SoxProspects News

November 28, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Caribbean League Roundup: November 21-27


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

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

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

Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Did not make an appearance this week.

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

Franklin Morales (Leones del Caracas): Made three relief appearances, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk and striking out 3.

Mexican Pacific League

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

Miguel Gonzalez (Venados de Mazatlan): Appeared in two games, getting the start on the 27th against Los Mochis in which he picked up the victory for his 5.0 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk while striking out 4. Tossed a scoreless inning of relief on the 23rd against Obregon, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1.

Dominican Winter League

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Picked up the victory for his 2.0 scoreless innings of relief against Escogido on the 23rd, allowing 2 hits.

Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Made two appearances out of the bullpen, hurling 1.2 innings of relief, allowing 2 hits and a walk while striking out 3.

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

Tony Pena (Aguilas Cibaenas): Tossed 0.2 innings of relief across two outings, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits.

Puerto Rico Baseball League

Henry Ramos (Leones de Ponce): Went 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base in 3 games.

Christian Vazquez (Indios de Mayaguez): Did not make an appearance this week.

Australian Baseball League

Boss Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Appeared in 4 games, going 3 for 16 with a run scored, RBI and a walk.

Moko Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Went 2 for 12 in three contests with a double, RBI and 4 strikeouts.

Justin Erasmus (Brisbane Bandits): Did not make an appearance this week.

Colombian Winter League

Reynaldo Rodriguez (Monteria): Went 0 for 3 with a walk in his lone game this week.

Liga Paralela (Liga Venezuela Beisbol Professional)- League has been in progress since October 12. All participants are part of the Red Sox Bravos de Margarita squad. Information listed below is for the season thus far as individual game information is scarce.

Oscar Perez - Is hitting .340 with 5 doubles and 8 RBI in 53 at-bats.

David Sopilka - Has hit .274 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI in 62 at-bats.

Ricardo Betancourt - Has compiled a 0-3 record with a 5.61 ERA in 7 appearances (6 starts).

Yeiper Castillo - Currently has a 4.80 ERA after 5 starts, walking 4 and striking out 12 in 15.0 innings.

William Cuevas - Has received 6 starts, compiling a 3.20 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 4 walks in 25.1 innings pitched.

Jose Espitia - In 2 appearances (2.0 innings), has allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 5 walks.

Elis Jimenez - Has a 6.35 ERA after 6 relief appearances, allowing 15 runs (12 earned) on 21 hits and 7 walks in 17.0 innings pitched.

Leonel Vazquez - Has allowed 12 runs (9 earned) on 22 hits and 5 walks in 21.1 inning pitched, striking out 16.

Michael Almanzar - Has been impressive at the plate, hitting .380 with 8 home runs and 26 RBI in 26 games.

Andres Garcia - Currently hitting .263 with 3 RBI in 17 appearances.

Aly Gonzalez - Is 9 for 47 with 6 RBI in 19 games.

Deiner Lopez - Currently hitting .257 with 8 RBI in 22 contests.

Heiker Meneses - Is hitting .391 with 8 doubles, 2 triples and 14 runs scored in 69 at-bats.

Cleuluis Rondon - Is currently hitting .320 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI in 22 games.

Aneury Tavarez - Is hitting .204 with a home run and 9 RBI in 26 contests.

Wilfred Pichardo - Currently hitting .314 with 4 home runs, 4 triples and 17 RBI in 26 games played.

Jeremias Pineda - Is hitting .235 with 6 RBI in 22 contests.
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November 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #21


In an incredibly happy coincidence, Mike, Mellen, Hatfield and Ian T. had a chat on what turned out to be quite a busy day. Among the topics the guys discussed were the terms of the new CBA, the Red Sox front office promotions and departures, the holes that need to be filled in the Boston lineup, and other offseason notes.

Direct Link (Right-click to download)
Podcast Archive
Subscribe on iTunes
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November 22, 2011 at 11:28 PM

MLB, union announce five-year labor agreement


The basics of a soon-to-be-ratified Basic Agreement between the owners and the Player’s Association were announced today, but the actual ratification and publication of the new CBA is likely a few weeks, if not months, away. The new CBA will include several provisions that could alter the landscape of the business side of baseball for the next five years. Changes at the major league level will include the implementation of HGH testing, a new tobacco policy, changes to the competitive balance tax (also known as the luxury tax), new social media rules, changes to replay, the movement of the Houston Astros to the American League to even number of teams in each league, year-round interleague play, and additional playoff teams.

But our readers tend to be more interested in how the new CBA will affect the draft, international free agency, minor league prospects, rookies, and recently graduated prospects. Here’s what we’re hearing about those changes from the Twitterverse.  Hat tip to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, who leaked many of the details early on.

Amateur Draft: The new agreement may have been completed months ago had the owners not been insistent in implementing some sort of slotting system to reel in bonus spending on the draft. The new CBA will contain an overall luxury tax that will be calculated by the number of draft picks multiplied the recommended “slot” bonus for each pick that a team possesses. If a team exceeds that figure by less than 5%, the extra spending will be taxed at 75%. If a team exceeds that figure by 5-10%, it will be taxed 75% and required to forfeit a first round pick. If a team exceeds that figure by 10-15%, it will be taxed 100% and required to forfeit a first round and a second round pick. If a team exceeds that figure by over 15%, it will be taxed 100% and required to forfeit two first round picks. If a player signs after the tenth round for more than $100,000, the excess money will go against the team's draft tax. Drafted players will no longer be allowed to sign major league deals.

Draft Compensation: In the new CBA, Type A and Type B free agent draft compensation will be eliminated beginning in the 2012-2013 off-season. Starting next off-season, clubs that offer a free agent a qualifying offer of at least $12.4 million per season will receive first-round compensation if the player rejects the qualifying offer and signs with another club, who would forfeit the draft pick as compensation. The $12.4 million figure may rise each year depending on a yet-to-be-disclosed formula. Teams in the bottom 10 of overall standings will be protected from forfeiting first-round picks. Only Players who have been with their Clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.

Supplemental Small Market Rounds: There will be six draft picks immediately after the first round given out via lottery to teams with the 10 lowest revenues. The teams that do not get one of those six picks will be entered in another lottery for picks after the second round.

Draft Signing Deadline: The draft signing deadline will move from August 15 to a date between July 12 and 18.

International Amateur Free Agency: Similar to the draft, a separate luxury tax will be implemented for the signing of international free agents. Every team will have $2.9 million to spend in international “amateur” bonus money this season. Those funds will not be tradable this off-season, but will be tradable in the future. Most professional international players looking to sign in the United States will not be subject to this tax.  In future years, the luxury tax threshold for international free agents will vary per team based on winning percentage (the best teams' threshold will reportedly be set at around $1.8 million, while worst team's threshold will be set at around $5 million). Overspending will make teams subject to luxury taxes and the loss of the right to give out high bonuses to international players in subsequent years.

