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SoxProspects News

March 31, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Bradley to make Red Sox Opening Day roster

The most discussed roster move this spring has finally been made. The team announced today that Jackie Bradley Jr. will be promoted to the 25-man roster and will be the Opening Day left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. First baseman Mauro Gomez was designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

The 22-year-old pushed the envelope this spring, hitting .433/.521/.633 with 10 walks and nine strikeouts. A center fielder by trade, Bradley will slide to left field, with Jacoby Ellsbury manning center and Shane Victorino in right.

This is an unprecedented move in the post-Dan Duqette era, as no position player has been promoted to the majors faster than Bradley. Bradley has played only 61 games above A-ball since being drafted in the supplemental first-round out of the University of South Carolina in 2011, which is far fewer than the second-place Ellsbury, who had 154 games above A-Ball.
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at 8:54 AM

Bradley tops outfield ranks

Editor's note: This is the fifth of a five-part series on depth in the Red Sox farm system.

In the last installment, we look at the outfield. The conversation starts with Jackie Bradley Jr., who's with the Red Sox in New York ahead of Opening Day Monday. The next best outfield prospects in the Red Sox system include a free-swinging power-hitting right fielder, two athletic A-Ballers with high ceilings, an upstart Dominican prospect who has yet to debut stateside, and three outfielders seemingly set to start the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

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March 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Fort Report: Spring training draws to a close

Here are the minor league notes for the last week of spring training:

  • SoxProspects.com's Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews released the penultimate edition of his five-part series on ESPNBoston examining the depth in the farm system position-by-position. This week's focus was on an area where the Red Sox appear to be limited: the corner infield positions. 
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured) has certainly placed himself on the fast track to the majors with play this spring.  Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains how Bradley's baseball education aided with his placement on that expedited track.
  • Speier has coverage on another high-ceiling prospect in Henry Owens, who had a video game-like performance in a intrasquad game this week. Owens will likely join Salem to start the season.
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at 12:28 PM

Gomez, Bard, Holt optioned to minors; Sweeney will not make team

The Red Sox have announced that a trio of players have been optioned to the minor leagues. First baseman Mauro Gomez and infielder Brock Holt have been sent to Triple-A Pawtucket, while pitcher Daniel Bard has been optioned down to Double-A Portland. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, in camp on a minor league deal, has also been told that his contract will not be purchased.

While not officially announced, the moves mean it is likely that outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will open the 2013 in the major leagues. Bradley, a supplemental first-round pick in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina, has put himself in position to make the club with a fantastic spring training, hitting .441/.521/.644 in Grapefruit League play. The Red Sox will still need to make another roster move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Bradley.
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March 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Webster shows major league potential in minor league outing

An invitation to major league camp provides different experiences for different young players. For right-hander Allen Webster, the experience taught him how important it was to be consistent every time you’re handed the ball.

Webster’s Pawtucket teammate, catcher Dan Butler, got the chance to catch seasoned major-league arms. And for Butler, there’s not much separating the pitchers who will break camp with Boston from Webster, the recently-acquired crown jewel of the Red Sox’ cache of upper-level pitching prospects.

“Stuff-wise, he’s right there,” Butler said. “He’s got just as good stuff as anybody out there. I think it’s just (a matter of) when the organization wants him, I don't think it has anything to do with stuff-wise or consistency. He’s been consistent all spring training. It just might be the timing issue.”
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at 8:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Anthony Ranaudo

Anthony Ranaudo entered last season as arguably the top pitching prospect in the system, but struggled with command issues and injuries. By season's end, the 2010 supplemental first-round pick had thrown just 37 2/3 innings in Portland, and there were more questions than answers about what to expect from him this season and beyond.

Last Saturday, Ranaudo got the start at the Minnesota Twins spring training complex in the Double-A game. Early reports from spring training indicated that Ranaudo’s stuff looked much improved from last season, but I was looking forward to finding out for myself. The conditions weren’t ideal as the ball was flying out due to heavy wind gusts, but Ranaudo ended up going four-plus innings and was very impressive, despite the final results looking a bit ugly.
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March 27, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Red Sox minor league depth at corner infield

In this installment, we look at the corner infield position. Compared with other positions, the Red Sox are somewhat limited in terms of minor league depth at this spot. The only player that profiles as a potential major league regular is third baseman Garin Cecchini, who has yet to play above Low A. The best of the rest include two potential bench bats and a former first-round pick who has yet to live up to his draft pedigree.  

