SoxProspects News

December 31, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Sox Prospects of the Decade: 31-40


Over the next four days, we’ll be publishing a list of the top forty Red Sox prospects of the last decade. We’re only including players who were original Red Sox signees, and only players who played in Boston's minor league system this decade as prospects (not on rehab assignments). The rankings will be based on the player’s projected career major league contributions. As many of these players are already well into their major league careers at this point and others have yet to even debut in the Majors, it’s a tricky list to make, but we thought it would be an interesting topic for discussion. I’m sure that there will be significant disagreements, but that’s the point. In the first installment, we bring you prospects 31 through 40. We’ll publish numbers 21-30 on Friday, 11-20 on Saturday, and 1-10 on Sunday. I’ve also set up a discussion thread in the SoxProspects Forum for users to discuss the rankings. Happy New Year everybody!

40. Che-Hsuan Lin is one of many promising outfielders presently in the Sox system. Signed as an international free agent in June 2007, Lin has flashed a plus plus arm together with plus speed, range, and glove skills in center field. He also demonstrated improved plate patience in 2009. However, he hasn’t shown a whole lot of power to this point and has yet to hit above .264 in the minors. If he can add a little bit of power and improve his contact rates, Lin is somebody to keep an eye on in the coming years. Even if he continues with his present offensive trends, Lin will make an excellent utility outfielder at the major league level. He'll likely start the 2010 season with Double-A Portland.

39. Wil Ledezma signed with the Sox as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 1998, putting up lackluster numbers in the system through 2002. Detroit selected the lefthander in the Rule 5 Draft in 2002, where he stuck for the 2003 season, remaining with the Tigers into the 2007 season. He then bounced around with five different organizations from mid-2007 through the end of the 2009 season. Ultimately, he went 15-22 with a 5.17 ERA in 160 games over the course of the decade. He recently signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh for the 2010 season with an invitation to spring training.

38. Luis Exposito has shown a lot of promise in four years in the organization, leading to his ranking as the eleventh best Red Sox prospect at decade’s end. Selected as a draft-and-follow in the thirty-first round of the 2005 draft, Exposito signed a pro deal with the Sox just prior to the 2006 draft. In his minor league career thus far, he has hit .280/.326/.439 and has demonstrated excellent offensive and defensive potential. With some slight refinements to his swing and his everyday defensive approach, Exposito has the makings of a major league starter behind the plate.

37. Casey Fossum, a 1999 first-rounder, started 69 games in the Sox system between 2000 and 2003, highlighted by a 2002 campaign in Double-A Trenton where he put up a 2.83 ERA and struck out 130 batters in 117.2 innings over 20 starts. He was sent to Arizona with three other players in the Curt Schilling trade in November 2003. Over nine major league seasons with five major league clubs, the lefthander has gone 40-53 with a 5.45 ERA and 607 strikeouts in 786 innings. He recently signed a one-year deal to play for Hanshin of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.

36. Matt Murton was drafted by Boston in the supplemental first round of the 2003 draft out of Georgia Tech. He spent just two seasons in the Red Sox system, including a 2004 stint with High-A Sarasota in which he hit .301/.372/.452. He was traded to the Cubs in 2004 in the Nomar Garciparra trade, which also brought Boston Orlando Cabrera from Montréal and Doug Mientkiewicz from Minnesota. In five major league seasons with Chicago, Oakland, and Colorado, Murton hit .286/.352/.436, often in a utility outfielder role. He will join Fossum to play for the Hanshin Tigers in 2010.

35. Craig Hansen was universally considered the player closest to the major leagues in the 2005 draft, a primary reason why the Red Sox selected him twenty-sixth overall in the first round that year. While he was often brilliant in the minor leagues, Hansen struggled when given major league opportunities with Boston, putting up a 6.15 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in 74 relief outings. He was sent to Pittsburgh with Brandon Moss in the Manny Ramirez-Jason Bay deal in July 2008, and continued his mediocrity with the Pirates after the trade. Hansen was recently diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, placing his career at risk. If he can overcome the illness and return to the form he demonstrated earlier in his professional career, Hansen still has a lot of promise as a major league reliever.

34. Brandon Moss was drafted in the eighth round in 2002 out of Loganville High School in Georgia. He demonstrated excellent offensive tools during his climb up the organizational ladder from the Gulf Coast League to Pawtucket. After putting up a .917 OPS for the Low-A Augusta GreenJackets in 2004, Moss peaked as the number two prospect in the system that off-season. The outfielder was ultimately traded with Hansen to Pittsburgh in the Ramirez-Bay deal, and has since put up subpar numbers in two season as a reserve for the Pirates. He will battle for a starting spot in Pittsburgh’s outfield in 2010, but more than likely will be utilized as a fourth outfielder.

33. Michael Bowden is presently the tenth ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization. After being drafted in the supplemental first round in 2005, Bowden pitched in 106 minor league games in the Sox system over the course of the decade, going 33-25 with a 3.15 ERA, striking out 477 batters in 532 innings. He’s been inconsistent in nine games with the big league club, putting up an 8.14 ERA early in his major league career. Look for Bowden to start 2010 in Pawtucket’s rotation, with a chance to get some work out of the bullpen or as a spot starter for Boston throughout the course of the season. He presently projects as a solid back-of-the-rotation starter, but could also be used as a late-inning bullpen arm.

32. Shea Hillenbrand, a tenth-round pick from the 1996 draft, concluded his rise through the Sox system in 2000 with Trenton, hitting .323/.347/.463. After two-and-a-half seasons with the big club, Hillenbrand was traded to Arizona for Byung-Hyun Kim in May 2003. In 943 games over seven major league seasons, the third baseman put up a .284 average with 108 home runs and 490 RBI. He last played in the major leagues in 2007, and has since been in and out of the independent leagues.

31. Stolmy Pimentel was signed as an international free agent in July 2006, and has impressed at three levels of the Red Sox system, winning the Red Sox Latin Program Pitcher of the Year in 2007 and being named a New York-Penn League All Star in 2008. We presently rank him as the ninth best prospect in the system. He’ll likely start the 2010 season near the top of Salem’s rotation, and he presently projects to be a candidate for Boston's rotation by 2012.
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December 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Bailey signs with Diamondbacks


Jeff Bailey, a member of the Red Sox organization for the past six seasons, has signed as a minor league free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 31-year-old right-handed hitter had a very successful 2008 campaign with Pawtucket when he was named the International League MVP, in addition to being named the SoxProspects.com Minor League Player of the Week three times. Bailey hit .301/.405/.562 that season with 25 home runs and 75 RBI.

Bailey was originally selected by Florida in the second round of the 1997 draft, signing with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in 2003. In three short major league stints with Boston, Bailey hit .228/.340/.434 in 56 games. His minor league career has spanned thirteen seasons between the Marlins, Expos and Red Sox organizations, during which time he has complied a .268/.368/.454 line with 164 home runs and 668 RBI in 1174 games played.
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at 9:47 AM

Red Sox extend Spinners through 2012


The Red Sox have announced that they have extended the player development contract with the Lowell Spinners, the team's short season Single-A affiliate in the New York Penn league, through the 2012 season. The extension comes after the contract was last extended through the 2010 season at the beginning of the 2008 campaign.

