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SoxProspects News

February 28, 2007 at 2:32 PM

SoxProspects Spring Calendar

With the Spring comes changes, and for SoxProspects.com its always a fun time of year. Here’s some stuff to look forward to in March and beyond:

March 1-31: Message Board “Rush” – if you’ve been lurking on the message board for a while or just discovered the site, sign up for the message board, share your opinions, and introduce yourself. I promise we’ll be nice and nobody will bite your head off (especially since some of the less respectful posters were asked to leave). I’ll even ask the moderators to be especially liberal in permitting new threads to allow some of the newer posters to share their opinions. All we ask is just make sure its relevant to the topics here and be civil. I hope we can get our 800th member by Opening Day and our 1000th member by the All Star Break.

March 2: I’ll be opening the SoxProspects.com store, where you can buy some SoxProspects T-shirts and other junk. I’m sure everybody’s dying to get that stuff [/sarcasm], but I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this, so there’s at least some interest out there. And it might be something different to wear to a game or Spring Training rather than that same jersey you’ve worn the last ten games. I tried to make everything cheap, but 95% of the costs are set by the company who runs the shop.

March 5: Pre-Season All-Star Voting.

March 12: SoxProspects.com Pre-Season Top 40 Prospects Ranking voting

March 26: SoxProspects.com Predictions Game

New Features: For those seasonal posters who fly south for the winter and return to the site when the season starts, you may notice many new features have been added since the end of the 2006 season – pull down menus were installed to make the site interface more efficient, the News page has been beefed up with more frequent stories and a new writer in Dan Hanson, a News Thread has been added to the message board courtesy of RedSoxAnni that organizes all the Red Sox prospect news items for each given month, an International Signings Page has been added, and most recently a new segment titled Twelve Questions with Top Prospects has been added, where members of the message board get to interact with the top Red Sox prospects. Brandon Moss was nice enough to kick off the segment, and will be graciously followed by Clay Buchholz.

SP Bash: For those interested, we’re probably going to hold the second annual SoxProspects.com bash on August 11 at the Futures for Fenway doubleheader, and we may even meet up in New Hampshire at some point when the Sea Dogs play the Fisher Cats. More on that to come. Until then, enjoy the new features and the Spring Training season.

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at 10:59 AM

Let the games begin

The Spring Training season gets underway tonight at 7:00 pm when the Red Sox will face off against the in-town rival Twins. Three top prospects round out the bottom of the Sox starting line up, which is penciled in as:

1. Julio Lugo, SS
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Jason Varitek, C
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Wily Mo Pena, RF
8. David Murphy, LF
9. Jacob Ellsbury, CF

Scheduled to pitch are Curt Schilling, Joel Pineiro, Brendan Donnelly, Julian Tavarez, Manny Delcarmen, J.C. Romero, Bryan Corey, and Runelvys Hernandez. In other prospect news, boston.com reports
that Adam Bernero will have his right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, and Abe Alvarez has returned to his home in California due to a family situation.
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February 15, 2007 at 6:06 PM

Twelve Questions with Brandon Moss

Welcome to the newest segment on SoxProspects.com called Twelve Questions with Top Prospects, where the SoxProspects Community has a chance to interact with, well, Sox Prospects. A million thanks to top prospect Brandon Moss for agreeing to be the first player to participate in the new segment. Here are his comments and responses to the questions from the SoxProspects Community.

Brandon: First off, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who participated in this, its an honor to be asked to do something like this, because its a chance to let the fans know our perspective on things, and gives them a chance to be a little personal. So, thank you all for this opportunity, and I will answer all of your questions the best that I can.

1. This is a great concept. Thanks to Brandon for agreeing to start it up. Brandon, between your 2004 season and your finish last year, many Red Sox fans are excited about your future. What part of your game do you consider to be your strongest asset right now?
Brandon: Right now, I would have to say my strongest asset would be both my ability to accurately evaluate myself, and my ability to let things go. I think that a lot of people these days, be they athletes or not, lack the ability to be good self evaluators. I think that being able to look yourself in the mirror and know who you are, and be honest with yourself is one of the most challenging things a human being can do, because lets face it, we all expect the best from ourselves, and rightly so, because we want the best for ourselves. But at the end of the day, if you can look yourself in the eye, and say that you did the best you could, or even to be honest with yourself and say you stunk at whatever you did that day, I think that is how we truly get the most out of ourselves. And as for my ability to let things go, what I mean by that is that if I go 0-4 with 4 Ks on Saturday, I’m not going to let that bother me on Sunday, because I have a job to do everyday, and everyday could be the best game I’ve ever played, and it could also be the last game I ever play.