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at 12:45 PM

Q&A with Boston native Jack McGeary

Jack McGeary is a born-and-bred Bostonian who played his high school ball at Roxbury Latin. Prior to the 2007 draft, he was scouted heavily by the Red Sox but was eventually selected in the sixth round by the Washington Nationals. Signed by the Nationals at the 2007 deadline for $1.8 million, he had the unique opportunity to attend Stanford University full-time while playing professional baseball on the side. This offseason his hometown Red Sox selected him in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

He recently pitched one inning on March 23 in a GCL game against the Twins organization. He featured a 90-93 fastball along with a 74 mph curve on which he got two strikeouts. While the fastball command could have been better, the velocity is there for the left-hander along with a solid breaking ball that he uses as his out pitch. I recently sat down with McGeary to discuss his transition to the Red Sox organization, his unique path through professional ball, and the multiple injuries that have caused setbacks in his development.
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at 10:30 AM

2013 SoxProspects Preseason All-Stars

The SoxProspects community has voted for its 2013 preseason All-Stars at each position. These players represent those who the community expect to have the best season in the Red Sox minor league system at their respective positions, and ideally does not take prospect status into consideration.

Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway
Lavarnway is coming off a 2012 season in which he struggled meeting the relatively high expectations heaped on him after he produced the best season of his professional career in 2011. The 25-year-old started the year in Pawtucket, where he initially had trouble finding his offensive game, batting .268/.369/.376 in April and May, but finished with a respectable line of .295/.376/.439 with eight home runs in 83 games serving primarily as the catcher for the PawSox. His initial struggles in Pawtucket dawned on him again once he earned a promotion to Boston on August 1, as the Yale product endured one the roughest stretches of his five-year career – batting .157/.211/.248 in 46 games with the major league club. Lavarnway made strides in the catching department by virtue of playing roughly 80 percent of his games in 2012 at backstop, but questions arose whether his bat and improving defense can coexist. He’ll attempt to piece both his offense and his defense together in 2013, and expect him to begin that endeavor in Pawtucket while serving as insurance in case David Ross or Jarrod Saltalamacchia succumbs to injury.
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at 10:24 AM

Red Sox option Lavarnway, reassign Carter, De La Torre

The Red Sox announced today that they've optioned catcher Ryan Lavarnway (pictured) to Triple-A Pawtucket and reassigned right-handers Anthony Carter and Jose De La Torre to minor league camp. The threesome's movement now leaves Boston with 35 players in big league camp, including three non-roster invitees.

Lavarnway was destined to begin the season with Pawtucket once the Red Sox signed David Ross back in November to serve as the backup for Jarrod Saltalamacchi. The 25-year-old stepped up to the plate 44 times in Grapefruit action this spring and hit for a .136/.188/.159 line with seven strikeouts and just three walks. Lavarnway played in 83 games with the PawSox last season and hit .295/.376/.439 with eight home runs.
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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Brian Johnson and Deven Marrero

Position: Pitcher
2012 Team: Lowell Spinners
2013 Projected Team: Greenville Drive
Opening Day Age: 22

Strengths: Johnson’s arsenal is presently on the advanced side and shows a high level of polish. The 22-year-old has a strong overall feel for pitching. The left-hander is loose when delivering his 89-93 mph fastball, and can touch up to 94 mph on occasion. Johnson knows how to finish his delivery, which enables him to command the heater to both sides of the plate and hit his spots. The offering will show both downward finish and arm-side run in the lower tier of the strike zone. Johnson is more than capable of pounding the zone consistently in the right areas with his fastball. The lefty also mixes a curveball and changeup into sequences. Operating 73-79 mph, the curve is currently Johnson’s best secondary pitch. It shows solid depth, with the ability to be thrown for a strike or buried out of the zone. It should round into a solid-average offering at his disposal with more repetition throwing it. The 84-86 mph change is more of a contact inducing pitch rather than a bat-missing one and grades as average, but Johnson can command it. Overall, the lefty has the stuff to continue on the starting path up the levels of the organization and project as a major league starter.
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March 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Lyle Overbay released

The Red Sox announced today they have released first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Overbay, 36, signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training in January. The twelve-year major league veteran came to camp to compete for a role as the backup first baseman and left-handed pinch hitter role. In  19 Grapefruit League appearances, Overbay was 9 for 41 with a double in two triples.
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at 6:00 AM

Kukuk seeking redemption, experience after largely lost season

When the Red Sox signed left-hander Cody Kukuk to an over-slot bonus following his selection in the 2011 draft, there was much reason for fans to be excited. Though unrefined, the raw stuff and frame of the 6-foot-4 high schooler out of Kansas left many prospect-followers dreaming on his potential.