The Spinners have been a part of the Red Sox family since 1996 when they moved from Elmira. The Elmira team had previously served as a Red Sox affiliate from 1973-1992. The team is known for their long sellout streak, which currently stands at 381 games, dating back to August 2, 1999. Due to the team's success, the 2011 NY Penn League All Star game will be hosted by the Spinners.
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December 28, 2009 at 1:04 AM

Caribbean Roundup: December 21-27


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Yeiper Castillo (Aguilas del Zulia) made two appearances, pitching 1.1 perfect innings while striking out one.

Heiker Meneses (Tiburones de La Guaira) made his winter debut, going 1 for 2 on December 21.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made a start on December 22 and picked up the loss, going 5.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) appeared in three games, going 5 for 10.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Aaron Bates (Criollos de Caguas) appeared in two games, going 4 for 8 with an RBI.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 4 for 14 (.286) with an RBI in four games.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 0 for 1 in two games.

Jason Rice (Indios de Mayaguez) made two appearances out of the bullpen, going 1.2 perfect innings, striking out 1.

Angel Sanchez (Indios de Mayaguez) played in four games, going 7 for 15 (.466) with 2 home runs and 3 runs scored.

Fernando Cabrera (Leones de Ponce) made two appearances out of the bullpen, going 1.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits (1 home run) while walking 3 and striking out 1.

Player of the Week: Angel Sanchez who had a hot week, including a 2-home-run performance on December 22 against Ponce.
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December 22, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Infielder Spears signs minor league deal


According to Baseball America, the Red Sox have signed free agent infielder Nate Spears to a minor league deal. Spears, a former fifth-round pick of the Orioles in 2003, was dealt to the Cubs in 2006 as part of the deal that brought Corey Patterson to Baltimore. He spent last season with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, hitting .253/.319/.345 with 20 doubles, 4 triples, and 2 home runs in 368 at-bats. The 24-year-old got off to a particularly brutal start in 2009, hitting just .194 in April and May, but recovered to post a .296 batting average the rest of the way. Spears enjoyed a strong 2008 season as well, hitting .299/.394/.433 while splitting time between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

A versatile left-handed hitter, Spears saw significant time at third base, second base, and shortstop for the Cubs in 2009, but he has spent most of his career at second base. In 2,450 minor league at-bats spanning parts of seven seasons, Spears owns a career line of .276/.358/.389.
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December 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM

SoxProspects Podcast - December 21, 2009


In our December podcast, we discuss Boston's off-season transactions, the fall and winter league performances, and our valuations of Red Sox prospects. The panel is made up of Mike Andrews, Chris Mellen, Chris Hatfield, and Ian Theodoridis.

The Links
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at 10:27 PM

Sox announce minor league coaching staff for 2010


The Red Sox on Monday announced their 2010 minor league coaching staff. Those new to the system this season appear in bold:

Pawtucket Red Sox
:

Manager: Torey Lovullo
Pitching Coach: Rich Sauveur
Hitting Coach: Gerald Perry
Trainer: Jon Jochim

Portland Sea Dogs:

Manager: Arnie Beyeler
Pitching Coach: Bob Kipper
Hitting Coach: Dave Joppie
Trainer: Paul Buchheit

Salem Red Sox:

Manager: Kevin Boles
Pitching Coach: Dick Such
Hitting Coach: Carlos Febles
Trainer: Brandon Henry

Greenville Drive:

Manager: Billy McMillon
Pitching Coach: Kevin Walker
Hitting Coach: Luis Lopez
Trainer: TBA

Lowell Spinners:

Manager: Bruce Crabbe
Pitching Coach: TBA
Hitting Coach: George Lombard
Trainer: David Herrera

Gulf Coast League Red Sox:

Manager: Dave Tomlin
Pitching Coach: Walter Miranda
Hitting Coach: U.L. Washington

Lovullo joins Boston after serving as the manager of the Indians' Triple-A Buffalo Bisons from 2006-2009. As a coach in the Cleveland organization since 2002, he worked his way through the system and won back-to-back manager of the year awards with High-A Kinston and Double-A Akron in 2004 and 2005.

Perry had been the Chicago Cubs hitting coach from 2007 up until June of last season. Over the course of his coaching career he has also served as hitting coach for the Mariners, Pirates and Athletics. He rejoins Pawtucket where he served as hitting coach during the 1998 season.

Lombard begins his coaching career after a sixteen-year professional career in which he played for the Braves, Tigers, Rays, Red Sox, Nationals, Marlins, Dodgers and Indians organizations.

Boles, previously the manager of the Greenville, moves to Salem. McMillion will be making his managerial debut in 2010 after serving as Greenville's hitting coach last season.

Crabbe returns to the role of manager in Lowell, a position he previously held in 2006, when he guided the team to a 39-36 record.

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December 20, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Caribbean Roundup: December 14-20


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Yeiper Castillo (Aguilas del Zulia) made two appearances, picking up the win in relief on December 17, going a combined 1.0 innings without allowing a hit.

Leandro Marin (Leones del Caracas) made one appearance, going 1.0 innings allowing 1 run and 1 walk.

Ramon A. Ramirez (Caribes de Anzoategui) made one start, going 6.0 innings and allowing 4 runs on 5 hits (2 home runs), striking out 1 and walking 3.

Dominican Winter League

Jose Capellan (Toros del Este) made one start and picked up the loss, going 1.1 innings allowing 1 hit and 1 unearned run while striking out 1 and walking 4.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made a start on December 17 and picked up the loss, going 3.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits (1 home run) while walking 2 and striking out 3.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) appeared in seven games, going 6 for 23 (.261) with a double.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Aaron Bates (Criollos de Caguas) appeared in five games, hitting .263 (5-19) with 3 RBI and 2 extra-base hits.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 5 for 16 (.313) with 3 RBI in five games.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 0 for 1 in two games.

Jason Rice (Indios de Mayaguez) made three appearances out of the bullpen, going 4.0 innings allowing 0 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5.

Angel Sanchez (Indios de Mayaguez) played in five games, going 4 for 16 (.250) with 5 runs scored.

Fernando Cabrera (Leones de Ponce) made three appearances out of the bullpen, going 2.1 innings and allowing 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out 2.

Player of the Week: Jason Rice, who was dominant in his three appearances this week, going a combined 4.0 innings allowing no hits and striking out 5.
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December 16, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Sox sign Lackey and Cameron


The Red Sox were busy bolstering their rotation and adding a key piece to their outfield as they signed John Lackey and Mike Cameron this week. The team will be holding two separate press conferences today to introduce the newest additions, with Cameron being introduced at 11:30 a.m. ET, followed by Lackey at 1:30 p.m.

