SoxProspects News

September 30, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Red Sox sign independent leaguer Matty Johnson


The Red Sox have signed outfielder Matty Johnson from the Frontier League's Gateway Grizzlies. Johnson, 22, is a 2010 graduate of Bellevue University where he hit .429 with 58 RBI and 43 stolen bases in 83 games. This season with the Grizzlies, Johnson hit .313 in 182 at-bats with 24 stolen bases.

Prior to Bellevue, Johnson played for Crowder College, earning first team NJCAA All-American and Rawlings Gold Glove honors. In 2008, he led Crowder with a .438 average and 27 extra-base hits.

The switch-hitting Johnson joins former Red Sox Morgan Burkhart as an alumnus of both Crowder and the Frontier League before signing a professional contract with Boston.
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September 25, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Red Sox sign Felipe Lopez


According to multiple sources, the Red Sox have signed utility infielder Felipe Lopez. The 30-year-old Lopez was recently released by the St. Louis Cardinals after hitting .231/.310/.340 with 7 home runs and 36 RBI in 109 games.

Lopez was initially claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres, but rejected a move to the NL West in favor of becoming a free agent. The Red Sox were potentially motivated to sign Lopez due to the fact that he could project to be a Type B free agent this winter. If Lopez does indeed qualify to be a Type B, the Red Sox could gain a compensatory pick if they offered Lopez arbitration and he signed elsewhere.

The versatile infielder should see some playing time down the stretch at second, third or shortstop.
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at 8:12 AM

Red Sox rookie report


As of September 24, the Red Sox have used 50 different players in 2010. A whopping 16 of those players have been rookies. Couple that with the fact that another wave of promising prospects has climbed the organizational ladder toward the majors during this self-professed bridge year, and the 2011 version of the Red Sox looks to be absolutely stacked with young, viable major league depth. Alternatively, there are a lot of young players who might interest other teams should the Sox want to make a big splash in the trade market. Here’s a look at where those players stand for next season.

ESPNBoston - Red Sox rookie report
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September 19, 2010 at 7:08 AM

Drive eliminated after 4-2 loss


9/19 Cup of Coffee: With Greenville's 4-2 loss to Lakewood (PHI), we find a nice place on the shelf for the coffee machine as the the last of the 2010 farm teams saw their season end. Lakewood took their second straight South Atlantic League Championship Series, beating the Drive 3 games to 1.

The Drive took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the third when Derrik Gibson and Reynaldo Rodriguez both grounded out to drive in a run. Drake Britton cruised until the fifth inning, where he was charged with 2 runs before Kendal Volz made his first appearance of the playoffs and promptly allowed the game-deciding two-run home run. Britton struck out 5 and walked 4 in 4.2 innings, and Volz fanned 4 in 3.1 innings of relief. Kolbrin Vitek singled to open the sixth, but he was the last baserunner Greenville would have. Jeremy Hazelbaker and Shannon Wilkerson each had a pair of singles in the loss.

Player of the Night: Shannon Wilkerson was 2 for 3 with a run scored in the season finale for the Drive.
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September 18, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Lakewood walks off with Game 3 win


9/18 Cup of Coffee: Game 3 was pushed back a day because of rain, but the extra day's rest didn't help Greenville in a 2-1 loss to Lakewood (PHI) in the South Atlantic League championship series.

Chris Balcom-Miller struck out 7 and allowed a run on 3 hits in 4.0 innings. Kolbrin Vitek singled to drive in Zach Gentile in the top of the fourth, and Balcom-Miller exited after a fourth inning in which he allowed an RBI single and hit a batter. Jeremiah Bayer allowed 2 hits in 2.1 scoreless frames, combining with Armando Zerpa and Anatanaer Batista for 4.0 shutout innings of relief. Lakewood scored the winner in the home half of the ninth, with Dennis Neuman allowing a two-out RBI single to Jeremy Barnes. The loss put the Drive into a 2-1 hole, with Game 4 to be played Saturday. If Greenville wins, Game 5 will be played Saturday night following the Game 4

Player of the Night: Kolbrin Vitek had 2 of Greenville's 5 hits, including an RBI single that drove in the team's only run.
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September 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM

2010 Fall Instructional League Roster


The Fall Instructional League gets underway this weekend in Fort Myers, and will run until October 12 (schedule). Also referred to as "Instrux", the Fall Instructional League is a short-season league used to develop Low-A and Rookie-Ball players, often including many recently-drafted prospects. The league focuses on fundamental baseball and includes daily workouts and classroom training akin to the Gulf Coast League. Forty-four players will participate in Instrux for the Red Sox in 2010:


Pitchers
: Raul Alcantara, Luis Bastardo, Yeiper Castillo, Miguel Celestino, Hunter Cervenka, Jacob Dahlstrand, Jason Garcia, Seth Garrison, Sergio Gomez, Michael Hacker, Chris Hernandez, Casey Kelly, John Killen, Tyler Lockwood, Alexander Mateo, Nefi Ogando, Pedro Perez, Raynel Velette, Tyler Wilson

Catchers: Carson Blair, Adalberto Ibarra, Oscar Perez, Roberto Reyes, Christian Vazquez

Infielders: Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini, Sean Coyle, Ryan Dent, Miles Head, Jose Iglesias, Jorge Padron, David Renfroe, Jason Thompson, Jose Vinicio, Kolbrin Vitek

Outfielders: Bryce Brentz, Keury De La Cruz, Robert Del Rosario, Reymond Fuentes, Brandon Jacobs, Lucas LeBlanc, Kendrick Perkins, Henry Ramos, Felix Sanchez

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at 2:00 PM

2010 SoxProspects.com Players of the Year


During the 2010 season many players had impressive individual performances and opened the eyes of our community and staff. The players listed below are the SoxProspects.com Players of the Year based on their outstanding campaigns.

Offensive Player of the Year: Ryan Lavarnway

For the second year in a row, Lavarnway wins top honors behind the plate. The 23-year-old, originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 draft, impressed in 2010 as he split the season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. Before being promoted to Double-A Portland on July 16, Lavarnway hit .289/.392/.487 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI as a member of Salem. The promotion to Portland did not slow down Lavarnway's hot bat, as he hit .285/.395/.494 with 8 home runs and 39 RBI in just 44 games as a Sea Dog. He finished the season with a combined slash line of .288/.393/.489, with 22 home runs and 102 RBI. Leading all Boston prospects in RBI, he finishes the season as the 16th-ranked prospect by SoxProspects.com.

Pitcher of the Year: Felix Doubront

In a year that saw Doubront ascend from Double-A Portland all the way to Boston, he showed why he is ranked the #5 prospect on SoxProspects.com. In 17 games (16 starts) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Doubront compiled an 8-3 record with a 2.81 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched. He received the call to Boston on June 18 and became an important member of the Boston bullpen, tossing in 12 games (3 starts) going 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA, striking out close to a batter an inning. The 22-year-old left-hander has essentially been shut down for the remainder of the season after suffering a pectoral injury.

Rookie of the Year: Xander Bogaerts

Signed in August of last year out of Aruba, Bogaerts made his professional debut this June with the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and created quite a splash. In 63 games at shortstop, Bogaerts hit .314/.396/.423 with 3 home runs and 42 RBI. The 17-year-old's impressive season led to him being named a DSL All-Star and turning heads of those who saw his outstanding play on both offense and defense.