After signing at the Aug. 15 deadline under the old draft rules, Kukuk didn't have the opportunity to pitch in the 2011 season. Heading into spring training last year there was excitement for what was to be his debut in the system.

That excitement turned to disappointment on May 13 when Kukuk was arrested on a DUI charge while in Fort Myers, Fla. attending extended spring training. The misdemeanor charge was later dropped, but the damage to his baseball season was already done. While the short-season teams began playing in mid-June, Kukuk was placed on the restricted list and didn't make his debut until Aug. 6, throwing just 10 total innings in the Gulf Coast League.
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March 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Bogaerts highlights latest group assigned to minor league camp

The Red Sox today continued to trim their roster as opening day quickly approaches, sending infielders Xander Bogaerts (pictured), Jonathan Diaz, and Drew Sutton to minor league camp. The moves leave the Red Sox with 39 players in big league camp.

Bogaerts, widely regarded as the Red Sox top prospect, spent the majority of his spring with Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. In the WBC, Bogaerts was 5 for 19 with an RBI in seven contests. In five Grapefruit League games, the 20-year-old went 2 for 7 with an RBI. Bogaerts figures to start the season with Double-A Portland where he hit .326/.351/.598 with five home runs and seven RBI in 23 games last season. 
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March 22, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Scouting Scratch: 2012 Draft Picks Edition

After a few more days in Fort Myers, here is a compilation of scouting notes on some prospects who have caught my eye.

- Pat Light (pictured) was the third pitcher into the High A game for the Red Sox Thursday, but was the most impressive of the group over his four innings of work. Light has a live arm, and a long and projectable frame. His delivery is a little rough, especially from the windup, but he does a good job getting downhill plane when he gets on top of the ball. He worked in all three of his pitches in the outing, but each was inconsistent. Light came out 90-91 mph with his fastball in the first. He wasn’t commanding the pitch well, walking a batter and giving up a pair of singles on missed locations. He recorded one strikeout in the inning on a solid changeup that faded down and away from the left-handed batter.
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at 12:40 PM

Fort Report: The SoxProspects crew arrives

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • Six members of the SoxProspects staff have made their way down to Fort Myers for the annual Spring Training trip. They will be providing the most detailed coverage of all the Red Sox minor league news during their time in the Fort, so be sure you are following along both on Twitter and our News Page. The six staff members in attendance are Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews, Director of Scouting Chris Mellen, Managing Editor Matt Huegel, Senior Columnist Jon Meoli, Northeast Scout Ian Cundall, and Digital Correspondent Jonathan Singer
  • Andrews reported on Thursday that the Red Sox have released Tyler Wilson, Zach Gentile, and Brenden Shepard. Wilson received a $300,000 bonus as a 13th round pick in the 2008 draft, but never went above Low-A Greenville in his four seasons in the system. Singer reported four more cuts on Friday, with Adalberto Ibarra, Sully Bonnelly, Richardo Betancourt, and Oscar Melendez getting released. Ibarra was a high-profile international signing, netting a $750,000 bonus out of Cuba in 2010, but shoulder injuries derailed his career, and he played in only 119 games over three seasons.
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at 5:00 AM

Brian Johnson looking to put batted-ball accident behind him

Brian Johnson had the privilege of starting for Lowell at last season's Futures at Fenway event. However, that honor quickly turned into his worst nightmare as a batted ball hit him in the face, causing multiple orbital bone fractures and ending his season after just four starts in the organization.

Having played sports his whole life, Johnson is no stranger to the injuries that come with the territory. However, this was unlike anything he's experienced in the past.

"It was just different, because it was [not a pitching injury]," he said. "It wasn't like my arm was hurting or I pulled a hamstring, it was my face. [I didn't need] surgery, the only thing I had to do was let time [pass]. I think it was a total of three months, three and a half, before I was able to eat anything again and stuff like that."
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March 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Bogaerts searching for timing at the plate after WBC

As Xander Bogaerts traversed the globe on the Netherlands’ improbable run to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic, he and his teammates were given plenty of time off to adjust to new time zones.

