SoxProspects News

October 31, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Caribbean Roundup: October 24-30


Here are how Red Sox prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Ryan Lavarnway (Bravos de Margarita): Did not make an appearance this week.

Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Went 0 for 5 with a run scored in 3 games.

Oscar Perez (Tiburones de La Guaira): Did not make an appearance this week.

Oscar Tejeda (Gigantes del Cibao): Did not make an appearance this week.

Mexican Pacific League

Jesus Loya (Naranjeros de Hermosillo): Did not make an appearance this week.

Miguel Gonzalez (Venados de Mazatlan): Pitched 1.0 scoreless inning of relief, allowing 1 hit and punching out 1.

Dominican Winter League

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Made a relief appearance on October 26 against Escogido, hurling 1.1 innings, allowing 2 walks and striking out 1.

Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Appeared twice out of the bullpen, tossing 1.1 perfect innings, striking out 2.
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October 30, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Huge night from Middlebrooks not enough as Scorpions fall to the Rafters


10/30 Cup of Coffee: Will Middlebrooks continued his hot hitting in Arizona, but the Scorpions bullpen could not hold the lead as the Rafters came back to win 4-3. 

The Red Sox prospects led the way for the Scorpions, driving in all 3 runs the team scored. Middlebrooks hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give the Scorpions the early lead. Dan Butler hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 5th which tied the game at 2. In the bottom of the 7th with the game still tied at 2, Alex Hassan hit a home run to deep left center field to put the Scorpions on top 3-2. Unfortunately, the Rafters scored 1 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to come away with the victory.The Scorpions are currently in last place with a record of 7-15. 

Middlebrooks went 2 for 5 with a double, home run, and strikeout. JC Linares went 0 for 5 and is only 1 for 15 in the 3 games he has played for the Scorpions. Hassan went 1 for 3 with a home run, walk, strikeout, and also had an outfield assist. Butler, who has been one of the hottest hitters in the league, went 1 for 3 with a walk. Ryan Dent had one of his best games in Arizona, going 2 for 3 with a walk.

The Scorpions return to action with a home game on Halloween against Surprise at 3:35 EST. 
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October 29, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Harper homers in third consecutive game as Scottsdale beats Salt River


10/29 Cup of Coffee: Bryce Harper (WAS) is getting comfortable in Arizona. The stud prospect hit a home run in his third consecutive game and is now batting .435 over his last 6 appearances. His success has helped the last place Scorpions as they have now won two games in a row after beating the Salt River Rafters 9-5. 

On a night when most Red Sox prospects did not play, it was more of the same for the Scorpions offense. Every player collected at least 1 hit, led by Harper's homer. RBI doubles from Mike Trout (LAA), Joe Panik (SF), and  Zach Walters (WAS), proved to be too much for the Rafters as the Scorpions slugged their way to victory

Tyler Cloyd (PHI) pitched well to earn the win. He threw 4.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. Will Latimer followed him and he threw 1.0 innings allowing 0 hits or runs. Caleb Clay threw a scoreless eighth, allowing 1 hit.

The Scorpions will look to push their mini win streak to 3 games tonight as they play the Rafters again. This game will be at home and will start at 9:35 EST.
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October 28, 2011 at 7:18 AM

Harper bashes Scorpions to walk off victory over Solar Sox


10/28 Cup of Coffee: In one of the most exciting games this fall, the Scottsdale Scorpions walked off with an 8-7 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox.

With Scottsdale down 3-0 in the second, Darin Ruf (PHI) smacked a two run home run to bring the Scorpions within one. Bryce Harper’s (WAS) RBI single in the third tied the game, 3-3. After Mesa reclaimed the lead 4-3 in the top of the fourth, Jean Segura’s (LAA) RBI triple brought home two in the bottom half of the inning to give the Scorpions their first lead of the contest, 5-4. The Solar Sox quickly responded in the fifth, taking advantage of a wild pitch and a key throwing error by Harper to plate three runs and reclaim the lead, 7-5. The game remained in the hands of the Solar Sox until the bottom of the ninth, when Harper cracked a game winning three run home run.

Will Middlebrooks batted third and played third base, going 2 for 5 with a pair of singles. Alex Hassan got the nod in right field, going 0 for 4. Dan Butler was 1 for 4 with a single as Scottsdale’s catcher. Brock Huntzinger received the start for the Scorpions, going 3.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits while striking out 3. Jeremy Kehrt added a scoreless inning of relief, allowing 1 hit and punching out 1.

The Scorpions will try to continue their winning ways this evening as they square off against the Salt River Rafters at 9:35 EST.
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October 27, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Despite Linares home run, Scottsdale gets blinded by Solar Sox


10/27 Cup of Coffee: The Mesa Solar Sox jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and cruised to a 10-5 victory over Scottsdale last night.

The Scorpions didn’t get on the board until the fourth, when Bryce Harper (WAS) laced a two-out, three-run home run. Down 9-3 in the eighth, Scottsdale pulled to within four on a Juan Carlos Linares solo home run and a Harper sacrifice fly, but the lead was too much to overcome, as the Scorpions made three errors and went just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Linares batted second and played center field, going 1 for 5 with the solo home run. Ryan Dent hit ninth and played second base, going 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk.

The Scorpions will look to get back into the win column this afternoon at 3:35 EST, as they try to exact revenge on the Solar Sox.