Lackey, winner of game 7 of the 2002 World Series as a rookie for the Angels, has signed a five-year contract worth a reported $82.5 million. He has averaged almost 14 wins per season for the past five seasons and has pitched well in thirteen postseason games. For his career, Lackey is 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA in 234 games, all with the Angels. Last season, Lackey went 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 27 starts.

Cameron, a three-time Gold Glove winner (2001, 2003, 2006), has signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal. Last season with the Brewers, he hit .250 with 24 home runs and 70 RBI. The defensive position Cameron will primarily play this upcoming season has not yet been determined. In fifteen Major League seasons, Cameron has compiled a .250 average with 265 homers, 926 RBIs and a .340 on-base percentage playing for the White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres and Brewers.

The signing of Lackey will give the Angels Boston's first-round pick (#29), plus a supplemental first-round pick. The compensation for the Blue Jay's loss of Marco Scuatro will now tentatively become Boston's second-round selection (#67), in addition to a supplemental first-round selection.

Update: Cameron's contract breaks down as follows
per Alex Speier of WEEI: Will receive a $1 million signing bonus and $7.25 million salaries in each of the next two years. Limited no-trade protection with the right to veto trades to three teams.
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December 14, 2009 at 8:22 AM

Caribbean Roundup: December 7-13


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Yeiper Castillo (Aguilas del Zulia) made one appearance out of the bullpen, going 0.1 innings, allowing 1 run, no hits, 2 walks and striking out 1.

Leandro Marin (Leones del Caracas) made one appearance, going 0.1 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 1 hit and 1 walk.

Ramon A. Ramirez (Caribes de Anzoategui) made two starts totaling 5.0 innings, allowing 11 hits and 9 runs (8 earned), striking out 7 and walking 3.

Dominican Winter League

Jose Capellan (Toros del Este) made an appearance out of the bullpen on December 11, going 0.2 innings allowing 3 walks and striking out 2.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made a start on December 10 and picked up the loss, going 2.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 5 hits (1 home run) while walking 3 and striking out 3.

Angel Chavez (Caneros de los Mochis) appeared in six games, going 3 for 18 with a double.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) appeared in five games, going 6 for 13 with 1 home run.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Aaron Bates (Criollos de Caguas) appeared in five games, hitting .316 (6-19) with 4 RBI and 3 extra-base hits.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 7 for 13 (.538) in four games with 3 runs scored.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts in his lone appearance.

Jason Rice (Indios de Mayaguez) made two appearances out of the bullpen, going 2.1 innings allowing 1 hit, 3 runs (none earned) while walking 4 and striking out 1.

Angel Sanchez (Indios de Mayaguez) played in five games, going 8 for 18 (.444) with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Reymond Fuentes (Gigantes de Carolina)- appeared in two games, going 1 for 4 with a run scored and two strikeouts.

Player of the Week: Iggy Suarez, who hit .538 in his four games this week with 3 runs scored.
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December 13, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Red Sox busy with minor league moves


The minor league free agent season is in full swing now that the Rule 5 Draft has passed, and the Red Sox were busy making the following moves this weekend:

Baseball America first reported some of these transactions, and also reported Saturday that former Sox minor-leaguers Enrique Gonzalez and Travis Denker have signed minor leagues deals with Detroit and Seattle, respectively. Additionally, our sources indicate that Boston recently released pitcher Miguel Marquez, who had been selected from Seattle in the Triple-A phase of the 2008 Rule 5 Draft. Marquez missed the entire 2009 season with an injury and never made an appearance in the Sox system.
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December 11, 2009 at 1:32 PM

2010 Red Sox Rookie Development Program participants announced


The annual Red Sox Rookie Development Program is set to take place in early January at Boston College. The development program is a ten day camp that allows Red Sox coaches to prepare the system's MLB-ready prospects for life in the big leagues. Players are chosen for the program because the organization feels that they will be likely to contribute at the Major League level within the next twelve to eighteen months. The players are tutored on the physical and mental aspects of playing in the Majors, with a particular focus on the challenges of playing in Boston.

Many young Red Sox who have participated in the past have spoken highly of the program, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia. Included in the program are sessions on dealing with the media, money management, alcohol, drugs, umpire relations, and other obstacles that players may face upon reaching the major leagues. Days are broken up into two sessions, with mornings spent on the field and afternoons spent in the classroom. The program also allows the up-and-coming players to get to know each other, as some of the participants may have played at different levels in the Sox system in the previous year.

According to WEEI's Alex Speier, the eleven players who will participate in this year's Rookie Development Program are Casey Kelly (pictured), Randor Bierd, Kyle Weiland, Junichi Tazawa, Ryne Miller, Felix Doubront, Luis Exposito, Jose Iglesias, Yamiaco Navarro, Che Hsuan Lin, and Ryan Kalish. Kelly, Bierd, Exposito, Iglesias and Kalish were all participants in the Arizona Fall League this offseason for the Mesa Solar Sox.

In addition, according to SoxProspects.com sources, Mark Wagner, Aaron Bates, and Dustin Richardson will be attending the MLB Rookie Development Program in Washington D.C. this January. This program is a four-day crash course for prospects on life in the Major Leagues. For more information on participants in previous programs, check out the Sox Prospects Wiki.
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December 10, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Red Sox acquire Boof Bonser


The Red Sox have acquired pitcher Boof Bonser from the Minnesota Twins, according to Bonser's agent Larry Reynolds. The Twins will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations in exchange for the big right-hander, who missed all of 2009 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in February.

Bonser, 28, a first round selection of the San Francisco Giants in the 2000 amateur draft, had previously been designated for assignment by the Twins on December 8. In three Major League seasons, Bonser is 18-25 with a 5.12 ERA in 96 games, including 60 starts, with 317 strikeouts in 391.2 innings pitched. Across eight minor league seasons, he has compiled a 3.63 ERA with 917 strikeouts in 886.2 innings pitched.

Bonser is perhaps best known for being traded, with Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan, to Minnesota in 2003 for catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
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at 9:13 AM

Jimenez, Zerpa taken in Major League Phase of Rule 5 Draft


A pair of Sox prospects have been selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Jorge Jimenez was selected by the Houston Astros and Armando Zerpa was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays. Jimenez will reportedly head from Houston to the Florida Marlins as the player to be named later in a trade for reliever Matt Lindstrom.

Jimenez (pictured), originally selected in the fifteenth round of the 2006 draft, spent the entire 2009 season with the Portland Sea Dogs, hitting .289 with 13 home runs and 87 RBI. A SoxProspects.com All-Star at third base in each of the past three seasons, Jimenez was also named a California League All-Star in 2008 while with Lancaster and an Eastern League All-Star in 2009. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter was Portland's Most Valuable Player in 2009 as well, and has a career minor league line of .298/.377/.423 in 367 games played, all in the Red Sox organization.