The team began its WBC campaign in Taiwan, then advanced through Tokyo before Monday night’s loss at the hands of the eventual champion Dominican Republic squad in San Francisco.

But now that Bogaerts has rejoined his Red Sox teammates in Fort Myers, he admits that his batting clock needs as much recalibrating as his body clock.
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at 9:30 AM

Stroup strong after second ACL surgery

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- That Kyle Stroup was able to take the mound for a minor league spring training game on March 20 was something for the towering right-hander to relish.

On March 19, 2010, as a 20-year-old Stroup prepared for full-season ball after a debut campaign in the Gulf Coast League, he tore ACL in his right knee. After rehabbing through that summer and getting back into game action in the Fall Instructional Leagues in the Dominican Republic, Stroup started 21 games for Greenville in 2011.

But on March 19, 2012 — two years to the day after that first tear, and a year ago Tuesday  — Stroup suffered a second knee injury, this time tearing the ACL in his left knee. After another summer of dogged rehab in Florida, Stroup followed the same comeback trail — side sessions in late summer, fall outings in Fort Myers and the Dominican — before returning with no restrictions this spring.

Stroup, now 23, made it past that dreaded date this March, and on Wednesday, looked strong in his second start in minor league camp.
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at 5:00 AM

Scouting Scratch: Early Reports from Fort Myers

After two days down in Fort Myers, here is a compilation of scouting notes from workouts and two games. The first game scouted was between the Low A Red Sox and the Low A Twins and the second an intrasquad scrimmage between prospects who are slated to open in either the DSL, GCL, or Lowell.

- Right-hander Heri Quevedo started the Low A game against Minnesota, working four innings. His command was shaky at the start, and he left a few fastballs up in the zone that the Twins hitters were able to handle. His fastball sat 92-94 mph, topping out at 95 mph and as he got deeper into the outing, he was able to command the pitch more effectively, working down in the zone. Quevedo has some feel for secondary pitches, mixing in a slider, changeup, and curveball at various points. His slider was inconsistent, as he had trouble finding his arm slot. This caused him to come around the ball and the pitch to flatten. When he got on top of the pitch, however it showed deep 10-4 break. Quevedo’s curveball was also inconsistent, coming in between 77-79 mph.
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March 18, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Red Sox minor league depth - middle infield

In this installment, let’s take a look at the middle-infield depth in the Red Sox organization. The system is fairly well stacked up the middle, with a number of potential impact players, including a projected All-Star, some potential starters, and more than a handful of raw high-ceiling players that could develop into productive major-leaguers.

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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Alex Wilson and Drake Britton

Position: Pitcher 2012
Team: Pawtucket Red Sox
2013 Projected Team: Pawtucket Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 26

Strengths: Wilson features a fastball and slider combination that has begun to show better form in a relief role. The heater sits 92-94 mph, with the ability to top out at 95-96 mph. Wilson has improved his ability to stay on top of the offering over the course of the last couple of seasons to push the crispness of the command. The right-hander has learned the value of keeping the ball down, moving away from trying to challenge every hitter up in the zone, where the pitch tends to be flat. The command presently grades as average-to-solid-average. With the improvement throwing more quality strikes during sequences, the effectiveness of his 81-84 mph slider has been enhanced. This offering has long been Wilson’s best pitch. The slider shows the type of tight spin and hard bite to miss bats when set up properly. Wilson carries himself well on the mound, with an even, calm demeanor that keeps him composed when dealing with all situations. The righty isn’t easily rattled and has been learning how to pitch as a reliever since converting early last season.
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March 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Butler, Wilson optioned to Pawtucket

The Red Sox announced today that they have optioned catcher Dan Butler and right-handed relief pitcher Alex Wilson (pictured) to Triple-A Pawtucket. Both players had strong springs and showed the Red Sox that they are capable depth options should a need arise.

Relief pitching was one of the areas the Red Sox had the most depth coming into the spring, and thus Wilson was not able to crack the major league squad even after a strong spring. In his 7 2/3 innings he allowed only one run to go along with nine strikeouts and two walks. Wilson is also on the 40-man roster and if the Red Sox had injuries to their right-handed relievers instead of currently-injured lefties Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales then he may have been able to crack the opening day bullpen.
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March 15, 2013 at 9:00 PM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #30

Chris Hatfield and Matt Huegel talk about the big stories of spring training so far, which in a happy coincidence are almost entirely prospect related. Jackie Bradley, Allen Webster, Xander Bogaerts and more are on the agenda. Plus, the fellas talk about battles for major league roster spots and discuss which projected 2013 roster is most intriguing to them.