Minimum Salary: The minimum salary will increase from $414,000 per year in 2011 to $480,000 in 2012, and ultimately to $500,000 by 2014.

“Super Two” Eligibility: Under the old CBA, all players with at least three and less than six years of service time were eligible for pre-free agency salary arbitration. Additionally, the top 17% of players with more than two and less than three years of service time were also eligible for arbitration. These players became what are known as “Super Twos.” In the new CBA, the 17% will increase to 22%, meaning an additional five to six players will be eligible for pre-free agency salary arbitration each off-season.

Options: There will be unspecified changes to the fourth option year and outrightability rules.
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at 6:45 PM

Red Sox sign Spoone, Thomas and Inman, lose Hottovy and Sutton


The Red Sox have been busy on the minor league front in recent days, including the signing of Will Inman, Chorye Spoone and Justin Thomas. Baseball America's Matt Edy first reported the signings of Inman and Thomas and MASN's Steve Melewski broke the news of Spoone's signing. Two key members of the Red Sox system in 2011 have also signed elsewhere, as Baseball America reports the Tommy Hottovy has signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals and Drew Sutton has signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Inman, 24, was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 3rd round of the 2005 amateur draft. The right-hander was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of a trade for reliever Scott Linebrink before the trading deadline in 2007. He started off his professional career with some impressive numbers and control, compiling an ERA under 2 in 2005 and 2006 on his way to a 16-2 record, mostly as a starter, and a greater than 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has spent the last three seasons as a member of Triple-A Tuscon and Portland for the Padres, compiling an 8-19 record with a 5.65 ERA in 65 games (40 starts). 

Spoone, 26, was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth round of the 2005 draft. He was a member of the Orioles 40-man roster before being designated for assignment this July, ultimately opting to stay with the organization. Spoone has primarily been a starter for most of his 7 season minor league career, compiling a 36-41 record with a 4.14 ERA. The right-hander split last season between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, going 7-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 games (19 starts).

Thomas, 27, was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Seattle Mariners. The 6'3" left-hander spent 5 seasons with the Mariners organization before being claimed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. In 7 minor league seasons, Thomas has compiled 45-35 record with a 4.15 ERA. He began his career as a starter, but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since 2009. Last season as a member of Triple-A Indianapolis, Thomas was 8-2 with a 3.89 ERA and 3 saves in 63 relief appearances. He made his major league debut as a member of the Mariners in 2008, appearing in 8 games out of the bullpen with a 6.75 ERA. Thomas made it to the big leagues again in 2010 with the Pirates, compiling a 6.23 ERA in 12 relief appearances. 

Hottovy, 30, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. The left-hander had an impressive 2011 campaign, dominating to the tune of a 1.93 ERA in 8 relief appearances for Double-A Portland, compiling a 2.75 ERA in 24 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, and making his major league debut. Hottovy was called up to the Red Sox in early June and tossed 4.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. Following the completion of the minor league season, he was named the Red Sox first Lou Gorman Award recipient, highlighting his dedication and perseverance on his way to the major leagues.

Sutton, 28, was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 15th round of the 2004 draft. 2011 was Sutton's first season with the Red Sox, a season split between Triple-A Pawtucket and Boston. He hit .295/.382/.476 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI in 45 games with the PawSox and .315/.362/.444 with 7 RBI as a valuable utility man with Boston. 
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at 6:37 PM

Red Sox announce front office promotions


The Red Sox today announced their newly revamped baseball operations department, the first under new General Manager Ben Cherrington. The changes are as follows:

Major League Operations

Mike Hazen now holds the title of Vice President/Assistant General Manager. Hazen has been an integral part of the Red Sox player development model, serving as Director of Player Development from the time he joined Boston in 2006 until the end of the 2010 season. He has most recently been the team's Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting. Prior to coming to Boston, Hazen was a member of the Cleveland Indians organization from 2001-2006, starting out overseeing the club's advance scouting and eventually being elevated to Assistant Director of Player Development in 2003. He played two seasons in the San Diego Padres system after being drafted by the team in the 1998 draft. During Hazen's tenure of overseeing the Red Sox minor league system, the team developed current stars such as Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and Clay Buchholz.

Brian O'Halloran has also been promoted to the role of Vice President/Assistant General Manager. O'Halloran originally began his tenure with the team in 2002 as a Baseball Operations Assistant, serving as the team's Director of Baseball Operations from 2006 through January of this year. He was promoted to Vice President of Baseball Operations in February.

Allard Baird will now be the Vice President of Player Personnel after being the Vice President of Player Personnel and Professional Scouting during the 2011 season. Baird joined Boston in 2006 as an Assistant to the General Manager and Special Assignment Scout. He was a member of the Kansas City Royals organization for 18 years, beginning his career as the hitting coach for the Class-A Appleton Foxes and working his way up to General Manager in 2000. 

David Finley has been named the Director of Player Personnel. He joined Boston in 2002 as the West Coast Crosschecker and served as the team's National Crosschecker from 2005-2009. He was most recently elevated to the position of Special Assistant to the General Manager in January of 2010. Before coming to Boston, Finley worked as an area scout for the Padres from 1991-1994 and the Florida Marlins from 1995-2001. 

Zach Scott has been promoted to the role of Director of Major League Operations. Scott originally joined the team in 2004, and had been serving as the Assistant Director of Baseball Operations since 2006. 

Player Development
Raquel Ferreira will now serve as the Senior Director of Minor League Operations. Ferreira joined Boston in 1999 and has served as the team's Director of Minor League Operations since 2008. 

Ben Crockett has been elevated to the role of Director of Player Development. Crockett, a graduate of Harvard University, was drafted by the Red Sox back in the tenth round of the 2001 amateur draft after he was named the Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year that summer. He ultimately did not sign with the team and was drafted in the third round of the 2002 draft by the Colorado Rockies and pitched professionally until 2006. He originally joined the Red Sox as an intern in 2007 and served as Advanced Scouting Coordinator from 2008-2009. He was promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development back in January of 2010. 

Scouting
Amiel Sawdaye has received a contract extension to remain the team's Director of Amateur Scouting after serving in that role for the past two season. Sawdaye was previously the team's Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting from 2005-2009. 

Jared Porter has been promoted to the role of Director of Professional Scouting after serving as the Assistant Director of Professional Scouting the past two seasons. 

Eddie Romero Jr. will now serve as Boston's Director of International Scouting after previously serving as the Assistant Director of Latin American Operations and International Scouting. Romero joined the team in 2006 as an assistant in International and Professional Scouting, being elevated to Coordinator of Latin American Operations shortly thereafter. He is the son of former Red Sox infielder Eddie Romero Sr. who currently serves as a coach for the Greenville Astros. Prior to joining the Red Sox, Romero Jr. was a prosecutor for the State Attorney's office in Florida. 