2. The Red Sox have previously indicated that the organization bases its promotions significantly on the improvement of specified aspects of each prospect’s game, rather than on the basis of statistical success. Did the organization express this policy to you and other prospects? If so, what elements of your offensive and defensive game did the Red Sox specify for you to work on in 2006 and this off-season?
Brandon: This is an excellent question, because you would think that if a guy has a pretty good statistical year, that he should get a promotion. However, in our Minor League system, our staff is more dedicated, and more concerned with development, rather than just statistical success. They have to base things on the individual, not by saying, "well, this guy hit .300, so he should move up" instead, they have to know if he can handle the next level, and that if he struggles there, how will he respond. Also, sometimes, there are certain aspects that the player needs to work on physically, such as myself. I needed to repeat AA because I had to relearn how to use the opposite field the way I did in 2004. The Red Sox have a main goal in their Minor Leagues, and that is to develop winning players who can contribute to a winning team.

3. You had an amazing year in 2004 (congratulations!), but your 2005 and 2006 were notable for some streakiness. What do you think caused this streakiness? Is it possible that the organization rushed you a bit by sending you straight to AA after having a limited amount of at bats in High A at the end of 2004? What steps are you taking or have you taken to smooth it out?
Brandon: In 2004, I had a career year, it was great, it seemed everything I made contact with fell, and everything went my way. In 2005, I don’t think I was "rushed" to AA, however I think the Red Sox knew that I would be challenged and that I would have to make adjustments at that level, and they wanted to see how I would respond to those challenges. I didn’t have a bad year in 2005, however it was nothing like my 2004, but I was streaky, as you have said. I think the streakiness was caused by me getting a little bit "pull happy" in Portland because of the short right field fence. In 2006, I worked extremely hard at going the other way, and stayed with that plan the whole year. I wasn’t streaky at all in 2006, it may look to be that way by the numbers I had at the beginning, but the whole season I was very consistent in my approach, and even in what I did with the ball, its just that early on, lady luck was not on my side and I wasn’t having those hits fall like they did late in the season, and in 2004.

4. Brandon, Todd Claus recently stated that you went out of your way last season to improve your skill of moving the ball to all fields. Did you start to reap the benefits of this at the end of the year during your hot streak and do you think it hindered your numbers earlier in the year?
Brandon: As I said in the question before, yes I did work very hard at hitting to all fields, however I don’t believe that this hindered me early on. The reason for this is that I had already made the adjustments in the off-season, and was very comfortable in what I was trying to do. I was making good contact and driving the ball everywhere, its just that early on, for some reason nothing was falling. That, however, is part of the game. The big thing for the "hot streak" later in the year, was that I stayed with my original plan and never strayed from it.

5. As someone who has worked his way up through the ladder through most of the Red Sox system, do you feel there is much difference in the way that players are treated at the Rookie level and up the ladder to AA? Is there any impression that players get treated with more respect or recognition after they are added to the 40-man roster or after they’ve gotten MLB experience?
Brandon: I think that as you move up levels, people learn who you are, and what you are about, therefore you are treated with a little more respect than an 18 year old in rookie ball, and I think that is rightly so. As for the 40 man roster, I don’t think that is something that should be respected like someone who has played in the Major Leagues should, because the 40 man isn’t the 25 man roster, and the main goal is the 25 man roster, not the 40 man.

6. Who have been some of your biggest influences while moving up through the Red Sox farm system?
Brandon: Some of my biggest influences are Todd Claus, Lou Frazier, Chad Epperson, and Victor Martinez, and Russ Morman, not to mention the players I’ve played with and learned from, but these 5 coaches have gone above and to help me and teach me, whether it be advice, extra work, or just encouragement, these 5 have been an unbelievable help in my own development.

7. You were relatively young during your first year in AA. What was that like personally and in terms of performance? Related, what was it like being in AA for a second year? How did that help your development? Did the cold weather in Portland have an effect on your game?
Brandon: My first year in AA was a challenge, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. My second year I was sent there to see if I could make the adjustments, and improve on my first year, and to see what I was capable of handling. Not to make excuses, or say anything negative about Portland, because I love the city, and the people, but yes, the cold was a huge challenge for me, especially my first year because I had never played baseball in cold weather, and I was coming from Florida where it was eighty five and sunny everyday. My second year though, I knew what to expect, and was much more prepared for the cold.