Breakout Player of the Year: Drake Britton

Originally drafted in the 23rd round of the 2007 draft, the 22-year-old left-hander has always shown flashes of potential during his time as a member of the Red Sox organization, but had his career interrupted by Tommy John surgery in 2008. After missing most of the 2009 season, Britton came back strong as he rocketed up prospect charts in 2010. In 21 starts for Low-A Greenville, Britton compiled a 2-3 record with a 2.97 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 75.2 innings pitched. Perhaps most encouraging was that Britton has pitched some of his best baseball as Greenville has gone deep in the playoffs, hurling 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs and striking out 8 in a key Game 1 victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) in the South Atlantic League semi-finals. In his most recent start in the SAL Finals, he went 5.0 innings, allowing just 1 hit and 3 walks to pick up another key victory that gave Greenville an early series lead. He is currently ranked the 15th best prospect on SoxProspects.com

Comeback Player of the Year: Oscar Tejeda

One of the most highly regarded international signings in 2006, Tejeda excited many prospect followers due to his excellent tools at a very young age. After a solid freshman campaign in 2007, Tejeda rose to Greenville in 2008 and had a disappointing season that saw him battle through injury. After returning to health in 2009, Tejeda again struggled at the Low-A level, hitting .257/.311/.332. Coming into 2010, many were questioning Tejeda's ability to become a true prospect and live up to his potential. Spending all season with High-A Salem, Tejeda quieted his critics, hitting .307/.344/.455 with 11 home runs and 69 RBI as the Drive's second baseman. His bounce-back season allowed him to be named a Carolina League All Star and finish the season ranked 13th on SoxProspects.com.
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September 15, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Rodriguez latest independent leaguer opening eyes


In this week's ESPNBoston column, we highlight Greenville first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, a former indy-leaguer who's now leading the Drive in its post-season run.

ESPNBoston - Rodriguez latest independent leaguer opening eyes

Thanks to Rick Connolly for interviewing Rodriguez prior to last night's game.
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at 10:36 AM

Hazelbaker homers in tough Drive loss


9/15 Cup of Coffee: The prolific playoff offense of the Greenville Drive hit a snag on Tuesday, as Lakewood (PHI) evened the series.

A close game early turned into a laugher by the end, as Greenville dropped a 6-1 decision to the Blue Claws. Ryan Pressly took the bump to start this one, and after allowing a run in the first, settled down nicely. He ended up allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 5.0 innings, leaving the game with a 2-0 deficit. In the bottom of the fifth, however, Jeremy Hazelbaker cut the Lakewood lead in half, launching a solo home run out to right field to make it 2-1. A walk, a wild pitch, and a single later in the inning looked good to tie the score, but Derrik Gibson was thrown out at home to end the inning and the threat. Things were pretty quiet from there, and the score remained 2-1 heading into the ninth thanks to some stellar relief work from Tom Ebert. But Ebert ran into significant trouble in the ninth, allowing a lead-off triple, striking out two, but then departing after allowing a run-scoring single. Unfortunately, Jordan Flasher couldn't put out the fire from there, allowing 3 more runs to cross the plate before recording the final out of the inning. The Drive managed a double in the bottom half, but it was far too little, far too late. Greenville managed only 4 hits in the game, with no player tallying more than 1, and was just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Hazelbaker led the way, going 1 for 3 with a walk, a home run, and a stolen base from the lead-off spot. The series will continue in Lakewood on Thursday, with Chris Balcom-Miller looking to give Greenville a new series lead.

Player of the Night: Jeremy Hazelbaker, who was 1 for 3 with a walk, a home run, and a steal.
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September 14, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Rodriguez powers Greenville to game one victory


9/14 Cup of Coffee: Greenville began the South Atlantic League's Championship Series against Lakewood and received a big time performance from their first baseman.

Looking to start off the series on the right foot, the Greenville Drive were able to outdo the Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI) 3-1. Staff ace Drake Britton took the hill and allowed just 1 hit and 3 walks over his 5.0 innings pitched to pick up his second win of the postseason. Kendal Volz relieved Britton and hurled 3.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and a walk while punching out 4. Dennis Neuman collected the save for his 1-2-3 ninth inning. With the game scoreless in the third, Reynaldo Rodriguez knocked home the first run of the contest. In the sixth, a Reymond Fuentes RBI ground out gave the Drive a 2-0 advantage. After Lakewood cut the lead in half in the seventh, Rodriguez stepped up to the plate in the eighth and drilled a solo home run to put Greenville on top 3-1. Rodriguez continued his torrid hitting which has earned him back-to-back South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors as well as recent Player of the Week honors from SoxProspects.com. The series continues tonight at 7:05 as the Drive play their final home game of the year, sending Ryan Pressly to the mound as Greenville tries to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Player of the Night: Reynaldo Rodriguez, who was 2 for 4 with a solo home run, 2 RBI and a run scored in Greenville's 3-1 victory.
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September 13, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Hill latest pitcher to join Boston


The Red Sox have recalled left-handed pitcher Rich Hill from Triple-A Pawtucket. Hill, 30, spent all of this season in Triple-A with the Memphis Redbirds (STL) and Pawtucket. After opting out of his contract with St. Louis in June, Hill finished the season 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 19 games (6 starts) for the PawSox.

Hill has major league experience with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles going 21-20 with a 4.87 ERA in 70 appearances. Hailing from Milton, Massachusetts, Hill will now get a chance to pitch down the stretch for the Red Sox as a member of their bullpen.
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at 9:00 AM

2010 SoxProspects.com All-Stars


The 2010 minor league season has drawn to a close, and the SoxProspects.com community has voted on the 2010 SoxProspects All-Stars.

In just his second full season in the Red Sox system, Lavarnway showed why many scouts have been impressed with his bat. After a 2009 campaign that saw him lead the organization in home runs with 21, the 23-year-old followed that up with another season which showcased his power. After compiling a .289/.392/.487 line with Salem, Lavarnway was promoted to Double-A Portland on July 16. His productivity didn't slow down at all, as he smacked 8 homers and 39 RBI in just 44 games with the Sea Dogs. He finished the season with a combined slash line of .288/.393/.489, with 22 home runs and 102 RBI. His RBI total was tops among all Red Sox minor leaguers, and finishes the season as the 16th-ranked prospect by SoxProspects.com.

First Base: Anthony Rizzo
After unseating Lars Anderson to win this honor in 2009, Rizzo maintained his stronghold on the award with another remarkable season in 2010. He and Lavarnway took a similar path through the Red Sox system this year. Rizzo started the campaign with Salem, spending just a month there before earning the promotion to Portland. Between the Carolina and Eastern Leagues, Rizzo drove in 100 runs, while also notching 25 home runs and 42 doubles, leading all Red Sox minor leaguers in both categories. The 21-year-old also showed some speed on the basepaths, swiping 10 bags on the year. Rizzo is currently ranked third on the SoxProspects.com charts.


