SoxProspects News

November 28, 2007 at 8:53 PM

Red Sox prospects to sign autographs to support the Jimmy Fund


Championship roster at “New Stars for Young Stars III,” Jan. 12

BOSTON – New Boston Red Sox stars, including Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia, will sign autographs to benefit the Jimmy Fund at the third annual “New Stars for Young Stars” event. New Stars for Young Stars III will be held on Jan. 12, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Jillian’s Boston.

In addition to Pedroia, the championship lineup includes World Series game four winner and cancer survivor Jon Lester, returning Boston favorite Gabe Kapler, and minor league players Jed Lowrie, Bubba Bell, Michael Bowden, Nick Hagadone, and Justin Masterson. The player roster is subject to change.
Tickets go on sale, online only, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. Log onto
www.jimmyfund.org/new-stars to make a purchase. Two levels of tickets are available. A $250 ticket includes an official MLB jersey, plus one of the first 40 spots in line. The rest of the tickets are $150 each. All ticket holders can bring one guest, but only one set of autographs will be allowed. A buffet lunch will be served and sports memorabilia will be on sale. In addition, there will be a raffle, silent auction and bowling contests to help strike out cancer.

New Stars for Young Stars III is hosted by the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston and has quickly become a winning event, already having raised nearly $50,000 since its inception in 2005.
Founded in 1948, the Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox. It supports the fight against cancer at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is a leading cancer research and care center for adults and children, and a National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center.


For more information and to buy tickets go to
www.jimmyfund.org/new-stars or call 1-800-52-JIMMY.
Read full post ...

November 21, 2007 at 11:24 PM

Carter, Diaz protected by roster moves


The Boston Red Sox have purchased the contracts of 1B Chris Carter and SS Argenis Diaz, adding them to the 40-Man Roster. Any player not on the 40-Man Roster by November 20 will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place December 6 at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. These moves can be viewed as positive indicators of the organization's view of their value. Carter was acquired from Washington last season in a waiver trade for Wily Mo Pena and finished the year in Pawtucket (having spent 2006-7 at AAA Tucson), while Diaz was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in July 2003, spending 2007 with Greenville after playing in the GCL in 2006.
Read full post ...

November 19, 2007 at 8:00 AM

12 Questions with Mike Jones


SoxProspects recently traded questions and answers with Red Sox minor league slugger Mike Jones. Mike impressed with the bat in 2007, hitting .319/.412/.416 in stints with Lowell and Greenville. Look for Mike to start the 2008 season with Lancaster or Greenville.


SP: You’re a big dude. Did you ever play any football or are you strictly a baseball guy? Were you scouted all out of high school for baseball or other sports?
MJ: Actually in high school I was a full time basketball player. I played basketball 3 quarters of the year. Baseball was secondary.

SP: You were selected by the Red Sox as a draft-ad-follow in 2004. What was it like going through the uncertainty and playing the next season at the JuCo level?
MJ: Well it uncertainty did not really bother me too much. If anything the fact that I was drafted gave more confidence in myself.

SP: Early on in your career, you played some OF and some 1B. When was the decision finally made that you would play 1B exclusively, and what kind of say did you have in that decision?
MJ: Well when I stopped playing basketball after my senior season in high school, I started to gain weight. I was signed as an outfielder a but when I saw the competition defensively in the outfield, I kind of figured that 1B would be a better fit for me. So I guess you could say I requested to play 1st as a secondary position. It ultimately became my primary position

SP: What other types of adjustments did you work on in the Gulf Coast League in 2005 and 2006?
MJ: I was just really raw when I signed, so basically just learning to play the game of baseball as whole. Basic fundamentals was my biggest focus in the Gulf Coast League.

SP: You were promoted to Lowell for the Futures at Fenway in 2006, and seemed to almost immediately become a fan favorite. How was the experience stepping up to the plate at Fenway last year?
MJ
: To be honest I was scared out of my mind! It was kind of a big transition going from the GCL playing in front of 4 fans, to playing in front of 30,000 fans. I let my nerves get the best of me but it was a good experience that I will take with me the rest of my life.

SP: Every time I see you play at least one fan’s got a sign “Who’s Mike Jones?” Do you embrace it or are you trying to re-invent who Mike Jones is on your own terms?
MJ: I love the fans. The more they are in the game the more of a rush it is. I embrace every bit of it.

SP: What have been some key areas of development that the Red Sox organization has stressed with you this season?
MJ: Before the season ended I sat down with Mike Hazen and asked him exactly what I needed to do in the off-season, he basically said to get better physically and defensively. Those are the two things that stand in my way.

SP: We ask it every interview – give us a scouting report on yourself. How’s your approach at the plate feeling? Making strides in the field? What areas do you feel are your strengths and what areas need improvement? How’s the conditioning coming along this year?
MJ: I am a big strong guy that lives and dies with the bat in hand. I feel that hitting is by far my best tool. My ability to hit for average and my power potential make me. As far approach at the plate, I just put my body in a good position to react to the ball. I generally look for the ball middle to the outer part of the plate and try to react in. Defense is an area definitely need to improve in on all levels. I can also be much better physically.

SP: If you had to pick one teammate at Lowell or Greenville who has impressed you most this season, who would it be?
MJ: I would have to go with Ryan Kalish and Matt Sheely. Kalish impacted the games at so many levels during his brief stint in Lowell. I also admire Matt Sheely for what he did this season. He had success in spite of irregular playing time and being jumped around the organization.