Player of the Day: Ryan Dent, who went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk.
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October 25, 2011 at 6:48 AM

Scottsdale doubled up by Peoria


10/25 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale held an early lead against Peoria on Monday, but could not hold onto it and ultimately lost, 8-4.

The Scorpions jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd on Joe Panik's (SF) 2-run home run, and led Peoria 3-1 entering the bottom of the 5th inning. The Javelinas scored 7 runs over the next 3 innings and did not allow Scottsdale to rally back. Offensively, the Scorpions were led by Panik, who went 2-3 with a walk, walk, home run and 2 RBI and Derek Norris (WAS), who went 2-2 with a walk, a double, a home run and 2 RBI. Sammy Solis (WAS) started for Scottsdale and went the first 5 innings. He allowed 4 hits, 2 runs, walked 1 and struck out 3. Pat Lehman (WAS) relieved Solis and took the loss, allowing 3 hits and 2 runs in an inning of work.

Red Sox minor league hitters appearing in this game were Will Middlebrooks, who went 0-5, and Alex Hassan, who went 1-4. Will Latimer got roughed up on the mound, as he gave up 4 hits and 4 runs in just a third of an inning, walking 1 and not recording a strikeout. Caleb Clay relieved Latimer and threw a shutout two thirds of an inning. He did not allow a hit, walked 1 and did not strike out anyone.

Scottsdale will look to get back in the win column this evening, as they host Peoria at 9:35 EST.
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October 24, 2011 at 7:53 AM

Caribbean Roundup: October 17-23


Here are how Red Sox prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:


Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Ryan Lavarnway (Bravos de Margarita): Was 1 for 2 with 2 walks in yesterday's contest against La Guaira.

Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Went 1 for 6 with a double and two strikeouts in his two appearances this week.

Oscar Perez (Tiburones de La Guaira): Did not make an appearance this week.


Mexican Pacific League

Jesus Loya (Naranjeros de Hermosillo): Went hitless in 6 at-bats over two games.


Dominican Winter League

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Made a relief appearance on October 21, tossing 1.2 innings against Licey, allowing 1 run on 2 hits, walking 1 and striking out 1.

Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Appeared twice out of the bullpen, hurling 1.2 perfect innings, striking out 1.


Player of the Week: Cesar Cabral, who tossed 1.2 inning of flawless relief this week in two appearances out of the bullpen for Aguilas.


EDIT: Oscar Tejeda (Gigantes del Cibao): Played in three games, going 1 for 8 with a double, walk and 2 strikeouts.
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October 23, 2011 at 5:30 AM

Linares makes AFL debut in Scottsdale victory


10/23 Cup of Coffee: Thanks to another balanced offensive attack and a tremendous showing by the bullpen, the Scottsdale Scorpions defeated the Phoenix Desert Dogs 9-4

The Desert Dogs went up 4-0 after 4 innings thanks to home runs by Michael Choice (OAK) and Kevin Ahrens (TOR) off of Scottsdale starter Tyler Cloyd (PHI). While it looked like another long night for Scottsdale pitching, the bullpen stepped up and threw 4.0 scoreless innings to keep the Scorpions in the game. 

The Scorpions tied the game up in the 6th after a home run by Brandon Crawford (SFG) and 2 run single by Ryan Dent. The game was tied until the 8th when a Zach Walters (WAS) home run put the Scorpions up for good. 

Every Scottsdale starter except for Juan Carlos Linares had at least 1 hit in the game. Linares, who tore ligaments in his ankle on May 2nd, finally returned to game action on Saturday. He went 0 for 5 as he is still working his way back into game shape. To read more about Linares and the recovery from his injury, the great Alex Speier recently published an informative piece about him

Ryan Dent was the only other Sox prospect to see game action on Saturday as he went 1 for 2 with 2 walks. The Scorpions have an off-day tomorrow before returning to action on Monday at 3:35 EST at Peoria. 


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October 22, 2011 at 5:30 AM

Middlebrooks goes deep, but Scottsdale falls to Surprise


10/22 Cup of Coffee: A good day for Sox prospects did not lead to a win as the Surprise Saguaros slugged their way to a 13-8 victory. 

Will Middlebrooks went 2 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI's to lead the Scorpion offense. Every Scorpion collected at least 1 hit in the game, with Dan Butler and Cody Overbeck (PHI) each going 3 for 4 and Jean Segura (LAA) going 2 for 4. Alex Hassan had the roughest night of the Red Sox prospects, going 1 for 5 and striking out 3 times. 

While the offense was solid for Scottsdale, the pitching was shoddy. Matt Purke (WAS) made his first start as a professional and it was one to forget. He recorded only 1 out and allowed 7 runs on 5 hits, a walk, and a hit by pitch. Brock Huntzinger managed to keep Scottsdale in the game by throwing 3.0 solid innings allowing only 1 hit and striking out 3. The pitch f/x system had him hitting 93 several times with his fastball which is up from where he was earlier in the regular season. 

