SoxProspects News

November 26, 2014 at 1:38 PM

SoxProspects Staff Announcement: Promotions and new hires!


As we're getting into the full swing of hot stove season, I want to take a minute to thank all of our readers for reading the site, and I also want to thank the SoxProspects.com Staff for all their hard work this year.  We're on pace for approximately 15 million pageviews in 2014, which will make it one of our best years ever. I also want to make a bunch of site announcements that will surely top the Red Sox' announcement of the signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez yesterday.

First, in the scouting world, Chaz Fiorino has been promoted to Assistant Director of Scouting. A graduate of MLB Scouting Bureau Scout School, Chaz just joined the SoxProspects staff this past January. He hit the ground running and attended dozens of games over the course of the year, making monstrous contributions to our scouting reports. Chaz will continue to report to Director of Scouting Ian Cundall, who has fairly recently taken a more active role in the management of the site. Chris Mellen, now the Co-Director of the Prospect Team at Baseball Prospectus, remains a valued scouting adviser. 

Over in the writing department, James Dunne has been promoted to Senior Staff Writer. James joined the SoxProspects staff in November 2011. In 2014, he grabbed more breaking news stories than anyone on the staff. Jim Crowell has also been promoted to Senior Staff Writer. He has been with us since July 2011, contributing to breaking news, notes columns, the Cup of Coffee, and columns. John Gray, Will Woodward, Brian Gagnon, and Harry Burnham are all also back for 2015, rounding out a fantastic returning writing and editing staff, managed by Executive Editor Chris Hatfield and Managing Editor Matt Huegel, both of whom also serve as columnists and scouts. Additionally, Jon Meoli and Tim Healey will stick around as emeritus columnists, contributing if and when they can.  

I'm also very excited to announce that we've added four new writers to the Staff. Katie Morrison recently graduated from Northeastern (go Huskies) with a degree in communications. She has worked as an online content contributor for WEEI.com and a broadcast statistician for WEEI Radio, and came highly recommended. Jack Mitchell is a journalism student at the University of Connecticut, currently in his junior year. He has worked as an associate managing editor for The Daily Campus and done freelance work for the Hartford Courant and the Ipswich Chronicle. Eric Gendron is a reporter for The Darien Times. He has a communications degree from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College (go Bombers). Nick Rabasco is a junior at East Stroudsburg University, majoring in communications and minoring in English. He’s also a 2B/OF on the school’s baseball team. 

It’s also bittersweet to announce that Dan Hanson and Luke Lavoie will no longer be with the staff in 2015. Dan had been with us for a while, but with a fourth child recently arrived and an expert taste in wine, he has much higher callings to attend to. Luke is writing for the Howard County Times and the Laurel Leader.

On the web editing side, I’m happy to announce that longtime stalwarts Mike Reynolds and Steve Henley will be around for another year. Additionally, Jonathan Singer was promoted to Senior Correspondent earlier this year. Jon has been with the site for about ten years, so long that I can't even nail down his start date. Additionally, JP Kitson, Andrew Kolodziej, Matt Picard, Rebecca Fishbein, and Keith Wade will return for another year as web editors in 2015. Matt will be taking on a much larger role covering player transactions, replacing Alex Skillin, who’s moving on to focus his writing with SB Nation, Hardball Times, and Beyond the Box Score.

Last but not least, the forum moderators. I’m sad to report that Adam Fox has decided to step down after over ten years as a moderator. I want to thank Adam for all his hard work and contributions to the site over the past ten years.  He will truly be missed.  The returning moderating staff for 2015 includes Josh (chavopepe2), a longtime Senior Moderator, John (jmei), a newly-promoted Senior Moderator, Norm (oregonnorm), and Matt Picard. We’re also adding two new moderators – longtime readers Norberto (pedroelgrande) and Joel (iakovos11)

With all of the new additions, I’m very excited about the "prospects" for 2015. See what I did there? 

Cheers,
Mike Andrews
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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at 7:30 AM

Hanley Ramirez: A former top prospect returns


Since SoxProspects.com launched in September 2003, fans have seen several elite prospects come through the Red Sox system. Our newer readers have followed players like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts from the beginning of their careers, but only our longtime readers will remember the days when Hanley Ramirez (pictured) was the crown jewel of a top-heavy system. With Ramirez officially returning to the Red Sox on Monday, what better time to look back at the talented, at times mercurial star’s rise through the minors with the club.