SP: You're only one step away from playing in Lancaster, just a short distance from your home town. What would it mean to you to play next season in Lancaster?
MJ: I always joke around with my mother saying she would probably lose her job if I played anywhere near home because she would skip work to try and go to my games. But I would love to be able to play in front of the people that help me get to where I am now. It would mean a lot to me.

SP: What is your plan for the off-season and how will you prepare yourself for Spring Training?
MJ: My plan this off season is to basically get better physically. I plan to do a lot of drills to improve my footwork as well as increase my quickness and flexibility

SP: What’s the first thing you did to begin the off-season?
MJ: Well the first thing I did was just hang out and enjoy my family. Just enjoy being around the people that I love.

Bonus Question: True or false: chicks dig the long ball.
MJ
: First and foremost chicks dig LEFTIES that hit the long ball
Read full post ...

at 5:52 AM

Sharks season over with loss to Waikiki


11/19 Cup of Coffee: On Sunday, Honolulu saw their season come to an end with a 6-3 loss to Waikiki. Argenis Diaz went 1 for 3 with a BB in the game that decided the East's crown. Jason Place went 1 for 4 in the game. Diaz finished the Winter League season with a BA of .358, an OBP of .421 and an OPS of .865. Place finished with a BA of .212, an OBP of .330 and an OPS of .767. He also had 4 homers. Jimmy James threw 35 1/3 innings. He gave up 32 hits, 16 runs, 15 BB and had 43 Ks. His ERA was 3.31. Daniel Bard threw 16 2/3 innings allowing 8 hits, 4 runs and 15 BB. He had 15 Ks and his ERA was 1.08. The coffee pot is empty now for 2007 and a fresh pot will not be put on until the spring. Have a great off season!
Read full post ...

November 18, 2007 at 6:43 AM

Diaz scores twice and drives in 3 in Shark win


11/18 Cup of Coffee: Honolulu defeated Waikiki 8-7 on Saturday to make tonight's final game of the season the deciding one for the East's crown. Jimmy James started the game and went 3 2/3 innings. He allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 5 BB. He had 6 Ks. Daniel Bard struggled for the first time in quite awhile with his control going 2/3 of an inning and allowing 2 runs on 3 BB. He did not give up a hit. Argenis Diaz went 1 for 3 scoring 2 runs and driving in 3 more. Jason Place went 0 for 3 and scored a run.
Read full post ...

November 17, 2007 at 7:43 AM

Honolulu 1.5 games out of first with 2 games remaining


11/17 Cup of Coffee: In Hawaii, Waikiki defeated Honolulu 5-2. The loss makes it necessary for the Sharks to win both their remaining games in order to finish first in the East Division of the Hawaiian League. Agrenis Diaz was the only Sox prospect to see action in the game. He went 1 for 4 and is now hitting .360.
Read full post ...

November 16, 2007 at 1:50 PM

Q&A with Kevin Goldstein


Kevin Goldstein recently took in some questions from the SoxProspects.com community. Kevin, a writer for Baseball Prospectus, is in the midst of publishing his Top 11 prospects for each MLB club. Definitely worth the price of admission. Special thanks to Kevin for doing the Q&A.

SP: Hypothetical trade scenario, where you have a deal in place to fill an important missing piece in Boston, and the other team tells you they want two of Michael Bowden, Jed Lowrie, or Justin Masterson. Which two guys do you part with, and why do you keep the one guy over the others?
KG: There's a lot of different ways to answer this question. I'd likely keep one of the pitchers, as the Red Sox have no clear role for Lowrie, who is almost ready. Then you might start to think about upside, where Masterson is probably more likely to have a big league career, yet Bowden might have the better shot at a bit of stardom. You want certainty or upside? So many factors can play into this. And what am I getting back?

SP: Does Jed Lowrie have a better future at short or second? Who do you think would be an appropriate comp for Lowrie if he continues his development?
KG: I'll start by saying I'm not a huge fan of comps unless they are really obvious ones, and I don't have an obvious one for Lowrie. The best review I can get on Lowrie is that he's 'acceptable' at shortstop, so that doesn't bode well. I think he's a second baseman in the end, and an above-average offensive one at that.

SP: Do you believe the Red Sox need to (or plan to) tinker with Justin Masteron's delivery at all?
KG: No, and no. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sure he might be a little more effective if he came more over the top, but at the same time, he's pretty good now and that's a risk you don't want to take. So often teams mess with the mechanics of a pretty good pitcher and he ends up worse off for it.

SP: Did Michael Bowden's stuff deteriorate over the course of the year or was his performance in AA just the result of facing more advanced hitters a second time through the league?
KG: Far more B than A. His stuff is plenty good, and he was very young for Double-A. What his performance there showed was that he needs to improve upon his command and pitch sequences against more advanced hitters. Getting the change-up better would help as well.

SP: When Boston drafted Matt LaPorta and Lars Anderson, there was some speculation that Boston would be able to dole out the money for signing one of them, but not both. I don't know if this is true, but do you think Boston ultimately signed the right guy?
KG: Again, a lot of factors here. Right now, LaPorta is the better prospect, and for me by a pretty sizable margin. But that's now, and now is not the summer of 2006, when LaPorta was coming off a pretty bad junior year and Scott Boras wanted close to $2 million. So the answer is at the time of the signings, they made the right decision, because people didn't think he was worth that much. It the time since, that his changed as he now is.