After being down 8-2 in the 2nd inning, the Scorpions managed to tie the game at 8 in the top of the 7th thanks to a Butler single, but a 5 run bottom of the 7th for Surprise put an end to the comeback. The Scorpions play tomorrow at 3:35 EST at Phoenix. 
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October 21, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Help Wanted: News Blogger



Help Wanted: News Blogger

Position Overview: We're looking for a volunteer news blogger to join the SoxProspects.com staff through at least October 2012. The position would basically include blogging on Red Sox system news such as trades, promotions, the draft, signings, and minor league awards. If you're a motivated "self-starter," there's an opportunity to parlay the position into something bigger down the line, such as an editor or columnist position. The job is not a ton of work, as on average the frequency of news blog posts ranges from about 3 to 5 per week during the season, to about 1 to 2 per week during the off-season. Most blog posts are generally 1-3 paragraphs in length. There will be at least 2-3 other news bloggers on the team, but we still need at least one more blogger to be there to ensure full coverage of news around the clock. This is a great opportunity for an aspiring writer to gain some experience and exposure in the field.

Basic Requirements 
- Looking for a one-year commitment from November 2011 to October 2012
- Solid writing skills 
- Strong attention to detail 
- Professional attitude and demeanor 
- The ability and availability to get up posts in a timely manner, especially during regular business hours 
- Semi-basic Microsoft Word skills, including hyper-linking and adding images 
- College-level academic writing/journalism coursework strongly preferred
- Close proximity to one of Boston's minor affiliates is preferred, but not required
- Age 18+

Compensation 
Unfortunately this is an unpaid opportunity (as are all the positions on the SoxProspects Staff). However, there are a few nice perks, including access to insider information, free game tickets (on occasion), invitations to staff events, networking opportunities, and the potential to get press access to minor league games. 

If you're interested in signing up, shoot me an e-mail at info@soxprospects.com by 2:00 pm ET on October 27, 2011.  Please provide a basic run-down of your skills and experience with respect to the requirements outlined above. A resume is not required, but it can't hurt either. We look forward to hearing from you! We hope to make some decisions in early November.

Thanks! 
-Mike 
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at 5:30 AM

Scorpions losing ways continue, drop second straight to Mesa


10/21 Cup of Coffee: Another lackluster day at the ballpark led to yet another Scottsdale loss.

Managing just four hits, the Scottsdale Scorpions dropped their second in a row to the Mesa Solar Sox, 4-1. The Scorpions are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.

The Solar Sox plated singular runs in the first and fourth innings as well as two runs in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead. Scottsdale’s lone run of the game came in the top of the seventh on a solo home run by Tyson Gillies (TOR).

Will Middlebrooks batted cleanup and played third base, going 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.

Of note, Josh Vitters (CHC) was 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk batting cleanup and acting as the designated hitter for Mesa.

Scottsdale will look to get back in the win column this afternoon as they square off against the Surprise Saguaros at 3:35 EST.
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October 20, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Scorpions stung late by Mesa, fall 6-5


10/20 Cup of Coffee: An early 4-0 lead evaporated on the Scorpions as their bullpen failed to close out a victory.

Despite holding an early four run advantage, the Scottsdale Scorpions were burned by the Mesa Solar Sox, 6-5.

The Scorpions wasted no time getting on the board, plating two runs in the first on RBI singles by Alex Hassan and Derek Norris (WAS). In the second, a sacrifice fly by Jean Segura (LAA) and a run scoring fielding error gave Scottsdale a 4-0 lead. The game remained in the hands of the Scorpions until the seventh, when Mesa tied the game on a pair of two run home runs. Scottsdale clawed back in the eighth, reclaiming the lead 5-4 on a Norris solo home run. Unfortunately for the Scorpions, the Solar Sox rallied to take the lead 6-5 in the ninth to bring home the victory.

Hassan started in right field and went 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI single. Ryan Dent got the start at second base and went 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

Two players floated as compensation in the pending Theo Epstein deal took the mound for Mesa. Trey McNutt (CHC) received the start, tossing 1.2 innings, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, walking 1 and striking out 1. Chris Carpenter (CHC) picked up the victory for his inning of relief in which he allowed 1 run on 1 hit, striking out 1.

The Scorpions look to exact revenge as they square off against the Solar Sox again today at 3:35 EST.
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October 19, 2011 at 5:15 AM

Scottsdale outslugs Phoenix in extra innings, ending losing streak


10/19 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale beat Phoenix 11-10 in 10 innings on Tuesday, ending its 6-game losing streak.

The Desert Dogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, but the Scorpions answered back with 3 runs in the top of the 3rd. Will Middlebrooks hit an RBI single, and Bryce Harper (WAS) followed with a 2-run homer. Harper went 3-4 in the game with 2 walks, that home run and 3 RBI. Phoenix then put up 6 unanswered runs to take a 9-3 lead into the 6th inning. Scottsdale plated 5 in the 6th, including a 2-run home run by Middlebrooks and a bases-clearing double by Darin Ruf (PHI), to draw within 1 run, 9-8. Phoenix scored an insurance run in the bottom of the frame to stretch the lead to 2, but Scottsdale scored the next and final 3 runs of the game, including the game-winning run in the top of the 10th when Joe Panik (SF) scored on an error, to win 11-10.

Middlebrooks went 2-7 with a home run and 3 RBI, Alex Hassan went 2-4 with 2 runs scored, while Dan Butler went 1-2 with 4 walks. Butler now has a staggering 9:1 BB:K ratio thus far in the AFL.

Jeremy Kehrt pitched 1.2 innings in relief, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs (4 earned). He did not walk a batter and struck out 2. Caleb Clay pitched 2 strong innings in relief. He did not allow a hit, walked 2 and struck out 3. Stephen Harrold (SF), picked up the win by pitching 2 scoreless innings to finish the game. He surrendered 1 hit, walked 1 and struck out 2.