2000-2001

Ramirez was signed in July 2000 at age 16 out of the Dominican Republic for a mere $20,000 by scout Levy Ochoa. He made his professional debut in 2001 in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .345 with a .533 slugging percentage, hitting five home runs. For a player who received such a meager bonus, he certainly put himself on the map, and the Red Sox named him the Player of the Year for the DSL team.
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November 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Ryan Lavarnway designated for assignment as Sandoval signs


With the Red Sox making the signing of third baseman Pablo Sandoval official, and the club has designated Ryan Lavarnway (pictured) for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

The Red Sox now have ten days to either trade Lavarnway or try to pass him trough waivers, but even if he were to clear waivers, he has the right to elect free agency if the club outrights him to Pawtucket. Thus, it is likely that the club will explore a trade for the catcher/first baseman first, although the return would probably be limited.

Lavarnway was selected out of Yale University in the sixth round of the 2008 draft after three years in the Ivy League. He began his professional career in Lowell that same year, and in 2009 was assigned to Greenville where he posted strong offensive numbers, earning the first of three consecutive Soxprospects.com Offensive Player of the Year honors after slashing .285/.367/.540 with 21 home runs.
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at 12:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Vazquez shines in Puerto Rico


This week's roundup covers play from the period of November 17-23. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Venezuelan Professional Baseball League

Edwin Escobar made a pair of scoreless outings out of the bullpen for Cardenales de Lara. He struck out one in 1 2/3 perfect innings in Wednesday's loss to Margarita, then followed up by allowing just one hit in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday as Lara knocked off Caracas. Escobar did not issue a walk in either appearance.
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at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Xander Bogaerts


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, are closing this year by featuring the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status.

Peak System Ranking: #1
Graduated: May 2 (#1)
2014 Teams: Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 594 PA, .240/.297/.362, 28 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 39 BB, 138 SO, 2 SB

Links:

Season in Review: With incumbent shortstop Stephen Drew choosing to decline the Red Sox's qualifying offer last offseason, Bogaerts was cemented into the starting shortstop role for 2014. After the mega prospect impressed in 2013, forcing himself into the starting lineup during the Red Sox World Series run, expectations were high. However, it was an up-and-down season both with the bat and in the field for the young phenom, who played the entirety of the season as a 21-year-old. Through June 3, Bogaerts was Boston's most productive hitter, slashing .304/.395/.464 in 238 plate appearances and ranking in the top three in on-base percentage in the American League.
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November 24, 2014 at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Mookie Betts


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, are closing this year by featuring the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status.

Mookie Betts, 2B/OF
Peak System Ranking: #1
Graduated: September 12 (#1)
2014 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 213 PA, .291/.368/.444, 12 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 21 BB, 31 K, 7 SB (majors)
464 PA, .346/.431/.529, 30 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 61 BB, 50 K, 33 SB (minors)

Links:

Season in Review: In 2013, Betts raised his profile from a deep sleeper into a top-ten prospect in a deep system. After ranking outside the top 30 entering that season, the 21-year-old came into 2014 ranked 10th on the SoxProspects.com rankings and was a Preseason All-Star. The Red Sox continued their aggressive promotion of Betts and started him in Portland, where he was almost four years younger than the average position player. He immediately picked up where he'd left off in 2013, emerging on the national scene with a 66-game regular season on-base streak extending into the prior campaign. The Betts hype machine kicked into full gear in May, when he began playing games in center field, answering the often-asked question of how he would get to the majors with Boston while Dustin Pedroia mans second base.
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November 21, 2014 at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Christian Vazquez


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, are closing this year by featuring the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status.

Peak System Ranking: #5
Graduated: September 12 (#5)
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 201 PA, .240/.308/.309, 9 2B, 1 HR, 19 BB, 33 K (majors)
270 PA, .279/.336/.385, 17 2B, 3 HR, 21 BB, 52 K (minors)

Links: 

Season in Review: A strong 2013 campaign saw Vazquez’s bat begin to develop in the upper levels of the minors, culminating in a call-up to Triple-A at the end of the season. The Puerto Rico native began 2014 back in Pawtucket and continued his progress with the bat while displaying his trademark defensive mastery, throwing out 40 percent of would-be basestealers. Although Vazquez’s on-base percentage sat at just .313 through the season’s first two months, and he did not hit his first home run until June 6, a strong five-and-a-half-week stretch in which Vazquez batted .314/.376/.467 with three home runs and seven doubles over 29 games from the very end of May into July showed his readiness for his first taste of the big leagues. The 24-year-old got that chance on July 9, when the Red Sox designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment and recalled Vazquez.