Second Base: Nate Spears
Perhaps one of the most surprising subplots of the Red Sox organization's 2010 campaign was the emergence of Spears. Signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, Spears put together what was by far his finest season in professional baseball. He had never hit more than 7 home runs in any season with either the Orioles or Cubs organizations, but in 514 at bats with Portland, Spears slammed 20 home runs and 82 RBI. He also showcased a great eye at the plate, leading all Red Sox minor leaguers with 84 walks. The 25-year-old hit .272/.380/.463, with his on-base and slugging percentages both career bests.

Third Base: Will Middlebrooks
Drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in 2007, Middlebrooks enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2010. He spent the entire season with Salem, and hit .276/.331/.439. His 31 doubles ranked 8th among Red Sox minor leaguers, and his 12 home runs and 70 RBI were also career-highs. Middlebrooks, 22, really caught fire in the month of July, posting a gaudy .333/.363/.594 slash line with 6 home runs and 27 RBI. He checks in as the 12th-ranked prospect in the SoxProspects.com rankings.



Shortstop: Yamaico Navarro
Although some could point to an injury-plagued season at Fenway as the reason the 22-year-old Navarro made his major league debut in 2010, his performance on the field certainly helped his cause. After spending most of the year in Double-A Portland, Navarro was promoted to Pawtucket. He spent just 16 games in a PawSox uniform, however, with Dustin Pedroia's season-ending injury earning Navarro the call-up to Boston. In 104 games between Portland and Pawtucket, the Dominican Republic native hit .275/.356/.437, smacking 11 home runs and driving in 61. Signed as an international free agent in 2005, Navarro currently sits as the 11th-ranked prospect in the organization according to SoxProspects.com.

Outfield: Ryan Kalish
One of two unanimous selections to the SoxProspects.com All-Star Team, Kalish put together a fine 2010 season which saw him quickly ascend through the ranks of the organization. The 22-year-old started 2010 where he ended 2009, in Portland. In 41 games for the Sea Dogs, Kalish hit .293/.404/.527. He earned the promotion to Pawtucket on June 1, but spent just two months at the Triple-A level before being called up to Boston on July 31. Kalish hit 13 home runs and 47 RBI in just 293 at bats between Portland and Pawtucket in 2010, compiling a combined slash line of .294/.382/.502. He is currently second in the SoxProspects.com rankings, and has hit 3 homers and 16 RBI in 105 at bats with Boston this season.

In his first full professional season, Hazelbaker showed off the tools that made him a fourth rounf draft pick in 2009. Spending the entire year with Greenville, the center fielder hit .267/.360/.455, with 29 doubles, 12 home runs, and 62 RBI. In addition, the speedster's 9 triples and 63 steals were tops among Red Sox minor leaguers. Hazelbaker, who was college teammates with 2010 first round pick Kolbrin Vitek, is currently ranked as the 35th best prospect in the organization.



Outfield: Daniel Nava
As his unlikely path to the big leagues came to fruition in 2010, Nava earns the honor of SoxProspects.com All-Star for the second straight season. Called up from Pawtucket on June 12, the 27-year-old Nava hit a grand slam on the very first pitch he saw in the big leagues. In multiple stints with the PawSox in 2010, Nava hit .289/.372/.458 in 284 at bats. In 45 games in a Boston uniform, the California native has knocked in 20 runs, but has yet to leave the yard since his storied home run in his major league debut.



Utility: Ray Chang
Chang was another pleasant surprise in the Red Sox organization this season. Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Padres in 2005, he went to the Pirates organization in 2009 before the Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent. The 27-year-old was assigned to Double-A Portland to begin the 2010 season. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team, and finished the season with a .298/.384/.436 slash line. His 9 home runs and 55 RBI were both career highs, as were his 131 hits, 30 doubles, and 57 runs scored.



Starting Pitcher: Drake Britton
Along with Kalish, Britton was unanimously voted a SoxProspects.com All-Star. Recovery from Tommy John surgery took most of his 2009 season, but he came back with a vengeance in 2010. In 21 starts for Greenville this season, Britton posted a 2-3 record with a 2.97 ERA. The 21-year-old left-hander threw 75.2 innings, yielding 69 hits. He also notched an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.39. Britton, whose fastball currently sits at around 93 MPH, is currently the 15th-ranked prospect in the organization according to SoxProspects.com.




Starting Pitcher: Felix Doubront
Though he's currently pitching out of the bullpen in the big leagues, Doubront started the season in the starting rotation for Portland. In 8 starts for the Sea Dogs, the left-hander went 4-0 with a 2.51 ERA, striking out 38 batters in 43.0 innings. Doubront earned his promotion to Pawtucket, making his first start at the Triple-A level on May 23. He made 4 starts for the PawSox, before being called up to the big leagues on June 18, winning his first major league start against the Dodgers. Between Portland and Pawtucket, the 22-year-old went 8-3 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 72 batters while walking 33 in 80.0 innings. Doubront currently sits as the fifth-ranked prospect in the organization according to SoxProspects.com.

Starting Pitcher: Kendal Volz
Drafted in the ninth round out of Baylor University in 2009, Volz spent his first season of professional baseball mowing down batters in the South Atlantic League. Volz made 26 appearances (24 starts) for the Drive. He went 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA, throwing 116.1 innings while fanning 94 batters while walking just 14, good for a 6.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Volz also pitched to a 1.21 WHIP on the season The 22-year-old is ranked number 43 in the SoxProspects.com rankings.




Starting Pitcher: Stolmy Pimentel
Signed as an international free agent in 2006, Pimentel joined the Red Sox organization at the young age of 17. This year, at 20 years of age, Pimentel earns his first SoxProspects.com All-Star honor. He led Salem with 102 strikeouts, pitching to a 9-11 record with a 4.06 ERA. He also pitched well enough to earn a spot on the 2010 Futures All-Star team. Pimentel allowed 120 hits and 42 walks in 128.2 innings, good for a 1.26 WHIP. The Dominican Republic native currently holds down the #9 spot in the SoxProspects.com rankings.

Relief Pitcher: Jason Rice
A Rule 5 pick of the Red Sox in 2008, Rice served as one of the closers for the 2010 Sea Dogs. Showcasing a live fastball and a decent curveball, Rice notched 13 saves in 48 appearances for Portland. In 60 innings pitched, Rice allowed 45 hits, with opposing batters hitting just .211 off him on the season. He notched a WHIP of 1.25, and fanned 71 batters for a 10.65 K/9 ratio, which was best on the team. Rice also earned a roster spot in the Eastern League All-Star Game, where he pitched the final 2/3 of an inning, allowing no hits and 1 walk.


Relief Pitcher: Robert Manuel
Though he's struggled a bit at the major league level this season, Manuel proved to be one of the PawSox best pitchers out of the bullpen in 2010. His 8 wins out of the bullpen led all Pawtucket pitchers. Overall, he was 8-2 for the PawSox with a 1.68 ERA. Manuel also featured superb control all season long, walking just 13 batters in 64.1 innings. His WHIP of 0.92 was also best on the team. Since being called up to the big leagues on July 3, however, Manuel has struggled to get hitters out at the major league level. He has walked 5 batters in 8.2 innings, and is pitching to a 5.56 ERA.