Scottsdale will look to keep the good times rolling this afternoon, as they host Mesa at 3:35 EST.
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October 18, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Scottsdale loses 7-4, brings losing streak to 6 games


10/18 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale could not handle the Desert Dogs on Monday, losing by a score of 7-4, and bringing its losing streak to 6 games.

Phoenix scored 4 runs in the top of the 2nd inning to take the lead for good. The Scorpions would scratch back but could not get the deficit below 3 runs. Leading the way offensively for Scottsdale were Jean Segura (LAA), who went 2-4 with a double and 3 RBI, and Hank Conger (LAA), who went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI. Tyler Cloyd (PHI) started the game and took the loss. Cloyd allowed 6 hits and 5 runs in 4 innings of work. He walked 1 and struck out 6.

The Red Sox farmhands to appear in this contest were Dan Butler, who went 0-2 with 2 walks, and Will Middlebrooks, who went 0-4.

Scottsdale will attempt to get back in the win column this evening, as they take on Phoenix again at 9:35 EST.
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October 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Caribbean Roundup: October 11-16


Each off-season, several Red Sox prospects compete in the Caribbean Winter Leagues, made up of teams from the Dominican Winter League (Liga Dominicana de Béisbol Invernal), Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacífico), Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico) and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional). The teams in these leagues typically play into late December or early January, with each league sending its top team to the Caribbean Series. To follow the Caribbean Winter League Red Sox player stats this off-season, visit our Fall-Winter League page, which is updated on a daily basis. In addition, this is the first in our series of weekly roundups of the Caribbean Winter Leagues - look for coverage to continue every Monday morning into January. This week's Caribbean Roundup covers the period of October 11-16, 2011. Look for expanded coverage when the Colombian Winter League gets underway later this month and the Puerto Rican League starts up on November 4.

Here are how Red Sox prospects fared over the past week in the Caribbean:


Venezuelan Professional Baseball League


Ryan Lavarnway (Bravos de Margarita): Is 4 for 12 with a double and 3 walks in his first four games.


Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Is 3 for 13 with 3 RBI, 2 runs scored and a stolen base through his first four contests.


Oscar Perez (Tiburones de La Guaira): Made his first appearance on October 14 and is hitless in his lone at-bat.


Mexican Pacific League


Jesus Loya (Naranjeros de Hermosillo): Has appeared in two games and is 1 for 2 with a run scored.


Dominican Winter League

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Made a relief appearance on October 15, tossing 2.0 shutout innings, allowing a walk and striking out 2.


Player of the Week: Ryan Lavarnway, who continued to swing a hot bat, collecting 4 hits in 12 at-bats, including a double through his first four games for Bravos de Margarita.

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October 16, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Scottsdale rally falls just short


10/16 Cup of Coffee: With the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first, Zach Walters (WAS) struck out and and Dan Butler lined out to end the game as the Scottsdale Scorpions fell to the Peoria Javelinas 8-7. 

Scottsdale was up 5-0 in the 3rd thanks to RBI doubles from Walters and Derek Norris (WAS), and a Butler 3 run home run. Peoria managed to get all 5 runs back by the end of the 4th as Nick Franklin (SEA) hit a 2 run double, Juan Lagares (NYM) hit a 2 run home run, and Oscar Taveras (STL) lined an RBI double to chase Scottsdale starter Brock HuntzingerMatt Purke (WAS) made his AFL debut in relief of Huntzinger tossing 2.0 innings allowing 1 run, hit, walk, and strike out. 

The score was tied at 6 in the 8th when Jefry Marte (NYM) launched a 2 run home run to left center to put Peoria up 8-6. The Scorpions quickly got the tying runs to the plate in the 9th as Brandon Crawford (SF) and Alex Hassan singled to start off the inning. With runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out, Derek Norris hit a sac fly to bring Scottsdale within 1. Cody Overbeck (PHI) followed with a single to put the go-ahead run on base, but Walters and Butler could not drive them in and Peoria squeaked by with the victory.

Brock Huntzinger pitched the first 4.0 innings allowing 7 hits and 5 runs. Alex Hassan started in right field going 1 for 3 with a walk. Dan Butler went 1 for 3 with a home run and a walk and Ryan Dent went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. 
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October 15, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Theo's best and worst draft picks


With Theo Epstein on the cusp of departing the Red Sox to join the Chicago Cubs organization, here’s a look at the best and worst draft picks of the Epstein era.

Best high-round picks (first, supplemental, or second round)

1. Dustin Pedroia -- Boston took the gritty second baseman out of Arizona State in the second round (64th overall) of the 2004 draft. He cruised through the minors and has since won American League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, and is a three-time AL All-Star.

2. Jacoby Ellsbury -- The Red Sox selected Ellsbury out of Oregon State in the first round (23rd overall) in 2005. The 28-year-old outfielder is coming off of an MVP-caliber season in 2011. He could easily be listed at No. 1, but we’ll give Pedroia the nod as the best pick since he was a second-rounder.

3. Clay Buchholz -- Buchholz was snagged out of Angelina Junior College in the supplemental first round (42nd overall) in 2005. The right-hander dominated the minors and has gone 35-24 with a 3.64 ERA in 78 games with Boston.

4. Daniel Bard -- Boston picked Bard out of North Carolina in the first round (28th overall) of the 2006 draft. Originally projected as a starter, Bard had a horrific first minor-league season (3-7, 7.08 ERA) and was converted to the bullpen the following season. While there have been a few hiccups here and there -- this past September included -- he’s been one of the best relievers in the American League since his arrival to the majors in 2009.