Vazquez became the club's primary catcher and played in 55 major league games over the season’s final few months, demonstrating why his defense had drawn such praise down in the minors. The catcher threw out 15 of 29 attempted basestealers and pitch framing numbers showed him to already be among the best in the game at stealing strikes. Even though his overall offensive numbers did not stand out, he did show some improvement down the stretch. In the month of September, Vazquez batted .277/.351/.385 in 21 games, making more consistent contact and drawing eight walks compared with 14 strikeouts, putting himself into position as the team's primary catcher entering 2015. - Alex Skillin

Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Coming into the season, the main thing holding Vazquez back was his hitting ability, as his defense was universally praised. Since joining the system, Vazquez has greatly improved at the plate to the point where it is no longer a stretch to project him as an everyday catcher capable of being an average hitter (.255-.274 average) with below-average power (10-14 home runs). The offensive projection might look a little light, but the bar at catcher is very low and Vazquez's defensive ability makes it so even if he hits like he did this past season he is still an extremely valuable player. At the plate, Vazquez has a short, compact swing, strong bat-to-ball skills, and average batspeed. He has a solid approach, but can get caught chasing fastballs up in the zone and good breaking balls down. Vazquez has more gap power than home run power right now, but as he matures it should develop more.

Vazquez’s calling card comes behind the plate, where he has the potential to be one of the best all-around defensive catchers in the game. He has a solid catcher's frame, listed at 5-foot-9, 195 pounds. He is maxed out physically with a thick lower half that will be able to withstand the rigors of a full season's workload behind the plate. His best attribute is his throwing ability; his arm profiles as elite, consistently popping sub-1.8 second times on throws to second (2.0 is average). He has a quick release and is very accurate with his throws. The other attributes of his defensive game have greatly improved since he joined the system, especially his receiving and game calling. He used to struggle with blocking balls in the dirt, for example allowing 23 passed balls in 2013, but has greatly improved in that area, nearly halving that number in 2014. Vazquez is liable, however, to sometimes cheat on with runners on to get in a better position to throw, leading to an occasional passed ball. Vazquez got a taste of the big leagues this year and put together a respectable line at the plate and showed off his excellent defensive ability. He is set to become the everyday catcher in 2015 with the Red Sox, or at worst someone who catches the majority of the games in a platoon. After that, things could get tricky, with Blake Swihart likely ready for the big leagues as well sometime in very late 2015. - Ian Cundall

Additional editorial support provided by Norm Cimon.

Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor


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at 12:04 AM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #67: Reserved at the Reserve List Deadline


Thursday's reserve list deadline came and went without much fanfare, but that doesn't mean there was nothing to talk about. While the roster additions were the four we all expected, Chris and Matt ran through those who were not added to the 40-man roster and may be potential selections in next month's Rule 5 Draft. Of course, that wasn't all that happened this week, so the guys said goodbye with a look back at Alex Hassan's time with the organization, then moved on to shiny new toy Juan Francisco and what he brings to the Red Sox. Finally, a pair of listener emails led to discussions of Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada and whatever happened to Jose Vinicio.

Click through for the links and player!
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November 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Swihart, Rodriguez, Coyle and Shaw added to 40-man roster


The Red Sox have announced the additions of four minor leaguers to their 40-man roster on Thursday, the deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft. As expected, Boston has added catcher Blake Swihart, left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, second baseman Sean Coyle and first baseman Travis Shaw. With the addition of these four, the 40-man roster is now full.

Swihart is coming off of a season that may have cemented him as the top catching prospect in all of baseball. The switch-hitting, 22-year-old hit .293/.341/.469 between 92 games for Portland and 18 for Pawtucket. In addition to being both a SoxProspects.com preseason and postseason All-Star, Swihart was an Eastern League All-Star and the Sea Dogs MVP in 2014. A first-round pick in 2011, Swihart projects to kick off next season as Pawtucket's starting catcher.
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at 12:07 AM

Red Sox to decide who to protect from Rule 5 Draft on Thursday


On Thursday, teams must set their reserve lists—the most well-known and most important of these, of course, being the major league 40-man roster—in preparation for December's Rule 5 Draft. By midnight, each team will set their rosters, deciding who to protect and who to expose to potential selection in a major league roster oddity that has grown increasingly less important in recent seasons. Indeed, an average of 12 players have been selected in the major league phase of the draft over the last three drafts, with a low of just nine selections in 2014. In this era, Thursday's roster deadline is arguably far more important than the Rule 5 Draft itself.