Galen Carr has been named Special Assignment Scout after serving as a Major League Scout since 2007. Carr originally joined the Red Sox organization during the 2000 season as an intern. 

Bob McClure joins the Boston organization as a Special Assignment Scout/Coordinator after spending the last six seasons as the Pitching Coach for the Kansas City Royals. McClure is a veteran of 19 Major League seasons pitching for Royals, Brewers, Expos, Mets, Angels, Cardinals and Marlins between 1975-1993. He began his coaching career in 1994 with the Marlins and has also been a minor league pitching coach in the Colorado Rockies organization from 1999-2005. 

David Keller also embarks on his first season with the Red Sox after spending the last two seasons as a Pro Scout in the New York Mets organization. He has previously interned with the Phillies and Diamondbacks and served as the Director of Baseball Operations for the Atlantic League's Camden Riversharks from 2007-2008.
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November 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Ellsbury is runner-up for AL MVP


Jacoby Ellsbury (Kelly O'Connor)
The Baseball Writers' Association of America has announced that Jacoby Ellsbury is the runner-up for the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player award. Justin Verlander (DET) is the winner. Ellsbury batted .321 with a .376 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging percentage. He was the first Red Sox player to ever have a 30-30 season, as he hit 32 home runs and stole 39 bases. In addition to his historic offense, he also played superb defense in center field, winning his first Gold Glove.

Ellsbury received four first-place votes and 242 points overall. Verlander received thriteen first-place votes and had 280 points. Jose Bautista (TOR) finished third, Curtis Granderson (NYY) finished fourth, and  Miguel Cabrera (DET) finished fifth. Ellsbury's teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia finished seventh and ninth, respectively.  

Ellsbury was drafted in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft out of Oregon State University. He was drafted 23rd overall with the compensation pick the Red Sox received for Orlando Cabrera signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. After signing, Ellsbury finished the 2005 season in Lowell, where he batted .317 and had an .850 OPS. He was ranked thriteenth on the SoxProspects rankings at the end of the 2005 season (the top five was Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Anibal Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, and fellow 2005 draftee Craig Hansen). Ellsbury was considered a speedy leadoff hitter with good defense in center field and gap power. It was the lack of power that kept him from ranking higher. 

In 2006, his first full season in the Red Sox system, Ellsbury broke out in a big way. He started the year in High-A Wilmington where he hit .299 with a .797 OPS and 25 stolen bases in 62 games. He was promoted to Double-A Portland where he hit .308 with an .821 OPS and 16 stolen bases in 50 games. At the end of the season, he was ranked as the number one prospect on the SoxProspects rankings. At this point, he was seen as a leadoff hitter who could hit .300 and steal 40 bases in the majors.

The Red Sox started Ellsbury off in Double-A in 2007, but saw him as someone who could help the big league club in September. He proved to be too good for Double-A as he hit .452 with a 1.162 OPS in 17 games. That was all the front office needed to see as they quickly promoted him to Pawtucket, where he hit .298 with a .740 OPS. After an injury to Coco Crisp, Ellsbury was called up to Boston on June 30th. He provided an immediate spark, as many Red Sox fans remember him scoring from second base on a wild pitch against the Rangers on July 2nd. However, he was sent back down to get consistent playing time in Triple-A on July 5th. He was called up for good on September 1st, and performed well enough to be named the American League Rookie of the Month. He was also named to the post-season roster. 

With Coco Crisp struggling, and the Red Sox down 3-2 to the Indians in the ALCS, Terry Francona named Ellsbury the starting center fielder for Game 6. The Red Sox went undefeated after the switch, winning the 2007 World Series. Ellsbury hit .360 in 25 postseason at-bats, including a .438 batting average and 1.188 OPS in the World Series. In just a few months, Ellsbury went from top prospect to World Series hero. 

In his rookie season in 2008, Ellsbury was the starting center fielder for Boston. He played in 145 games and hit .280 with a .336 on-base percentage and .394 slugging percentage and stole 50 bases. While this season did not quite live up to his World Series performance, he still finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Evan Longoria (TB) and Alexi Ramirez (CWS). He showed improvement in his 2009 season, hitting .301 with a .355 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage, while stealing 70 bases. 

2010 was a lost season for Ellsbury. He was moved to left field with the acquisition of Mike Cameron, but a collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11th broke four of Ellsbury's ribs and effectively ended his season. He made a few attempts at a comeback, but could not stay healthy.

Ellsbury is currently 28 years old and is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. He is expected to see a huge increase in his salary this year in arbitration, and it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox try to lock him up long-term. His agent, Scott Boras, will not be offering the Red Sox any hometown discounts, and he will likely be using Matt Kemp's new 8 year, $160 million deal as a baseline. Regardless of what happens, Ellsbury just had one of the greatest seasons in Red Sox history.
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at 8:43 AM

Caribbean League Roundup: November 14-20


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

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

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

Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Did not make an appearance this week.

Oscar Perez (Tiburones de La Guaira): Singled in his lone at-bat of the week.

Franklin Morales (Leones del Caracas): Made three relief appearances, tossing 4.0 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk and striking out 2.

Mexican Pacific League

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

Miguel Gonzalez (Venados de Mazatlan): Allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 3.0 inning of relief, striking out 4.

Dominican Winter League

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Received the start on the 17th against Toros, tossing 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks.

Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Tossed a flawless inning of relief across two appearances, striking out 1.

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

Tony Pena (Aguilas Cibaenas): Made three relief appearances, twirling 3.0 innings, allowing 4 hits and picking up a win on the 18th against Escogido.

Puerto Rico Baseball League

Henry Ramos (Leones de Ponce): Was 0 for 4 in his two contests this week.

Christian Vazquez (Indios de Mayaguez): Was 0 for 5 with a run scored in 2 games.

Australian Baseball League

Boss Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Appeared in 4 games, going 4 for 16 with a double, home run, run scored and RBI.

Moko Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Went 2 for 11 in three contests with a double, run scored and RBI.

Justin Erasmus (Brisbane Bandits): Hurled 4.1 scoreless inning across two relief appearances, allowing 2 hits and punching out 3.

Liga Paralela (Liga Venezuela Beisbol Professional)- League has been in progress since October 12. All participants are part of the Red Sox Bravos de Margarita squad. Information listed below is for the season thus far as individual game information is scarce.

Oscar Perez - Is hitting .311 with 5 doubles and 6 RBI in 45 at-bats.

David Sopilka - Has hit .304 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI in 56 at-bats.

Ricardo Betancourt - Has compiled a 0-3 record with a 6.86 ERA in 6 appearances (5 starts).

