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SoxProspects News

February 23, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Fort Report: Iglesias, Kelly, and Navarro impress

As the prospects start to arrive in Florida and major league camp action heats up, Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, and Yamaico Navarro were at the forefront of the discussion in Fort Myers this week. We have all three players slated to break camp with Double-A Portland later this spring.

  • Iglesias seems to be at the top of everyone's must see list. Joe Carchedi of NESN.com reports on the shortstop's defection from Cuba and the difficulties of transitioning to the United States. Alex Speier of WEEI.com comments on Iglesias' "remarkably quick hands", "ridiculously quick transfer", "explosive first step" and "tremendous range." In discussions with Speier, Red Sox infield coach Tim Bogar compared Iglesias to three-time Gold Glove award winner Rey Ordonez. Terry Francona noted that while he is very impressed by the 20-year-old, Iglesias may take a full year to get acclimated both culturally and baseball-wise. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com adds that Iglesias was most excited to meet Dustin Pedroia, who in turn had some nice things to say about his new teammate.

  • USA Today reports that Jon Lester has taken to mentoring Kelly and some of the other young pitchers in the organization. Peter Abraham of Boston.com notes that "it's easy to see why the Red Sox invested so much in [Kelly] ... [he] seems to produce his velocity without effort and has good command ... [h]is athletic ability serves him well and he has the sort of frame that will easily handle more muscle and probably add some bada-bing to his fastball." Meanwhile, Speier speculates as to what pitches Kelly might add to his arsenal in the future (a cutter?), and notes that Francona, while very enthusiastic about the 20-year-old righthander, wants to temper expectations heading into the 2010 season. Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald brings us a report on Kelly's newly-forged relationship with Josh Beckett.

  • There's lots of buzz swirling about Navarro as well. On Sunday, a SoxProspects community member noted that the shortstop put on a power display in batting practice and further commented that "Navarro does not look like a shortstop anymore....He has filled out and looks rugged." As a side note, we have projected a move to third base for Navarro since the team inked Iglesias last fall. Speier attributes the added bulk to the shortstop's off-season training program in the Dominican Republic, in the Rookie Development Program, and subsequently in Fort Myers. Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal also adds that Navarro raised eyebrows with some impressive batting practice showings.

  • In transactions news, the Sox released Edwin Moreno and Jose Capellan this week and signed first baseman Brett Harper to a minor league deal. Harper hit 19 home runs between Triple-A Las Vegas and Albuquerque in 2009, and seems to be a prime candidate to open 2010 as Pawtucket's designated hitter.

  • Look for David Renfroe to report to minor league camp on Wednesday. Michael Bugary reported this morning. Swen Huijer will not report until March 4, which appears to be the case with many of Boston's international prospects.

  • Theo Epstein informed the media on Sunday that Ryan Kalish will continue to see time in center field for the foreseeable future. While Kalish may not end up in center over the long haul, Epstein believes that both Kalish and Reddick project as plus defenders at the major league level.

  • WBRU talked with Lars Anderson earlier this week, who discussed his disappointing 2009 season and his goals for 2010. Anderson also got some glowing reviews from Peter Gammons in the article.

  • PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard interviewed Mark Wagner at length. The catcher spent the off-season playing winter ball in the Dominican and then reported to Fort Myers early to get used to the time difference from his California home. Look for Wagner to break camp with the PawSox in 2010.

  • Speier continued his outstanding minor league coverage this week by bringing us some notes on catcher Luis Exposito, who received his first invitation to major league camp this season. Speier commented that Exposito "looks like a linebacker", but that the catcher "gives reason to believe that he can stick at the position thanks to good footwork and quick hands." Exposito is slated as Portland's starting catcher to begin the 2010 season.