Zerpa, signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2004, split the 2009 season between Greenville and Salem, putting up a 1.20 ERA in 22 games with Greenville while striking out more than a batter per inning. His efforts for the Drive in 2009 earned him a South Atlantic League All-Star nod. With Salem, Zerpa put up a 4.95 ERA in 16 games. The 22-year-old southpaw holds a 3.12 career ERA in 184.1 innings pitched over the last five seasons.
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December 9, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Red Sox prospects to sign autographs to support the Jimmy Fund


BOSTON – Boston Red Sox players and up-and-coming minor leaguers will sign autographs to benefit the Jimmy Fund at the fifth annual “New Stars for Young Stars” event on Saturday, January 9, from 11:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Jillian’s Boston.

The lineup includes: Red Sox outfielders Josh Reddick and Jeremy Hermida, pitcher Manny Delcarmen, prospect Ryan Westmoreland (ranked as the #2 Red Sox prospect by SoxProspects.com), 2009 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year Ryan Kalish, and 2009 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year Casey Kelly. Former Red Sox great and 2004 World Series champion Trot Nixon will also be taking part in the event.

Tickets are presently on sale at www.jimmyfund.org/new-stars. Two types of tickets are available: (1) an MVP ticket at $250, which includes an official MLB jersey, plus one of the first thirty spots in line; and (2) regular admission tickets at $150 each. All ticket holders can bring one guest, but only the ticket holder may receive autographs. A buffet lunch will be served and sports memorabilia will be on sale. In addition, there will be an opportunity drawing, a silent auction, and bowling to help strike out cancer.

New Stars for Young Stars is hosted by the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston and has quickly become a popular event for Red Sox fans, already having raised nearly $100,000 since its inception in 2006.

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 Amy Powers at 617-632-3613.
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December 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM

Red Sox claim Ramon A. Ramirez off waivers


According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, the Red Sox have claimed pitcher Ramon A. Ramirez off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Ramirez was originally claimed off waivers by the Rays earlier this offseason from the Cincinnati Reds. The Red Sox will find out Wednesday if they have been awarded the claim placed on Ramirez.

In parts of two major league seasons with the Reds, the 27-year-old appeared in 16 games and posted a 2.97 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched. Working primarily as a starter in the Reds minor league system, he compiled a 35-36 record with a 3.91 ERA in 645.1 innings pitched averaging 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Update: The Red Sox have been awarded the claim on Ramirez, he is now an official member of the team.
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December 7, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Sox sign Fabio Castro


According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Red Sox have signed reliever Fabio Castro. The 25 year old Castro was originally signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2001 as an undrafted free agent. After three years in the White Sox system, he was the first overall selection by the Kansas City Royals in the 2005 Rule V Draft. He was then immediately traded to the Texas Rangers for Esteban German. Castro made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2006 before being traded once again to the Philadelphia Phillies for Daniel Haigwood. In 16 games out of the Phillies bullpen in 2006, he posted a 1.54 ERA in 16 games. He remained a part of the Phillies organization for all of 2007 and 2008, only making 10 appearances with the club in 2007. Castro was sent packing once again in the 2009 offseason, this time to the Toronto Blue Jays, to complete an earlier trade for Matt Stairs.

Castro has posted a 3.30 ERA in 30 games at the major league level in 43.2 innings across two seasons. In seven season in the minors, he has compiled a 3.52 ERA in 214 games (61 starts) striking out 499 batters across 572.1 innings.
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at 4:54 PM

Kelly to pitch full time


According to numerous sources, Theo Epstein announced at a press conference this afternoon that Casey Kelly has elected to pitch full time in 2010. Epstein indicated that he received the call just a few days ago, following a meeting with Kelly in Fort Myers last week. At that meeting, the parties discussed whether Kelly would resume his career as a full time pitcher or shortstop in 2010, a question that has been on everyone's mind since Kelly signed with the Sox as a two-way player in August 2008 and then split time at both positions in 2009. While the Sox brass undoubtedly preferred Kelly choose to continue his career on the mound, they ultimately left the decision to Kelly himself. Epstein expressed a great deal of excitement about Kelly's ultimate decision.

In terms of what's next, Kelly will attend the Red Sox Rookie Development Program this January and will be invited to big league camp this spring. According to the Sox general manager, Kelly should see time in the "high minors" in 2010 and could work his way onto the major league radar in the next year or two. The question is whether the 20-year-old pitcher will start the 2010 season in High-A Salem or in Double-A Portland. Ultimately, that may not be decided until March.
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at 4:34 PM

Gabbard re-signs with Boston


As previously reported by Mike Andrews in the SoxProsects Forum in November, today Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe confirmed that lefthander Kason Gabbard has re-signed with the Red Sox. Gabbard, originally drafted in 2000 by the Red Sox, was an effective member of the Major League squad in 2007. He made seven starts and posted a 4-0 record with a 3.73 ERA before being traded to the Rangers as part of a package for Eric Gagne. Gabbard was re-acquired by Boston early last season and pitched for Lowell and Portland.
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at 12:26 PM

Red Sox sign Scott Atchison


According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Red Sox have signed reliever Scott Atchison to a one year deal with club options for 2011 and 2012. The 33-year-old right-hander had spent the previous two seasons in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers.

Atchison was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the forty-ninth round of the 1998 Draft. He spent seven years in the Seattle organization, primarily in the minor leagues, only making 31 appearances out of the bullpen for the Mariners in short stints in 2004 and 2005. He signed with the San Francisco Giants in 2007, making 22 appearances out of the bullpen with a 4.11 ERA. Atchison was then signed by the Boston Red Sox to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training in 2008 before being sold to Hanshin. Last season with Hanshin, Atchison posted a 1.70 ERA in 75 games across 90.0 innings, with 81 strikeouts against 20 walks.

In parts of three Major League seasons, Atchison has posted a 4.10 ERA with a 2-3 record over 68.0 innings in 53 appearances, with 70 strikeouts against 25 walks. He has a career 3.83 ERA with 658 strikeouts in 771.1 minor league innings spanning parts of nine seasons.

Update: According to Alex Speier of WEEI, Atchison's deal is non-guaranteed, and pays him $420,000 in 2010 with two team options that would pay him $440,000 in 2011 and $600,000 in 2012 if exercised. Atchison reportedly has one minor league option year remaining, and he will be given the chance to earn a Major League bullpen role in spring training.
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at 7:44 AM

Caribbean Roundup: November 30-December 6


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Enrique Gonzalez (Tiburones de La Guaira) made the start on December 4, going 5.0 innings allowing 6 runs on 8 hits while striking out 4.

Dominican Winter League

Jose Capellan (Toros del Este) made an appearance out of the bullpen on November 30 in which he failed to record an out after walking 2 batters.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made start on December 4 and picked up the loss, going 6.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits (1 home run) while walking 3 and striking out 6.

