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March 16, 2008 at 11:53 AM

3/16 Fort Report - SoxProspects at MLST

Some of the SoxProspects staff and I just returned from Ft. Myers this morning after taking in hours upon hours of practices and live minor league spring training games this weekend. Based on our observations and numerous conversations we had with players, scouts, coaches and family members, we'll be updating the scouting reports, rankings, transactions, projections, pictures, and player page info regularly throughout the week. Its just going to take a little time, there's a lot of new info. For now, here's a list of random notes I've pulled together:

  • Ryan Phillips did not report to camp this spring and has retired from baseball
  • The team signed catchers Sandy Madera and Hayato Doue
  • LHP Mike Conroy is in camp with the team, but at this point has not yet been inked to a contract
  • Michael Lennox is a two-way player this spring, both pitching and playing 3B. He may continue playing both ways into the season.
  • Neither David Harriott nor Justin Erasmus will play in the US this year
  • The Sox brought in RHP Melvin Mancebo for a look but he's no longer with the club
  • Eric Beattie was released this off-season
  • Antony Alvarado, Pedro Rodriguez, Manuel Rivera, and Dennis Neuman are not in camp this spring, and its unclear whether they'll be starting the season in the DSL or in XST
  • Adam Blackley, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Chih-Hsien Chiang are not in camp yet, as they're playing with their respective national teams.
  • Oscar Tejeda's arm is still bandaged from his infection. He's not hitting or playing in games but will return to action on Monday. He's feeling better and wants to get going as soon as he can. He's taken some fielding drills and, according to some tuned-in onlookers, he hasn't impressed with the glove. He was hounded for autographs all day and signed every one.
  • Contrary to some earlier media reports, Kalish's wrist isn't absolutely 100%, but its close. His wrist was taped in the morning and he wore a brace in the afternoon. He's been the "designated pinch runner" for several games this weekend. He said he'll start participating fully in games on Wednesday.
  • Ryan Colvin put on 25 pounds this off-season - look for him to start the season in Greenville
  • Mike Rozier reported out-of-shape, much like he did in 2006. Look for him to start the season in XST.
  • Argenis Diaz is still turning heads at every turn. His defense is at an elite MLB level right now. Three different players said he was the best defensive player they ever saw. And now he's hitting well in minor league camp to follow up on an impressive winter with the bat.
  • Mark Wagner is the other player impressing big time this spring. He's a hard worker, and all reports have raved about his defense.
  • Derwin Pinto's has struggled with his catching skills
  • Daniel Bard has reportedly changed his arm slot to come a little bit more over the top, which has added a little bit of movement to his fastball. We were not able to confirm this first-hand.
  • Ryan Dent has very quick wrists and a nice looking swing. His legs are big, but he doesn't seem as fast as we've heard. Also, he struggled when taking fielding practice at SS, but looked decent at 2B in game play.
  • Will Middlebrooks hit two big home runs in a row in BP. He's got an advanced swing and plate approach for is age. However, he wasn't all that impressive taking grounders at SS, although he did make all the routine plays during the games.
  • Anthony Rizzo is a lot more athletic and lean then we've heard. He looked good taking grounders at 1B. He's vying for a spot n Greenville to start the season.
  • Michael Almanzar is shorter than initially reported. He's probably 6-3, not 6-5 or 6-6. He's really skinny, but his frame has tons of room to fill out. He will probably be a monster when he grows into his body. However, his stance and his swing need a lot of work. A lot. He moves and fidgets in the box a lot. The level of rawness is unprecedented. It really seems like he just started playing baseball in the last year. He's got tools - but he's got a long, long way to go. His throws also came up short on a few routine plays to 1B. No hits or major contact in the at bats we saw of him.
  • A few players seem to think that George Kottaras might grab the backup catcher job in Boston
  • Rafael Cabreja has been converted to a 2B. He already looks really good with the glove at 2B, but the coaches commented he has to learn where to be and when in the field.
  • Ty Weeden gets the bat on the ball real well and has good power to center and to the opposite field. It seems like he slimmed down quite a bit this off-season.
  • Jorge Jimenez took a lot of grounders at SS and actually looked real agile in the field, made some nice-looking plays and throws. He has a basketball player's body and athleticism.
  • Mitch Dening made solid contact every single AB over the weekend, and really impressed with his hustle. He's a scrapper, and has surprising power.
  • Wilfred Pichardo is a very, very good defensive 2B
  • Jennel Hudson has a phenomenal pitchers' frame. He might be 6'6" now - very lean, but lots of room to fill out.
  • Leandro Marin throws gas, which may be why the team has kept him around through two injury plagued seasons. He threw only fastballs in the one inning we saw him pitch.
  • Unfortunately there haven't been any radar guns in camp so far this spring. The organization is emphasizing movement over velocity to the younger pitchers.
  • Kade Keowen and David Marks both hit moonshots during the A-Ball game on Saturday.
  • Drake Britton got lit up in his first outing. However, his fastball has good life and his curveball is plus. His control and command were off, and perhaps he got a touch of the nerves in his first spring outing.
  • Luis Exposito is back with the team this spring and he's in great shape. He's the biggest catcher in camp, and it looks to be all muscle. Look for him to split time with Weeden in Greenville.
  • Deshaun Brooks is a very large man, but surprisingly athletic for his size. He impressed in the field, but he spent both Friday and Saturday with the GCL team.
  • Rafael Espinosa is likely to start the 2007 season in the DSL