This year, the decisions facing the Red Sox are not quite as simple as some past years—for example, the 2013 offseason, in which Anthony Ranaudo, Bryce Brentz, and Garin Cecchini were protected—nor quite as difficult as other years—take 2012, when the Sox designated five players for assignment and added six on roster deadline day.
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November 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Kukuk arrested, charged with aggravated robbery


Red Sox minor leaguer Cody Kukuk was one of five men who were arrested in connection with a reported home invasion in Lawrence, Kansas, which took place on November 8. According to WOW! 6 out of Lawrence, Kukuk was arrested on Monday in California, and he will appear in court early Thursday morning before potentially being extradited to Kansas.
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at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Allen Webster


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, are closing this year by featuring the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status. Note that there will be no entry tomorrow, but the series will return on Friday.

Peak System Ranking: #3
Graduated: August 15 (#5)
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 59 IP, 5-3, 5.03 ERA, 58 H, 35 R/33 ER, 28 BB, 36 K, 1.46 WHIP (majors)
122 IP, 4-4, 3.10 ERA, 107 H, 45 R/42 ER, 44 BB, 100 K, 1.24 WHIP (minors)

Links:

Season in Review: After making his MLB debut in 2013 and throwing 30 1/3 big league innings, Webster broke camp in 2014 as the Opening Day starter for the PawSox, needing to prove his way back into the majors. he went just 3 2/3 innings and picked up the loss in his first start, but he rebounded to pitch to a 2.12 ERA over his next 51 innings, giving up only 40 hits while walking 21 and striking out 35. He had his worst start for Pawtucket on May 25, surrendering six runs on nine hits over five innings, but he came back with an absolutely dominating performance his next time out, firing eight innings of one-run ball, walking only one and striking out seven while notching 18 swinging strikes. Webster was solid yet unspectacular over his last nine games with the PawSox, giving up 20 runs in 54 1/3 innings (3.31 ERA), walking 18 and striking out 50. The decline in his walk rate and his uptick in his strikeouts were positive signs, but he did have trouble with the long ball at the end of his Pawtucket tenure, serving up five home runs over his last eight games.
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November 18, 2014 at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Brandon Workman


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, this week we will feature the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status.

Peak System Ranking: #8
Graduated: June 6 (#8)
2014 Teams: Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 87 IP, 1-10, 5.17 ERA, 88 H, 57 R/50 ER, 36 BB, 70 K, 1.43 WHIP (majors)
61 1/3 IP, 7-1, 4.11 ERA, 61 H, 28 R/28 ER, 17 BB, 55 K, 1.27 WHIP (minors)

Links:

Season in Review: It was an up-and-down season for Workman, both in terms of performance and roster status. After Workman played a key role in the Red Sox 2013 championship run, the former Texas longhorn opened the 2014 campaign in the Boston bullpen. Despite allowing only one run over 6 1/3 innings in three first-week outings, Workman was a victim of the numbers game when Craig Breslow returned from the disabled list. Back with Pawtucket, he returned to the rotation and failed to impress, perhaps due to the disappointment of being back in Triple-A after being a key part of the major league club last October, giving up at least three runs in six of his seven starts before being recalled to Boston in mid-May.
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November 17, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Alex Hassan claimed off waivers by Oakland


The Oakland Athletics announced today that they have claimed outfielder Alex Hassan off waivers. The 26-year-old Hassan had made his major league debut with the Red Sox in June, during his sixth year with the organization. Hassan is the second player in less than a week depart Boston for the A's:  catcher Carson Blair was signed as a minor league free agent, per Matt Eddy of Baseball America

Hassan, a product of Milton, Massachusetts and BC High School, was originally taken by the Red Sox in the 20th round of the 2009 draft out of Duke. As he made his way through the system, he gained notoriety for his keen batting eye. With Portland in 2011, he walked 76 times on top of a .291 batting average, compiling a stellar .404 on-base percentage and garnering Eastern League All-Star recognition. 
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at 12:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: AFL winds down, Vazquez makes debut


This week's roundup covers play from the period of November 10-16. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Arizona Fall League

Surprise wrapped up action this week, dropping their final game, 5-2 to Peoria on Thursday. The Saguaros finished 16-15 for the season. At the plate, Sean Coyle finished up his last three games strong, going 5 for 12 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. Coyle's infield partner, Deven Marrero (pictured) was 3 for 8 with a run scored in his last two games, finishing with a .328/.414/.443 line in 17 games. Marrero finished first in OBP and third in batting average among AFL participants.
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at 7:30 AM

2014 Graduates in Review: Jackie Bradley, Jr.


As a special extension of our Top 40 in Review series, this week we will feature the six players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 10 during the 2014 season and graduated from prospect status.