Yeiper Castillo - Currently has a 4.80 ERA after 5 starts, walking 4 and striking out 12 in 15.0 innings.

William Cuevas - Has received 5 starts, compiling a 2.86 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 3 walks in 22.0 innings pitched.

Jose Espitia - In 2 appearances (2.0 innings), has allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 5 walks.

Elis Jimenez - Has a 6.39 ERA after 5 relief appearances, allowing 10 runs (9 earned) on 15 hits and 5 walks in 12.2 innings pitched.

Leonel Vazquez - Has allowed 12 runs (9 earned) on 22 hits and 4 walks in 18.1 inning pitched, striking out 15.

Michael Almanzar - Has been impressive at the plate, hitting .395 with 8 home runs and 23 RBI in 22 games.

Andres Garcia - Currently hitting .304 with 3 RBI in 14 appearances.

Aly Gonzalez - Is 8 for 40 with 6 RBI in 17 games.

Deiner Lopez - Currently hitting .288 with 8 RBI in 19 contests.

Heiker Meneses - Is hitting .382 with 8 doubles, 1 triple and 12 runs scored in 55 at-bats.

Cleuluis Rondon - Is currently hitting .318 with a home run and 9 RBI in 18 games.

Aneury Tavarez - Is hitting .214 with a home run and 9 RBI in 22 contests.

Wilfred Pichardo - Currently hitting .284 with a 2 home runs, 2 triples and 12 RBI in 22 games played.

Jeremias Pineda - Is hitting .220 with 6 RBI in 20 contests.
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November 18, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Middlebrooks highlights additions to 40-man roster


Will Middlebrooks (Kelly O'Connor)
The Red Sox announced that they have added third baseman Will Middlebrooks, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, and pitcher Drake Britton to the 40-man roster. This protects these three players from being selected by another franchise in the Rule 5 draft, scheduled to take place on December 8.

Middlebrooks, ranked the top prospect in the system on SoxProspects.com, is coming off an outstanding 2011 season in which he hit .285/.328/.506 with 23 home runs. He spent the bulk of the year at Double-A Portland where he finished seventh in the Eastern League with 18 home runs and fourth with 80 RBI, earning him All-Star recognition. Middlebrooks was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 19. He is projected to be the PawSox starting third baseman in 2012, with an eye toward a promotion to Boston late in the season or early in 2013. 

Left-hander Britton began the year ranked as the fourth prospect in Boston’s system by SoxProspects.com and as the 97th prospect in minors by Baseball America. What came next was a disastrous 2011 season at High-A Salem where Britton compiled a 1-13 record and a 6.91 ERA. However, Britton is still a lefty who can touch 95 with a plus curveball, has had success in the past, and was able to maintain a K/9 rate of 8.2 even in a down season. This is the sort of profile that another organization might take a shot with in the Rule 5 draft. With his tantalizing set of skills, the Red Sox determined Britton is well worth the roster commitment.
 
Che-Hsuan Lin will get a long look to make the major league club in Spring Training. While the 23-year old Taiwanese outfielder hasn’t yet developed the power expected of a major league outfielder, his excellent defensive skills, speed, and plate discipline could enable him to be a contributor off the bench. Lin hit .245/.340/.305 and added 28 stolen bases between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket last season. In 2010, Lin was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.

A few other players that were not added to the 40-man despite some speculation that they may be, include first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, outfielder Daniel Nava and pitchers Cesar Cabral, Caleb Clay, and Brock Huntzinger. Rodriguez hit .286/.355/.526 between Salem and Portland last season and led all Red Sox minor leagues with 59 extra-base hits, but is 25 years old. Nava played in a total of 60 games with the 2010 Red Sox, and hit a respectable .242/.351/.360. Designated for assignment on May 20 of this year, Nava went unclaimed and was outrighted to Pawtucket where he hit .268/.372/.406 with 10 home runs.

Cabral has already been taken once in the Rule 5 draft, a year ago by the Tampa Bay Rays. He impressed the Rays in spring training but was unable to crack the opening day roster and was returned to the Red Sox. He is likely to be taken again this year after striking out more than a batter per inning last season between High- and Double-A. The big right-hander Huntzinger spent 2011 at Portland, where he went 5-11 with a 6.17 ERA, and gave up 23 home runs in only 124 innings pitched. However, an impressive 123 strikeouts against only 41 walks gives management hope that improved command of his slider, which he has been prone to leaving up in the zone, will result in a breakout in 2012. 

Clay suffered a torn ligament in his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2007, and has only 86 appearances in his minor league career. He went 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA for Portland last season, but a 1.26 ERA in the Arizona Fall League has the organization believing that he has turned the corner. In his recent interview with SoxProspects.com columnist Jon Meoli, Clay credits increased confidence in his arm angle and improved command of his fastball for his improvement.

The following players who meet the eligibility requirements were not added to the 40-man roster, and are therefore available to other teams in the Rule 5 Draft:

Michael Almanzar, Anatanaer Batista, Ronald Bermudez, Yeiper Castillo, Miguel Celestino, Mitch Dening, Ryan Dent, Brandon Duckworth, Justin Erasmus, Ruben Flores, Seth Garrison, Zach Gentile, Miguel Gonzalez, Charlie Haeger, Jon Hee, Jeremy Kehrt, Matt Kramer, Will Latimer, Michael Lee, David Mailman, Leandro Marin, Dennis Neuman, Michael Olmsted, Josue Peley, Tony Pena, Wilfred Pichardo, Eammon Portice, Ryan Pressly, Manny Rivera, Charle Rosario, Pete Ruiz, Nate Spears, Matt Spring, and Tony Thomas.

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at 7:11 AM

Mesa's six run fifth helps end Scottsdale's fall on a sour note


11/18 Cup of Coffee: An offensive explosion by the Mesa Solar Sox in the fifth inning resulted in a 6-2 loss for the Scorpions to close out the fall season

Scottsdale jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Zach Walters (WSH). In the fifth, Mesa’s offense came alive as they received an RBI triple by Aaron Hicks (MIN), an RBI single by Xavier Avery (BAL), an RBI double by Junior Lake (CHC) and an RBI ground out from Joe Mahoney (BAL) to claim a 6-1 advantage. The Scorpions scratched out a run in the top of the seventh on a Tyson Gillies (PHI) RBI ground out, but could not ignite a rally.

Alex Hassan was 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout as the Scottsdale right fielder.

Even though the Arizona Fall League has come to a close for Red Sox prospects, check back every Monday for updates from the Caribbean and winter leagues.
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November 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Shipley out as Sox Director of International Scouting


According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, Craig Shipley has been removed as Red Sox Vice President of Player Personnel and International Operations. It is unknown whether Shipley, who was hired in 2002, will be offered another position within the Red Sox organization.