5. Justin Masterson -- Masterson was selected out of San Diego State in the second round (71st overall) in 2006. Boston later packaged the big right-hander in a trade with Cleveland for catcher Victor Martinez in 2009. In 2011, Masterson went 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA in 34 games with the Indians.


Check out the full column on ESPN Boston
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at 7:00 AM

Peoria pummels Scottsdale


10/15 Cup of Coffee: A rough night for Scottsdale pitching led to a 14-5 defeat on Friday night. 

Logan Schafer (MIL), Jedd Gyorko (SD), and Jaff Decker (SD) all homered to lead the high powered offense of the Javelinas. 

Tyson Gillies (PHI) went 2 for 4 with a walk, and Bryce Harper (WAS) added a 2 run triple to lead the way for the Scorpions. On what was a forgettable night for the pitching staff, every pitcher for the Scorpions gave up at least 1 run. Daryl Maday (SF) earned the loss going 3.0 innings giving up 3 hits and 4 runs. 

Alex Hassan went 0 for 2 with 2 walks. His current slash line in the AFL is .133/.350/.133 in 15 at bats. Will Latimer tossed 2.0 innings allowing 3 hits and 2 runs while striking out 3. 

Scottsdale will play at Peoria tomorrow at 3:35 EST. 
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October 14, 2011 at 7:33 AM

Salt River topples Scottsdale for second straight day


10/14 Cup of Coffee: The Salt River Rafters continued to give the Scorpions fits, topping them for a second day in a row.

Looking to exact revenge for their loss a day prior, the Scottsdale Scorpions fell once again to the Salt River Rafters, 3-1.

The Scorpions pushed across their lone run of the contest in the fourth as Jean Segura (LAA) came home on a double play ball. Scottsdale was a woeful 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position as they struggled to come up with a big hit.

Alex Hassan started in right field and went 1 for 3 with a single. Will Middlebrooks started once again at third base and was 1 for 3 with a single and three strikeouts.

The Scorpions look to get back into the win column this evening as they square off against the Peoria Javelinas at 8:35 EST.
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October 13, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Scottsdale brushed aside amidst late Salt River rally


10/13 Cup of Coffee: A late inning charge opened up a close game, handing the Scorpions their second straight loss.

A late inning charge by the Rafters allowed Salt River to push aside the Scottsdale Scorpions, 10-5.

After Salt River plated two runs in the first, the Scorpions took the lead with three in the second on a Cody Overbeck (PHI) RBI triple, and RBI singles by Jean Segura (LAA) and Gary Brown (SF). The Rafters quickly responded by reclaiming the lead 4-3 in the top of the third, but Scottsdale tied the game on a Ryan Dent sacrifice fly in the fourth. In the sixth, Tyson Gillies’ (PHI) RBI single vaulted the Scorpions into the lead, 5-4. Unfortunately for the Scorpions, their bullpen was unable to hold the lead, allowing the Rafters to tie the game in the seventh and plate three in the eighth and two in the ninth for the decisive 10-5 victory.

Will Middlebrooks was 0 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base as the Scorpions starting third baseman. Dent batted ninth and played second base, going 1 for 3 with an RBI. On the mound, Caleb Clay tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1. Jeremy Kehrt retired the only batter he faced in relief.
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October 12, 2011 at 7:28 AM

Scottsdale cannot complete comeback, loses 3-2


10/12 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale could not rally for the second straight game, and lost to Mesa, 3-2.

Zach Walters (WAS) and Hank Conger (LAA) each chipped in 2 hits and an RBI, but it was not enough to overcome the defecit. Scottsdale had chances for more, but ended the seventh with Bryce Harper (WAS) caught stealing third and ended the eighth when Gary Brown (SF) grounded into a double play with two men on base. Tyler Cloyd (PHI) started for Scottsdale and took the loss. Over 3.0 innings, he allowed 4 hits and a run. Cloyd walked 1 and struck out 1. No Red Sox farmhands made an appearance in this one.

Scottsdale will next play this evening at 9:35 EST, hosting the Salt River Rafters.
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October 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #20


In a short edition of the podcast, Mike, Mellen, and Hatfield catch up with the goings-on in the Arizona Fall League, Fall Instructional League, and Baseball World Cup. Depressed about how the Sox' season ended? Focus on the future!

Direct Link (Right-click to download)
Podcast Archive
Subscribe on iTunes
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at 7:03 AM

Scottsdale rallies to defeat Mesa, 4-3


10/11 Cup of Coffee: Will Middlebrooks went 1-4 with a 2-run double to help Scottsdale defeat Mesa, 4-3, for their 3rd straight victory.

Brock Huntzinger started for Scottsdale and allowed 5 hits and 3 runs in 3 innings of work. He walked 2 and struck out 2. The Scorpions battled back in the 4th inning and tied the game at 3-3, highlighted by Middlebrooks' 2-run double. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th, when Brandon Crawford (SF), led the inning off with a triple, and later scored on an RBI groundout by Joe Panik (SF). Crawford went 3-4 with that triple and scored 2 of the team's 4 runs. Bryce Harper (WAS) went 1-3 with an RBI, a walk and 2 steals. The win was picked up by Stephen Harrold (SF), who pitched 2 hitless innings to finish the game. Harrold walked 2 and struck out 1.