SP: Can Nick Hagadone be a factor in the big league pen by the end of 2008?
KG: I think that's a little aggressive, but in addition, I'd rather exercise more patience to see if he can develop into a starter – which the Red Sox are doing.

SP: What was the reasoning behind leaving Brandon Moss off the top 11 and honorable mentions?
KG: The Red Sox have a good system, and Moss would have made many of other team's lists. That said, I'm still just not especially high on him, as he's one of those tweener outfielders. He can't play center, and while he can hit – he just doesn't profile well as an every day corner guy. Most project him as a solid 4th outfielder type.

SP: Can you please provide us with the basis of your assessment that Kalish is a 4-star prospect? I love him as much as the next guy, but it was only 89 ABs this year.
KG: The playing time doesn't play a huge role for me. I just finished the Tigers rankings and put Rick Porcello at No. 2. He's yet to pitch an inning in the pros, and would rank No. 1 in plenty of other organizations. When ranking prospects, I combine two things – the player's ultimate ceiling, and his likelihood of reaching it. Kalish showed more than enough during his brief stint with Lowell to convince scouts that the ceiling is very high.

SP: Do you think SS Oscar Tejeda will stay a SS? Does he have the power to be a 3B if needed? How does he compare to Hanley Ramirez at the same stage of his career?
KG: I definitely think he can stay at shortstop – it's really one of the things that most helps his prospect ranking. I don't think he'll ever develop the big time power one normally associates with a third baseman, but I'm not sure it will matter. He's a good prospect, but if you compare him to Hanley Ramirez at the same point in their careers, he's not even close to Hanley.

SP: What's your take on Josh Reddick? His 2007 season was awesome but he doesn't walk much, just seems to be a guy who just makes a lot of contact.
KG: Well, I assume you saw where I ranked him, and if you subscribe to Baseball Prospectus, you'll get a couple hundred words of scouting info on him and all the other prospects, as well as TONS of other top of the line baseball coverage. Sorry, had to answer that one that way.

SP: Do you think Michael Almanzar and Will Middlebrooks will have a career at short or at third, and does their height have anything to do with that?
KG: I think they are both third baseman in the end, and that's not by default because of their size. As we've seen recently, we've kind of entered a new age with shortstops, where they are often these big athletic types, but neither Almanzar or Middlebrooks has THAT kind of athleticism or first-step quickness to be a big league shortstop in the end.

SP: Regarding Chris Carter, this guy rakes. if he was given 400-500 ABs in Boston's lineup, what kind of numbers do you think he could produce? Is there any good news at all about his defense?
KG: He can hit – a little. I think he'd hit somewhere in the .275/.350/.450 range or so given a full season in the big leagues. Which isn't that much when you consider the position he's limited to – first base, or maybe even DH. And no, there is absolutely no good news about his defense. None, whatsoever.

SP: Will Craig Hansen ever re-gain his college slider and be effective at the major league level? Any truth to the rumors that Scott Boras was tinkering with his delivery independent of the team?
KG: I haven't heard the rumors about Boras tinkering with his delivery, but that would surprise me. I think the chances of him pumping out plus-plus sliders again are pretty remote, and the most frustrating aspect of that is that I just can't find anyone who has a good explanation of what went wrong.

SP: Why no love for Aaron Bates?
KG: Just because I don't put a guy in the Top 11, doesn't mean I don't like him. Bates would make other team's lists. He was the best prospect out of all those guys who put up monster numbers at Lancaster, but he still has a lot to prove. Being a first base prospect is very, very hard. You have to be an absolute monster of a hitter, or you are not much of a prospect.

SP: How did Ryan Dent's defense look in the short sample playing time?
KG: I honestly don't have any specific reports on Dent as a pro, but I talked to plenty of scouts who saw him for years as an amateur, and he just doesn't project well for the left side of the infield. The speed is there, but the instincts, arm and soft hands just aren't.

SP: Jason Place's strikeout rate was very high, but also seemed to trend towards the caught looking variety, however. Is there concern about his ability to make contact?
KG: Any time you strike out 160 times in 459 at-bats, there are going to be concerns about making contact. If he had some sort of preponderance for getting caught looking (I hadn't heard that), then now he has some big concerns about pitch recognition as well. The point of this is not to crap on Jason Place. He's still a big time athlete with a lot of potential – he's just far from it. If my list went to 20, he'd be on it.

SP: How do scouts feel about Mark Wagner's prospects of becoming an everyday catcher in the bigs?
KG: Every day? I just don't see it. Backup? See it.

SP: In your opinion, how much of Bubba Bell's breakout season was due to the Lancaster effect?
KG: A lot of it. That's not to say he's not some kind of prospect, and more of one than he was a year ago. He's just a fringy one now, as opposed to a non-one that he was before. His age is also a big factor. A guy who just turned 25 who just put up big numbers in any High A park isn't going to get anybody too worked up.

SP: Any idea whether Tony Granadillo will resign with the Red Sox? Any other minor league free agents that the Red Sox appear to be going after?
KG: I really don't know, and teams don't really share their plans in this area. Granadillo is another one of those Lancaster guys. Scouts don't like him at all, as he's a poor defender, and has some makeup questions.

