than .341 in any of the other three months of the season.
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September 13, 2019 at 12:13 PM

Podcast Ep. #166: I think we've got a lot to talk about


You may have heard about this. The Red Sox dismissed Dave Dombrowski Sunday night. Chris and Ian question the timing (of the announcement, not the decision). They make the case for why the club needed to make a change. Ian describes the lack of depth in the upper minors that put the Red Sox in a "No Man's Land" for in-season options. But the discussion is not solely centered on the now departed Dealer Dave. The rosters for the Arizona Fall League are almost entirely set. Boston's contingency is prospect heavy and very interesting. In contrast, clubs are changing the way they handle the fall Instructional Leagues and various foreign winter leagues, which Chris details briefly. And we close the show with an interesting note from the mailbag and a quick update on the clubs in the minor league playoffs.

Listen in!

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at 11:49 AM

SoxProspects.com Awards: Offensive Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year


This week was 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 playersHomegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate of the Year, and the Rookie, Breakout, and Comeback Player of the Year.

The biggest awards were saved for last. The SoxProspects.com Offensive Player of the Year goes to Triston Casas (pictured, right) and the SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Year is awarded to Thaddeus Ward (pictured, below).

Offensive Player of the Year

Expectations were high for the 2018 first-rounder, and Casas did not disappoint as he led the system in RBI with 81 and finished third with 20 home runs. He had exactly 500 plate appearances in the regular season, with seven of those coming with Salem at the end of the year, and he hit  a combined .256/.350/.480 with the two teams. He flashed the plus-plus raw power that helped him get ranked as the top prospect in the system, with this pull-side home run and this home run to center field showing how much pop he has in his bat.
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September 12, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Minor Notes: Minor League season comes to an end as Lowell falls in final


Here are Thursday's minor league notes:

  • In a sad day for all followers of SoxProspects.com, the minor league season has officially come to a close with Lowell's elimination in the New York-Penn League final. Lowell had tied the series at a game apiece on Monday evening, but they fell in a back and forth contest despite a strong showing from Yusniel Padron-Artilles
  • Although the minor league season has ended, the coverage has not stopped as award season is now upon all of us here at SoxProspects.com. The All-Star selections for the systems pitchers, were headlined by Thaddeus Ward and Bryan Mata. While Mata has been a top performer in the Red Sox system for some time now, Ward burst onto the scene in 2019 and has subsequently shot up the SoxProspects.com rankings in order to earn his first All-Star selection. 
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at 2:00 PM

2019 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
A sixth-round pick out of San Diego, Chris Murphy was assigned straight to Lowell and was downright dominant. The 21-year-old hurled 33 1/3 innings to the tune of a 1.08 ERA, which was the lowest in the system of those that pitched more than 30 innings. He also struck out 34 batters to just seven walks for a 4.86 walk to strikeout ratio, which was fifth-best among the stateside affiliates.  The California product also owned a 0.90 WHIP, which paced the system. After pitching 64 frames for San Diego during 2019, Murphy was limited in Lowell, but will likely be given every chance to start during 2020. He possesses a four-pitch mix comprised of a fastball that touches 95 mph from the left side, curveball, slider and changeup.

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September 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM

2019 SoxProspects.com Awards: Homegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate of the Year


SoxProspects.com award season continues after position players were announced Monday and pitchers on Tuesday. The three players to follow have all graduated as prospects and have made a major impact at the major league level. 

Homegrown Player of the Year
Mookie Betts won Homegrown Player of the Year in 2018 and has followed it up with another marvelous season, hitting .290/.390/.526 with 28 home runs, 40 doubles, five triples, 14 stolen bases, and 129 runs scored so far. Most of the time, that would be good enough to repeat. However, Xander Bogaerts (pictured, left) and Rafael Devers (pictured, right) consistently raked all season long, as they have each earned a share of the award.