For the Red Sox, Dan Butler went 1-3, while Alex Hassan went 0-2 and drew 2 walks. Will Latimer pitched 2 perfect innings of relief with 1 strikeout.

The next game for the Scottsdale is at 3:35 EST today, when they take on Mesa.
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October 10, 2011 at 7:52 AM

The Book: Jose Vinicio



SS Jose Vinicio
Date: September 29-October 1, 2011
Team: Fall Instructional League
Age: 18

Swing:
A switch hitter, Vinicio shows a much more fluid swing from the left side of the plate. He utilizes a compact stroke left-handed. Vinicio generates plus batspeed as a lefty and quickly gets the head of the bat out in front of the baseball to produce solid backspin. Despite being ultra-lean, especially in the lower body, he can get some carry behind the ball and turn around high velocity fastballs from right-handed pitchers. When Vinicio flips over to the other batter’s box, his swing gets noticeably longer and the head of the bat drags more through the zone. His mechanics do not look as crisp, especially his swing load. Vinicio tends to be behind more pitches and produces weaker contact as a right-handed hitter. He needs some cleanup work to get started earlier and be quicker to the ball in the process.

Defense: Vinicio displays a high level of fluidity and instincts at the shortstop position. His quick first step allows him to get going at the crack of the bat. Vinicio ranges well to both his left and right, covering a lot of ground in the field. He also shows the ability to adjust his hands very smoothly and react quickly to the bounces of the ball. In this view, Vinicio’s arm looked stronger than in the past. He made some strong throws on the run, with his throwing arm looking solid-average-to-better. The main weakness presently in the defensive package is his judgment, which at this age is to be expected. Vinicio needlessly rushes routine plays or gets himself off-balance when throwing by not setting his feet. He’ll also drop down a bit too much to the side and cause his throws to sail.

Take: Vinicio is still very skinny and lacks strength, but he did not look out of place skill-wise on the field with the older players. In this scouting opportunity, the level of comfort that he has begun to develop at the plate as a left-handed batter jumped out. Vinicio looked much more relaxed in the box and focused on picking out pitches he could handle. In the past, he tended to swing at everything without much of a plan in place. There has been some improvement with his approach that has begun to translate into game settings. He has some work to do batting right-handed though and did not show the above-average batspeed that he showed left-handed. It will be interesting to see if he can shorten up his right-handed swing and whether added strength helps quicken it up as well.

While Vinicio projects to have below-average power, I feel he has the hit tool to evolve into a solid-average hitter for average that plugs gaps to produce doubles. Despite presently lacking strength, he creates excellent batspeed as a lefty and shows the ability to get the head of the bat out in front of the ball. Vinicio has a foundation of hitting talent that should begin to show itself when his level of experience and physical development starts to catch up to his talent. Filling out is going to be important for him offensively, but it also should not take away from him defensively. Vinicio is a natural shortstop and shows the traits of a player who is capable of sticking at the position. There is a level of fluidity and naturalness that points to him rounding into an above-average defender as he improves his judgment via maturation. He has a lot of development in front of him, but looked like a player beginning to take the initial steps towards projecting as a future everyday major league regular.
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October 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Scottsdale withstands Phoenix's rally to win 5-4


10/9 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale earned their 2nd straight victory on Saturday as they defeated the Phoenix Desert Dogs 5-4.

Scottsdale got out to an early lead as Hank Conger (LAA) singled home Gary Brown (SF) in the top of the 1st. Brown added a 2 run double in the 2nd to put Scottsdale up 3-0. Phoenix got 2 back in the 5th as Dusty Coleman (OAK) hit a home run to deep center field. The score remained 3-2 until the top of the 8th when a Jean Segura (LAA) single and a Ryan Dent force out brought home 2 more runs for the Scorpions. Michael Choice (OAK) continued to enjoy the Arizona air, launching a home run for the Desert Dogs in the bottom of the 8th. They went to the 9th with the score 5-4 in favor of the Scorpions. With speedster Anthony Gose (TOR) representing the tying run at 2nd, Choice struck out to end the game, and the Scorpions moved to 2-2 on the season.

Ryan Dent went 0 for 3 with a walk and Caleb Clay threw 1.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 1 strike out.

The next game for the Scorpions is Monday at 9:35 EST against the Mesa Solar Sox.
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October 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Middlebrooks powers Scottsdale to first victory


10/8 Cup of Coffee: Will Middlebrooks went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run to lead the Scottsdale Scorpions past the Phoenix Desert Dogs 7-3 .

Mike Trout (LAA) made his debut for the Scorpions, going 3 for 5 with a double. Tyson Gillies (PHI) had a great night for the Scorpions as well going 2 for 2 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored. Chris Scholl (LAA) got the start for the Scorpions tossing 3.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 3. Austin Fleet (SF) earned the win, throwing 2.0 shutout innings while striking out 3. Michael Choice (OAK) led the Desert Dogs going 2 for 3 with a 2 run home run in the top of the 1st inning.

Middlebrooks was the only Red Sox position player who saw game action. Jeremy Kehrt pitched 1.0 inning allowing 1 run on 2 hits. He walked none and struck out 1.

The Scorpions are on the road tomorrow against Phoenix at 3:35 EST.
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October 7, 2011 at 7:10 AM

Scorpions fall victim to Rafters heroics


10/7 Cup of Coffee: The Scottsdale Scorpions remained winless as they dropped a late inning affair to the Salt River Rafters.