Peak system ranking: #2
Graduated: April 18 (#2)
2014 Teams: Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 423 PA, .198/.265/.266, 19 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 31 BB, 121 K, 8 SB (majors)
69 PA, .212/.246/.273, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 18 K (minors)

Links:

Season in Review: An elite 2013 spring training performance catapulted Bradley to the big leagues despite having a mere 271 plate appearances above High A, and readers will be familiar with the weak performance across 107 big league plate appearances that followed. After some Triple-A seasoning that saw him post a robust .842 OPS, the 24-year-old entered 2014 poised to take over the starting job in center field following the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency. Unfortunately, on the offensive side of things, it resulted in a nightmare that no one could have anticipated. Things started out alright, as Bradley hit .244/.344/.372 through the end of April, more than enough to justify his elite glove in center field. However, once May came around, the 2011 first-round supplemental draft pick entered an extended funk, slashing .190/.261/.258 with a 13 walks to 52 strikeouts over 181 plate appearances through June. July represented a modest improvement (.278/.325/.347), followed by a horrible 5 for 35 slump that finally resulted in his demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 18, with the Red Sox replacing him with top prospect Mookie Betts.
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November 14, 2014 at 11:15 PM

Red Sox name Mike Rikard Director of Amateur Scouting


The Red Sox have made a pair of front office moves. Amiel Sawdaye, the team's Director of Amateur Scouting since the 2010 season, has been promoted to team Vice President. Mike Rikard, who most recently served as National Scouting Coordinator, will take over as the Amateur Scouting Director.

In 2012, Rikard was identified by Baseball America as one of 10 Future Scouting Directors. He joined Boston's scouting department in 2004 as east coast crosschecker after four years as a scout in the Padres organization. He moved up to national crosschecker in 2010 before taking over as scouting coordinator in December 2012. A former college shortstop at UNC Greensboro, Rikard was an assistant coach both Wake Forest and Elon before moving to the professional ranks. He also had some experience in the New England baseball community before joining the Red Sox, serving as manager of the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League in 1999 and 2000.
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Blake Swihart


All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2014 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 451 PA, .293/.341/.469, 26 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 31 BB, 80 K, 8 SB

Links:

Season in Review: Expectations were very high for Swihart coming off a year in which he hit .298/.366/.428 for Salem and was named the organization's Defensive Player of the Year. To begin the year he was assigned to Portland, where he was almost three years younger than the average position player in the Eastern League. Swihart had little trouble making the transition from High A to Double-A, becoming an almost boring model of consistency. He never went more than two starts without a hit with the Sea Dogs and showed increased power, hitting 12 home runs in 380 plate appearances after hitting just nine in 800 trips to the plate in the previous two seasons. His final line in Portland was .300/.353/.487, and had he qualified, he would have finished seventh in the league in average and slugging and ninth in OPS, while also throwing out an impressive 47 percent of runners, good for, essentially, second in the league.
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November 13, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Henry Owens


All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#2: Henry Owens, SP
2014 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 159 IP, 17-5, 2.94 ERA, 121 H, 53 R/52 ER, 59 BB, 170 K, 1.13 WHIP

Links:

Season in Review: Owens entered 2014 looking to follow up on his breakout 2013 campaign, in which he went 11-6 with a 2.67 ERA between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, striking out 169 batters in 135 innings and becoming a consensus Top 100 prospect, ranked as such by Baseball America (#40), Baseball Prospectus (#69), and MLB.com (#30). The lanky lefty started the season strong, hurling a rain-shortened, six-inning no-hitter in his first start and following with 6 2/3 shutout innings in his next start, striking out nine in each outing and making many wonder if he was not long for the level. Owens did come down to earth in his next three starts, giving up 12 earned runs in 16 innings, allowing 19 hits and 10 walks while striking out only 11 hitters, but that stretch proved to be essentially the final bump in the road as he reeled off a stretch of 11 starts between early May and the All-Star break in which he allowed just 38 hits and 27 walks in 71 innings, posting a 1.39 ERA and striking out 76 hitters. He threw several gems in that stretch, but the most eye-popping was an eight-inning display of dominance on July 6 to enter the break, in which he allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out 11.
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at 12:19 AM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #66: Deluxe Discussion of Instructs, and the Mailbag!