SP: One somewhat unfamiliar name from this year's draft is Drake Britton. Do you think that he could be a front line starter? What is his ceiling?
KG: I think his ceiling is more of a middle-rotation guy. He's not really the overpowering type – he has a solid fastball, a very good curve, and also has a lot more polish in terms of command, changing speeds, setting up hitters, etc. than most high school arms.

SP: Where does the Sox farm system rank right now in your opinion?
KG: I'm only about one-fifth into my Top 11s, and the process gives me the most insight into each team's system – so until I'm done, it's hard to say. My gut tells me it will be well above-average, thanks to the best righty prospect in the game and good depth.

SP: Where do you rank the Red Sox 2007 draft?
KG: I'd rank it as good. They didn't have a first-round pick, but they were able to get a lot of solid talents later on by taking signability guys. So while they maybe didn't get a first-round talent, they got five or six guys you could argue are supplemental or second-round guys.

SP: Will the Red Sox regret trading Engel Beltre?
KG: Maybe. Beltre is a really impressive player, but at the same time, he's a teenager and he's very far away. He has the tools to be a star, but he's also years away and probably has an equal, if not greater chance of never sniffing the majors. It's one of those trade you just can judge for quite a while.

SP: What's up with Jose Jose and Edward Salcedo?
KG: What is up with them? Salcedo is the bigger story here. Nobody is arguing that he's not a huge talent – he's a massive one. But nobody sees him as a $3-4 million one, which is what Scott Boras thinks he is. He's probably going to wait until somebody does see him as worth that much, and chances are decent that somebody eventually will.
Read full post ...

at 6:04 AM

Haigwood throws 4 scoreless innings in Mesa finale


11/16 Cup of Coffee: In the final game of the Arizona Fall League regular schedule, Mesa edged the Peoria Saguaros 6-5. Daniel Haigwood started and threw 4 shutout innings giving up 2 hits and a BB. He had 2 Ks. Jed Lowrie went 1 for 5 with a run scored and a RBI. He finished the schedule with a batting average of .163 an OBP of .236 and an OPS of .481. Jon Still went 0 for 3 with 2 RBI. He finished with a batting average of .146 an OBP of .278 and an OPS of .534. Dusty Brown who did not play in the game finished with a BA of .273, an OBP of .344 and an OPS of .635. In Hawaii, Honolulu kept pace with Waikiki by defeating West Oahu 8-2. Daniel Bard threw 1 inning allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 1 BB. His ERA jumped to 1.13. The Sharks have 3 games remaining with Waikiki beginning tonight which will decide first place.
Read full post ...

November 15, 2007 at 6:04 AM

Honolulu 1/2 game out with 4 remaining


11/15 Cup of Coffee: Yesterday, Scottsdale blanked Mesa 1-0. Lincoln Holdzkom threw 1 inning of relief. He did not allow a run, hit or BB and had 1 K. Jed Lowrie went 1 for 4. Dusty Brown went 0 for 4 in the game while Jon Still went 0 for 3. In Hawaii, Honolulu fell 4-3 to West Oahu but did not lose any ground as Waikiki also lost. Argenis Diaz went 0 for 4 in the game while Jason Place went 1 for 4.
Read full post ...

November 14, 2007 at 6:38 AM

Jones throws 1 2/3 perfect innings in Mesa win


11/14 Cup of Coffee: In the Arizona League last night, Mesa edged Surprise 4-3. Jose Vaquedano recorded his fifth hold pitching 1 scoreless inning of relief. He allowed 1 hit and struck out 1. Hunter Jones recorded his third save throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings. He had 2 Ks. In the Hawaiian League, West Oahu knocked Honolulu out of first place by defeating them 6-1. Argenis Diaz went 1 for 3 in the game. Jason Place went 0 for 3.
Read full post ...

November 13, 2007 at 5:57 AM

Lowrie's struggles at the plate continue


11/13 Cup of Coffee: Action on Monday saw Phoenix defeat Mesa 8-1. Jed Lowrie went 0 for 4 and is now hitting .157. Jon Still went 1 for 3 and is hitting .158. There was no action in the Hawaiian League but play will resume tonight.
Read full post ...

November 12, 2007 at 2:55 PM

Pedroia wins AL Rookie of the Year


It comes as no surprise to many Red Sox fans. In a landslide vote, MLB announced that Dustin Pedroia has won the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year. Pedroia, hit .317 as a rookie while hitting 8 homeruns and knocking in 50 runs during the regular season while posting a very respectable OPS of .822 while playing the final two months of the season with a cracked hamate bone in his left hand. In the postseason, Pedroia hit .283 with 2 homeruns and 10 RBI’s helping the Red Sox win their 2nd World Series title in 4 years. Pedrioa is also the first Red Sox to win the award since Nomar Garciaparra won it in 1997.
Read full post ...

at 6:55 AM

Bard continues to lower ERA


11/12 Cup of Coffee: In Hawaii on Sunday, West Oahu blanked Honolulu 3-0. Jimmy James started and went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 BB. He had 8 Ks. Daniel Bard threw another perfect inning striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 0.60. Jason Place was hitless in 2 at bats. He had 1 BB. There was no action in the Arizona Fall League on sunday.
Read full post ...