Relief Pitcher: Tom Ebert
As the only Red Sox affiliate to make the playoffs this season, Greenville's pitching staff was one of the bright spots in the organization. Ebert is the third Drive pitcher to be named to the SoxProspects.com All-Star Team. In 94.0 innings, he went 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 2010, with his 10 wins tied for the team lead. His 92 strikeouts were fifth on the team, though the four pitchers ahead of him all threw over 100 innings for the Drive. Ebert's WHIP of 1.13 was also tops among pitchers who spent the entire season in Greenville.

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September 11, 2010 at 8:04 AM

Fall Instructional League Schedule


The 2010 Fall Instructional League will get underway next weekend, with the game scheudle starting on September 23. Here is the Red Sox schedule:

Sept. 19 Reporting Date
Sept. 20 First Workout
Sept. 23 vs. Mets
Sept. 24 @ Twins
Sept. 25 @ Rays
Sept. 26 Camp Day
Sept. 27 @ Mets
Sept. 28 vs. Twins
Sept. 29 Camp Day
Sept. 30 @ Rays
Oct. 1 vs. Mets
Oct. 2 @ Twins
Oct. 3 Off
Oct. 4 vs. Rays
Oct. 5 @ Mets
Oct 6 Camp Day
Oct. 7 vs. Twins
Oct. 8 @ Twins
Oct. 9 vs. Mets
Oct. 10 Camp Day
Oct. 11 @ Twins
Oct. 12 Camp Day

All games at 1:00 pm.

Locations
Red Sox - Player Development Complex, Ft. Myers
Rays - Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
Twins - Lee County Complex, Ft. Myers
Mets - City of Palms Park, Ft. Myers
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at 7:45 AM

Balcom-Miller completes sweep for Drive


9/11 Cup of Coffee: Greenville completed a sweep of Savannah to advance to the South Atlantic League championship series on the back of Chris Balcom-Miller's impressive playoff debut for the Sox.

Reynald Rodriguez' two-run shot in the sixth gave Greenville the sweep over Savannah (NYM) with a 5-4 win. Kolbrin Vitek, Reymond Fuentes and Vladimir Frias drove in a run apiece. Balcom-Miller struck out 6 in 5.0 innings of two-run ball, and Tom Ebert struck out 5 in 3.0 innings of two-run relief. Dennis Neuman picked up the save with a scoreless ninth. Zach Gentile was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 runs scored in the win.

Player of the Night: Reynaldo Rodriguez homered and drove in 2 as the Drive advanced to the SAL championship series.
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September 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Top performers in Red Sox system


Please check out our latest column on ESPNBoston, highlighting the top statistical performances in the Red Sox minor league system in 2010: Top performers in Red Sox system.
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September 9, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Red Sox claim Fox from Twins


The Red Sox have claimed right-handed pitcher Matt Fox off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. To make room for Fox the team moved outfielder Mike Cameron to the 60-day disabled list.

Fox, 27, made his major league debut Friday against the Texas Rangers, going 5.2 innings while allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in a no-decision. Originally a supplemental first round selection of the Twins back in 2004, he has gone 35-28 with a 3.71 ERA in six minor league seasons. He has shown very good control in his career, accumulating over a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Fox will likely see time as a member of the Boston bullpen.
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at 9:40 AM

Britton, Rodriguez lead Greenville to game one victory


9/9 Cup of Coffee: Greenville, the only Boston affiliate to qualify for the post season, began their journey to a potential South Atlantic League title against the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM).

Looking to take a very important edge in the best of three series, Greenville displayed power pitching and racked up fifteen hits on their way to an 8-3 victory over Savannah. Drive starter Drake Britton showed why he was chosen to start the pivotal game one, going 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk while striking out 8. Kendal Volz followed Britton and turned in 3.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and a walk while punching out 3. Armando Zerpa pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the victory. Down 1-0 in the third, Greenville plated five runs thanks to a Reynaldo Rodriguez RBI double, a Reymond Fuentes sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Christian Vazquez. Greenville tacked on two more in the fourth on an RBI triple by Jeremy Hazelbaker and another RBI double by the hot hitting Rodriguez. Shannon Wilkerson, who went 4 for 4 with 4 singles, laced an RBI single in the seventh to give the Drive a five run cushion. Every member of the Drive had at least one hit except for Kolbrin Vitek as Rodriguez was 3 for 5 and Vazquez 3 for 4. The series will continue in Savannah on Friday as Greenville looks to go for the quick two game sweep. Chris Balcom-Miller will take the hill at 7:05.

Player of the Night: Drake Britton, for his 5.0 inning performance in which he allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 8 to pick up the victory for Greenville.
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September 8, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Players of the Week, August 30-September 6; Reynaldo Rodriguez and Tom Ebert


With the minor league regular season coming to a close, two members of the Greenville Drive turned in impressive performances to help lift their team into the playoffs. Reynaldo Rodriguez and Tom Ebert are this week's SoxProspects.com Player and Pitcher of the Week.

Rodriguez, who also took home SoxProspects.com Player of the Month honors for August, helped push Greenville into the playoffs with his hot hitting to finish the regular season. In seven games played, Rodriguez hit .429/.478/1.000 with 3 home runs, 12 RBI and 4 runs scored. He also added a double, triple and a stolen base, as he finished the year hitting .281/.387/.518 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 20 doubles and 12 stolen bases. His .905 OPS was the highest this season by any Red Sox minor leaguer, with the exception of Chris McGuiness who was dealt to Texas at the end of July.

When Greenville's playoff journey starts this evening, it will look to Ebert as an important part of their success. The 22 year old right-hander has been the vital cog in the Drive's bullpen, pitching well in two important games this week by pitching 8.2 innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 14. The win he picked up over Hickory on September 1st put Greenville ahead by 1.5 games in a very close playoff race. For the season, Ebert is 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 94.0 innings pitched, picking up 1 save and striking out a healthy 92 batters.

Rodriguez's stellar week also gave him yet another SAL Offensive Player of the Week honor, his second consecutive and third of the season. Portland pitcher Stephen Fife was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week as he went 2-0 in two starts, tossing 11.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while punching out 7. Fife is the first Sea Dogs pitcher to win the honor since Kris Johnson won in April of 2008.
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September 7, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Michael Bowden rejoins Red Sox


The Red Sox recalled Michael Bowden from Triple-A Pawtucket before today's game. This will be his third stint for the Red Sox this season.

In 31 appearances (16 starts) for the PawSox, Bowden posted a 6-4 record with a 3.66 ERA. Bowden has also made 6 appearances out of the bullpen in the big leagues in 2010, pitching 6.0 innings and allowing 10 hits and 4 runs for a 6.00 ERA.

With this move, the Red Sox active roster now stands at 33 players.
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at 5:01 AM

Reddick and Rizzo help Portland and Pawtucket end regular season on a high


9/7 Cup of Coffee: As the minor league regular season came to a close, Pawtucket and Portland used their lumber to bring home victories while Greenville and Salem closed the season in losing fashion.

Looking to end their losing season on a high note, Pawtucket edged the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) 4-3. Ramon A. Ramirez evened his record to 5-5 on the year for his 5.2 inning performance in which he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. Tommy Hottovy added 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit. Chad Paronto tossed a perfect eighth inning and Fernando Cabrera notched his 22nd save of the year for a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The PawSox grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by James Kang and a two run home run by Josh Reddick. Gil Velazquez's RBI double in the fourth brought home what proved to be the game's decisive run. The rehabbing Jason Varitek went 1 for 3 as the designated hitter in the second game of his short rehab stint. Reddick was recalled to Boston following the contest.