A big part of the legacy of Shipley's tenure in Boston will include the scouting of Daisuke Matsuzaka in Japan, culminating in his signing in 2006. While Matsuzaka started his Sox career as a promising and successful starter, his seasons since 2008 have been marred with injury.

Shipley's scouting has yeilded four major leaguers for the Red Sox, and he's also responsible for several top prospects currently in the system. Two of the most highly-touted farmhands, pitcher Stomly Pimentel and shortstop Xander Bogaerts, are both Shipley products.

However, these are just a few successes amongst several unsuccessful deals. Shipley has had a poor record with some of the larger contracts he has handed out. For example, third baseman Michael Almanzar who received a $1.5 million signing bonus and pitcher Junichi Tazawa who signed a $3.3 million deal have both only had mediocre results.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has declined to comment on the issue until an announcement of changes to the team's international operations is made.
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at 6:35 AM

Scorpions clipped by Javelinas in shortened contest


11/17 Cup of Coffee: A close game went the way of the Peoria Javelinas as the Scottsdale Scorpions fell 4-3 in 7 innings

Peoria wasted no time getting on the board, plating two runs in the top of the first on an RBI triple by Kentrail Davis (MIL) and a Juan Lagares (NYM) RBI ground out. The Scorpions retaliated in the bottom half of the frame, tying the game on RBI ground outs by Brandon Crawford (SF) and Darin Ruf (PHI). In the third, the Javelinas took a 4-2 lead on an RBI double by Davis and an RBI single by Jaff Decker (SD). The Scorpions drew to within one in the fifth on Joe Panik’s (SF) RBI ground out, but were held in check for the rest of the game.

Jeremy Kehrt received the start for the Scorpions, picking up the loss for his 3.0 innings of work, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and striking out 1. Will Latimer followed Kehrt out of the bullpen and tossed a scoreless inning of relief, striking out 3. Alex Hassan was 0 for 3 as the Scorpions left fielder. Dan Butler hit eighth and started at catcher, going 0 for 2 with a walk. Ryan Dent batted ninth and played third base, going 0 for 3 with a strikeout.

The Scorpions wrap up Arizona Fall League play this afternoon as they face the Mesa Solar Sox.
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November 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Who will Sox protect from Rule 5 draft?


Look for Boston to make three or four roster moves on Friday to protect players from selection by other teams in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. 

Eligible players must be added to their teams’ respective 40-man rosters by close-of-business on Nov. 18 in order to be protected from selection in the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 8, the final day of the winter meetings. The following players in the Red Sox system will be eligible to be selected if they are not added to the 40-man roster by close-of-business on Friday:

Check out the full column on ESPN Boston
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at 6:55 AM

Scottsdale kept in check offensively, defeated by Salt River


11/16 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale could not defeat Salt River for the second time in as many days, losing by a score of 4-1.

The Scorpions opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, with their lone run coming on a Cody Overbeck (PHI) RBI double. The Rafters answered immediately with 1 run in the bottom of the frame, and added 3 more in the fourth and fifth innings to take a lead they did not relinquish. Offensively, the Scottsdale was led by Overbeck, who went 1-4 with an RBI, and Bryce Harper (WAS), who went 2-3 with a steal and walk. Tyler Cloyd (PHI) drew the start and took the loss. Cloyd went 4.0 innings and allowed 6 hits and 2 runs (0 earned). He did not walk a batter and struck out 4.

For the Red Sox, Alex Hassan went 1-4, while Caleb Clay threw a scoreless inning of relief, with 2 hits allowed and 2 strikeouts.

Scottsdale plays host to Peoria this evening at 9:35 EST.
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November 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Butler a finalist for Arizona Fall League's Stenson Award


Red Sox catching prospect Dan Butler finds himself in prestigious company as he has been named a finalist for the Arizona Fall League's Stenson award. Given to the player who shows the greatest sportsmanship both on and off the field, the award, which is named for former Boston and Cincinnati Reds prospect Dernell Stenson, is voted on by coaches and staff of every team in the league. Butler is one of six finalists, along with Brodie Greene (Reds), Phoenix Desert Dogs; Kevin Mattison (Marlins), Surprise Saguaros; Zelous Wheeler (Brewers), Peoria Javelinas; Chris Hermann (Twins), Mesa Solar Sox; and Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Salt River Rafters. Butler has hit .326/.492/.413 with a home run and 8 RBI in 15 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions this fall.

The award has been given every year since 2004, following Stenson's untimely death in 2003, and has been awarded to future major league regulars like Mark Teahen (2004), Andre Eithier (2005) and Sam Fuld (2007). The winner will be announced prior to the AFL championship game between the Surprise Saguaros and Salt River Rafters this Saturday.

For more information on Butler's rise to prominence in 2011, check out Jon Meoli's articles on Butler and other Red Sox prospects experiences in Arizona this fall, as well as the catcher's transformation from undrafted free agent to legitimate prospect.
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at 12:30 PM

Caribbean League Update: Red Sox enter agreement with Bravos de Margarita in Venezuela


For the first time in six years, the Red Sox have sent a large contingent of players to Venezuela. This past June, the Red Sox entered into a two-year agreement with the Bravos de Margarita (Margarita Braves) of the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional, sometimes referred to as the Venezuelan Winter League. Under the agreement, the Bravos will field two teams in the Liga Paralela (Parallel League), the LVBP's minor league. One of these Liga Paralela teams include a large number of young Sox minor leaguers, and according to a release on the Bravos' website, the Red Sox will provide coaches for both teams and provide some community benefits in Margarita.

From a Red Sox perspective, this move has many benefits. It allows a larger contingent of young Sox players to get more experience, as now reflected on the SoxProspects Fall and Winter League Rosters page. In all, nineteen Sox are on this "Boston" Liga Paralela squad, whereas typically only a handful play in the league each year. Among the bigger names currently playing for the Boston club are Michael AlmanzarHeiker Menesesand Yeiper Castillo. After 19 games, Almanzar, in particular, has performed well, ranking among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category. He is, however, one of the more advanced players in the league as only four of his teammates have played above Rookie ball.

You can follow the prospects on the Red Sox "affiliate" in the Liga Paralela on the team's webpage. The league runs from October 12 through December 16, followed by playoffs. Although not directly stemming from the clubs' contractual agreement, their relationship may have also played a part in Ryan Lavarnway playing with the LVBP Bravos before being sent home due to sickness.

The agreement also allows the  Red Sox to increase their presence in Venezuela, a country that has produced such stars as Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Ozzie Guillen, and Omar Vizquel, as well as current Sox lefty Felix Doubront. The Red Sox actually had an affiliate in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2004 (Ciudad Alianza) and 2005 (a shared affiliate with San Diego), but have been among a number of major league teams to abandon that circuit, which shrunk to just six teams in 2011. Among the alumni of those two Sox affiliates are two players to have made the majors: Doubront and Argenis Diaz. The Bravos' press release also states that the Red Sox will be scouting the country for the best talent, and will send those players to play for the Bravos. 