A long-time coming, Chris, Ian, and Matt got on the horn to talk about Ian's trip to the Fall Instructional League! Michael Kopech, Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis, Javier Guerra, Jake Cosart, and many more players were in our Director of Scouting's crosshairs. Also on the agenda: a quick run through the offseason leagues, with a chat about what to make of the numbers put up by Sean Coyle, Deven Marrero, and Robby Scott in the Arizona Fall League. PLUS, a listener mailbag spectacular! What should the Sox do with their glut of upper-minors pitching? Who did we like in Lowell this year? What does next year's draft look like? The answers to those and more await!

Also, we're asking our listeners for a BIG favor. If you're even a part-time listener of the show, please fill out the survey at http://bit.ly/SPPodSurvey. You'll be doing us a big-time solid.

Click through for links and the in-site player!
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November 12, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Manuel Margot


All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#3: Manuel Margot, CF
2014 Teams: Greenville Drive, Salem Red Sox
Final Stats: 469 PA, .293/.356/.462, 25 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 39 BB, 54 K, 42 SB

Links:

Season in Review: Of the many breakout performances in the Red Sox system in 2014, perhaps the most striking was that of Manuel Margot. Coming off a solid stateside debut with Lowell in 2013 that saw him hit .270/.346/.351 and earn plaudits for his glove and speed (his 18 steals tied for fourth in the New York-Penn League), Boston assigned Margot to Low A Greenville to open 2014. In the fifth game of the season, the 19-year-old Dominican homered twice, an impressive feat given that his single home run in 49 games the previous year had been of the inside-the-park variety. He went deep again two days later, but then fell into an extended power outage. In a 50-game stretch from April 12 through the All-Star break, Margot homered only once and hit just .257/.332/.335 - fine numbers for his age, but not more than that. However, Margot began heating up with the weather, blasting six doubles, four home runs and ten stolen bases from his return from the break on June 19 through the end of July.
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November 11, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Rafael Devers


All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#4: Rafael Devers, 3B
2014 Teams: GCL Red Sox, DSL Red Sox
Final Stats: 302 PA, .322/.404/.506, 17 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 35 BB, 50 SO, 5 SB

Links:

Season in Review: Other than Mookie Betts, Devers was arguably the best hitter in the Red Sox farm system this year, hitting for both average and power despite being only 17 years old. Given a $1.5 million signing bonus in July 2013, some thought that Devers might debut in the Gulf Coast League after impressive showings in the 2013 Fall Instructional League and 2014 Spring Training.The Red Sox instead assigned the young third baseman to the Dominican Summer League, challenging him to show why he belonged at a higher level. He did not disappoint, hitting a monstrous opposite-field home run in his first game and starting the season with an 11-game hitting streak that saw him bat .442/.537/.814 with with three home runs and more walks than strikeouts. After continuing to dominate in the DSL, the Red Sox promoted Devers to the Gulf Coast League on July 2. His final DSL line of .337/.445/.538 is basically unparalleled for a Red Sox player in that league, and you have to go back to Ronald Bermudez (who was two years older and repeating the league) in 2007 to find a similar offensive performance.
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November 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Marrero stays hot in Arizona


This week's roundup covers play from the period of November 3-9. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Arizona Fall League

It was more of the same for both Deven Marrero and Sean Coyle this week, as Marrero continued to swing a hot bat while Coyle struggled. Marrero got at least one hit in each of his three appearances this week, going 4 for 12 with a double, four runs scored, and an RBI. He is currently batting .320, and his .443 on-base percentage is second on the team. Coyle saw his average drop to .164 after collecting only one hit over 10 at-bats this week. Not only is Coyle struggling to make contact, striking out in 36-percent of his at-bats, but he is also not hitting for power, with only two doubles and one triple in 55 at-bats in the friendly offensive environment. 
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Eduardo Rodriguez


All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2014 Teams: Bowie Baysox (BAL - AA), Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox (playoffs only)
Final Stats: 120 IP, 6-8, 3.60 ERA, 120 H, 54 R/48 ER, 37 BB, 108 K, 1.30 WHIP

Links: 