Solid bullpen work and an opportunistic offense carried Portland past the rival New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) 7-4. Alex Wilson collected his fourth Sea Dogs victory for his 5.0 innings of work, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. Kyle Fernandes followed Wilson with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just 2 hits. Daniel Turpen picked up his fourth save as a member of the Red Sox organization for his 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. After New Hampshire jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Portland responded with a Nate Spears solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to cut the Fisher Cat lead in half. In the third, a Ryan Lavarnway RBI single and a Luis Exposito RBI double gave Portland a 3-2 advantage. New Hampshire quickly retaliated and took a 4-3 lead after plating two in the top of the fourth but would give up the lead again in the bottom half of the inning. Jose Iglesias tied the game with his bases loaded sacrifice fly and Anthony Rizzo smacked a three run home run to put the Sea Dogs on top 7-4. Rizzo's home run gave him 25 on the season to go along with 100 RBI as he began the season with High-A Salem before moving up to Portland. Spears also collected his 20th home run, capping off the best season of his career by also setting a new high in RBI (82).

Despite collecting 12 hits, Salem was doubled up by the rival Winston-Salem Dash (CHW) 10-5. Starter Miguel Gonzalez was pounded in his 2.2 innings of work, allowing 7 runs on 9 hits to pick up the loss. Cesar Cabral did not provide much relief as he went 2.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Will Latimer and Lance McClain threw well and combined to hurl the last 4.1 innings in scoreless fashion. Salem, already down 10-0 in the fifth, plated its first runs of the game in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring on a Drew Dominguez RBI ground out and a Ryan Dent RBI single. Drew Hedman laced an RBI double in the sixth to bring home another run, bringing the Red Sox within 7 at 10-3. In the eighth, Salem received their final two runs of the contest on a Jon Hee sacrifice fly and a Ronald Bermudez RBI single. Despite a great season, the Red Sox finished 7.5 games back of the Dash in the overall season standings.

With their attention focused on the playoffs, the Greenville Drive lost their season finale to the Hickory Crawdads (TEX) 5-3. Yeiper Castillo went the first 3.0 innings, allowing 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks to pick up the loss. Manuel Rivera followed Castillo with 3.0 innings of relief, allowing just a hit and a walk. Jeremiah Bayer hurled a scoreless seventh and eighth inning while Anatanaer Batista allowed 1 run on 2 hits as he pitched the ninth inning. Sean Killeen knocked home the Drive's first run in the bottom of the first to cut the Hickory advantage to 2-1. Down 5-1 in the ninth, Greenville attempted to use some comeback magic, scoring on a Jose Garcia sacrifice fly and a Jeremy Hazelbaker RBI single. Unfortunately, the comeback dreams were crushed when Felix Sanchez was thrown out at home for the final out of the game. The Drive begin their playoff series with the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) at home on Wednesday evening at 7.

Players of the Night: Josh Reddick for his 2 for 3 evening that included a home run, 2 RBI and a run scored in Pawtucket's 4-3 victory. Anthony Rizzo who went 2 for 3 with a home run, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored in Portland's 7-4 win.
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September 6, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Reddick joins Anderson in Boston


Josh Reddick started his day in Pawtucket, going 2/3 with a double and home run in four innings before being pulled from the game and informed that he was being called up, and finished the night as a defensive replacement in right field with Boston. In 451 at-bats over 114 games with the Paw Sox, Reddick posted a .266/.301/.466 line with 28 doubles, 4 triples and 18 home runs. He is currently the eighth ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com ... With the Spinners season complete Jose Garcia and Felix Sanchez joined Greenville from Lowell.
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at 9:49 AM

Lars Anderson promoted to Boston


Sources have confirmed that the Red Sox will purchase the contract of first baseman Lars Anderson from Pawtucket today and add him to the active major league roster. Anderson, 22, has played in 130 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket this season, putting up a combined line of .274/.349/.461 with 15 home runs in the process. He was promoted to Pawtucket on April 29 after leading the Eastern League in slugging percentage for the first month of the minor league season. Following that promotion, Anderson had an adjustment period for two months in Pawtucket - hitting just .233 through the Triple-A All-Star break - but he has hit .296 with an .829 OPS since the break. Today is the final game of the season for the PawSox, and word is that Anderson was informed of his promotion following Sunday night's loss to Syracuse.

Boston drafted Anderson in the 18th round of the 2006 draft out of Jesuit High School in Fair Oaks, California. The slugger had slipped in the draft due to a strong commitment to UC-Berkeley, but the Red Sox front office enticed him to turn pro with an $825,000 signing bonus. He impressed early in his professional career, putting up an .828 OPS with the Low-A Greenville Drive in 2007 at the age of 19, and then proceeded to put up a .928 OPS in 87 games spread over two seasons with High-A Lancaster. He ended the 2008 season billed as the top prospect in the Red Sox system after putting up a .316/.436/.526 line in 41 games with Portland. But he had a sub-par season in a return stint with Portland in 2009, hitting just .233 in 119 games for the Sea Dogs, partly due to a back injury and partially because he just failed to get into the right groove.

After impressing the Red Sox brass during minor league spring training this season, Anderson got off to a hot start in Double-A, putting up a .355/.408/.677 line in 17 games with Portland before earning a promotion to Triple-A.

Even if he was not added to the active roster this season, it was expected that Anderson would have been added to Boston's 40-man roster this November to avoid being eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this off-season. With yesterday's addition of Robert Coello, this move will bring Boston's 40-man roster to its limit at 40 players.


Photo by Kelly O'Connor
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September 5, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Coello added to Sox pen


As first tweeted by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the Red Sox will purchase the contract of Pawtucket reliever Robert Coello today and add him to the major league bullpen. Coello, 25, has pitched in 32 games (13 starts) with Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland this season, going 7-6 with a 3.86 ERA. He was converted to the PawSox bullpen on August 7. In 9 Triple-A relief appearances this season, the big right-hander has put up a 1.40 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .109 batting average while striking out 24 batters in 19.1 innings.

The Red Sox acquired Coello, a converted catcher, from Edmonton of the independent Golden Baseball League in November 2008. He went 5-3 with a 2.05 ERA for High-A Salem in 2009, striking out 82 batters in 66 innings.
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at 7:54 AM

Balcom-Miller helps Greenville playoff push


9/5 Cup of Coffee: Greenville stayed ahead of Asheville in the SAL playoff race Friday night, while a 2010 draftee gave Lowell fans a taste of things to come in his debut.

Rich Hill gave up 5 runs in 5.2 innings in Pawtucket's 6-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes Barre (NYY). Chad Paronto allowed an earned run but retired all 4 batters via the strikeout, and Santo Luis walked 2 in an inning of scoreless relief. Mark Wagner had 2 hits in the loss, while Jorge Jimenez collected the PawSox' only RBI in the loss.