November 11, 2007 at 6:29 AM

Honolulu Sharks move back into first


11/11 Cup of Coffee: On Saturday in the Arizona League, Mesa fell 5-2 to the Peoria Javelinas. Lincoln Holdzkom threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless and hitless relief. He allowed 2 BB while striking out 3 Javelina hitters. Neither Jed Lowrie or Jon Still saw action in the game. Meanwhile in Hawaii, Honolulu moved back into first place with a 7-5 win over Waikiki. Argenis Diaz went 0 for 3 with a BB and saw his BA drop to .382. Jason Place went 0 for 3 with a BB and a run scored. He fanned 3 times. His BA is now .234.
Read full post ...

November 10, 2007 at 6:25 AM

Bard perfect again in Hawaii


11/10 Cup of Coffee: Mesa saw their record fall to 12-14 with a 6-5 loss in 10 innings to Phoenix on Friday. Daniel Haigwood threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed 3 hits and 3 BB. He struck out 4. Jose Vaquedano went 1 inning of relief allowing 1 run on 1 hit and a BB. He had 1 K. Hunter Jones threw 1 2/3 frames giving up 1 run on 2 hits. He did not walk a batter and had 1 K. Jed Lowrie went 0 for 3 with a BB. He scored a run. He is now batting .165. Jon Still went 0 for 4 and is hitting .151. Dusty Brown went 0 for 4 and fanned 3 times. He is hitting .277. In Hawaii, Honolulu and Waikiki battled to a 2-2 tie. Daniel Bard threw a perfect inning of relief fanning 2 of the 3 batters he faced. His ERA is 0.64. Argenis Diaz saw his batting average drop under .400. He went 1 for 4 with a RBI.
Read full post ...

November 9, 2007 at 10:20 AM

Sox' farm contributions run deep


The 2007 Boston Red Sox season will forever be remembered for finishing with the ultimate prize - a World Series championship. Comparisons have been made to the 2004 team and many questions have been asked about the differences between these two seasons. The main difference between the two? Homegrown talent. The Red Sox farm system exploded onto the scene in 2007, putting their fingerprints all over the World Series trophy. Over the course of 2007, many prospects and former farmhands found themselves thrust into key roles in the most pressured packed situations. Here's a summary of those contributions:

Jonathan Papelbon- No one could avoid the discussion of Papelbon moving into the rotation in 2007, but when the calendar turned to April, Papelbon was in his familar spot in the back of the bullpen. With his workload reduced due to the desire to keep his shoulder fresh in hopes of a playoff run, Papelbon seemed to get stronger as the season went along. Almost untouchable in the regular season, tallying 37 saves and 84 K's in 58 1/3 IP, Papelbon put together 10 2/3 scoreless innings in the post-season along with 4 saves and a win, finishing off 3 games in the World Series, including the final strikeout to complete the sweep. The former 4th round draft pick followed up an impressive rookie season to become one of the game's elite closers and most popular personalities in Boston. With the game on the line, Papelbon raises his performance to another level and gives all involved with the Red Sox peace of mind when the 9th inning rolls around. A clubhouse leader on and off the field, Papelbon has become one of the key pieces in the organization for years to come.

Dustin Pedroia- Much was made in the off-season about the Sox letting former 2B Mark Loretta walk in free agency and handing the starting job to the rookie. The questions started to grow louder when Pedroia was hitting .178 in May, and many called for Alex Cora to get more playing time. Pedroia caught fire in May and didn't cool off until the completion of the World Series, hitting .335 after his rocky start. While his bat impressed after May, his defense also really stuck out as Pedroia solidified the middle of the infield at 2B, seemingly making a highlight reel play on a nightly basis. As the season went along, Pedroia became more and more a catalyst for the Sox offense to thrust himself to the top of the rookie-of-the-year consideration. A fan and teammate favorite, Pedroia's grit shows on the field with every play he is involved in. After a slow start to the playoffs, Pedroia turned it on once again, acting as the table-setter at the top of the lineup, racking up 12 runs scored, as well as 2 clutch homeruns of his own and a 5 RBI performance in Game 7 of the ALCS.

Kevin Youkilis- Coming off a solid first full season in the bigs in 2006, Youkilis built on that season to post a .288 average, 16 home runs, and 83 RBI's while batting all around the Red Sox lineup. After a very fast start, Youkilis slowed considerably due to injuries in the second half of the season, raising questions whether he would have much left in the tank for the post-season. Refreshed from his time off in September, Youkilis hit .388 in the playoffs to lead all Sox hitters and scoring 17 runs in the process. Teamed with Pedroia at the top of the order in the ALCS, Youkilis lead an onslaught against the Cleveland Indians' pitching to bring the Sox back from a 3-1 deficit. Not to be lost was his contribution defensively, going errorless for the entire season and capturing the Gold Glove Award for AL 1B. The ultimate teammate, Youkilis cheered on the Sox to victory in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series as Ortiz played 1B in Colorado.

Manny Delcarmen- When the Red Sox set their Opening Day roster this season, Delcarmen was not to be found, as he was optioned to AAA after a less than stellar Spring Training. Pitching in 20 games for the PawSox, Delcarmen overcame a very rocky start to get the call to the big league club for good on June 17th. Making 40 appearances for the Sox, Delcarmen moved from mop-up duty to become one of Terry Francona's most relied upon relievers, through the regular season and into the playoffs. Holding batters to a .183 batting average, Delcarmen began to flash his off-speed stuff to go with his overpowering fastball. Still prone to some wildness, Delcarmen struggled some in the post-season, but still got a lot of key outs for the ball club. The Hyde Park native lived his dream of winning a World Series with the hometown Red Sox and has become a key member going forward in the 2008 bullpen.