Season in Review: The 21-year-old southpaw, who entered 2014 as the third-ranked prospect in the Orioles organization according to Baseball America, began the season as the opening day starter for Double-A Bowie. Having held his own during his first taste of the level in 2013, posting a 4.22 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and striking out 59 hitters in 59 2/3 innings, Rodriguez struggled in his second go-round in the Eastern League. After allowing 12 earned runs in his first three starts, he suffered a knee sprain while weightlifting between starts, forcing a trip to the disabled list that lasted just over one month. He returned on May 22, only to continue to lack consistency on the mound. While he spun a few gems among his five quality starts over his 11 remaining appearances for Bowie, only two came in consecutive appearances. In other starts, he issued too many walks and failed to pitch deep into games.
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November 7, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 in Review: Brian Johnson


Past entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#6: Brian Johnson, SP
2014 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Salem Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox (playoffs only)
Final Stats: 143.2 IP, 13-3, 2.13 ERA, 101 H, 42 R/34 ER, 39 BB, 132 K, 0.97 WHIP

Links:

Season in Review: Selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2012 draft, Johnson progressed slowly in 2013, beginning the year in Low-A Greenville after an offseason spent rehabbing following a line drive to the face ended his first pro season. The left-hander made 15 starts for Greenville, posting a 2.87 ERA, before earning a promotion to Salem to end the season. Following a healthy offseason, Johnson started 2014 back in High-A and began to show why the Red Sox had initially expected him to move quickly through the system. He made just five starts with Salem, compiling a 3.86 ERA with 33 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 2/3 innings pitched. After a pair of dazzling, scoreless, six-inning starts—and back-to-back SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week awards—at the end of April, the Red Sox promoted Johnson to Double-A, where the southpaw really took off. In 20 outings with Portland, Johnson allowed more than two earned runs just once and finished with a 1.75 ERA in 118 innings.
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November 6, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Matt Barnes


Past entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#7: Matt Barnes, SP
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 127 2/3 IP, 8-9, 3.95 ERA, 119 H, 60 R/56 ER, 46 BB, 103 K, 1.29 WHIP (minors)
9 IP, 0-0, 4.00 ERA, 11 H, 4 R/4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1.44 WHIP (majors)

Links:

Season in Review: The Red Sox's top pick in the 2011 draft, Barnes entered 2014 with high expectations. He was coming off a 2013 campaign that saw him start slow but make adjustments and finish strong, earning a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket for his final start of the year. Invited to major league spring training but ticketed for a return to the PawSox, Barnes was shut down early in spring training due to shoulder soreness, setting his season debut back until April 25, when he threw five solid innings. However, consistency was lacking for Barnes in the first half, perhaps due to the disruption in his preparation for the season. He completed six innings in only six of his first 15 starts, and he went into the break with a 5.06 ERA and 57 strikeouts against 31 walks in 74 2/3 innings.
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November 5, 2014 at 11:28 PM

SoxProspects.com Podcast #65: Alex Speier talks BA's Top 10


It's rankings season! Our friend Alex Speier of WEEI.com published his Red Sox Top 10 Prospects for Baseball America recently, so we had him on the pod to talk about his rankings and to pick his brain about the state of the Red Sox system. We're talking top 10, graduates, sleepers, disappointments and more! Even colossal squids! There's only one way to hear it all - hit that download!

Also, we're asking our listeners for a BIG favor. If you're even a part-time listener of the show, please fill out the survey at http://bit.ly/SPPodSurvey. You'll be doing us a big-time solid. (Note: you can fill the survey out without giving your email, if that creeps you out.)

Click through for the links and player!
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Michael Chavis


Past entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#8: Michael Chavis, 3B/SS
2014 Team: GCL Red Sox
Final Stats: 150 PA, .269/.347/.425, 12 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 15 BB, 38 SO, 5 SB

Links:

Season in Review: Chavis had a strong senior season this spring for Sprayberry Senior High School in Marietta, Georgia, where he hit an incredible .580/.663/1.197 over 81 at-bats with 13 home runs while only striking out 10 times. On the strength of that performance, he won the 2014 Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year and 2014 Perfect Game First-Team All-American honors. Scouts took notice, and coming into the 2014 draft, Baseball America had him ranked the 26th-best draft eligible prospect, while Perfect Game USA pegged him as the 20th. The Red Sox selected him with the 26th pick overall and were able to sign him out of a commitment to Clemson with a bonus of $1,870,500, equal to the slot value of that pick.
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November 4, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Anthony Ranaudo