Anthony Rizzo homered and Nate Spears drove in 3 in Portland's 6-4 win over New Hampshire (TOR). Jeremy Kehrt fanned 7 in 5.0 innings of two-run ball, and Ryne Lawson tossed 3.0 shutout innings before Eammon Portice made it interesting by allowing a pair to score in the ninth. Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito had RBI, and Jose Iglesias added 2 hits for the Sea Dogs.

In the completion of a suspended game from last month, Miguel Gonzalez and Zach Hammes combined on a three-hit shutout as Salem topped Winston-Salem 2-0. Gonzalez threw 3.0 innings of two-hit shutout ball on the original date, and Hammes struck out 6 in 4.0 innings of scoreless relief. Will Middlebrooks and Adalberto Ibarra drove in a run each, and Oscar Tejeda was 2 for 3 in the win.

Salem managed just 6 hits in game two, a 3-1 loss to the Dash. Dan Butler had the Sox' only multi-hit game and RBI, while Mitch Dening and Ronald Bermudez doubled in the losing effort. Caleb Clay allowed 3 earned on 6 hits in 6.0 innings, and Chris Court struck out 2 in a scoreless seventh.

In his organizational debut, Chris Balcom-Miller allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 6.0 shutout innings in Greenville's 10-2 win over Hickory (TEX). Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a three-run home run in the fourth and a solo shot in the sixth, while Michael Almanzar hit a solo homer in the win. Jeremy Hazelbaker was 2 for 5 with 3 RBI, while Pedro Perez and Anatanaer Batista combined for 3.0 innings of shutout relief.

Chris Hernandez struck out 2 and allowed an earned run in 2.0 innings in his debut as Lowell lost 6-2 to Hudson Valley (TB). Tyler Lavigne gave up 5 runs in the sixth inning and Stephen Fox struck out 4 in 2.2 innings of relief. Felix Sanchez went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and Bryce Brentz was 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored in the loss.

:Player of the Night Reynaldo Rodriguez continued his furious end to the season with a pair of home runs in Greenville's 10-2 win Saturday night.
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September 4, 2010 at 7:25 AM

Jacobs drives in 5 in rout


9/4 Cup of Coffee: Brandon Jacobs homered and drove in 5 as Lowell won yet again, while Salem was eliminated from playoff contention despite Stolmy Pimentel's impressive outing.

Adam Mills gave up 5 runs in the first inning as Pawtucket fell 10-4 to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY). Mills allowed 8 runs on 12 hits in 3.2 innings, and TJ Large gave up a pair of runs in 2.1 innings before Chad Paronto and Michael Bowden tossed a scoreless inning apiece in the loss. Bubba Bell was 3 for 5 with a pair of RBI while Josh Reddick, Niuman Romero, Aaron Bates, and Jorge Jimenez had 2 hits each.

Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double and Luis Exposito drove in 2 with a double of his own in Portland's four-run seventh as the Sea Dogs topped New Hampshire (TOR) 7-4. Kyle Weiland yielded 3 unearned runs and struck out 5 in 5.0 innings, and Ryne Reynoso picked up the win after striking out 4 and allowing a run in 4.0 innings of relief. Ryan Lavarnway added a pair of RBI on a fifth-inning single, while Jose Iglesias and Nate Spears added RBI in the win.

Salem was eliminated from playoff contention with a 5-0 loss to Potomac (WAS). Stolmy Pimentel fanned 8 in 6.0 innings of five-hit, one-run ball, but had it spoiled by Will Latimer, who allowed 4 runs in relief. Adalberto Ibarra was 3 for 4, Ronald Bermudez doubled, and Cesar Cabral tossed 1.1 inning of perfect relief.

Dennis Neuman allowed 3 runs in the eighth inning as Greenville lost 3-2 to Hickory (TEX). Armando Zerpa followed Kendal Volz' 4.0 shutout frames with 3.0 scoreless innings of his own before Neuman surrendered the lead. Shannon Wilkerson was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Sean Kileen was 1 for 3 with an RBI in the loss.

Brandon Jacobs hit his sixth homer of the year and drove in 5 runs in Lowell's 11-3 torching of Hudson Valley (TB). Josue Peley was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and a pair driven in, and Miles Head also had 3 hits and an RBI. Hunter Cervenka picked up his second win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 5.2 innings. Chez Angeloni allowed an earned run in 3.1 frames of relief, while Bryce Brentz and Miles Head each added an RBI in the win.

Player of the Night: Brandon Jacobs was 2 for 5 with a double, a three-run home run, and 5 RBI in Lowell's big win Friday night.
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September 3, 2010 at 1:26 PM

August minor league notes


Please check out this week's ESPNBoston column: August minor league notes.
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at 9:31 AM

The Book: Madison Younginer



RHP Madison Younginer
Date: August 31, 2010
Team: Lowell Spinners


Line: 5.0 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 4 strikeouts, 3 walks

Stuff: Featuring a fastball, curveball, and change-up, Younginer works with three pitches that all show major league potential. Sitting 92-93 MPH, his fastball moves downward through the strike zone, with late life, and can peak at 95 MPH when he reaches back. Younginer’s two-seam fastball runs in on right-handed hitters, and this version usually sits around 90 MPH. He has below-average command of his fastball and trouble consistently spotting up with the pitch, but it shows good projection to generate more swings and misses as he continues to learn how to reel it in. Younginer’s best pitch is a classic mid-70s 12-to-6 curveball with sharp, tight break and excellent depth as it breaks down hard through the strike zone. A devastating out-pitch in the making, his curveball should evolve into a consistent plus pitch. Younginer already shows excellent feel for the offering and exhibits about average command, with the ability to throw it for strikes low in the strike zone. Younginer sparingly uses his change-up, but he generates good arm speed when throwing it and creates some late fade with the pitch. He could stand to improve the separation between his change-up and fastball to get hitters out in front more – his change-up currently sits 84-85 MPH – and incorporate it more into his patterns as he gains trust to use it.

Delivery: Younginer’s inconsistent fastball command and the way to improve it are tied to improving the mechanics of his delivery. An over-the-top thrower, he has very long arm action in the back and lacks fluidity when getting himself started. His delivery is also slow, which makes him prone to stolen bases. Younginer starts by bringing his front shoulder up as he rocks back while extending his throwing arm further out, before moving his body forward and bringing his arm back up to deliver the ball. All of this extra motion, stiff landing, and rigid body actions causes him to have trouble keeping a consistent release point, and makes it difficult for him to fluidly repeat his delivery. The result is very spotty fastball command and varying points at which his fastball comes out of his hand. It also seems to zap some of his velocity and keep him from consistently operating in his upper reaches. When Younginer has his delivery under control and works from a constant release point, he gets on top of his fastball well and finishes his curveball with a lot of snap. His stuff looks very good and is difficult for batters to hit, with both his fastball and curveball getting swings and misses. But, his delivery currently varies from inning-to-inning or even batter-to-batter, making him extremely inconsistent with his command and negatively affecting his stuff in the process.

