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SoxProspects News

March 30, 2010 at 6:23 AM

Fort Report: Back from Florida

SoxProspects staffers Chris Mellen, Chris Hatfield, Jonathan Singer and I were in Fort Myers this past week. We ascertained a great deal of player information and did a lot of scouting - too much for a single Fort Report. Some of the roster moves were already posted here on SoxProspects News, and we also shared a lot of info on Twitter and in the SoxProspects Forum. Here are some quick hits that you may have missed if you’re not following us in those places:

Jose Vinicio showed some swagger and already looks excellent defensively, but I'm not really exaggerating when I say that the 16-year-old still has the body of a little leaguer … Robert Coello has been hitting 91 mph with his fastball, while also showing a nice 79-80 split change … Armando Zerpa, recently returned from the Dodgers pursuant to Rule 5, looks a little overweight, and was only hitting 86 mph with his fastball … Michael Bowden showed an 89-91 mph fastball, a low-80s slider, and a 76-77 mph curveball on Saturday, when he struggled against Minnesota’s Triple-A club …Just for some context on how casual the minor league spring training games are, teams often use two designated hitters in one game, some players play at two levels in the same day, and teams alter their batting orders mid-game on occasion … Michael Almanzar's lower body mechanics are definitely smoother this year, but his swing is still a little long … We spent some time watching the Sea Dogs game with broadcaster Mike Antonellis on Saturday – check out his blog this season
Dustin Mercadante was also among the cuts this weekend … Swen Huijer's fastball only got up to 82-83 mph on Saturday – he gets minimal torque with his body, but still has a very projectable frame at 6’9” … Fabian Williamson flashed an advanced curveball and a nice changeup, but his fastball only hits 88 mph … 2009 18th-round draft pick Renny Parthemore was hitting 87-88 with his fastball in the Rookie game on Saturday … We interviewed Tim Federowicz, Ryan Lavarnway, David Renfroe, and Daniel Nava over the weekend – look for Q&As to be posted over the next few weeks … Jon Still has been working in the outfield with Pawtucket … Wilfi Santana and Pedro Chourio were among the DSL cuts this off-season … Miles Head's swing looks really long, he'll probably be working on tightening it up in extended spring training … I heard a player say to Reymond Fuentes that Felix Sanchez is the fastest player he’s ever seen … On the injury front, Chia-Chu Chen has been out with a broken finger, while Kyle Stroup has missed time with a knee injury … Renfroe has been playing third base all spring, I expect him to be slated for Lowell this season … Among those in attendance at Minnesota’s minor league complex on Saturday were Ron Gardenhire, Tom Kelly, and Paul Molitor … Meanwhile, Theo Epstein was on the scene at Boston’s Player Development Complex on Saturday to see Madison Younginer and Alex Wilson … Wilson’s fastball sat at 91-92 and topped out at 94-95 mph … Younginer’s four-seamer sat between 93-95 mph, and he also mixed in an 89-90 mph two-seamer and a low-70s curveball … We took a trip to the site of Boston’s new spring training complex this weekend – nothing but cows grazing in open space … Three hitters that really impressed with their power this weekend were Yamaico Navarro, Luis Exposito, and Will Middlebrooks, each going deep multiple times over the course of the week … We should have some additional DSL signings from this off-season to report in the next few days … David Mailman impressed with his quick bat speed … Che-Hsuan Lin makes it look easy in center field – he should be an elite defender at the major league level …Stephen Fife is showing a much improved changeup - 79-81 mph with good drop and arm speed … Look for Oscar Tejeda to spend a lot of time at second base with Salem this year in deference to Ryan DentRoman Mendez is the real deal – his fastball sits at 92-94 mph and tops out around 96 mph with excellent life, his low-80s slider has plus potential, and he also flashed a mid-80s straight changeup with some drop … We caught our first live glimpses of Fuentes this week - he has a smooth, quick swing, but doesn’t generate a lot of power right now … Stolmy Pimentel had an up-and-down outing on Wednesday, missing a lot of bats with his changeup, but showing inconsistent command with his curveball and his fastball … Jeremy Hazelbaker looks like he can stick in center field, and he also showed above-average speed and the ability to drive the ball well, but he probably can stand to pack on some more muscle … Brandon Jacobs creates a lot of lift in his swing, but it needs compacting; he already has a major league body at just 19-years-old … Dent continues to show improvement defensively, head and shoulders beyond where he was two seasons ago with Lowell … We really liked what we saw out of Alex Hassan this weekend, he has a strong knack for squaring up on balls to produce hard contact … Mike Lee (pictured) had a smooth outing this weekend, mixing in all of his pitches, repeating his delivery well, and staying under control … Not much to say about Jose Iglesias’ defense that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll just say that he has the makings of an perennial Gold Glover … The shortstop also showed great bat speed and solid swing mechanics, but the big question mark this year should be how he handles advanced secondary offerings in the early going.

Media Links:
The Boston Herald reports that Casey Kelly will be starting Tuesday's game against the Rays in Port Charlotte … Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston reports that Junichi Tazawa has gone to Birmingham, Alabama to have his elbow examined by orthopedist James Andrews … Edes also notes that Boof Bonser may be headed to the DL to start the season, meaning that the last two spots in the Boston bullpen are down to four players: Alan Embree, Scott Schoeneweis, Joe Nelson, and Scott AtchisonRob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that ex-Sox Prospect Brandon Moss was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on Monday after a sub-par spring … Mike Reiss of ESPN has a nice Q&A with Tug HulettEd Reed of the Odessa American talked to Ryne Miller about his first major league appearance this spring … Bradford adds that Nelson may opt out of his contract if he is not added to the 25-man roster by June 15 … Amalie Benjamin of Boston.com has a great piece up on the catching situation in the Sox system … Finally, here are three reports on the road that Ryan Westmoreland may expect in his recovery from his surgery, from the Norwich Bulletin, ESPNBoston, and the Simmons Voice.

Chris Hatfield, Chris Mellen, Jonathan Singer, John Gray, and Corey Hersch of SoxProspects.com contributed to this report.