Jon Lester- No one can forget where they were when Lester was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in September of 2006. Through determination, will, and desire Lester returned to the baseball field in the spring of 2007. Brought along slowly by the Red Sox, he began a rehab assignment in the minor leagues to start the season. On July 23rd against the Indians, Lester stepped back onto a big league mound and earned an emotional win in his first start of the season. Lester finished the year 4-0 in 11 up-and-down starts for the Red Sox. No one will quite know what he could have accomplished given an off-season filled with baseball activity rather than cancer treatment, but Lester saved a glimpse of the future for Game 4 of the World Series. Given the ball only because of Tim Wakefield's shoulder injury, Lester fired 5 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the deciding game of the 2007 World Series. Getting stronger each day, Lester made his contribution to the championship run and gave fans a flash of things to come.

Jacoby Ellsbury- Starting the year in AA, not many would have predicted that Ellsbury would be leading off for the Red Sox come the World Series. But, after tearing up AA in the first month of the season, Ellsbury was promoted to AAA, and began knocking on the door to the Major League team. During his initial call-up due to injuries, Ellsbury dazzled fans with his speed when he seemingly impossibly scored from 2nd base on a wild pitch against the Texas Rangers. After returning to AAA to set the Pawtucket consecutive games hitting streak, he was back with the Red Sox for good on September 1st. Starting down the stretch due to injuries, Ellsbury was a key component in holding off the Yankees to win the first division title since 1995. After sitting and watching while Coco Crisp struggled in the first 8 games of the Playoffs, Ellsbury was inserted into the lineup and capped the 2007 season by hitting .438 in the World Series, including a 3 double performance in Game 3 against the Rockies.

Clay Buchholz- Red Sox fans got a glimpse of what they had been waiting for when Buchholz made his Major League debut against the Angels on August 17th at Fenway Park. Picking up the win in the doubleheader start, fans would only have to wait 13 days to see Buchholz burst onto the scene and build uncharted expectations. Filling in for an injured Wakefield on September 1st, Buchholz launched himself onto the national stage by throwing a no-hitter in his second Major League start, in what many call the highlight of the 2007 regular season. A fatigued shoulder shut Buchholz down for the playoffs, but his mark can be felt on the season in his short amount of time he pitched, solidifying himself as the crown jewel of the Red Sox minor league system.

Kason Gabbard- After an impressive Spring Training, Gabbard found himself in a familiar position once again: the minors. The 2000 29th round draft pick ultimately made 14 starts in AAA and 7 for the Red Sox. None were more important than his 4 starts in July while Curt Schilling was on the DL, going 3-0 over that stretch to provide stability to a starting rotation in a time of need. Praised by his teammates for his work ethic and approach to the game, Gabbard showed the depth of the organization and value of having guys who can fill in at the Major League level without much of a drop off. Showcasing the depth once again, Gabbard was traded along with fellow prospects David Murphy and Engel Beltre to the Texas Rangers for reliever Eric Gagne. Whether the trade was an actual success will be seen in the careers of these ex-prospects compared to the draft pick compensation the Sox get for letting Gagne go in free agency. However, the ability of the Red Sox's farmhands to contribute on the field for the team as well as bringing in players to the roster speaks volumes to the success of the Sox system in 2007.

Hanley Ramirez- Not many would think that a player on another team's roster could have such an impact on a season, but Ramirez has become an impact player on all levels. The centerpiece in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox, the 2006 NL ROY has become one the premier shortstops in the league. Beckett, after a rough 2006, established himself as an AL Cy Young candidate, won the ALCS MVP, and had one of quite possibly the best post-seasons a pitcher has ever had in 2007. Lowell, the $9 million a year throw-in, established career highs in batting average and RBI along with hitting .370 in the post-season to capture the World Series MVP award.

Overall, these players really demonstrated the success of the Sox farm system in 2007, and we could be adding a number of names to this list in 2008, names such as Brandon Moss, Justin Masterson, Jed Lowrie, Craig Hansen, and Chris Carter.

Boston.com photo
Read full post ...

at 6:38 AM

Holdzkom earns win as Mesa defeats Phoenix


11/9 Cup of Coffee: In Arizona, Mesa defeated Phoenix 5-3. Lincoln Holdzkom picked up the win in 1 inning of relief. He did not allow a hit, a run or a BB. He had 1 K. Jed Lowrie went 0 for 4 in the game and fanned twice. Jon Still entered the game in the later innings but did not get an AB. In the Hawaiian League, Waikiki took over first place by defeating Honolulu 6-1. Argenis Diaz went 0 for 3 in the game. He is hitting .402. Jason Place went 1 for 3 and is now hitting .246.
Read full post ...

November 8, 2007 at 6:09 AM

Vaquedano throws perfect inning of relief in losing cause


11/8 Cup of Coffee: Surprise defeated Mesa 7-4 in 10 innings last night. Jose Vaquedano threw 1 perfect inning of relief in the game. He fanned 2 of the 3 hitters he faced. His ERA in the Fall League is 4.63. Jed Lowrie went 1 for 4 with a BB and a run scored. Jon Still went 1 for 5 with a RBI. His one hit was a double. The Hawaiian League will resume action tonight.
Read full post ...

