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SoxProspects News

April 6, 2009 at 9:56 PM

2009 Organization Outlook: Outfield, Lower Minors

At the lower levels of the Red Sox system, the outfield is full of raw, toolsy players with loads of potential … and a long way to go to fill that potential. The Red Sox’s recent draft strategy, which has tended to focus on young, raw, athletic position players, shows most here, with a number of players fitting that profile. The opening day rosters have mostly been sorted out at this point, but speculation as to who will play at what affiliate has been replaced by speculation of how playing time will be shared at each level.

Here’s the list of outfielders in the system that played in Low-A or lower last year:
A: Che-Hsuan Lin, David Mailman, David Marks, Jered Stanley

SS-A: Ronald Bermudez, Mitch Dening, Pete Hissey, Kade Keowen, Wilfred Pichardo
Rookie: Roberto Feliz, Moko Moanaroa, Bryan Peterson, Roberto Ramos, Tyler Yockey

DSL: Juan Bonifacio, Pedro Gonzalez, Javier Gutierrez, Felix Sanchez, Lewis Urena

Other: Boss Moanaroa, Ryan Westmoreland

Gone: Rafael Cabreja, Chris De La Rosa, Carlos Fernandez, Andrew Frezza, Manny Solano, Luis Sumoza

A: Since our last installment, it has become clear that David Mailman will once again begin the season in Greenville. Although he finished last season strong and has been impressive in Spring Training, taking Brad Penny deep at one point, it would not hurt for him to establish himself with the Drive before being promoted to Salem mid-season. Additionally Jason Place, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Ryan Kalish are expected to start at Salem and there may be more at bats for him in Greenville … Fresh off of making Australia’s roster for the World Baseball Classic, Mitch Dening will get his first taste of full-season ball. Dening hit above .300 each of the last two seasons in the GCL and Lowell, and could really establish himself by continuing to improve … A brief, 55-at-bat debut in 2008 notwithstanding, 2009 brings our first good look at Pete Hissey. Likely starting in center field for Greenville, Hissey oozes athleticism and brings high expectations with his $1-million signing bonus … David Marks will likely repeat Greenville, at least to start the year, after putting up a .753 OPS in 273 at-bats last year. He could earn a quick promotion if he can consistently produce the power that he has shown in flashes … Kade Keowen has been unable to hit much in two full seasons in Lowell. His last chance could be this season in Greenville, but he will get primarily backup at-bats.

SS-A: Ryan Westmoreland’s much-anticipated debut will come in Lowell thanks to offseason shoulder surgery. The Rhode Island native received a $2-million bonus, and has five-tool potential … Wilfred Pichardo had 42 steals in 202 at-bats in the GCL last season, earning a promotion to Lowell that ended after seven at-bats thanks to a hamstring injury. Despite his outstanding speed, Pichardo still has a ways to go with the bat, as he hit .297 but had just six extra-base hits last year … Bryan Peterson’s pro debut was marred by recurring staph infections that kept him from getting into much of a groove. Still, he showed enough promise that some felt he could begin the season in Greenville. Due to the system’s outfield depth, it appears that he will stay behind in Extended Spring Training and get his first taste of A-ball in Lowell … Roberto Feliz put up a .749 OPS in his stateside debut following two seasons in the GCL. He saw consistent time in left field last season, and he will have to continue improving his defense in Lowell, but will certainly be required to share time in the outfield … Ronald Bermudez made his U.S. debut last year in Lowell after an impressive 2007 DSL campaign. However, he hit just .202, and he is in danger of being passed over by the slew of young outfield talent around him. In his second U.S. season, Bermudez will need to improve at the plate, putting up the numbers to match positive first-hand reports … Tyler Yockey was moved from the outfield to first base last year. It seems likely he will stay there given the crowded low-minors outfield.

Rookie: When he was signed last May, it was reported that Boss Moanaroa would not come to the U.S. until 2010. However, Boss is now expected to play in the GCL this year. We also first heard that Boss was a first baseman, but he has been listed in the outfield this spring … Boss’ brother, Moko, made his GCL debut last year, but saw very limited playing time, most of it at DH. Both Moanaroa brothers are said to be very raw, and could stand to benefit from a full Extended Spring Training … Juan Bonifacio was a DSL All-Star last year, and will be one of a very small group of DSL alums coming to the U.S. this year. Bonifacio showed great plate discipline last year with a .410 OBP, and he has generated positive reports out of Spring Training … Roberto Ramos, a rare HS free agent signee, played all over the field last season in the GCL. He will try to find a position during Extended, and will hope to see more regular playing time in the GCL this year.
DSL: Pedro Gonzalez, Javier Gutierrez, Felix Sanchez, and Lewis Urena will all return to the DSL Sox … Gonzalez sees time at first base as well as left field, while Urena plays center, third base, and second base … No one in that group had a great 2008 season, and all will be 18 or older this year, making it a crucial season for their hopes of earning a promotion to the States.

So Long, Farewell: Luis Sumoza showed good promise, fitting in well among the Sox’ young, toolsy outfield prospects. However, he was traded to Atlanta for Mark Kotsay, and was named the Braves’ #21 prospect by Baseball America … Andrew Frezza retired during the offseason after spending his first pro season in the GCL … Carlos Fernandez, once a player that showed a lot of promise with a great VSL debut and intriguing 2006 in the GCL, was released near the end of Spring Training … Rafael Cabreja was also released during Spring Training. He was notable more for being David Ortiz’s cousin than for his performance in three seasons with the Sox … DSL outfielder Chris De La Rosa was released following a positive test for performance enhancing drugs … Utility player Manny Solano was released at some point during Extended Spring Training last season.


A: LF Starter – Mailman; CF Starter – Hissey; RF Starter – Dening; DH Starter – Marks; Backup – Keowen
SS-A: Outfield Rotation – Pichardo, Westmoreland, Peterson, Bermudez; Backup – Feliz; 1B Starter – Yockey

GCL: LF Starter – B. Moanaroa; CF Starter – Draftee; RF Starter – Bonifacio; Backup – M. Moanaroa; Utility backup – Ramos

DSL: LF Starter – Gutierrez; CF Starter – Urena; RF Starter – Sanchez; 1B Starter – Gonzalez (Any could be supplanted by a signee)