Bogaerts has followed up a breakout 2018 season with an even better 2019. So far, the Red Sox shortstop has set career-highs in home runs (31), doubles (49), walks (69), RBI (105), on-base percentage (.380), slugging percentage (.562), and Fangraphs' version of WAR (6.2). Through September 10, Bogaerts is also second in all of baseball in extra-base hits with 80. The 26-year old earned himself a contract extension at the end of March worth a total of $132 million that will keep him in Boston through 2025. That came after a 2018 in which he hit .288 with 23 home runs, 45 doubles, and 103 RBI. His defense at short has had mixed results in 2019, as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) has him as a below average shortstop, while Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has him as a top 10 defensive shortstop. Either way, any time a guy can be steady at shortstop while posting a .942 OPS, he is going to be among the most valuable players in baseball.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Padron-Artiles shines, but Lowell drops title match


9/11 Cup of Coffee: Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow; That I shall say good night till it be 'morrow.

A fantastic Lowell season was sent to come to an end on Monday evening on Coney Island one way or another, as the Spinners and Cyclones engaged in a winner-take-all third game of the New York-Penn League Championship Series. Unfortunately, the franchise's first title since moving to the Mill City in 1996 will have to wait, as Brooklyn came from behind to win its second championship. 
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September 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM

2019 SoxProspects.com All-Stars: Pitchers


Following up Monday's All-Star Position Players post, we are presenting the top five starters and three relievers from the 2019 season. The list includes three players from the lower minors and five players from the upper minors. 

Starting Pitcher: Thaddeus Ward
Ward's stock was on the rise after increasing his strikeout rate in each of his three years in college and was drafted in the fifth round in 2018 and signed for slightly below slot. Though he pitched exclusively as a reliever in college, he was converted to a starter upon signing and made 11 appearances last season for Lowell. The 22-year-old was bumped up to Greenville to begin the year and saw immediate success. Over his 13 starts, he only allowed more than three runs twice and finished the level with a 1.99 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 87 strikeouts to 25 walks over 72 1/3 innings. His best run came from May 14 to May 25th where he made three straight scoreless appearances while going at least seven innings in each. The righty's dominance did not stop after a promotion to Salem where he made 12 more starts with a 2.33 ERA and 11.67 K/9.
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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Song, Murphy dominant as Lowell ties the series


9/9 Cup of Coffee:  A day after falling on the wrong side of a pitcher's duel, the Spinners pitching staff came up big to keep Lowell alive in the New York-Penn League Championship. Noah Song was on the bump for Lowell and capped off what has been an excellent debut season, but it was Chris Murphy (pictured) who went above and beyond to help secure the victory. The Lowell bats were relatively quiet once again, but a productive day from Stephen Scott and some timely hitting from regular season hero Gilberto Jimenez was enough to get the Spinners over the line. 

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In a season that saw the Spinners pitching staff finish sixth in team ERA, it comes as no surprise that the pitching staff has been the driving force in the Spinners playoff run. The Lowell staff pitched to a 2.83 ERA in their four postseason games leading up to Monday night; a number that improved with Noah Song on the mound. Song got off to a strong start by fanning the side in the top of the first, and the Spinners offense broke the game open in the subsequent inning. Stephen Scott came to the plate and drove in Nick Decker to get the first Lowell run across the plate, and soon the bases were loaded. Gilberto Jimenez then singled up the middle to score both Scott and Antoni Flores and give the Spinners a lead they would not surrender.
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September 9, 2019 at 2:00 PM

2019 SoxProspects.com All-Stars: Position Players


With the minor league regular season in the books, the SoxProspects.com Awards Week is here. Over the next five days we will be presenting our annual awards on the news page. The schedule will be as follows:

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; Position Player of the Year

We kick things off with the position players selected by the SoxProspects.com staff as for their All-Star performances in 2019. While we do consider factors such as age advancement and opponent quality, these awards are in recognition of the players' in-game performances rather than a commentary on any status as a prospect. However, the Red Sox also got notable production from its most-highly rated prospects, as all five position players currently ranked in the Top 10 turned in All-Star caliber campaigns. 