November 7, 2007 at 5:58 AM

Jones struggles in Mesa loss


11/7 Cup of Coffee: On Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League, Surprise defeated Mesa 5-2. Hunter Jones came on in relief and was charged with a blown save and the loss. He lasted 1/3 of an inning and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and a BB. He had 1 K. His ERA for the Fall season is 10.80. Jed Lowrie went o for 3 with a BB. He is hitting .176. Jon Still went 0 for 4 and is hitting .156.
Read full post ...

November 6, 2007 at 4:46 PM

Youkilis gets gold glove


Kevin Youkilis has been awarded the 2007 AL Rawlings Gold Glove Award for first base. The award is voted on managers and coaches of each league. Youkilis did not commit an error in 1080 chances. Last year's award went to Mark Teixeira of the Texas Rangers.
Read full post ...

at 6:54 AM

Lowrie goes 0 for 5 in Mesa loss


11/6 Cup of Coffee: In the Arizona League, Mesa fell 7-3 to Scottsdale. Lincoln Holdzkom threw 1 perfect inning of relief which included 2 strikeouts. Jed Lowrie went 0 for 5 in the game. Jon Still went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored. The Honolulu Sharks are idle until November 8th.
Read full post ...

November 4, 2007 at 6:30 AM

James throws 5 strong innings striking out 7


11/4 Cup of Coffee: On Saturday, Scottsdale defeated Mesa 7-1. Daniel Haigwood started and went 3 innings. He gave up 1 run on 3 hits. He did not walk a batter while striking out 4. Jose Vaquedano threw 2 innings of relief. He gave up 3 runs on 5 hits. He did not allow a walk and had 2 Ks. Hunter Jones went 2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits. Jon Still went 1 for 3 with 2 BB. Dusty Brown went 2 for 5 and is now hitting .316. In the Hawaiian League, Honolulu defeated West Oahu 9-3. Jimmy James started and went 5 innings. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits and a BB. He had 7 Ks. Jason Place went 1 for 5 with 2 runs scored.
Read full post ...

November 3, 2007 at 7:32 AM

Place leads Sharks to win


11/3 Cup of Coffee: Action last night in Arizona saw Surprise defeat Mesa 10-3. Jed Lowrie was the only Sox prospect to see action in the game. He went 1 for 3 with a BB and a RBI. He is now hitting .197. Meanwhile in Hawaii, first place Honolulu defeated West Oahu 9-5. Daniel Bard threw another scoreless, hitless inning of relief. He allowed a BB and had 1 K. He lowered his ERA to 0.69. Jason Place was the hitting star of the game goinging 2 for 5 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Argenis Diaz went 0 for 2 with 2 BB and a RBI.
Read full post ...

November 2, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Sox get Danielson, complete Pineiro deal


The Red Sox have received OF Sean Danielson from St. Louis, completing the July 31 trade that send RHP Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals. The Sox have assigned the 25-year-old switch hitter to AA Portland. Danielson hit .291/.370/.384/.754 with one triple, 16 doubles and four HR in 91 games last season at AA Springfield (Cardinals), after starting the year in high-A. He profiles as a reserve outfielder at the big league level.


Read full post ...

at 5:37 PM

Interview with Mike Hazen, Red Sox Director of Player Development


Since the final out of the World Series victory on Sunday, the players, the owners, Terry Francona, and Theo Epstein have been getting a lot of credit for the achievement, and deservedly so. But one man that doesn't get a lot of attention, but who unquestionably deserves a lot of that credit, is Mike Hazen. As the Red Sox' Director of Player Development since the 2005-06 off-season, Hazen deserves some applause for his role in helping to develop the Red Sox farm system. The home-grown players certainly put on a display this season, and several players that were developed under Hazen's watch were crucial to the championship run. Special thanks to Mike for his hard work and for taking the time to answer some questions from SoxProspects.com.

SP: First of all, congratulations on a magical season, it seems as if the organization has created a winning environment that should carry over for seasons to come. What would you say were the organization’s biggest successes in terms of player development in 2007?

MH: I think the easy thing to point to for both player development and scouting would be the contributions of those players that were Red Sox draft picks that started the 2007 season in the minor leagues that went on to contribute to the major league club. Not only Ellsbury and Buchholz, but also players like Kason Gabbard really helped solidify our rotation for about a month. I know our scouts and field staff take a tremendous amount of pride in that, and they should. But in the bigger picture, I would point to some of the staff hirings over the last 12 months as well as seeing the youth of our minor league teams as they climb the ladder as a second factor.

SP: Last time we spoke in July, you mentioned that you thought it would take some time to evaluate the “Lancaster Effect” for both pitchers and hitters. Have you come to any conclusions, even tentative ones, regarding development and evaluation in Lancaster ?

MH: We are getting closer to feeling more comfortable on the overall impact of Lancaster. Clearly there is an effect on both offense and pitching in that park. We saw some of our position players get to Portland and saw their production fall off from the California League levels. Most of these players were promoted in the middle to the end of the season, so I think jumping to Double-A has some effect as well as getting toward the end of the season, but Lancaster propped up some of the statistics as well. From a pitching standpoint we feel comfortable that Portland will be somewhat similar to Lancaster given the conditions, even with players moving up a level.