8. How would you compare your physical conditioning to what it was two years ago?
Brandon: I used to think that hitting all off-season would prepare me for the season to come. However, I quickly learned that the off-season should be a time of building muscle, and getting in shape, to prepare me for the LONG season that we play. The difference in preparation really made a difference for me last year, in that I didn’t really wear down like I had the year before.

9. A movement has recently come about whereas the Red Sox and many other organizations place their highest regarded prospects in AA and place journeyman-type minor leaguers with low potential but some MLB experience at AAA, and only when a prospect is on the immediate cusp of a major league promotion is he placed in AAA. Have you or other prospects noticed this trend? If so, what’s the general opinion? Has the team relayed this to the players as their general policy?
Brandon: I have noticed this trend, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know why. Maybe its because a lot of teams send there young talent to AA, and its a really tough level, but to be honest with you, I’m only guessing. I have no idea why that is.

10. How did you enjoy your Dominican Winter League experience? What were the primary differences between the DWL and AA in terms of talent? How did the daily schedule differ from your US experience? You ended the AA season and started the DWL strongly, but tailed off over your last two weeks in the DWL. How much of a break did you get between the end of the playoffs and when you reported to the Dominican Republic and do you believe it impacted on your later season DWL performance?
Brandon: The Dominican was an excellent experience for me. It was a talent filled league, and it was great weather, and the fans were great, I couldn’t have asked for more. I think all young players should experience it once in their career. I did trail off at the end, and not to make excuses for myself, because I hate that, but I was exhausted. I had a week and a half at home before I left, and by the time it was over, because I was a little afraid of what I could eat or drink there, I had lost almost 20 pounds. So, it was very tiring, but the experience was well worth it.

11. How did you enjoy the Rookie Development program? Would it be accurate to say that the program is a great opportunity to bond with other players off the field as much as on? Did any other players particularly impress you there on the field?
Brandon: I enjoyed the program. I don’t know about bonding with other players, because we spend all year together anyway, but as far as learning the city, and what’s expected of us when we get to Boston, I think the staff does a great job at getting the messages across to us.

12. You were also highly regarded as a pitching prospect coming out of high school. In your May 2006 interview with David Laurila, you said your fastball was between 94-96 in HS, and it touched 94 last year just fooling around. What else do/did you throw?
Brandon: I was a pitching prospect in high school, in fact, that’s what I thought I was going to be drafted as. I threw hard, sitting around 93-94 most games, and touching 97 once, but other than that, I didn’t have much. Just an average changeup, and a below average curveball. Looking back now, if I could face a guy now that threw like me then, I would probably do pretty well against him, because at this level, everyone can hit a fastball, so I would definitely say that God knew my future better than I did.

BONUS QUESTION: Who is a better cook - your wife or your mother?
Brandon: While both can cook their share of good meals, the nod would definitely have to go to my Nanny (my moms mother). There is no meal that she doesn’t make perfectly, and my favorites are her low country boil, and her corn bread. Its definitely the best corn bread I’ve ever tasted.
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February 14, 2007 at 6:21 PM

DiNardo claimed off waivers

The Oakland Athletics claimed LHP Lenny DiNardo off waivers and he was added to their major league roster, the Red Sox announced today. DiNardo was placed on waivers in order to make room for J.D. Drew, who was not immediately added to the 40-man roster following the announcement of his coming to terms with the club on January 26. Selected by the Sox in the 2003 Rule 5 Draft (from the Mets), the 27 year old soft-tosser was 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in 43 games (seven starts) with Boston from 2004-2006.
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February 13, 2007 at 2:03 PM

Several minor leaguers already at camp

Several Red Sox minor leaguers and big league hopefuls reported to camp early on Monday, including David Pauley, Devern Hansack, Edgar Martinez, Abe Alvarez, Travis Hughes, Kason Gabbard, Craig Breslow, Lenny DiNardo, David Murphy, and George Kottaras. Among the early reportees for the big league club have been Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, and Manny Delcarmen, who all reported in excellent shape. Daisuke Matsuzaka also reported on Tuesday morning to check out the facility and toss the ball around. All pitchers and catchers are due in camp by Friday.
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February 2, 2007 at 11:18 PM

Turn back the clock: 2002

Perspective. The gift the past endows to those who wish to appreciate the present. So here we are, a good five years removed since the end of the Dan Duquette regime. A time where a gallon of gas averaged $1.43 and the President was actually liked. Anyway, snicker if you will at some of The Duke's can't miss prospects - Andy Yount, Rick Asadoorian - but let's also give him a tip o’ the cap for Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis and Hanley Ramirez, all of whom turned out to be pretty good major leaguers. Hard to believe that The Duke was sent packing five years ago this spring. That being said, let's take the Delorean back to 2002 and revisit five guys we salivated over before Theo Epstein took the reigns.

