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SoxProspects News

December 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Off-Season Notes: Rankings galore and hot stove action

Much of the attention is being paid to major league free agency, but we have you covered with news and notes from the month of December:

  • This month we wrapped up the Top 40 in Review series, which culminated with a feature on the top prospect in the system, catcher Blake Swihart (pictured, right). Due to all the young talent making its way to the majors this year, we expanded the series to cover Graduates in Review, featuring Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Jackie Bradley Jr. Find all of those write-ups, loaded with season summaries and scouting reports, though this link.  
  • The SoxProspects.com staff were not the only ones pouring over rankings. Alex Speier wrote Baseball America's Red Sox Top 10 rankings earlier this month. He then came on the podcast to discuss those rankings.
  • Baseball Prospectus also released its Red Sox Top 10 rankings this week, and one of the heads of their prospect team, former SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Chris Mellen, joined the podcast to dig a bit deeper.
  • The SoxProspects.com podcast team also did a podcast this month in which they answered mailbag questions and discussed the Fall Instructional League.
  • The Red Sox made some additions to the roster recently, one of which was a former Red Sox top prospect, Hanley Ramirez. Upon his return, SoxProspects.com senior staff writer Jim Crowell looks back on Hanley’s prospect days with the organization.
  • By midnight on November 20, each team had to set their reserve lists, including their 40-man roster. We previewed this, listing those likely to be added to the 40-man, and then covered the news that four had been added: Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez, Travis Shaw and Sean Coyle. Finally, we tied it all together with a podcast covering those moves.
  • Some fall/winter leagues came to an end this month, while others have only just begun. Check out the Fall/Winter League Roundup weekly series to check on all that action. This month  included write-ups from November 3-9, November 10-16, November 17-23, and November 24-30.
  • The Portland Sea Dogs were named Baseball America's 2014 Minor League Team of the Year today. Finishing 88-54, the Sea Dogs won the Eastern Division of the Eastern League, but went on to lose to the Binghamton Mets 3-2 in the best of five first round playoff series. The last time the Sea Dogs won their division was 2005, and the only other time a Red Sox affiliate has won this award was in 1999 when the Trenton Thunder took home the award. Trenton was the Red Sox Double-A Affiliate from 1995 to 2002.
  • Rusney Castillo’s season is not over, and on WEEI.com, Speier reports that plans for him to play in Puerto Rico have been finalized. More recently, his timetable has been updated, and he is expected to make his debut today for Caguas.
  • Deven Marrero (pictured, left) finished up an AFL campaign in which he hit .328/.443/.414, and that performance got the attention of many. The Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson wrote about his strong AFL season with quotes from Ben Cherington, and his performance in the AFL has resulted in Marrero drawing “steady interest” according to Speier.
  • As is often the case, when there are signings there are usually cuts that go along with it. When Pablo Sandoval was signed, Ryan Lavarnway was designated for assignment
  • The Red Sox also put Alex Hassan on waivers, and he was claimed by the Oakland Athletics on November 17. Three days later, he was placed on waivers again and this time was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Cody Kukuk found himself in a much worse situation than any baseball transaction. He was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery
  • The Red Sox also announced some staff moves, including naming Mike Rikard Director of Amateur Scouting. It was also reported this month that unnamed members of the Red Sox ownership will buy the Pawtucket Red Sox, as Nick Cafardo writes for the Boston Globe.
  • Yoan Moncada is the latest of the talented Cubans to defect and seek to sign with a major league time. Due to his age and playing time in the top Cuban league, he is considered an amateur international free agent and thus teams looking to sign him have to operate slightly differently than with players such as Castillo or Yoenis Cespedes. Partially due to this, Baseball America’s Ben Badler list the Red Sox as one of the favorites to sign him, and in this video expands on his ability. Speier also asked Red Sox amateur international scouting director Eddie Romero about Moncada.
  • Speier confirmed the rumors that the Dodgers have hired former Red Sox outfielder and 2007 Greenville Drive manager Gabe Kapler as their Director of Player Development. Kapler has most recently worked as an analyst for Fox Sports, and in my opinion was becoming one of the better analysts out there. 
  • Finally, in a bit of site news, here at SoxProspects.com we announced a flurry of promotions and new hires. Read all about the moves here
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart and Deven Marrero by Kelly O'Connor.

Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.