Links after the jump...
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at 8:50 PM

De La Rosa, Vazquez, Webster optioned

Three of the Red Sox most impressive spring training performers were cut from big league camp Friday following the team's split-squad tie against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. Right-handed pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while catcher Christian Vazquez (pictured) was optioned to Double-A Portland.

Webster leads all Red Sox pitchers with 14 strikeouts in 11 spring innings pitched, leading some to argue he's been the best pitcher in camp. However, what was perhaps most impressive about the 23-year-old was his control, as he surrendered only one walk this spring on his way to a 1.63 ERA.
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at 2:18 PM

Fort Report: The Jackie Bradley show takes center stage

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured) continues to be the hottest thing in Fort Myers. The 22-year old has dominated Grapefruit League pitching to the tune of .517/.611/.690 in 14 games, and has moved up to second in the SoxProspects.com rankings. 
  • Initially projected to begin the year back in Double-A Portland, it now seems likely that Bradley will be assigned to Pawtucket. Many observers think the Red Sox should go a step further, and bring the 2011 supplemental first round pick north to Boston to begin the season. The Boston Herald's John Tomase argues that Bradley is the most exciting Red Sox prospect since Jacoby Ellsbury, and should begin the year in the starting lineup. Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks for lessons applicable to Bradley in the Angels development of 2012 Rookie of the Year Mike Trout. 
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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Brandon Workman and Anthony Ranaudo

Position: Pitcher
2012 Teams: Salem Red Sox/Portland Sea Dogs
2013 Projected Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Opening Day Age: 24

Strengths: Workman’s fastball and cutter combo give him a strong foundation for attacking hitters. The heater sits 91-93 mph and can touch up to 95 with frequency when working as a starter. It shows late life when the pitcher is finishing the delivery and hitting targets down in the strike zone. Workman has also made some strides honing his fastball command over the course of the last season. He works elevated in the zone far less often, while also showing more ability to throw the offering to both sides of the plate. This improvement has pushed the grade to about average. Workman’s best pitch is a high-80s cutter that grades as solid-average-to-plus. The righty feels the offering well, creating tight spin and sharp break via consistent wrist rotation. The late breaking nature of the cutter makes it very deceptive, especially against left-handed hitters. It tends to miss bats or produce weak contact, with the projection to continue to do so at the major league level. Workman is very aggressive on the mound. The pitcher will come right after hitters and avoids falling into ruts of nibbling. His calm demeanor enables him to stay level in all situations and he understands how to deal with failure.
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March 13, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Sox minor leaguers begin spring-training games

While the players in major league camp enjoyed a day off on Wednesday, their teammates over on the minor-league side commenced their spring schedule with each club facing the affiliates of the Minnesota Twins. After the jump, you will find the full minor league schedule.

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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Manuel Margot and Ty Buttrey

Position: Outfield
2012 Team: Dominican Summer League
2013 Projected Team: Lowell Spinners
Opening Day Age: 18

Strengths: Margot’s smooth swing enables him to fluidly bring the head of the bat through the hitting zone. The outfielder possesses very quick hands and wrists, which allow him to generate excellent bat speed. Margot shows a strong aptitude for hitting at an early age. The 18-year-old keeps his hands back well during his stride and there is little wasted movement during the swing load. There’s also leverage in the swing, enabling him to produce consistent backspin. Margot’s hit tool shows the potential to develop to solid-average-to-better, with the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields. Athleticism is also an asset. His speed grades as well above-average and projects as an impact tool. The youngster demonstrates solid acceleration both on the bases and in the field. Defensively, Margot reads the ball well off the bat in center field. He shows a lot of grace and natural ability when tracking fly balls, and closes well into both gaps. The range grades as above-average, with the overall tools to round into a plus defender in center.

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March 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Wright highlights six players cut from Sox camp

The Red Sox announced their latest round of spring training cuts this morning. Pitcher Steven Wright and outfielder Alex Hassan were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while first baseman Mark Hamilton, right-hander Pedro Beato, and outfielders Jeremy Hazelbaker and Juan Carlos Linares were reassigned to minor league camp. 