SP: What were your initial impressions of Nick Hagadone this season?

MH: Nick had a very good half season. Great kid, great work ethic, I think the scouting staff did a great job evaluating him. We will take any and all power arm LHP that we can find, and he showed a good feel for a change-up in the instructional league. Long-term starter vs. reliever will be the biggest discussion over the next 12 months.

SP: Have any particular players stood out in the Fall Instructional League in terms of development?

MH: I think the overall group, with regard to athleticism and size, was extremely impressive overall. Our middle infield was very athletic with Tejeda, Navarro, Middlebrooks, Roque, and Dent, and some of our younger corner players impressed as well. Greenville would project to look somewhat similar to the 2007 team in terms of age/experience which is always exciting from our standpoint -- although you never know how that is going to translate in the win/loss column.

SP: Anything you can share on how Michael Almanzar’s development is coming along in the early going?

MH: Tough to get a great read right now. He is extremely young and athletic but it will take some time for him to develop into his body. At 16, he held his own in the FIL, which was extremely encouraging - he will show you quite a few tools. Next spring, we will get a much better read after a winter of strength gains.

SP: Former first round picks Daniel Bard and Jason Place struggled a bit in 2007 but have seemingly impressed in the Hawaiian League this off-season. Any noteworthy changes in approach that may have catalyzed these improvements?

MH: As we have discussed with Jason, his path was going to take some time with adjustments to his swing and the acclimation to pro ball. He has worked extremely hard to really smooth out his swing mechanics and mental approach at the plate. With time and repetition, we feel he will maximize his potential. With regard to Daniel, he seems to have taken to the bullpen role pretty well, focusing on short stints where he can be ultra aggressive with his approach. Ultimately, we still feel he can either start or relieve but it has been interesting in seeing him in this role.

SP: Have any other players performed beyond expectations in HWB, the AFL, or in the Caribbean Leagues thus far?

MH: Still a little early to get a true read on the winter leagues, but the way Argenis Diaz has been swinging in Hawaii has been extremely encouraging. He really got worn down at the end of the SAL season, and that is when we saw a big drop off in production.

SP: Looking ahead to next season, should PawSox fans anticipate that the organization will stay true to form and sign a lot of minor league free agents to fill the Pawtucket roster in 2008?

MH: I think we will continue to see the progression of young talent that has been moving its way up the system. This has taken some time, and some have moved on to the ML club, but we feel there is a next wave that will be playing in the minor leagues for the next couple of years. As always however, we must provide the ML club with the depth and protection it needs for a six month season. We will look to supplement our young club with some veteran FA’s.

SP: What is the prognosis for Aaron Bates, Ryan Kalish, and Craig Hansen to be back and healthy in time for Spring Training?

MH: All will be fine. Bates had a staph infection that kept him out of the AFL – this was unfortunate for him and something that has cleared up. Ryan had successful surgery on his hamate and is progressing well through his rehab stint. He will begin a swinging progression soon and has already begun his off-season strength training. Craig had minor facial surgery recently and will be ready to go in 3 weeks.

SP: Who of 2007 DSL players should we keep an eye on in 2008?

MH: Stolmy Pimentel and Ronald Bermudez

SP: How does the organization intend to manage middle-infield playing time next season between Ryan Dent, Will Middlebrooks, Yamaico Navarro, and Oscar Tejeda?

MH: Great question, one I do not have an answer to as of yet, we will make those decisions during the course of the off-season. Will be tough decisions, although part of our goal will be to ensure that all of those players get everyday AB’s somewhere.

SP: Over the past four years, there has been an impressive influx of new home grown talent making major contributions each and every season, from Youkilis to Papelbon to Lester to Delcarmen to Pedroia to Ellsbury to Buchholz. Care to make any predictions on what other prospects could be added to this list in 2008?

MH: Our scouting department does a tremendous job evaluating the players that are drafted and hopefully this has provided the club with additional young players that will contribute over the next few years. There are a number of players we believe will have an opportunity to impact the ML club. I think Lowrie, Masterson, Hansen among others will have a good chance in the short term --with hopefully another level of young depth coming behind them.
Read full post ...

at 6:34 AM

Lowrie scores twice in Mesa win


11/2 Cup of Coffee: First place Mesa defeated the Peoria Javelinas 5-3 on Thursday. Jed Lowrie went 1 for 4 with a BB and 2 runs scored. Jon Still went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI. No Sox prospect pitchers took part in the game. There was no action in the Hawaiian League yesterday.
Read full post ...

November 1, 2007 at 6:40 AM

Still goes 2 for 5 in Mesa loss


11/1 Cup of Coffee: In action on the final day in October, the Peoria Javelinas defeated Mesa 10-7. Hunter Jones threw 1 1/3 frames allowing 1 run on 1 hit. He had 1 K. Jose Vaquedano threw 2 innings of relief giving up 1 run on 1 hit and a BB. He had 1 K. Jon Still went 2 for 5 with a RBI. Jed Lowrie went 1 for 4 with a rin scored and a RBI. In Hawaii, Waikiki defeated Honolulu 13-9. Jason Place went 1 for 4 with a home run. Argenis Diaz went 0 for 1 entering the game as a pinch hitter before taking over at shortstop.
Read full post ...

 
Copyright © 2003-2014 SoxProspects, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Email: info@soxprospects.com