While this agreement was completed when Theo Epstein was still the General Manager, it reinforces what Ben Cherington said in his first press conference as GM, that the Red Sox will be very aggressive in finding the best talent from around the world.
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at 9:30 AM

Q&A with Evan Lepler


Evan Lepler has a unique opportunity to observe many Red Sox prospects before they enter the upper minors as the play-by-play voice of the Salem Red Sox. Originally from Sharon, Mass., Evan is a lifelong Red Sox fan. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2007 and then spent a year as the radio voice for the Delmarva Shorebirds, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, where he covered players such as current Orioles starting pitcher, Zach Britton.

In 2009, when Evan had the chance to join the extended Red Sox family, he jumped at the opportunity. During his time covering Salem he has seen many highly publicized prospects develop, including SoxProspects.com's current top-ranked prospect, Will Middlebrooks, who played in Salem for the 2010 season.

The off-season is a good time to reflect back on the previous season and also look ahead to next. Evan was nice enough to answer a few questions on current prospects in the Red Sox system that he has seen or will see while covering the High-A affiliate.

Will Woodward: Who is the player that impressed you most over the 2011 season?
Evan Lepler: It’s very hard to narrow it down to one player, but Bryce Brentz certainly stands out because of his unreal power ability. Watching Bryce take batting practice every day was must-see-BP. We had a bunch of good power hitters, but it was clear very early on that Bryce was a different breed. He has a long way to go before he becomes a complete major league player. Both his approach at the plate and his defense in right field need significant improvement, and I think he would acknowledge his deficiencies in those areas. With that said, I think he has the work ethic to get where he wants to go, and his gift of raw power is a tool that is so rare and special. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some struggles in Double-A next year, but I bet he figures it out and continues to rise up the system and up the prospect rankings.

WW
: Which player are you looking forward to seeing most in 2012?
EL: In this case, I know I can’t narrow it down to one. I follow Greenville as closely as I can and was very fortunate to be able to catch one Drive game this summer when they had a morning contest in Hagerstown, Md. (WAS) while we were in Frederick, Md. (BAL). Obviously, Brandon Jacobs had a phenomenal year and I’m excited to watch him. I was blown away by how small Sean Coyle was when I saw him in person, and then you see his power numbers and you’re blown away even more. Everyone has raved about Xander Bogaerts and I’m eager to watch him progress. Felix Sanchez may be the fastest player I’ve ever seen, so he’s right up there to. I haven’t even mentioned any of the recent 2011 draft picks like Matt Barnes, Noe Ramirez, Blake Swihart, or Jackie Bradley, Jr, all of whom will likely start 2012 in Greenville but could make an appearance in Salem by July or August. Trust me, I realize how fortunate I am to be able to watch so many of these guys develop every day during the summer. April can’t come soon enough!

WW:
In 2010, SoxProspects.com's current top prospect, Will Middlebrooks, played the full year in Salem. What improvements have you seen him make since and what type of major league player do you project him to become?

EL: I’m proud to say that Will’s ascendance to the top of the SoxProspects.com charts did not surprise me at all. I understand he had his struggles at Lowell and Greenville, but the player I saw for all of 2010 in Salem was probably the most complete prospect that I’ve seen in the Red Sox system during my time with the organization. Quite simply, Will is a sensational athlete who probably could have been a really good college football quarterback like his pal, Ryan Mallett. He also averaged over 20 points per game in hoops as a high school junior before focusing on football and baseball as a senior. He has meticulously honed all facets of his defense at third base. His incomprehensibly strong arm stands out the most, but when you watch him every day, you notice his explosive first step and ability to move so well laterally to make plays that others just don’t make. Offensively, his power really started to emerge midway through 2010, and I think he’s probably just scratched the surface of his power potential. I doubt he’d ever hit .320 in the big leagues, but I really believe that he could hit .270-.280 with 25-30 homers and very good defense at third base. I hope he gets a full year in Pawtucket to continue to develop. He probably could help Boston some this year, but the best case scenario for his development would be to have a great season in Pawtucket and then perhaps a September call-up or competing for a spot in the spring of 2013.

WW:
Fans often get caught up in stats and on field performance, but is there a player who you really have come to respect off the field?

EL: One of the great things about Red Sox Nation is how much everybody cares. The fact that people follow the Salem Sox from all around the country and are genuinely interested in the ups and downs of so many minor leaguers makes my job so much fun. But even still, there remains a small group of players who fall through the cracks in terms of hype and recognition. “Organizational players,” as they are called, are almost always okay with this anonymity, and that is why I really respect these guys as a group. Guys like Jon Hee, Will Vazquez, Drew Dominguez, Drew Hedman, and a bunch of others are invaluable to the player development process. None of these guys received huge bonuses and none are considered prospects in terms of major-league potential. But they all are vital clubhouse contributors who add character to a team. Kyle Fernandes and Blake Maxwell are two other good examples, and Fern and Max could probably leave baseball to begin a two-man comedy tour and be very successful. Every team needs these guys who understand their roles, but are also ready to go at the spur of a moment. So while I cannot narrow it down to one, I’d say that I have great respect for all these guys who receive so little credit, but still carry themselves like true pros every single day.

WW:
Drake Britton struggled in Salem in 2011 after a breakout 2010 season. What is one area you think he needs to improve in order to regain that success?

EL: You hope that Drake Britton is the next Daniel Bard, a guy who experienced some similar A-ball nightmares before harnessing his velocity to become a big-time power-arm at the highest level. As the numbers suggest, Britton did not do anything consistently well in 2011. With that said, many scouts and opposing broadcasters were continuously puzzled at how his stuff could look so dominant at one minute and then he’d either get crushed or couldn’t throw a strike a few minutes later. I really think the early struggles zapped him of his confidence to the point that even when things started to turn around, doubt would inevitably creep in and derail an otherwise solid performance. One time in late April, with a 10 run lead in the fourth inning, he walked four straight with two outs and the bases empty. There were a number of situations like that, when one walk or one tough break would spiral into a disaster of an inning and mar the progress that otherwise would have been made. In terms of rediscovering success, obviously reestablishing his consistent fastball command is paramount. But more generally, he needs to taste a little success and build on it again. His last couple starts at the end of 2011 certainly were steps in the right direction. April and May of 2012 are gonna be a couple huge months for Drake, in my opinion, because he truly does have great stuff. He’s also still very young, so there’s still time.

WW:
Anthony Ranaudo was hyped as the best pitcher in the system, but did not dominate in 2011. Were there nights you saw him dominate, and can you see him developing into a front-line starter?