Angel Chavez (Caneros de los Mochis) appeared in 6 games, going 3 for 18 with a double.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) had an excellent week, going 7 for 12 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, and 6 RBI.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Aaron Bates (Criollos de Caguas) appeared in 6 games, hitting .400 in 20 at-bats with 4 multi-hit performances.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 2 for 9 in four games with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts in his lone appearance.

Jose Vaquedano (Leones de Ponce) made an appearance on December 6 where he failed to record an out, walking 2.

Player of the Week: Reynaldo Rodriguez was a force to be reckoned with this week, going 7 for 12 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, and 6 RBI.
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December 4, 2009 at 4:22 AM

Sox agree to terms with Scutaro


According to multiple sources, the Red Sox are set to announce the signing of Marco Scutaro to a two-year pact with an option for a third year. ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that the deal will pay Scutaro a $1 million signing bonus, $5 million in 2010, and $5 million in 2011. The 2012 option is a mutual one that will pay the Venezuelan infielder $6 million if the club picks it up, and $3 million if Scutaro picks it up plus a $1.5 million buyout. The deal is pending the results of a physical.

Scutaro, originally signed as an international free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 1994, spent seven years in the minors between the Indians, Brewers and Mets organizations before making his major league debut in 2002. In eight major league seasons between the Mets, Athletics, and Blue Jays, he has posted a career line of .265/.337/.384.

Scutaro is coming off of a career year with the Blue Jays in which he had a career high 574 at-bats and hit .282/.379/.409 with 12 home runs and 60 RBI. Scutaro has also played in both World Baseball Classics, appearing for Italy in 2006 and Venezuela in 2009. Due to Scutaro's Type-A free agent status, the Red Sox will surrender draft pick compensation to Toronto.
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December 2, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Jason McLeod to San Diego


According to Peter Gammons, Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod is heading to his hometown of San Diego to join the Padres organization as an asistant general manager. McLeod, who has been Boston's head of amateur scouting since December 2005, joins the recently departed Jed Hoyer, who took over as the Padres' general manager last month. More information to follow.

Deceber 3 update: WEEI's Rob Bradford reports that Boston will fill McLeod's spot aith an internal candidate. Bradford also indicates that one candidate is 31-year-old Assistant Scouting Director Amiel Sawdaye. Sawdaye has been the ASD since McLeod took the head job in 2005.
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November 30, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Caribbean Roundup: November 23-29


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Juan Apodaca (Aguilas del Zulia) went 0 for 2 in one appearance.

Leandro Marin (Leones del Caracas) was roughed up in his lone appearance of the week, going 0.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits while taking the loss.

Enrique Gonzalez (Tiburones de La Guaira) made 2 starts during the week, picking up a win on November 24. In total, he pitched 10.0 innings, allowing 15 hits and 6 earned runs while striking out 6 and walking 2.

Yeiper Castillo (Aguilas del Zulia) made 2 appearances out of the bullpen, picking up 2 wins in his 3.2 innings of work while allowing only 1 hit.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made 2 starts, also picking up the win on November 24. He pitched 13.0 innings total, allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks. He struck out 7.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) went 3 for 14 with a double in five games.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Aaron Bates (Criollos de Caguas) 2 for 7 with a home run, 4 RBI and 3 runs scored across two games.

Reymond Fuentes (Gigantes del Carolina) went 2 for 11 with an RBI and a run scored in three games.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 5 for 13 in five games with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 0 for 1 with a run scored in two games.

Jose Vaquedano (Leones de Ponce) made 2 relief appearances, going 1.1 innings total and allowing 2 walks while recording a strikeout.

Player of the Week: Yeiper Castillo, who was dominant in 2 relief appearances, picking up 2 wins and only allowing 1 hit in his 3.2 innings of work.
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November 27, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Torey Lovullo to be named manager of Pawtucket


According to Cleveland.com, Torey Lovullo, the manager for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers in the Cleveland Indians system, will become the next manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Lovullo has spent the past four seasons as the manager of the Triple-A affiliate for Cleveland, starting when the team was the Buffalo Bisons in 2006 and continuing as the team moved to Columbus following the 2008 season. He began his coaching career in the Cleveland system in 2001 as a roving instructor and won back-to-back manager of the year awards with High-A Kinston and Double-A Akron in 2004 and 2005. He was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1987 amateur draft, playing in parts of eight Major League seasons with the Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, Indians and Phillies. He posted a career Major League line of .224/.301/.335, and also won back-to-back championships with the Buffalo Bisons as a player in 1997-1998, being named playoff MVP both seasons.
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November 25, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Red Sox acquire Tug Hulett from Kansas City


The Red Sox have acquired infielder Tug Hulett from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hulett, originally drafted in the fourteenth round of the 2004 amateur draft by Texas, spent parts of four seasons with the Rangers organization before being traded to Seattle for Ben Broussard. He made his major league debut with Seattle in 2008 and hit .224/.309/.306 in 30 major league games that season. Hulett appeared in 15 games with Kansas City last year, hitting .111/.158/.111 in 18 at-bats. He is a career .284 hitter in parts of six minor league seasons with a .393 on-base percentage. Last season with the Triple-A Omaha Royals, Hulett hit .291/.384/.473 with 11 home runs and 9 steals in 99 games.
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at 1:33 PM

SoxProspects rankings shakeup


The SoxProspects rankings received a little bit of a shake-up today, particularly towards the top. Ryan Westmoreland jumped up to the second spot, switching spots with Josh Reddick, who slides down to four. Reddick and Ryan Kalish continue to run neck-and-neck as the top outfielder in the higher levels, with Kalish barely edging out Reddick this time around. Anthony Rizzo also moved up two spots to sixth. Looking on down the line, Derrik Gibson, Dustin Richardson, Tim Federowicz, and Mark Wagner also jumped up into the top twenty.

Most of the rankings changes can be attributed to updated scouting report information we’ve received through conversations with the Sox front office, expert scouts, and other baseball professionals. For example, we continue to receive glowing reviews of Westmoreland, which has only reinforced are previous evaluations of his potential. Similarly, the positive reports on Rizzo – particularly his defense – have persisted throughout the off-season.

Some of the rankings adjustments are also attributable to fall and winter league performance. In those cases, the evaluations are based far more on recent scouting evaluations than those players’ small sample size statistical performances. For instance, reports on Richardson’s fastball in the Arizona Fall League have been impressive, while he put up an inconsistent statistical performance for Mesa this fall.

Next season, look for weekly Rankings Reports on the SoxProspects rankings adjustments.
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November 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Red Sox set Major League coaching staff


The Red Sox have set their Major League coaching staff for the 2010 season. Demarlo Hale, who has served as the Red Sox third base coach the past four seasons, will be the club's new bench coach, taking over a role vacated by Brad Mills, who was named manager of the Houston Astros. Former Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson will become the team's first base coach, and current first base coach Tim Bogar will become the team's third base coach. Rob Leary, who has spent the past seven seasons as the organization's minor league field coordinator, will be added as a Major League coaching staff assistant.