Take: A prospect with a live arm in the lower levels of the Red Sox organization, Younginer is in the very raw stages of his development and has a lot of work ahead of him. The foundation is there for him to build upon, and over time he should work some of the kinks out of his delivery to find something that he can consistently work with. As he becomes more fluid with his mechanics, his fastball can operate with a bit more velocity, as he presently tends to fight himself through his motion, which causes his arm to drag. When Younginer is on top of the ball and throwing downhill, his heater jumps on hitters and causes late swings. Already looking like an offering with plus to better potential, his curveball has the makings of a tough strikeout pitch that he can bury down and out of the strike zone or freeze batters with knee-buckling bend. Getting ahead in the count early with his fastball will enable him to lean on this offering to finish batters off and make him much more difficult to hit. Strong results will probably be a little ways off, as Younginer’s work with improving his command and delivery are going to take some time. Initial signs of improvement should come with more swings and misses leading to higher strikeout totals, along with a reduction in the number of walks he issues by limiting the wild spells. Possessing the raw stuff to project as a starting pitcher and with the ceiling of one at the front of a rotation, much of whether he is going to stick in that role down the line is tied into the development of his change-up, which he shows good feel for, but has yet to learn to trust to work into his repertoire on a consistent basis. From what Younginer shows in terms of feel and natural ability, strong improvement with this offering over the next season or so is within reach as he continues his repetitions. If he does hit a roadblock in developing into a pitcher with three solid-average to better pitches, he could fit more into a bullpen role where his stuff looks like it could play up into that of a late-inning reliever. But, at this point in the game for Younginer and given his age, there is a lot of projection in front of him. A ways off from the upper levels of the Red Sox system and only at the start of a professional career, Younginer is a player that’s going to have to work through a lot of development to polish off the package and rise up through the ranks, but one that could pay high dividends if all of the raw ability comes together.
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at 8:10 AM

Britton fans 10 in win


9/3 Cup of Coffee: After seeing their winning streak snapped, Pawtucket made an effort to start a new one, while Greenville moved even closer to the playoffs with a win Friday night.

Josh Reddick homered and Mark Wagner scored on a sacrifice fly to give Pawtucket a 2-1 win over Lehigh Valley (PHI). Kris Johnson allowed 5 hits in 5.0 shutout innings and Robert Coello fanned 6 in 2.0 scoreless frames. Tommy Hottovy allowed a run before Fernando Cabrera tossed 2.0 scoreless innings. Reddick went 2 for 4, and Aaron Bates was 3 for 3 with a double in the win.

Juan Carlos Linares hit his first professional home run in Portland's 5-3 win over Binghamton (NYM). Linares and fellow Cuban Jorge Padron drove in 2 runs apiece, while Jose Iglesias had 2 hits and Nate Spears had 2 hits and an RBI in the win. Blake Maxwell picked up his 7th win of the season, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits in 5.2 innings before Daniel Turpen allowed 2 hits in 2.1 innings and Jason Rice struck out 2 in a perfect ninth.

In Salem, Brock Huntzinger gave up 6 runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings as Potomac (WAS) dropped the Red Sox 10-3. Kyle Fernandes gave up 4 runs, 3 earned in 1.1 inning and Lance McClain added 2.1 scoreless innings in the loss. Luis Segovia hit a two-run home run in the seventh, and Ronald Bermudez added an RBI for the Sox, who are one loss away from being eliminated from playoff contention.

Michael Almanzar singled to score Zach Gentile as Greenville snuck past Charleston 1-0. Drake Britton struck out 10 and allowed just 3 hits in 5.0 shutout innings before Jeremiah Bayer allowed 3 hits in 4.0 scoreless frames of his own. Almanzar and Gentile each had 2 hits in the win.

In Lowell, Miguel Celestino picked up his second loss of the season in a 3-1 loss to Tri-City (HOU). Celestino allowed 3 runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts in 5.0 innings, and Garrett Rau struck out 6 in 4.0 shutout innings. David Renfroe had 2 hits and an RBI, while Freddy Sanchez added 2 hits in the loss.

Player of the Night: Drake Britton struck out 10 as the Drive inched closer to the postseason with a 1-0 win over Charleson.
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September 2, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Q&A with Amiel Sawdaye, Red Sox Scouting Director


Amiel Sawdaye took over as Boston’s Director of Amateur Scouting in January 2010, kicking off his ninth year in the Red Sox organization. He served as the Assistant Scouting Director from 2005 to 2009 after previously holding the title of Scouting Assistant. Sawdaye made a big splash in his first year heading up the Red Sox scouting department, spending $10,664,400 in overall bonus money, the fourth most of all major league clubs in 2010 and the most ever spent on a single draft by Boston. He allotted $3.9 million of that number on seven players at the August 16 draft signing deadline, including highly-regarded draftees Anthony Ranuado, Brandon Workman, Sean Coyle, and Garin Cecchini. Boston's draft class has graded out well by most draft analysts, and Frankie Piliere, National MLB Analyst for AOL Fanhouse, even went so far as to anoint the Red Sox the "big winners" of the 2010 Draft. Following the deadline, I had the opportunity to touch base with Sawdaye about his new role, the top players in Boston's 2010 draft class, and his approach to the signing period.

Mike Andrews
: Congratulations on taking over the reins as Scouting Director earlier this year. For those of us who don’t know, can you please explain the role of Scouting Director in terms of how much of your time is spent actually scouting out on the road vs. how much time is spent overseeing the team’s amateur scouts and reviewing their evaluations? How does the role of Assistant Scouting Director vary?

Amiel Sawdaye: This varies from team to team and person to person. Each organization will have a different philosophy as to how much they want their Scouting Director and Assistant Scouting Director on the road. For me, I try and see about 75-100 players per year. I like to get more looks on fewer players, especially the guys that we like. This allows me to have quality reports on all of the top players and also spend some time reviewing reports. I am a true believer that reading and taking notes on each submitted report is the best way to remember all of the players. It does get very time consuming, but it becomes well worth the work when we are in the draft room. As for the ASD, that role differs across Major League Baseball. Only half of the teams even have an ASD – some spend more time in the office and others spend more time on the road. Our ASD, Gus Quattlebaum, has a lot of experience as an evaluator and therefore brings a very important dynamic to our staff. He will spend a good chunk of time in the office, but will also be called on to see many players. That’s similar to the way we had it before I became Scouting Director. It allows for continuing development in the field and in the office.

MA: A lot of onlookers seem to love Kolbrin Vitek’s offensive approach, but question whether he can stick at third base. Can you discuss your thoughts on Vitek’s defensive abilities, and what other positions he may be capable of playing as a pro?
AS: Vitek is a very good athlete and has played many different positions throughout his career. Obviously, he spent his junior season as a second baseman at Ball State. We felt his athleticism, arm strength, and work ethic would help him make the transition to the corner. He shows good reactions and instincts and can make certain plays look easy. As with anything else, this transition will take some time. Obviously, there are a lot of adjustments that you have to make when playing pro ball (wood bat, playing every day, etc.), but he has taken to most of them very well. Right now, we see him as a third baseman, so we have not discussed any other positions.