EL: I really enjoyed watching Ranaudo pitch sixteen times last year. He has a great demeanor on the mound and you can tell that being good is really important to him. Early on, I felt like his stuff matched his demeanor and he had a few dominant performances and a couple other outings that were better than the final stat-line indicated. As the season progressed, his stuff lost some bite and he got knocked around a little bit. Considering that he was 21 and in his first professional season, the struggles shouldn’t be all that shocking. Yet, it was always a little surprising because he arrived into the organization with such a lofty reputation. I definitely think he can be a very solid starting pitcher in the big leagues. To be successful, he needs to keep his fastball down in the zone consistently and hopefully develop his changeup a little bit more. But Ranaudo is a legit 6’7”, in excellent shape, and without a doubt one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, if not number one. Like many fans, I’m very curious if he’ll begin 2012 in Salem or if the Sox will propel him to Portland to start the year. I honestly think he’ll compete and be pretty successful either way.

WW:
Ben Cherington has been named the new General Manager of the Red Sox. If you have met him, what impression did you get, and if not, what is his reputation within the organization?

EL: Ben visited our team once or twice a season each of the past few years and I had a couple very brief interactions with him, usually just saying hello during batting practice. So unfortunately, I don’t have any super secret info or great story to pass along. But Cherington always has struck me as a very smart guy, one of Theo’s top, most-trusted lieutenants. I thought he did a great job at the first press conference in deftly handling all of the tough questions. And clearly he has a great knowledge of the Red Sox organization from top to bottom. The fact that he also has New England roots and truly understands the phenomena of “Red Sox Nation” fanaticism is a plus as well. I wish Ryan Lavarnway had blasted a couple more homers to help send the Sox to playoffs and, consequently, keep Tito and Theo at their perches. But Cherington was a natural choice to be the successor. Who fills Tito’s shoes? That remains to be seen.
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at 6:46 AM

Huntzinger earns win for Scottsdale


11/15 Cup of Coffee: The Scorpions jumped out to a large lead early on, and held on for the 6-5 win against the Rafters.

In the interests of perfect symmetry, Scottsdale scored 1 run in the first on a Mike Trout (LAA) solo home run, 2 runs in the second on a Dan Butler 2-run single and you guessed it, 3 in the third on a Bryce Harper (WAS) RBI double and a 2-run triple off the bat of Joe Panik (SF). Undaunted by the sizable deficit, Salt River fought back with 3 runs in the fourth and 2 in the seventh. Ultimately, the Scorpions were able to hold on for dear life and get the win, keeping the Rafters off the board in the ninth despite having loaded the bases. Offensively, the team was led by Butler and Panik, as each went 1-3 with 2 RBI. Brock Huntzinger started for Scottsdale and earned the win. Huntzinger went 3.2 innings, surrendering 4 hits and 3 runs. He walked 1 and struck out 3. For the Red Sox, Alex Hassan also appeared in the game and went 0-4.

Scottsdale will take on Salt River again this afternoon at 3:35 EST.
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November 14, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Caribbean League Roundup: November 7-13


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

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

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

Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Failed to make an appearance.

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

Franklin Morales (Leones del Caracas): Came on in relief in 4 contests, hurling 2.0 innings, allowing 3 unearned runs on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 4.

Mexican Pacific League

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

Miguel Gonzalez (Venados de Mazatlan): Hurled 3.2 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 in his four appearances.

Dominican Winter League:

Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Made his first start in Dominican Winter League play, twirling 4.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 2 as he received the loss on the 10th against Aguilas.

Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Tossed 1.0 flawless inning of relief on the 10th against Estrellas.

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

Tony Pena (Aguilas Cibaenas): Made two relief appearances, hurling 1.0 inning, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk, punching out 1.

Puerto Rico Baseball League

Henry Ramos (Leones de Ponce): Was 3 for 5 in his two contests this week.

Christian Vazquez (Indios de Mayaguez): Failed to make an appearance this week.

Australian Baseball League

Boss Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Appeared in 4 games, going 3 for 14 with a double, RBI, run scored and 2 walks.

Moko Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Failed to make an appearance.

Justin Erasmus (Brisbane Bandits): Made his first appearance on November 12 against Sydney, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts.
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at 8:08 AM

Success stories in the desert


Ever since Tommy John surgery cut short his promising debut season with the Lowell Spinners in 2007, Red Sox minor league reliever Caleb Clay has had nothing in common with the top prospects who populate the Arizona Fall League rosters every year except his status as a first-round draft pick. 

But this fall, Clay has improbably become the Red Sox biggest success story out of the AFL. In 13 1/3 innings of work that span 10 appearances, Clay is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in the AFL, which is billed as a “prospect finishing school.” For Clay, the month spent playing alongside the best prospects in the game is more of a fresh start than anything else. 

Not bad, considering that earlier this season, the 43rd overall pick in the 2006 draft considered calling it quits.

Check out the rest of the column by Jon Meoli on ESPN Boston
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November 13, 2011 at 5:30 AM

Hassan's offense, defense not enough as Scorpions fall


11/13 Cup of Coffee: Alex Hassan had quite a game. On a night when the entire Scorpions offense collected only 5 hits, Hassan went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles and a home run. He also added 2 outfield assists. Unfortunately, it was not enough, as the Surprise Saguaros defeated the Scorpions, 6-4, in seven innings.

Hassan gave the Scorpions the lead in the top of the first, launching a three-run home run to left field. The Scorpions got two runs back in the second with a solo home run from former UConn star Mike Olt (TEX), and an RBI double from 2011 first-round pick Mikie Mahtook (TB). The floodgates opened in the fifth, as Surprise scored four times in the inning. A two-run double for Christian Colon (KC) and a two-run single for Leonys Martin (TEX) were the big hits for Surprise. Scottsdale got a run back in the sixth when Joe Panik (SF) doubled home Hassan, but it was too little, too late.

Austin Fleet (SF) started for Scottsdale, throwing the first 2.0 innings, allowing 2 runs. Matt Purke (WAS) followed him and pitched a scoreless third inning. Pat Lehman (WAS) had a tough night allowing 4 runs in just 1.0 inning of work. He allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 2. 

Dan Butler was the only other Red Sox prospect to play. He started at catcher and went 0 for 3. The Scorpions get Sunday off, but return to action on Monday with a home game against Salt River starting at 3:35 EST.
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November 12, 2011 at 5:30 AM

Trio of Red Sox pitching prospects help shut down Phoenix


11/12 Cup of Coffee: A 3 run third inning proved to be enough for the Scorpions as they defeated the Phoenix Desert Dogs 3-2 in 7 innings.