In search of their first win of the fall season, the Scorpions held a slim lead until the later innings, but were pushed aside by the Salt River Rafters 3-2.

After Salt River scored a run in the first off of Scottsdale starter Sammy Solis (WAS), Darin Ruf (PHI) laced a two run home run in the second to give the Scorpions a 2-1 lead. In the eighth, Alex Castellanos (LAD) blasted a solo home run for the Rafters to tie the game 2-2. In the bottom of the ninth, the Scorpions quickly got the first two outs of the inning, but a Dixon Machado (DET) single and a Hernan Perez (DET) RBI double gave Salt River a walk off 3-2 victory.

Amongst Red Sox participants, Will Middlebrooks started at third base and was 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored. Alex Hassan started once again in right field, and was also 1 for 4 with a walk. Dan Butler started behind the plate and was 1 for 3 with a walk. On the mound, Caleb Clay and Will Latimer each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, each allowing a hit.

The Scorpions play their first home game of the fall season this evening against the Phoenix Desert Dogs at 9:35 EST.
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October 6, 2011 at 6:45 AM

Scorpions begin Arizona Fall League action on wrong foot


10/6 Cup of Coffee: The Scottsdale Scorpions kicked off their Arizona Fall League campaign yesterday in rough fashion, being clobbered by the Surprise Saguaros.

After being postponed a day by rain, the Scottsdale Scorpions made their 2011 Arizona Fall League debut, but were flat in a 10-1 loss to the Surprise Saguaros. Scorpions pitching fell victim to four Surprise home runs off the bat of Tim Beckham (TB), Will Myers (KC) and Michael Ott (TEX) who smacked two a solo home run in the sixth and a grand slam in the eighth. Scottsdale’s lone run of the contest came in the ninth, as Brandon Crawford (SF) brought home Gary Brown (SF) on an RBI ground out.

Alex Hassan started in right field and went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Ryan Dent, who came in as a late game substitution, was hitless in his lone at-bat. Brock Huntzinger hurled 2.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 4 to pick up the loss. Jeremy Kehrt was roughed up in his 0.2 innings of work, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk, allowing 3 home runs.

The Scorpions look to bounce back this afternoon against the Salt River Rafters at 3:35 EST.
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October 5, 2011 at 7:38 AM

The Book: Matt Barnes



RHP Matt Barnes
Date: October 1, 2011
Team: Fall Instructional League

Age: 21

Fastball: Barnes worked to establish his fastball in the lower tier of the strike zone during his outing of 2.0 innings. Sitting 93-95 MPH and topping out at 96, his heater showed solid downward movement through the strike zone and jumped on batters out of his delivery. Barnes effectively threw the offering for strikes in both of his innings of work. When in the lower portion of the strike zone, his fastball demonstrated heavy, downward finish and he also showed the ability to spot it well on both sides of the plate. Barnes was only touched for solid contact once with the pitch when he left it up in the zone after failing to finish out of his delivery fully. In this instance his fastball flattened out in the middle of the plate. The opposing batter was able to extend on it and line it hard back up the box into center field. Barnes has the type of fastball where he can use it at any point in the count, either to pound the strike zone early in setting up his secondary offerings or blow it past hitters ahead in the count. His heater looked best suited for working consistently down in the zone and used selectively in the upper tier, where it tended to flatten out the couple of times it hit into that area.

Secondary Offerings: Barnes was fastball dominant in the short outing, but did sprinkle his secondary offerings into both innings. He first broke out a changeup in his first inning, which clocked in at 86-87 MPH. A hard change, it showed some arm-side fade and drop. The pitch has separation from his fastball, but he could also stand to produce more deception when throwing it. There was a slight hitch in his delivery that can be better picked up from more advanced hitters. Barnes’ changeup is a fringe-average-to-average offering, with the potential to improve with continued repetition. After throwing a curveball warming up before both innings, he finally snapped it off in his second inning and showed excellent feel of the pitch. Barnes’ curve clocked at 77 MPH both times he threw it, with impressive depth and bite down through the strike zone. It is presently a plus pitch at his disposal. The tight spin and hard break should make it a very effective out-pitch to either produce swings and misses or knee-bending called strikes.

Take: This outing was Barnes’ first game action of this year’s Fall Instructs and a first glimpse at the package he is bringing to the professional ranks. On the initial view, he looked to have a level of polish that should help him transition pretty quickly into full-season baseball in 2012. Barnes also effectively threw downhill, which really enhanced his fastball. His ability to consistently finish his delivery jumped out during the outing. Constantly keeping his hand above the baseball and his arm in slot, he pounded the lower portion of the strike zone with his heater. Barnes showed solid control of his body, repeatable mechanics, and kept his head on target as well. In a controlled outing there isn’t the chance to see how he holds his mechanics deeper into the game, but his frame looks built to handle the rigors of a starting pitcher.