Wright (pictured), a knuckleballer who was added to the 40-man roster in the off-season, will be part of the Pawtucket starting rotation. The 28-year-old is coming off a strong 2012 split between Portland and the Cleveland Indians Double-A affiliate in Akron, where he compiled a 2.44 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP in 121 2/3 innings across 21 starts. Wright made four spring training appearances, allowing seven runs in 7 1/3 innings.
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March 11, 2013 at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Pat Light and Tzu-Wei Lin

Position: Pitcher
2012 Team: Lowell Spinners
2013 Projected Team: Greenville Drive
Opening Day Age: 22
Strengths: Light’s fastball is his best asset. The offering operates 90-95 mph, with the ability to touch up to 97 mph when he reaches back or is working in short stints. Light creates excellent leverage when delivering his heater, utilizing his big frame to throw downhill. The pitch displays heavy, downward movement through the strike zone, which causes opposing hitters to swing over the top of it and pound it into the ground often. The right-hander can also elevate the offering to throw it past hitters when needing to vary the look or eye level. There’s solid overall life on his fastball. Light also leans on an 85-87 mph slider during sequences. The offering shows late break and the type of hard bite to get hitters to commit early. The 22-year-old can be very deceptive with the offering when he matches the release point of his fastball. The slider has plus-potential and can round into an effective out-pitch at the major league level. Standing 6-foot-6, the righty has a strong frame to grow into as he matures into his mid-twenties.
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March 10, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Depth at catcher

While there are a couple potential starters among the bunch, there isn't an immediate need for major league depth given that Jarrod SaltalamacchiaDavid Ross, and Mike Napoli are all stated to start the season on Boston's 25-man roster. However, the door is open for Ryan Lavarnway to take on a larger role in 2014, and for former first rounder Blake Swihart to compete for a starting job in late 2015 or early 2016. 

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March 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

PawSox tab Bob Socci as radio broadcaster

The Pawtucket Red Sox have filled out their radio broadcast tandem today with the announcement that Bob Socci will be joining Jeff Levering in the broadcast booth. The duo will broadcast all 144 games on 920 WHJJ and the entire PawSox radio network.

Socci, 45, has spent the last seven seasons as the voice of the Norfolk Tides, the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A affiliate. He has also served as the radio play-by-play man for the United States Naval Academy's football team for the past 16 years, and the television play-by-play commentator for CBS Sports Network's college basketball coverage of the Patriot League for the last 10 years.
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at 12:35 PM

Fort Report: Webster & Bradley Jr. continue to be talk of camp

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • This week SoxProspects.com Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews began his five-part series on ESPNBoston examining the depth in the farm system position-by-position. Naturally he begins the series by looking at an area that has gotten plenty of attention this spring, the starting pitching.
  • The Dodgers trade was really the highlight of the difficult 2012 season for the Red Sox, and thus it is no surprise Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa (pictured) are players the media and fans are keying in on. Webster saw the mound twice this past week. In his first outing, the 24-year-old impressed manager John Farrell, who believes even the umpires were impressed, after hitting 99 mph and striking out two in his three shutout innings, as WEEI.com's Alex Speier writes. Speier also wrote about Webster's most recent outing in which he went three innings with one earned run and five strikeouts, noting that his secondary offerings remind at least one scout of another current Red Sox starter.
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March 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Ryan Westmoreland announces his retirement

Ryan Westmoreland announced his retirement as an active player on Wednesday. The former outfielder had not played since 2009 following surgery for a cavernous brain malformation.

Westmoreland peaked at number two on the SoxProspects.com rankings, and was ranked the top prospect in the system by Baseball America entering the 2010 season. He had spent the past three years rehabbing and attempting to re-start his professional career, but a setback in July 2012 necessitating another brain surgery has led Westmoreland to choose to end his playing career.
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at 6:50 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Watch List- Bats

Position: Outfield
2012 Team: Lowell Spinners
2013 Projected Team: Greenville Drive
Opening Day Age: 20

2013 Outlook: Jerez ended up missing a large chunk of the 2012 season due to a hand injury, which took a bite out of his potential developmental progress. The athletic outfielder brings an element of speed to the diamond, timing as well above-average out of the left-handed hitter’s box. Jerez’s main areas of work heading into the season are his pitch recognition and approach. The 20-year-old presently is slow to react to off-speed pitches, which often leaves him defensive during sequences. The ability to pull the ball hard with back spin hasn’t yet shown in game action. Jerez needs to learn to slow things down and let his natural bat speed take over in order to make solid contact more often. An assignment in the South Atlantic League will challenge his offensive skills, especially given the break in develop time. Jerez has the natural ability to begin taking strides forward in 2013, with this year being a good early indication of how he is adjusting to the rising level of competition.
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March 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Depth on the mound

Over the course of March, I’ll be examining the depth of the Red Sox minor league system on a position-by-position basis. We’ll kick it off with pitchers. Boston has some extremely impressive pitching prospects who currently project as future impact starters, including Matt Barnes, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. 