Past entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 138 IP, 14-4, 2.61 ERA, 112 H, 45 R/40 ER, 54 BB, 111 K, 1.20 WHIP (minors)
39 1/3 IP, 4-3, 4.81 ERA, 39 H, 21 R/21 ER, 16 BB, 15 K, 1.40 WHIP (majors)

Links: 

Season in Review: Following an impressive 2013 campaign that saw Ranaudo have his best season as a professional, the 6-foot-7 right-hander looked to continue his resurgence in his first full season in Triple-A. Ranaudo posted inconsistent results from start-to-start to begin the year. In his first twelve starts, he averaged more than 7.5 hits and more than 5 walks per nine innings, although he was still able to hold opponents scoreless in four of those outings. But shortly after the calendar turned to June, things clicked for Ranaudo. In nine starts from June 6 through the end of July, he allowed just 10 runs on 34 hits and 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings, striking out 42. He was named the SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Month for June, and was named to the International League All-Star team. 

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November 3, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Off-Season Notes: Sox shine in Fall League play


October tends to be the quietest month of the year on the prospect front, but there was still plenty of activity for former and current Red Sox prospects.
  • SoxProspects.com Scouting Director Ian Cundall was on hand for the Fall Instructional League, sending along a trio of Scouting Scratch updates. Right-handed pitcher Jason Garcia (pictured) generated plenty of buzz down in Florida. Garcia had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and spent most of this season ramping back up to full strength with Lowell and Greenville. Fully recovered, the 2010 17th-round pick hit 100 on the radar gun. 
  • The fall and winter leagues are in full swing. For a full report, check in with our weekly update. Some highlights came out of the Arizona Fall League, where outfielder Rusney Castillo and pitcher Robby Scott were named to the Rising Stars All-Star game. Unfortunately, Castillo was unable to participate and had to leave the AFL due to a finger injury. He may participate in the Puerto Rican Winter League when he is healthy.
  • Now that the offseason is underway, the national publications have gotten started on their annual prospect rankings. Baseball America turned in its 2015 Red Sox Top Ten on October 29.
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at 1:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: AFL Fall Stars & more leagues begin


This week's roundup covers play from the period of October 27 to November 2. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in off-season action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Arizona Fall League
It was a short week in the Arizona Fall League with the Fall Stars game taking place on Saturday before an off day on Sunday. Robby Scott (pictured, right) was the only Red Sox player to participate in the Fall Stars game, and he faced one batter to end the seventh and struck him out. Rusney Castillo made the Fall Stars team, but did not play at all this week after being deactivated with an injury. According to Baseball America's transactions log, Mike Miller has been added to the AFL, presumably to replace Castillo.

At the plate, Deven Marrero had a quiet week, only appearing in two games and going 2 for 8. Sean Coyle continued his rough AFL season, appearing in four of the five games, and finishing 2 for 13 with two RBI, a stolen base, and four strikeouts. On the mound, Keith Couch struggled in his start on Friday, giving up four earned runs in four innings, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out two. Aaron Kurcz saw action on Monday and got the win on Thursday, throwing a combined four innings, with one earned run on a solo home run, two walks, and five strikeouts. In addition to his one batter in the Fall Stars game, Robby Scott pitched three innings and gave up four hits while striking out four. Scott has now allowed only one run in 9 1/3 innings pitched to go along with 10 strikeouts.
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at 7:30 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Garin Cecchini


Past entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#10: Garin Cecchini, 3B/OF
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 458 PA, .263/.341/.371, 21 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 44 BB, 99 SO, 11 SB (minors)
36 PA, .258/.361/.452, 3 2B,  3B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 11 SO (majors)

Links: 

Season in Review: 2014 represented a bit of a step back for Garin Cecchini, who endured a brutal three-month midseason slump, but the 2010 fourth-round pick did give the organization and prospect watchers reasons to be optimistic going forward. After a fantastic 2013 performance split across 262 plate appearances in Salem (.350/.469/.547) and 295 in Portland (.296/.420/.404), expectations were high for the 23-year-old, and the Red Sox aggressively placed him in Triple-A Pawtucket to begin 2014. While he hit well in the season’s first month, he failed from the outset to hit for much power, an ever-growing concern since his power dropped off in Portland. At the close of April, Cecchini was hitting .312 with a .400 on-base percentage, but was slugging just .390, having hit just three doubles and a home run in 90 plate appearances. Perhaps due to this lack of power, Cecchini's approach—a noted strength—appeared to change in an attempt to generate more pop. In May, his line fell to .253/.315/.293 for the month.
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