Now before mentioning the following players, full disclosure must be made: the following are players listed as prospects during the 2002 season. Random Duquette-era prospects during his tenure were not simply named, but rather, these names were culled from Baseball America, USA Today, and other fine publications from 2002.

Seung Song. Pitching phenom, 36th member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Ok, so that’s half right. Which half is entirely up to you. Anyway, Song reached Trenton in 2002 with tickets to Boston on his dresser. Check out this quote from Josh Goldfine (Baseball America) circa '02: “The righthander, who signed with the organization prior to the 1999 season, went 8-4 with a 1.90 ERA - second-best among all minor leaguers to Florida Marlins' righthander Josh Beckett - between two Class A stops.” In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!” A deadline deal that year to Montreal for Cliff Floyd and Song was gone. He has yet to crack a major league roster.

Freddy Sanchez. Call him a late bloomer, but this guy could always hit. The problem with Freddy Ballgame before his 2006 NL batting crown was injuries. Let's not forget that he hit .300 at every minor league level prior to the celebrated Jeff Suppan trade that sent him to the Pirates. Soon after, his development was hampered by a series of leg injuries that shelved him for portions of the 2003 and 2004 campaigns. He hit a respectable .291 in 2005 before he broke out with a .344 average last year for the perennially horrible Bucs. Just remember, pink-hatted Sox fans: before Dustin Pedroia, there was Freddy Sanchez.

Tony Blanco. You may know him as one of the guys (the other being another touted prospect, (Josh “Don't call me Bobby” Thigpen) we sent to Cincy for Todd Walker in 2002. This is about the only remarkable thing Mr. White did for any major league team, and the shelf life of a trade deadline bargaining chip is quite often short and unglamorous. At the peak of his artificial hype, there were lofty projections of 30 homers and 110 RBI a season. Well my friends, those would be generous career projections given that Blanco has 29 HRs and 103 RBI remaining as a 25 year-old Carolina Leaguer.

Manny Delcarmen. Prior to MDC’s conversion to the 'pen, he was projected to be a top of the rotation starter. He struck out 62 in 46 innings during his GCL stint in 2001, and was seemingly poised for Fenway within a few short years. In May 2003, he underwent Tommy John surgery, and after experiencing some rough outings as a starter, he was converted to a reliever, and has flourished since. Favorite MDC Moment: The 99 he flashed on the McCoy Stadium pitch speed display in 2005. After experiencing some major league success in 2006, he is expected to be an important cog in the Sox' relief corps in 2007.

Greg Montalbano. Unfortunately, there are guys you can only shake your head in disbelief at because their potential was never fully realized due to injuries or medical issues. The Massachusetts native had setbacks on both fronts, having battled shoulder injuries that sidelined him the entire 2002 season, as well as cancer, which he was stricken with both in 1996 and 2006. After hoping that he’d stay healthy enough to fulfill the potential so many projected, the Sox let Montalbano go prior to the 2005 season. In 2005 and 2006 he pitched for the independent Worcester Tornadoes, his career far removed from the bright lights of Fenway Park just mere miles down the Mass Pike.
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February 1, 2007 at 2:26 PM

Red Sox sign six international free agents

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima are not the only international players the Red Sox signed this off-season. Since the end of the 2006 season, Boston has signed six international amateurs: RHP Randy Consuegra from Colombia (pictured, left), RHP Alberto Gonzalez and C Maykol Sanchez from Venezuela, 1B Eddy Lora and LHP Ernesto Reyes from the Dominican, and RHP Dennis Neuman from Curacao. Not a great deal of information is available about these players, except that Consuegra got a $100,000 signing bonus after receiving competing offers from the Mets, Mariners, and Twins. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and he also possesses a good changeup and curveball. He is the godson of Edgar Renteria. Additionally, some locals may be familiar with Dennis Neuman, a former star of the Little League World Series for the Netherlands Antilles, who shut down the Worcester, MA team in the 2002 consolation game. The Red Sox landed Neuman after he also received offers from the Dodgers, Pirates, and Braves.
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