Barnes will need to refine his changeup as he progresses in his early career. His fastball and curveball should serve him well while the offering comes up to speed though. I see him having the potential to move with less resistance through the low minors. His curve looked like a legit plus pitch and one that can over-match the younger hitters. Compounded with his hard fastball and ability to command it in the lower tier of the strike zone, Barnes should see strong initial results. He will be touched up from time to time though if he is having trouble getting his fastball down due to over-throwing. Barnes can get himself off center and hold onto the ball too long. While his change needs work, he will still have hitters out front when they are gearing up for his fastball given the difference in velocity. From what I saw from Barnes’ overall stuff, he has the potential to round into a second or third starter at the major league level down the line. There will be some adjustments to the five-man pitching rotation as he gets going and a need to build stamina to hold his mechanics deep into outings, but he looked like an arm that can ramp up quickly, with a feel for what he wants to do on the mound.
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October 4, 2011 at 2:36 PM

A look at Sox prospects playing Fall ball


To piggyback on Gordon Edes’ earlier post on the Arizona Fall League, which opens today, here is a breakdown of the prospects Boston is sending to the AFL to play for Scottsdale this fall:

• 3B Will Middlebrooks (23): Largely considered the top prospect in the organization at this point, Middlebrooks profiles as an above-average long-term regular at third base, with some All-Star potential. In 2011, the former fifth-round pick showcased a plus bat, plus power, decent speed, a plus arm and plus defense in Double-A Portland. However, he struggled after a late-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, which was unsurprising given that he needs to continue to refine his approach against advanced pitching. He’ll get the opportunity to do just that in Arizona for the next six weeks. Look for Middlebrooks to start the 2012 season in Pawtucket, with a call-up to Boston in September, or possibly earlier if an injury situation arises. 


Please check out the full column at ESPN Boston.
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October 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM

2011 Fall Instructs Scouting Notes: 10.1.11


With the third and final day complete of this year's trip, here are more notes from the last two days of action. It has been a very productive scouting trip. Once again, I would like to thank all of the readers out there who contribute to make opportunities like this happen!

- Matt Barnes made his first game appearance during Instructs this morning against the Mets' group. Barnes fired 2.0 innings, sitting 93-95 MPH with his fastball and topped out at 96. His heater showed solid late life and downward movement through the zone. With a repeatable and fluid delivery, Barnes got on top of the ball well to throw downhill and pounded the lower tier of the strike zone with strong command in the outing. His fastball jumped out of his hand. Barnes also flashed a hard 86-87 MPH changeup that showed dropping action and enough separation from his fastball to play up with work hiding it a little better. He broke out a tight, deep 77 MPH curveball in his second frame. This offering looked like a plus pitch capable of getting swings and misses or freezing hitters for strikes. First impression: Barnes has excellent stuff.

- Travis Shaw had a nice day at the plate in today's action, picking up a single and a home run. Shaw also just got under a deep drive out to the warning track in center field. He was all over a fastball down and in, driving it with a lot of lift and extension when hitting his home run. Shaw's most impressive plate appearance produced his single, however. Down in the count 1-2, he waited on a changeup away and lined it back up the box with a fluid, easy swing. He has had trouble with pitches away as a professional, and in this instance he appeared locked in to covering the entire plate with his swing.

- After not showing much during my first two days of getting looks at him, Mookie Betts flashed some of his skills today. Betts came on as a pinch runner in the middle of the game and proceeded to score easily from first on a double into the left-center field gap by Miles Head. His speed was on display again after reaching on a single, getting an excellent jump and showing solid acceleration to swipe second base. Betts has a smaller frame and lean body. He utilized a compact swing to drive a fastball hard to left field when picking up his single and created good batspeed via quick wrists. He looks like a player capable of producing a lot of contact as he begins to learn a professional approach at the plate. Betts also displayed a strong arm when turning a double play. He has been a little rough out at second base though, failing to charge some balls and sitting back instead.

- Word around the park this morning was that outfielder Williams Jerez has a broken right hamate bone. Jerez has not appeared in any game action during my trip, and was only seen running after yesterday's game. He had played this past weekend, drawing some praise with his tools from a couple of scouts in attendance.

- Lefty Cody Kukuk threw in this morning's game against the Mets. Kukuk comes from a high 3/4 arm slot and has a very projectable frame. His fastball sat 91-93, with tailing action to his arm-side. He tended to release his fastball early in his delivery, which caused him to miss away from right-handed batters. When Kukuk stayed on top of the ball, he threw his fastball more effectively for strikes in the lower portion of the strike zone. He also snapped off a couple of hard sliders at 83 MPH that showed late break down through the strike zone. Kukuk faced the minimum of six batters in his 2.0 innings of work.

- Jackie Bradley, Jr. has been hitting the ball more frequently to left field the last two days. After picking up a double off the left field wall yesterday, Bradley drove a fastball middle-to-away hard out to left field that sent the outfielder to the base of the wall to make the catch. He has had a tendency to be pull-happy in prior looks, so this has been a good sign he is beginning to develop an all-fields approach. Bradley has been consistently timed around 4.4 out of the box, but shows better speed when making the turn at first base.

- Mathew Price pitched 2.0 innings in yesterday's action and looked to be getting more comfortable in his return from Tommy John surgery. Price's fastball worked 92-94 MPH with sinking action. Throwing from a 3/4 arm slot, his delivery is on the deliberate side, and at times he over-threw or held onto his fastball too long. When Price was down in the strike zone, batters had a tougher time making good contact against him. His breaking ball was on the loopy side, but he threw a couple of good changeups at 82 MPH that had the opposing hitters out front of the offering.

- Roberto Reyes again showed off his power, lining a rocket to right field for the opposite field home run, but his defense behind the plate has been rough. Reyes had a tough time especially this morning receiving the ball at times, and also allowed a number of pitches to go to the backstop. He is slow with his reactions and tends to be long with his throwing release, which hinders his accuracy.
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