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SoxProspects News

March 30, 2015 at 1:39 PM

Fort Report: Cuts, injuries and positional battles

Here are this week's minor league notes from Fort Myers:

  • Perhaps the most anticipated information from the SoxProspects.com crew's time in the Fort was their impression of Yoan Moncada. Director of scouting, Ian Cundall, gives the scouting scratch on Moncada which includes some video.
  • In that same write up, Cundall also discusses the decision to rank Moncada behind catcher Blake Swihart to start the year, but says both are part of the same elite tier in the very strong system.
  • SoxProspects.com senior staff writer James Dunne had the first installment of the System Restart series today, focusing on previewing the Red Sox minor league catchers to follow in 2015.
  • Over the course of the week, many of the minor league players in big league camp were unsurprisingly reassigned to the minor league camp. The latest cuts included SoxProspects.com's third ranked prospect, left-hander Henry Owens, along with Heath Hembree, Zeke Spruill, Bryce Brentz, and Garin Cecchini.
  • Included in that piece was the news that right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs was released. He was signed to a minor league deal earlier this off-season, but was never able to regain the form he exhibited earlier in his career.
  • Boggs was not the only player released this past week. The Boston Globe's Alex Speier tweeted that that 2010 6th rounder Kendrick Perkins as well as Nestor Molina, Simon Gravel,  KJ Trader, Deryk Hooker, Matty Johnson, Willie Ethington were all released.
  • Trey Ball (pictured, above) was one of the most talked about players last off-season after being taken with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft. However, he struggled in his first full professional season, finishing last year with a 4.68 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over 100 innings at Greenville. Cundall took a look at him this pre-season, and sees some areas of marked improvement compared to a year ago.
  • Nick Longhi's 2014 season ended with an injury, but now with that injury behind him, he is looking to build on the success of last year and hone his selective approach, as SoxProspects.com managing editor Matt Huegel writes.
  • After dropping from the ninth overall pick in 2010 to the 11th round in 2014, Karsten Whitson's stock has seemingly taken a hit. However, the Red Sox hoped that once he returned to full health, Whitson would be able to regain the form that made him a former top pick and college freshman ace. SoxProspects.com senior columnist Jon Meoli talks to Whitson about his journey, and about regaining his form.
  • Justin Haley's stock has been on the rise, and Huegel writes that his breakthrough in due in part to the right-hander's new, improved delivery.
  • Assistant director of scouting for SoxProspects.com, Chad Fiorino, has put out several write-ups from his time in Fort Myers, and his latest covers a wide spread of players infielders Wendell Rijo and Jordan Betts.
  • Upon their return from the Fort (and recovery from an epic meal at Blue Sushi), the SoxProspects.com podcast team recorded an episode where they discussed what they saw and who impressed them.
  • It's hard to keep up with all the content coming out from the staff's annual trip to Spring Training. Think you missed any? Worry not, because executive editor Chris Hatfield has you covered with an index of all that content. That page will be continually updated, and my advice is to bookmark it.
  • Christian Vazquez has been sidelined with an arm injury, and after taking an MRI this past week, it was announced that he will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, an ominous sign. The Red Sox announced this morning that they had acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals. The 26 year-old Leon has a fairly small track record, but he showed that he could control the running game. The bat remains a question mark due to the small sample of recent at-bats, with only a total of 234 last year split between Triple-A and the majors. As part of the transaction, the Red Sox placed Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list.
  • Speier looked into the Red Sox catching situation, and part of it focused on the impact this has on top prospect, Blake Swihart.
  • While several players exited the organization this week, the Red Sox had one return as well. Linebacker/outfielder Brandon Magee returned to the team after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Boston.com's Jeff Pini reports. Magee was drafted in the 23rd round in 2012 after playing both sports for Arizona State.
  • Left-hander Brian Johnson is viewed as one of the first pitchers to be called up if rotation help is needed. MassLive.com's Jen McCaffrey looked at his rise up the depth chart. This could come into play should Joe Kelly need to start the season on the disabled list.
  • Knuckleballer Steven Wright (pictured, right) is another candidate for spot starts this season, and CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam writes that Wright is working on controlling the running game, an area knuckleballers traditionally struggle.
  • Koji Uehara could also begin the season on the disabled list, and that has only added to the competition for spots in the bullpen. Matt Barnes pitched over the weekend, and McAdam says he picked a perfect time for his best outing of the spring. Meanwhile, the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson talks with another candidate for the bullpen, left-hander Robbie Ross.
  • What do you do when your position is blocked at the major league level by a player just signed to a big, long-term contract? You expand your versatility by playing some other positions. That is exactly what third basemen Garin Cecchini is doing, and he will see time at first base and in the outfield this year as MacPherson writes.
  • It is hard to top the spring training that outfielder Mookie Betts is having. While he is getting all the attention, Jackie Bradley Jr. is having a strong spring as ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes writes.
  • It may not seem like Red Sox news, but Brady Aiken announcing he will have Tommy John surgery could impact the Red Sox draft plans. They hold the seventh pick, and Aiken, who was taken first overall last year but did not sign, is a player who was initially unlikely to last until the seventh pick. Now he may be available when the Red Sox pick, but will the risk outweigh the upside? MacPherson looks into this interesting question.
  • Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller and Sahadev Sharma make up Baseball Prospectus' Effectively Wild podcast, and this week they previewed the Red Sox season with guests Speier and the Providence Journal's Tim Britton.
  • The following minor league players saw action with the big league club in spring training games last week: Blake Swihart, Mike Miller, Shannon Wilkerson, Marco Hernandez, Aneury Tavarez, Jantzen Witte, Jess Todd.
Photo Credit: Trey Ball and Steven Wright by Kelly O'Connor.

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