Catcher: Kole Cottam
It was a season of steady improvement in Cottam's first full professional campaign. The 2018 fourth-round pick out of Kentucky had a modest .213/.348/.333 line through the end of May, but kicked off June with a seven-game hitting streak and did not look back. Cottam hit .311/.427/.513 in June and July to earn himself a mid-August promotion to Salem. His .377 on-base percentage with the Drive placed him tenth among all South Atlantic League players with at least 300 plate appearances. The former Kentucky Wildcat is currently ranked 44th in the system.
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at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Lowell in New York-Penn League finals, Dombrowski fired


Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • Check out the 165th episode of the SoxProspects.com podcast, where Chris and Ian recap what has happened so far in the postseason. Ian saw Lowell in action for two playoff games and he goes over what he saw from Jay Groome, Yusniel Padron-Artiles, and Joe Davis. They also give updates on Ryan Zeferjahn and Aldo Ramirez, as well as a recap of Salem's playoff run. Lastly, they give a September rankings update and take mailbag questions. 
  • According to multiple reports, the Red Sox are parting ways with Dave Dombrowski. Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic reported that Assistant General Managers Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran, and Zack Scott will take over for the rest of the season. 
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at 8:00 AM

Podcast Ep. #165 - The Ballad of Big Joe


Even if the ultimate goal of minor league games is player development, winning still matters to those players. With Lowell and Salem qualifying for the post-season, we get more looks. Case in point, Ian saw both Spinner wins last week. He got good looks at Jay Groome, Yusniel Padron-Artiles, and Big Joe Davis among others. Chris and Ian talk through the Salem guys who shined in their post season series. And they close out the show by going through September's system rankings update.

Listen in!

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at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bell, Rodriguez shine as Lowell drops opener; Salem eliminated


9/9 Cup of Coffee: Despite continued excellence by Kole Cottam and Keith Curcio in the Carolina League semifinals, Salem dropped its third straight to end its season. Salem had jumped out to a promising two-games-to-none lead at home, but Wilmington swept the three games in Delaware to take the series. Lowell, the final Sox affiliate left standing, dropped the opener of the New York-Penn League finals, stranding the potential tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth. The pitchers' duel at LeLacheur Park saw only seven hits total between the two teams and featured noteworthy performances from Spinners hurlers Brock Bell (pictured) and Jorge Rodriguez.

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A thrilling Carolina League semifinal series came to an end Sunday with the home team having prevailed in each of the five contests. Daniel Gonzalez took the ball for Salem and allowed three runs, all coming on a pair of homers. Gonzalez went 4 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Alex Scherff struck out three and allowed a run on two hits in two innings of relief, and Wilmington reached Andrew Schwaab for a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning.
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September 8, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Diaz dazzles as Salem falls in extras


9/8 Cup of Coffee: Meeting the opposite fate of their colleagues in Lowell, Salem found themselves on the wrong end of a walk-off courtesy of old friend Tyler Hill. Jhonathan Diaz (pictured) saved one of his best starts of 2019 for Saturday night, while Grant Williams led the Red Sox at the plate with a three-hit effort.  

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A year removed from leading off for Salem, Tyler Hill walked off the Red Sox to keep Wilmington's playoff dreams alive. Things were quiet for seven innings, thanks in large part to the efforts of Jhonathan Diaz. The Venezuelan left-hander went six shutout innings in which he allowed just two hits and struck out eight. However, things soon fell apart for the Red Sox as the Blue Rocks reached relievers Joan Martinez and Yoan Aybar for a combined four runs. 
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September 7, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Deja vu as Lowell walks off to New York-Penn League finals


9/7 Cup of Coffee: Lowell walked it off for the second night in a row to advance to the New York-Penn League finals, as Joe Davis played the hero role yet again. Alex Erro came up big for Lowell offensively, while the pitching staff combined for 17 strikeouts. Salem dropped a tough one despite a great pitching performance from Andrew Politi.

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Salem could not finish off a sweep of the Blue Rocks as they lost in heartbreaking fashion. The Sox broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth when Tyler Esplin drove a one-out single, promptly went first to third on another single by Tanner Nishioka, then scored on a wild pitch.
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