Hale played parts of four seasons with the Red Sox and Athletics organizations between 1984 and 1988. He began his coaching career in 1993 as manager of Class-A Fort Lauderdale in the Boston system. He also served as manager of Sarasota, Trenton and Michigan teams in the Red Sox organization, and was named manager of the year in 1996 with Michigan. Hale also managed in the Texas organization, guiding the Triple-A Oklahoma Red Hawks in 2000 and 2001, and served as the Rangers third base coach and as an outfield instructor before becoming the Red Sox third base coach in 2006.

Johnson played briefly for the Royals and Expos organizations between 1982 and 1984 before beginning his managerial career with the Kansas City organization, taking the helm for the Class-A Baseball City Royals in 1992. He spent six seasons in the Kansas City organization, also managing Double-A Witchita and Triple-A Omaha. Johnson joined the Red Sox organization in 2000, spending two seasons as manager of the Class-A Sarasota Red Sox. He served as manager of Double-A Trenton from 2002-2004 before spending the past five seasons as manager of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

Bogar played parts of nine major league seasons with the Mets, Astros and Dodgers organizations, hitting .228. Bogar managed the Greenville Astros in 2004 and the Lexington Legends in 2005 while with the Houston organization. He moved to the Indians organization in 2006, spending two seasons as the manager of the Double-A Akron Aeros. He was named Eastern League Manager of the Year for 2006. Bogar joined the Red Sox coaching staff last season as first base coach.

Leary's duties, per a Red Sox press release, will include "organizing Spring Training workouts, helping the coaching staff in all pre-game on-field preparations, assisting in the advance scouting effort, as well as completing special in-game assignments as delegated by Manager Terry Francona." Leary is entering his ninth season with the Red Sox, the prior seven as the club's roving minor league field coordinator after spending one year as the Sox' minor league catching instructor. He spent the prior seven seasons with the Florida Marlins in various roles - advance scout, director of field operations, minor league field coordinator and catching instructor. As a player, Leary spent five seasons in the minors after being drafted by the Expos in 1986, serving as a player/coach for Single-A Rockford in his final season on the field in 1990. He managed Rockford for two more seasons after retiring as a player, then managed Single-A West Palm Beach for two more from 1993-1994.
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at 9:00 AM

Arizona Fall League Recap


After the final out of Saturday's Championship Game between the Phoenix Desert Dogs and the Peoria Javelinas, the 2009 Arizona Fall League season officially came to a close. While no Red Sox prospects participated in Saturday's game, the team did send eight players, four pitchers and four position players, to the AFL to play for the Mesa Solar Sox. The team finished 13-18 and finished in last place in the Eastern Division and in the league. Let's take a look back to see how these Red Sox prospects fared:



Hitters:

Luis Exposito: After finishing strong for Double-A Portland in 2009, expectations for Exposito were high as the AFL season began. With a strong .314/.364/.431 line and only 7 strikeouts in 51 at-bats, the 22-year-old catcher did what he had to do to meet those expectations. Exposito made 14 starts behind the plate for Mesa, collecting 3 doubles, 1 home run and 4 RBI in the process. His .314 batting average was good for fourth on the Solar Sox roster, and he hit .333 against left-handed pitching. Boston's thirty-first-round pick in the 2005 draft, Exposito is currently SoxProspects.com's eleventh-ranked Red Sox prospect.

Ryan Kalish: Like Exposito, Kalish had a strong 2009 for the Portland Sea Dogs. Also like Exposito, Kalish enjoyed a strong AFL season for the Mesa Solar Sox. Playing all three outfield positions, Kalish hit .301/.384/.384 with 3 doubles and 1 home run. His 15 RBI, buoyed by a .417 batting average with runners in scoring position, were good for second on the team, as were his 6 stolen bases, while his 10 walks in 73 at-bats were third on the team. The 21-year-old also struck out 22 times, however, good for third on the Solar Sox as well. His 14 runs scored ranked him fourth. Kalish joined the organization as a ninth-round pick in the 2006 draft. He is the third-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Casey Kelly: While Kelly may be one of the top-rated prospects in the Red Sox organization as a pitcher, his showing in the AFL as a hitter left much to be desired. In 41 at-bats spread over 11 games played, Kelly hit just .171/.261/.244, striking out 17 times. His .244 slugging percentage and .505 OPS were both worst on the Mesa roster, while his .171 batting average would have ranked worst in the league had he accumulated enough at-bats to qualify. On a more positive note, Kelly did walk in 10.8% of his plate appearances, ranking him fifth on the team, and he did hit a respectable .286/.318/.429 with runners on base. The top-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxPropsects.com was a first-round pick in 2008.

Jose Iglesias: Making his first professional appearance since signing with the Red Sox out of Cuba in September, the 19-year-old shortstop more than held his own. Iglesias hit .275/.324/.420 in 69 at-bats for Mesa, including 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 12 RBI and only 11 strikeouts. The right-handed infielder performed similarly against right-handed and left-handed pitching, batting .276 and .273, respectively. However, the story on Iglesias is his prowess in the field, and scouting reports were unanimously glowing about his quick hands and fluid movements at short. Iglesias, who took part in the AFL's Rising Stars Game, is currently the tenth-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com.

Pitchers:

Randor Bierd: After working primarily as a relief pitcher for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2009, Bierd came to the AFL to work as a starter, as he had in the latter part of the regular season. The 25-year-old right-hander made 7 starts for Mesa covering 25.1 innings, both team highs. He ended up 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA, striking out 17 and walking 12. Of the 25 hits Bierd allowed, only one was a home run. Acquired by Boston from Baltimore in exchange for David Pauley in January, Bierd is rated fifth amongst post-prospects in the Red Sox organization by SoxProspects.com.

Richie Lentz: In 2008, Lentz put up a marvelous campaign for Lancaster and Portland, pitching to a 3.14 ERA and striking out 112 batters in 77.1 innings. Things did not go so well for him in 2009, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander struggled to a 5.98 in 49.2 innings, striking out 74 but walking 39 while battling a loss of command and injuries. Needless to say, Lentz and the Red Sox hoped that he could rediscover his effectiveness in the AFL, and in many ways he did. Lentz went 1-0 with 3 holds and a 4.11 ERA in 10 games, striking out 16 and walking only 3 in 15.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .224 batting average. His 5.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked third on the Solar Sox roster, while his 1.04 WHIP was second. The 25-year-old Lentz, a nineteenth-round pick in 2006, is presently the forty-third-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Chris Province: A fourth-round pick in the 2007 Draft, Province posted a stellar 2.60 ERA for Portland in 2009. The 24-year-old right-hander did nearly as well for Mesa in the AFL, pitching to a 3.46 ERA with 2 saves in 13.0 innings. Province allowed only 9 hits, limiting opposing hitters to a .200 batting average, while his 1.08 WHIP was third on the team. He was most effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .172 batting average in 8.2 innings, and he also did well when runners were in scoring position, holding hitters to a .100 batting average in those situations. Province is SoxProspects.com's forty-seventh rated Red Sox prospect.