Check out the full column on ESPN Boston.

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at 10:34 AM

Britton optioned, Marrero assigned to minor league camp

The Red Sox have announced three roster moves this morning. Left-hander Drake Britton was optioned to Double-A Portland, while shortstop Deven Marrero and utility man Justin Henry were assigned to minor league camp.

Britton made two spring training appearances, allowing three runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched. The lefty returns to Double-A, where he had a 3.72 ERA in 16 starts after a June promotion in 2012. It will be Britton's second option season.

It was the first big league camp for Marrero, the Red Sox top pick in the 2012 draft. Appearing in three games, he went 1 for 2 with a strikeout. Marrero will begin the regular season with High A Salem or Low A Greenville.
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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Travis Shaw and Christian Vazquez

Position: First base
2012 Teams: Salem Red Sox/Portland Sea Dogs
2013 Projected Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Opening Day Age: 22

Strengths: Shaw is a very patient hitter, with a well-defined knowledge of his strike zone. A typical at-bat by the left-handed hitter sees him grinding through sequences, methodically working the count to find an offering he can handle. Shaw also sees the spin out of opposing pitchers' hands quickly. This enables him to stay back on the ball and let pitches get deep on him before unleashing his swing. The 22-year-old is a gap-to-gap hitter, capable of driving offerings with lift to his pull side and into left-center field. The raw power grades as about solid-average, with game power that can translate to around 18 home runs at the highest level. Shaw demonstrates an extremely high baseball IQ and a relentless work ethic. The first baseman tirelessly works on his craft, often taking extra infield during batting practice and engaging in his hitting sessions with a purpose. He possesses the type of baseball makeup to maximize his skills to their fullest.

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March 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

SoxProspects: Improvements for 2013

As we head into the 2013 season, we'd like to announce some upgrades we put in place over the off-season.  

First, as many of you probably already noticed, we upgraded forum hosts back in September, moving from Yuku to ProBoards.  (If you had a Yuku account and you're just coming back to the forum for the first time, please note that your Yuku account will not work on the ProBoards system).  There is also a ProBoards app available on both the iPhone and Android platforms to vastly improve the forum experience on mobile devices. 
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March 1, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Fort Report: Bradley, De La Rosa, and Webster impress

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • A trio of Red Sox top prospects dazzled on-lookers with their performance this week. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong early spring performance, he's hitting .571 in his first 14 ABs, has Red Sox manager John Farrell fielding questions about the possibility of a 2013 call-up. On the bump, the pair of arms acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at last year's trading deadline are lighting up radar guns. Right-hander Allen Webster (pictured) touched 98 mph in his Grapefruit League debut Monday, striking out Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie consecutively. However, Rubby De La Rosa was not to be outdone, touching triple-digits several times in his two flawless innings of work the day before.
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at 6:45 AM

2013 Prospect Previews: Jose Vinicio and Brandon Jacobs

Position: Shortstop
2012 Team: Greenville Drive
2013 Projected Team: Greenville Drive
Opening Day Age: 19

Strengths: Vinicio brings strong defensive tools and instincts to the diamond. His athleticism is evident when going after balls hit his way. The shortstop is very light on his feet, with a quick first step and fluid actions. The range grades as above-average, and is accentuated by an innate feel for the game. Vinicio anticipates the ball off the bat well and seems to be moving to the right spot at the crack of the bat. The 19-year-old is a natural in the field, with the projection of a future above-average-to-better defensive shortstop at the big league level. A switch hitter, Vinicio flashes a compact stroke from the left side. He’s smooth driving his hands through the hitting zone and staying inside of the baseball. He demonstrates the ability to turn high velocity offerings around, while also showing a knack for getting the fat part of the barrel on the ball consistently as a lefty. The offensive talent is there for him to develop into a gap hitter, who can peak as a number two hitter in a lineup. Vinicio’s plus-plus speed also gives him the potential to round into a consistent base stealing threat at the highest level.
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