An Anthony Gose (TOR) single scored former Red Sox draft pick Yan Gomes (TOR) to put the Desert Dogs up 1-0 in the 2nd. The Scorpions answered right back in the 3rd scoring 3 runs to take the lead. Mike Trout (LAA) and Brandon Crawford (SF) each hit RBI singles, and Bryce Harper (WAS) extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI double. 

Jeremy Kehrt earned the victory throwing 2.0 innings allowing 2 hits and 1 run while walking 3 and striking out 1. Will Latimer followed him throwing 2.0 scoreless innings while walking 2 and striking out 1. Caleb Clay threw a perfect 5th inning as well to finish off a good night for Red Sox pitching prospects. 

Alex Hassan got the start in right field going 1 for 3 with a single, and Ryan Dent played third base going 0 for 3. 

The Scorpions resume play today at 3:35 EST in Surprise. 
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November 11, 2011 at 7:34 AM

Late rally helps Scorpions shock Saguaros


11/11 Cup of Coffee: A two-out ninth inning rally helped propel the Scottsdale Scorpions over the Surprise Saguaros, 2-1.

The Saguaros jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first, receiving an RBI single from Mike Olt (TEX). Scottsdale was held at bay until the sixth, when Mike Trout’s (LAA) RBI ground out tied the game, 1-1. The game remained knotted until the bottom of the ninth, when the Scorpions staged a stunning two out rally. Surprise reliever Jeremy Jeffress (KC) quickly struck out the first two batters of the inning before running into difficulty. With two down, Dan Butler walked and subsequently advanced to second on a passed ball. Cody Overbeck (PHI) followed with a walk of his own, leaving runners on first and second. Joe Panik (SF) then stepped up to the plate and laced an RBI single that gave the Scorpions a walk-off victory.

Butler was 0 for 3 with a run scored and a walk as Scottsdale’s catcher. Alex Hassan drew the start in left field, going 0 for 2 with 2 walks. Ryan Dent batted ninth for the Scorpions and was 0 for 2 with a walk.

Scottsdale will look to continue their winning ways as they square off against the Phoenix Desert Dogs this afternoon.
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November 10, 2011 at 8:43 AM

Desert Dogs take advantage of Scottsdale miscues to stymie Scorpions


11/10 Cup of Coffee: Taking full advantage of three Scottsdale errors, the Phoenix Desert Dogs blanked the Scorpions, 5-0.

Phoenix jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first on a Kevin Ahrens (TOR) RBI double. The play was aided by throwing errors by Scottsdale right fielder Tyson Gilllies (PHI) and pitcher Sammy Solis (WAS), which allowed an additional two runs to score. In the fourth, a costly throwing error by Scorpions catcher Derek Norris (WAS) allowed another run to scamper home, and Anthony Gose (TOR) laced a two out RBI single to give the Desert Dogs a 5-0 advantage. The Scorpions never threatened to score outside of the first inning, when they left a runner at third.

Alex Hassan was the lone Red Sox prospect that saw action, going 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout as the Scorpions designated hitter.

Scottsdale looks to get back into the win column this evening as they host the Surprise Saguaros.
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November 9, 2011 at 3:51 AM

Huntzinger and Hassan lead Scorpions to much needed victory


11/9 Cup of Coffee: The Scorpions shut out Salt River on Tuesday, 2-0, with Red Sox representatives being the prime contributors.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 2nd, when a fielding error on a single by Dan Butler plated Alex Hassan. The Scorpions added an insurance run in the bottom of the 5th on an RBI single by Hassan. Offensively, the team was led by Hassan, who went 2-3 with a walk and RBI. Bryce Harper (WAS) struck out 3 times in the game, but a 5th-inning single extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Brock Huntzinger started for Scottsdale and turned in his 2nd straight positive outing en route to picking up the victory. Huntzinger pitched 4.0 shutout innings, scattering 4 hits, walking none and striking out 3.

Other Red Sox prospects to appear in the game were Butler, who went 2-4, Caleb Clay and Will Latimer. Clay pitched 1.0 inning of relief, allowing 1 hit, walking 1 and not recording a strikeout, while Latimer pitched 1.1 hitless innings, walking 1 and striking out none.

Scottsdale will next take the field this evening, as it hosts Phoenix at 9:35 EST.
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November 8, 2011 at 6:47 AM

Scottsdale routed by Salt River


11/8 Cup of Coffee: Scottsdale's modest 2-game winning streak ended yesterday, as the Scorpions were soundly defeated by Salt River, 9-4.

Scottsdale surrendered all 9 runs in the first 2 innings of play, as this one became out of reach as quickly as it began. Leading the way offensively for the Scorpions was Zach Walters (WAS), as he went 2-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI. Chris Scholl (LAA) got the start for Scottsdale, and this is an outing that Scholl presumably wishes he could forget. In 1.1 innings, he allowed 5 hits, 8 runs, walked 3 and did not strike out a batter.

For the Red Sox, Ryan Dent went 1-4 with a triple and an RBI, while Alex Hassan went 1-4 with a double. Jeremy Kehrt pitched a perfect inning of relief in the losing effort. Though Kehrt got off to a rough start in the AFL, he has rebounded nicely. The righty has allowed just 1 earned run in his last 4 appearances.

Scottsdale will get an immediate chance at revenge, as it hosts Salt River this evening at 9:35 EST.
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November 7, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Caribbean Roundup: October 31-November 6


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

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
Ryan Lavarnway (Bravos de Margarita): Did not make an appearance this week.
Ronald Bermudez (Leones del Caracas): Went without a hit in his two plate appearances.
Oscar Perez (Tiburones de La Guaira): Did not make an appearance this week.
Franklin Morales (Leones del Caracas): Tossed 2.0 flawless innings of relief, striking out 1 in 2 appearances.

Mexican Pacific League
Jesus Loya (Naranjeros de Hermosillo): Did not make an appearance this week.
Miguel Gonzalez (Venados de Mazatlan): Hurled 1.1 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk across three appearances.

Dominican Winter League
Stolmy Pimentel (Estrellas de Oriente): Made a relief appearance on November 2 against Licey, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits in 2.0 innings, striking out 3.
Cesar Cabral (Aguilas Cibaenas): Appeared twice out of the bullpen, tossing 0.1 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1.
Oscar Tejeda (Gigantes del Cibao): Did not make an appearance this week.
Tony Pena (Aguilas Cibaenas): Made two relief appearances, hurling 3.0 innings, not allowing a base runner and striking out 3.

Puerto Rico Baseball League
Henry Ramos (Leones de Ponce): Struck out in his lone plate appearance.
Christian Vazquez (Indios de Mayaguez): Went 0 for 2 in his lone contest this week.

Australian Baseball League
Boss Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Went 4 for 12 with a double, 2 runs scored, 2 walks and 2 RBI in 4 games.
Moko Moanaroa (Sydney Blue Sox): Was 1 for 3 with a strikeout in his lone game played.
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