Dustin Richardson: For Richardson, 2009 brought a world of change, as the tall left-hander transitioned to a bullpen role after a challenging 2008 campaign as a starter. Richardson pitched well as a reliever, posting a 2.55 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 74.0 innings between Portland and Pawtucket, even earning a call-up to Boston to make his Major League debut. Naturally, expectations were high for Richardson in the AFL, but things didn't quite go as planned. In 11 games and 11.2 innings for Mesa, Richardson posted a 5.40 ERA, allowing 3 home runs and walking 10 en route to a 1.97 WHIP. It wasn't all bad for Richardson, though, as his 13.88 strikeouts per 9.0 innings was second on the team. A fifth-round pick in 2006, Richardson, who also took part in the AFL's Rising Stars Game, is the twenty-third-ranked prospect in the system by SoxProspects.com.
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at 7:12 AM

Caribbean Roundup: November 16-22


Here's how Boston's prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Leandro Marin
(Leones del Caracas) made one appearance out of the bullpen, going 1.1 innings allowing a hit and a walk.

Enrique Gonzalez (Tiburones de La Guaira) started November 18, going 4.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits (1 home run), walking 3 and striking out 4.

Yeiper Castillo (Aguilas del Zulia) made 2 appearances out of the bullpen, pitching 0.2 innings allowing 2 hits, striking out 1 and walking 1.

Dominican Winter League

Jose Capellan (Toros del Este) made 2 starts during the week, going 0-1 in 6.1 innings pitched, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits (1 home run), walking 9 and striking out 4.

Mexican Winter League

Robert Coello (Algodoneros de Guasave) made a start on November 18, going 2.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 2.

Angel Chavez (Caneros de los Mochis) appeared in 3 games, going 1 for 12 with 2 runs scored.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Leones de Monteria) went 6 for 19 with a triple, serving primarily as the Leones lead-off hitter.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Reymond Fuentes (Gigantes del Carolina) went 1 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored in his lone appearance this week.

Jorge Jimenez (Indios de Mayagüez) was 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI in 2 games.

Iggy Suarez (Leones de Ponce) went 0 for 5 in 3 games.

Kenneth Roque (Leones de Ponce) was 2 for 6 in 2 appearances.

Jose Vaquedano (Leones de Ponce) made 2 relief appearances, going 0.2 innings total and allowing 2 walks while recording a strikeout.

Andrew Dobies
(Leones de Ponce) made 3 appearances out of the bullpen, pitching 2.0 innings and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 2.

Player of the Week: Jorge Jimenez, who stayed hot for Mayaguez, going 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI this week to bring his average to .400 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in his first 10 at-bats.
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November 22, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Correction: Rule 5 Eligible Players


Over the past week, we reported on players who we had believed would be eligible for the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled to take place on December 10. It turns out that we were incorrect on five of the players who will be eligible for this year's Rule 5 Draft, most notably Yamaico Navarro. According to a newly-discovered amendment to Rule 5, Navarro will not be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until next year. My apologies for the confusion.

Here is the reasoning for my error. The names of players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft are not publicly available. In fact, the text of Rule 5 itself is not publicly available, and until this week I only had a copy of the Rule as it existed in 2005. I determined Rule 5 eligibility of every player in the system using my interpretation of the complicated language of Rule 5, and our knowledge of the signing date and contract status of each player in the system (which is also not always publicly available). Because of this lack of public information, it is sometimes difficult to
precisely determine the exact Rule 5 status of every player in the system.

As you might remember, Rule 5 was recently amended to add another year of protection to every minor league player. At that time, Rule 5 was also amended to start the Rule 5 "clock" running from the year the player signed his first professional contract instead of the first effective year of that contract.
I was told at the time that the "year" clock started running at the Rule 5 Draft itself in early December, and I updated our Rule 5 calculations accordingly (I did not have a copy of newly-amended Rule 5 at the time).

I just received an actual copy of amended Rule 5
. It turns out that the "year" clock actually starts to run at the end of the minor league regular season, rather than the Rule 5 Draft itself. As such, that means players who signed their original professional contracts between season end and early December actually have one more year of Rule 5 protection than we previously thought. This affects the following five players who we originally believed would be eligible for next month's draft: Ronald Bermudez, Mitch Dening, Yamaico Navarro, Chih-Hsien Chiang, and Yeiper Castillo. My apologies for the confusion.

For those interested, here is the text of Rule 5(c), which outlines eligibility for the Rule 5 Draft.
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November 21, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Ron Johnson to be added to Boston coaching staff


According to multiple sources, Pawtucket Red Sox manager Ron Johnson will be joining the Major League coaching staff in Boston. The exact position he will fill has yet to be determined. Johnson first joined the Red Sox organization in 2000 as the manager of the Class-A Sarasota Red Sox in the Florida State League after eight seasons managing in the Kansas City organization. Johnson would manage the team for two seasons before moving to the Double-A level for the next three, managing the Trenton Thunder / Portland Sea Dogs from 2002 through 2004.

In 2005, Johnson took over the Pawtucket Red Sox managerial position from Buddy Bailey, guiding the team to a 357-359 record over the course of the next five seasons. Johnson's Paw Sox twice finished second in the International League's Northern Division, including setting a franchise record for wins in 2008 by going 85-58. Over the course of his 17-year managerial career in the Royals and Red Sox systems, Johnson's teams have gone 1173-1202.

Johnson, 53, also played in parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues, putting up .261/.358/.304 numbers in 55 plate appearances with Kansas City and Montreal from 1982 through 1984. He also owns a career minor league line of .289/.333/.434 with in parts of eight seasons played.
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at 1:06 PM

Red Sox set 40-man roster


The Boston Red Sox yesterday set their 40-man roster in accordance with the midnight Friday deadline, making the claim of Robert Manuel the team's only change. The 40-man roster now stands at 32 players and is as follows:

Pitchers: Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Manny Delcarmen, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester, Robert Manuel, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Ramirez, Dustin Richardson, Junichi Tazawa and Tim Wakefield

Catchers: Dusty Brown, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek and Mark Wagner

Infielders: Aaron Bates, Jose Iglesias, Casey Kotchman, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis

Outfielders: Brian Anderson, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida and Josh Reddick

Designated hitter: David Ortiz

The following players that were left unprotected are now eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft on December 10:

Juan Apodaca, Anatanaer Batista, Travis Beazley, Bubba Bell, Randor Bierd, Jason Blackey, Zach Borowiak, Cesar Cabral, Robert Coello, Bryce Cox, Zach Daeges, Sean Danielson, Andrew Dobies, Reid Engel, Kyle Fernandes, Kason Gabbard, Miguel Gonzalez, Matt Goodson, Tommy Hottovy, Jorge Jimenez, Kris Johnson, Mike Jones, Ryan Khoury, TJ Large, Will Latimer, Ryne Lawson, Richie Lentz, Leandro Marin, Miguel Marquez, Blake Maxwell, Jeff Natale, John Otness, Josh Papelbon, Pedro Perez, Chad Rhoades, Jason Rice, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Jon Still, Felix Ventura, Armando Zerpa
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November 20, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Sox claim RHP Robert Manuel off waivers


According to ESPN.com, the Boston Red Sox have claimed right-handed pitcher Robert Manuel off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

Manuel was originally signed as undrafted free agent by the New York Mets out of Sam Houston State in 2005. He was traded by the Mets to the Cincinati Reds in 2006 for Dave Williams. After spending parts of four seasons in the Reds' minor league system, he was traded to Seattle for Wladimir Balentien on June 29, 2009.

