June 19, 2012 at 9:27 PM
Plenty of moves this week, but few of note. Let’s jump in with the new guys.
The Move: Red Sox sign draft picks J.B. Wendelken (13) and Dylan Chavez (14) (6/12); Pat Light (1s), Jamie Callahan (2), Ty Buttrey (4), Shaq Thompson (18), Jake Davies (21), and Miguel Rodriguez (36) (6/15); Deven Marrero (1) (6/17); Red Sox sign UDFA Kevin Mager (6/18)
We covered the big slew of signings pretty extensively when it was announced. Marrero signed for $2.05 million, $300,000 over slot for the 27th pick. He’s not the all-field, no-hit guy a lot of folks seem to be making him out to be. He did not have a great year at the plate, but came into the season as one of the top five draft prospects, fitting the junior-swoon profile the Sox love. Perhaps, with some mechanical tweaks, he can get back to this pre-2012 form. Wendelken got $100,000 to sign out of Middle Georgia Junior College, the max a pick after the 10th can get without counting toward the draft cap.
As for the Sox spending towards their draft cap, with nine of their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds signed, save for Florida pitchers Brian Johnson and Austin Maddox, the club has spent about $5,121,000, estimating a (high-end) $5,000 bonus for J.T. Watkins. Slot for the Johnson and Maddox picks is $1,975,000, but the club has $1,763,800 remaining under its draft cap. SoxProspects.com Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews projects that Johnson will sign for about $1.2 million, which would make up for the difference. The club can also spend $344,240 above its cap without losing a draft pick next year, so expect an over-slot signing or two from outside the top 10 rounds if Johnson indeed comes in below slot.
The Move: Ryan Kalish recalled from Pawtucket (6/17)
What a long road back it has been for Kalish, who was inserted right into the lineup in the hopes that he can provide some stability for the Sox in center field until (if?) Jacoby Ellsbury comes back. Again, we got Kalish’s story on Sunday. Here’s to hoping he can steer clear of the injury bug plaguing the Sox outfield.
Lowell and GCL set initial rosters (6/18): I’ll tackle this after some of the picks get assigned. Silly to talk about, say, Lowell when Marrero, Light, and even Johnson are not there yet.
Justin Erasmus placed on Greenville DL, Leonel Escobar activated from Greenville TIA (6/17): Erasmus has a good K/BB ratio at 28/7, but has been getting hit hard, allowing batters to slug .537. Escobar’s activation is notable because it may foreshadow a move down to Lowell for Jordan Weems, who has just been overmatched all year, hitting .170/.291/.190 on the season and just 3-for-33 in June. His assignment to Greenville was quite aggressive, and I am surprised he has not been sent down given how his year has gone. Note that a demotion would be more of a strategic retreat than a defeat.
Ryan Pressly activated from Salem DL; Jeremy Kehrt assigned to Pawtucket from Salem (6/17): With Pressly back, Kehrt moved to Pawtucket, down a couple arms with Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortensen in Boston, the former likely for good.
Red Sox sign Marquez Smith from Camden of the Atlantic League, assign him to Portland (6/16); Nathan Striz from Washington of the Frontier League, assign him to the GCL (6/19): Ahhh, a rite of June: the first Indy signees. Smith has a good amount of Triple-A experience, and was signed to hold down third base until either Kolbrin Vitek comes off the disabled list or Travis Shaw is promoted from Salem. Nick Natoli, playing at least two levels over his head, had been temporarily manning the hot corner. Striz pitched for Washington as the club’s closer for less than a month before signing with the Sox, but posted 17 strikeouts to just one walk in 12.1 innings. Given that he split last year between Short-Season and Low A, he probably will not be in the GCL long.
Derrik Gibson placed on Portland TIA from 6/14 to 6/19: No idea what the reason was here, but a good time to mention that Gibson’s .245/.327/.298 on the year is just not getting it done. The Sox just plain missed with that pick, a second-rounder in a 2008 draft full of players either traded (Casey Kelly, Stephen Fife, Kyle Weiland, Tim Federowicz), or medically held back (Ryan Westmoreland, Kyle Stroup). Ryan Lavarnway is the only one to have made it all the way up to a position to take a long-term roster spot in Boston.
Keury De La Cruz placed on Greenville DL; Cody Koback assigned to Greenville from Extended Spring Training (6/11): Tough break for De La Cruz, who’s having a great year and went down with a strained right hamstring. He is hitting .325/.378/.571 on the season and would have played in this week’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Koback was billed as a speedster coming out of last year’s draft, but he mysteriously has attempted just eight steals as a pro, getting caught three times.
Jesse Carlson activated from Pawtucket DL and assigned to Portland (6/12); released (6/16): Carlson spent the beginning of the season recovering from 2010 rotator cuff surgery. He pitched exactly once before being cut, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out one in one inning of work. Given his past major league success—in 2008, he was great for Toronto, posting a 2.25 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 60.0 innings of work, and his career numbers are decent—he was worth taking a chance on, but given the Sox current bullpen surplus, there was no need for the experiment to continue if his stuff was not back yet.
Yeiper Castillo placed on Greenville DL, Luis Diaz activated from Greenville DL (6/12): Coming off of a lost season due to injury, Castillo has been good, not great in his return, with a 4.00 ERA and 53 strikeouts to 31 walks in 53.0 innings. You want more out of a 23-year-old in the Sally. Diaz has been limited to six games this year and has been similarly middling, posting a 6.12 on 29 hits and nine walks in 25.0 innings, striking out 20, but he’s two and a half years younger.