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SoxProspects News

March 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Fort Report: March 16

This week’s minor league notes: 

  • Minor league camp has been underway and minor league games began this week with the first games taking place Wednesday. 
  • Anthony Ranaudo (Kelly O'Connor)
  • Anthony Ranaudo started Portland's first game and said he felt great. He had good downward angle on his fastball, and was hitting both sides of the plate. He felt good about his secondary pitches, and threw three changeups. His fastball topped out at 94 mph, and he said he felt fatigued in the second inning, which is very normal for pitchers this time of year as they slowly build up their workload.
  • Justin Erasmus came on in relief later in the Double-A game, but exited prematurely after being hit in the shoulder by a batted ball. He said the injury is minor with some slight swelling and does not expect to miss any time. 
  • Outfielder Bryce Brentz threw a runner out at third and made a great diving play in right field. He also had an RBI double for the Sea Dogs. 
  • Right-hander Madison Younginer threw for Greenville on Wednesday. He said his offspeed stuff felt good in the bullpen, but he left a couple up in the zone in the game. He got five ground ball outs, but said that he expects more strikeouts this year. He said that his velocity is back up and that he changed his mechanics before the Fall Instructional League—particularly with his glove arm. He feels confident going into the season.
  • Cody Kukuk threw the third and fourth inning for Greenville. He said he was a little jittery in the first inning because it was his first game and his first spring training. He felt comfortable in the second inning with his fastball. He slowed himself down a lot, and felt really good with his off speed pitches.
  • Catcher Jordan Weems had a multi-hit game for Greenville collecting a double and a single to left field.
  • Garin Cecchini says that he finally feels 100-percent healthy after being hindered by injuries the past two seasons. He anticipates starting the season with the Low A Greenville Drive.  
  • Left-hander Miguel Peña followed Mark Melancon to the hill for High A Salem on Thursday and pitched three innings. In his first inning, he threw 11 pitches, 9 of them for strikes, and all were first pitch strikes. In his second inning, he threw 12 pitches, 7 for strikes, and gave up a hit. He works quickly, paints the corners well, and is able to adjust to the umpire’s strike zone. He lost command in his third inning and began to miss his spots. He gave up four hits and a run.
  • Brandon Workman was next to pitch in the Salem game and threw two innings. In his first inning he threw 21 pitches, 11 for strikes. He struggled with his command and could not find the strike zone because he wasn’t establishing the outside corner. He fared much better the second inning, throwing 10 pitches, 6 for strikes. He struck out three batters. Workman said he anticipates starting the 2012 season with High A Salem. 
  • Sean Coyle said his swing has gotten shorter and that he has cut down his load. He thought that his hands were “getting a little deep past [his] shoulder.” He said he was dragging his hands through the zone, so he is working on keeping them in tighter and shortening up his swing. This allows him to wait longer and gives him more time to recognize a pitch and get on top of the baseball. He has also been working on getting on top of the baseball more because he thinks he put the ball in the air too much last year.
  • Brandon Jacobs had a multi-hit game for Salem on Thursday: a single and two doubles.
  • Left-hander Chris Hernandez pitched for Portland on Thursday. He went two innings, retiring the side in order twice. He felt good about his fastball on both sides of the plate, and the cutter on the inside. He also added that his changeup felt good, but he left a curveball up in the zone.
  • The Red Sox released the salaries for players on the 40-man roster but who are not yet arbitration eligible. This includes several top prospects such as Ryan Larvarnway, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront, and Drake Britton. WEEI.com’s Alex Speier has the complete rundown.
  • Lars Anderson (Kelly O'Connor)
  • Tim Britton of the Providence Journal notes that Lars Anderson, once the system’s top prospect,  has begun playing some right field in an effort to crack the major league roster and increase his versatility.
  • Michael Bowden is another prospect who has had trouble sticking with the big league squad.  Speier writes that he has added a splitter this off-season. He has had trouble with getting a feel for a changeup and this may be a good alternative. Bowden is among the group of players who are out of options. 
  • Andrew Miller is also among the group of players who are out of options. He had elbow soreness earlier in camp, but the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo tweets that he had a "great pen".
  • Jose Iglesias has been sidelined since Sunday with what is being called a "stiff groin" (jokes aside). Speier comments on his potential return and has notes on the early outings from prospect pitchers Alex Wilson, Britton, Chorye Spoon, and newly acquired Chris Carpenter. In a separate piece, Speier also says that Stomly Pimentel, who was shut down with a lat strain early in camp, is progressing and hopes to begin the minor league season on time.
  • Britton struggled last season, finishing the year with a 6.91 ERA in 26 starts at Single-A Salem.  Britton is aware of the past comparisons between him and Jon Lester, and is something he views as a high compliment. Speier spoke with him about using video comparison between him and Lester as a learning tool, something that Lester did during his development with a video of Roger Clemens reversed as if he was a lefty. Britton also mentions that he would love the opportunity to sit down with Lester to discuss pitching, but has not yet had the opportunity. 
  • The Red Sox remain interested in Jorge Soler, though they expect the Cubs to win the bidding according to Speier. Soler is still working on establishing his residency in the Dominican Republic, which is the first step before he can be declared a free agent.  The 20-year old outfielder projects to have plus power and was considered one of the best international free agents this off-season along with fellow Cuban, Yoenis Cespedes, who signed a four year, $36 million deal with the Oakland Athletics earlier this month. Soler will likely command a smaller figure since he is younger and considered further away from the majors.
  • Red Sox assisted with Dominican Prospect League tour by hosting the prospects at JetBlue Park and having minor leaguers throw some innings since they did not have enough of their own pitchers. According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, the stop on the tour was a huge success. The new collective bargaining agreement will begin to limit teams' international spending starting this July.  Therefore, having the opportunity to observe many prospects at once could be vital in a team's ability to evaluate accurately and spend wisely.
  • Speier did a podcast this week interviewing Ryan Lavarnway. Topics covered in it are his development defensively, statistical measures for catchers, and the transition from amateur to professional. His confidence and intelligence really come through here. Despite doubt in the industry about his ability to catch at the major league level, Lavarnway strives to be the best and believes without question he can be a capable major league catcher.
  • The Red Sox received pitching prospect, Aaron Kurtz, from the Cubs as the PTBNL to complete the Theo Epstein compensation. Our own John Gray has the details on the right-hander.
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer & Elizabeth Dreeson is a Special Contributor for SoxProspects.com.  Follow Will on Twitter @SPWill and Elizabeth @Eli_Dreesox