MA: Bryce Brentz got off to a rough start with Lowell this summer, but has been looking quite impressive over the last two weeks. In your eyes, what will be the most important adjustment that Brentz will need to make to become a consistently successful professional hitter?
AS: Bryce is learning a lot of things in his approach. Although he was a very good college player, he came to us with somewhat of an unrefined approach. We knew that he had the tools, athleticism, and bat speed to make adjustments, and we are starting to see those adjustments happen this summer. While his numbers have not been indicative of his overall success, Bryce has gotten much better at recognizing pitches, staying back, letting the ball get deeper, and driving to the opposite field. He continues to square the ball up in games and has done exactly what our player development staff has been teaching him. Early on, he was very pull-oriented with some effort, but he is starting to become much more consistent. Once again, there are a lot of adjustments that a player must make when getting into pro ball and these are just a few for Bryce. Generally, your first season out of college is more about getting acclimated and learning what to do rather than overall results.

MA: What differences did you see in Anthony Ranaudo from 2009, to the spring of 2010, to the Cape League this summer? Were there mechanical issues this spring?
AS: I think the most glaring difference in Anthony was his consistency. At 6’7”, it is sometimes difficult to control and repeat your delivery. After getting injured early in the spring, he had some troubles repeating and shrinking his delivery and finding a consistent release point. Self admittedly, he needed more innings to get adjusted. Unfortunately, at LSU he ran across a few tough games and did not get the requisite innings that he needed to work himself out of the funk. However, in the Cape Cod League, he was handled very well (on a pitch count) and he was able to get consistent work in. I saw him once in the spring and twice this summer, and each time was better than the last. By his final outing, he was definitely the Ranaudo of old – driving a low-to-mid 90’s fastball downhill, showing a hard power curveball, and an advanced feel for his changeup. Mixing pitches and locating his stuff was extremely effective during the summer.

MA: Can you tell us about Brandon Workman’s secondary stuff?
AS: In addition to Brandon’s power fastball that has the ability to get swings-and-misses, he possesses some exciting and projectable secondary stuff. Brandon has a plus cutter that can be a wipeout pitch at times. It was his most effective pitch at Texas this spring, sitting in the high-80s and getting a lot of swings-and-misses. However, he just started using this pitch more in the past year. His curveball was also mixed in this season, but was inconsistent throughout the year. It probably had more to do with the fact that his cutter was so good that he was able to get outs with that pitch. In fact, last summer on the Cape he was predominantly a fastball-curveball guy and possessed a plus 12-6 breaking ball. We feel that the curve has a chance to continue to develop next year and become a consistent true weapon for him.

MA: If the decision were up to you, what would be the determinative factors in whether Sean Coyle and Garin Cecchini start 2011 with a full-season affiliate?
AS: Fortunately, the decision is not up to me and they are in great hands now with our player development staff. Both Coyle and Cecchini possess a lot of redeeming qualities that will allow them to compete for a job with a full season club. However, because of the lack of experience in pro ball, spending a summer in 2011 in the Gulf Coast League or in Lowell would also not be the worst thing in the world for them. Needless to say, we are very excited to get a chance to watch them in the Instructional League and spring training.

MA: What do you see as Henry Ramos’ greatest strengths, and what areas of his game will he need to develop the most as he climbs the organizational ladder?
AS: Henry is an excellent athlete who excelled in many sports outside of baseball – especially soccer and tennis. This is one of his greatest assets, and he is now just scratching the surface of what he can become as a baseball player. He has had a remarkable first year out, especially for a player that did not always play baseball full time. Just like any other high school player, he has a lot to develop but he shows very good projection with solid arm strength, good plate discipline, plus raw power, and good defensive abilities. He will be very exciting to watch in the next few years.

MA: You’ve described sixth round pick Kendrick Perkins as a unique combo of power and speed, but also a player that’s “not raw by any means.” Can you elaborate on that?
AS
: I think that many times when you draft somebody who does not play baseball full time, they get pigeon-holed into a category as a “raw player.” The rawness usually comes from a player who does not have a plan at the plate or understand the game very well. That is not Kendrick. Kendrick is a perfect example of a player who has many exciting baseball skills, but has not given his full attention to the game. As many of you know, he spent every summer getting ready for football, as opposed to playing baseball throughout the year. While this may have taken away from some of his development, his full-time commitment to baseball should allow his current tools to progress. He's strong and fast – built like a power running back or tight end – and those skills translate well to baseball. He recognizes pitches well with good bat control and has big time raw power, but has some mechanical adjustments needed in his swing that will help him reach his potential.

MA: Could you compare and contrast the skill sets of Chris Hernandez and Matt Price?
AS: Two completely different pitchers. Hernandez has been a very durable left-handed starter for the University of Miami, who went out and consistently produced at a very high level. His fastball moves in every direction, even when he is not trying to make it move. His cutter generates a lot of mis-hits and should excel at the next level. He is definitely an advanced college pitcher who knows his craft well and has some of the most impressive mound presence out of any pitcher in the draft.

Price is a lean, projectable right-handed starter who is just starting to realize his potential as a pitcher. Early on this year, he was moved in and out of the rotation by Virginia Tech, but ended up as one of their more reliable starters with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a plus changeup, and an improving breaking ball. He is a very good athlete with good arm action – he has a chance to really blossom into a solid mid-rotation starter. While he didn’t have the same consistent success as Chris, he did show flashes of dominance in the ACC with a lot to dream on.

MA: Most of the reports we’ve read on Lucas LeBlanc indicate that he projects as a five-tool player with each tool projecting at about major league average, but none projecting as stellar. Would you say that is an accurate assessment at this point?
AS: That is a pretty fair assessment, however, we think that Lucas can really have an impact with his speed and defense in addition to his bat. He is a plus runner with a live, athletic body and has a very good chance to stay in center field. He shows plus raw power in batting practice with a very simple and efficient swing. As you know, finding players to stay up the middle and/or patrol center field is sometimes challenging, so we are very excited to have an athlete with his potential in our system.

MA: Of the 25 prep draftees selected after the 13th round, only two signed, which is not unprecedented and did not appear to be unexpected on the surface. I know you probably can’t name names, but were there serious negotiations with any of these picks at the deadline? In general, with these types of later-round high school picks, are they selected in the hope that one or two of them to have a major breakout summer, do you consider some of them backup picks where the budget can be reallocated in case other higher choices fall through, or is there some other thought process?
AS: We had negotiations with a lot of players after the 13th round, but in the end we could not meet their asking prices. We select all of the players with the intention of getting to know them and hopefully signing them. It really varies from player to player - sometimes the price comes down, sometimes the price goes up, and sometimes it stays the same. In the end, it becomes a risk-reward equation – we get to know them, they get to know us, and we both have to weigh what it is worth to come to a fair agreement.

MA: As we all know, 2011 will be the last draft under the current CBA. How will that fact come into play in your approach to the draft next year? There has been a lot of talk about major overhauls to the draft process, and a special committee has reportedly been formed to look into issues such as a hard slotting system and a worldwide draft. I understand that you may not be able to comment on those issues at this point, but do you anticipate that the scouting directors around the league will get a voice in how the draft process will be transformed?
AS: We will take the same approach into the draft year after year - select and attempt to sign the best players on the board. Obviously, our budget will only allow us to sign up to a certain threshold, but we will try and infuse more talent into the organization and make the most informed decisions by the deadline. I have not heard about if and when the scouting directors will get a voice in the draft process, but like many other scouting directors, I have spoken at length with our General Manager and I’m sure he'll have a strong voice in the transformation process.
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