In five minor league seasons, the 26-year-old has compiled a 24-17 record with a 2.89 ERA in 170 games pitched, including 24 starts. He has struck out 339 batters in 368.1 innings, posting a 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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at 6:26 AM

Solar Sox end season with fourth straight loss


11/20 Cup of Coffee: Mesa ended the season with its fourth straight loss, dropping a 8-1 decision to the Peoria Saguaros. The loss saw the Solar Sox finish last in the Arizona Fall League's Eastern Division with 13 wins, 18 losses and a tie.

The Saguaros jumped off to an early lead scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Padre prospect Lance Zawadzki singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Matt McBride (CLE) base hit. There was no further scoring until the sixth inning, when Zawadzki homered off Mesa reliever Tim Kiely (LAA). In the seventh, the Saguaros broke the game open scoring six times. The runs came as a result of three walks, an error and three doubles off Mesa's Marco Albano (LAA).

The Solar Sox scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the ninth. Steve Singleton (MIN) doubled and advanced to third on an error by Saguaro shortstop Zawadzki. He scored when Casey Kelly grounded into a force out.

Two Sox prospects took part in the game. Ryan Kalish went 1 for 4 and had a stolen base. He ended the fall campaign with a .301 batting average. Kelly went 0 for 4 with a RBI. His batting average for the fall season was .171.
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November 19, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Sox release Michael Lennox, Wang-Yi Lin, Juan Bonifacio, and Roberto Feliz


According to Baseball America's minor league transactions, the Red Sox have released pitchers Michael Lennox and Wang-Yi Lin and outfielders Juan Bonifacio and Roberto Feliz.

Lennox (pictured) was signed in August of 2006 as an international free agent out of Australia. In two seasons with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, he appeared in 19 games, all out of the bullpen, and compiled ERAs of 3.94 in 2008 and 3.47 in 2009.

Lin was originally signed out of Taiwan as an international free agent in July of 2005. He had an impressive American debut in 2006 with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, posting a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. He missed all of 2007 with an elbow injury, coming back in 2008 with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox to post a 4.63 ERA in 11 games (9 starts). The next two seasons, Lin appeared in only four games in Lowell without much success.

Bonifacio was signed out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2006 as an international free agent. He spent all of the next two seasons with the Dominican Summer League Red Sox, putting up an OPS of .727 in 2007 and .845 in 2008. In 2009, he made his American debut in the Gulf Coast League, struggling to a .208 average in 30 games.

Feliz was originally signed out of the Dominican Republic in November of 2005, spending his first two seasons with the Dominican Summer League team, hitting 11 home runs and posting 79 RBI across the two seasons. He made his American debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, showing good power with 7 home runs in only 142 at-bats. With Lowell in 2009, he hit a home run on opening day, but struggled to a .175 average in 13 games before being placed on the restricted list late in the season.
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at 7:07 AM

Solar Sox continue slide, fall to Scorpions


11/19 Cup of Coffee: The Solar Sox dropped their third straight contest 7-5 to Scottsdale, despite pounding out 11 hits.

Mesa got out to an early 1-0 lead once again as Steve Singleton (MIN) laced an RBI single in the first, but Scottsdale answered right back when Jose Tabatha (PIT) tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the inning. Chris Parmelee's (MIN) RBI double in the top of the third gave Mesa a 2-1 advantage. However, Mesa would lose the lead in the bottom half of the inning when the Scorpions staged a two-out rally, capped by Brandon Crawford's (SFG) 2-RBI single and Tuffy Gosewisch's (PHI) 2-RBI double.

The Solar Sox would cut the lead in the top of the sixth as Luis Exposito drove in Singleton on a ground out. But Mesa would give the run back in the bottom half of the inning as Troy Hanzawa (PHI) scored on a throwing error by Parmelee. The Solar Sox scored two runs in the top of the eighth, thanks to an RBI double by P.J. Phillips (LAA) and an RBI single by Ryan Mount (LAA), but once again, the Scorpions added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning on Chase d'Arnaud's (PIT) RBI single to seal the victory.

Exposito was 1 for 4 with an RBI. Jose Iglesias was 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Dustin Richardson pitched the sixth inning, allowing 1 run on 1 hit, walking 1 and striking out 2. The Solar Sox wrap up the AFL season this afternoon at 2:35 EST against the Peoria Saguaros.
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November 18, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Mesa blown out again by Surprise


11/18 Cup of Coffee: It was the same old story for Mesa on Tuesday, as the team jumped out to a first-inning lead but quickly gave it up and went on to lose big, this time by a 9-2 score to the Surprise Rafters.

The early Solar Sox lead came courtesy of three consecutive one-out singles by Starlin Castro (CHC), David Cooper (TOR), and Ryan Kalish, the last of which drove in the run to make it 1-0. Kalish promptly stole second base, his fifth theft of the AFL season, to put runners at second and third with two outs, but P. J. Phillips (LAA) grounded out to end the threat. Surprise took a lead of its own just half an inning later. Mike Moustakas (KC) opened the inning by reaching on a Casey Kelley error and Daryl Jones (STL) reached on a fielder's choice grounder that yielded no outs. One out later, Ruben Tejada (NYM) doubled and Jarrod Dyson (KC) singled, driving in all three runs against Mesa starter Andrew Cashner (CHC).

The Rafters would tack on two more runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run home run by Nick Evans (NYM), but the game would be put out of reach in the seventh. After having just retired the side in order in the top of the sixth, Richie Lentz allowed a lead-off double to Dyson. After striking out Daniel Descalso (STL), Colin Curtis (NYY) lined a two-run home run to right to make the score 7-1. Another strikeout and a walk later, the home-run bug again bit Lentz, as Moustakas hit his fifth of the season to make it 9-1. Mesa would get one back in the bottom of the inning when Kelley was doubled home by Michael Brenly (CHC), but it was too little, too late.

Kalish, who played right field in this one, ended up 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and a steal, while third baseman Kelley was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Lentz ultimately struck out 3 in his 1.2 innings, but gave up 4 runs on 3 hits (2 home runs) and a walk. Chris Province, who relieved Lentz with two outs in the seventh, pitched 1.1 scoreless innings with a strikeout. Mesa travels to Scottsdale to take on the Scorpions tonight at 8:35 EST.
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