March 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Here are the week's minor league notes:
- The Red Sox finally made the signing of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada official, inking the 19-year-old to a minor league contract on Thursday. The signing comes 19 days after it was first announced that Moncada would be headed to the Red Sox.
- While it's disputed where Moncada falls in the Red Sox top prospect rankings, here at a decision Chris Hatfield explained this weekend. The SoxProspects.com crew will be down at spring training this week, so look for plenty of first-hand reports to come this week.
- Moncada, who has been ranked as the ninth-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com, was formally introduced on Friday in a press conference. MassLive's Jen McCaffery recounts some of the highlights, including the news that Moncada will stay at second base to begin his career. Moncada also told reporters that his goal is to make the majors in just one year.
- David Waldstein of the New York Times looked at the relationship between Moncada and fellow Cuban Luis Tiant, and the impact Tiant had on recruiting the young second baseman to join the Red Sox, while WEEI's Rob Bradford takes a closer look at the full story behind how Moncada became a member of the Red Sox.
- Tim Britton of The Providence Journal wrote this week about international scouting has become an important ingredient of the Red Sox' success. Britton noted that it is rare to add a young talent like Moncada without a top draft pick.
- The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber spoke with former major league pitcher Seth McClung, who watched some of Moncada's workouts after he defected from Cuba. According to McClung, Moncada "[rivals] anybody in the United States as far as ability and being put together so completely."
- Rumors about the possibility of the Red Sox going after Cole Hamels continue to be a hot topic in spring training, and it's reported that the Phillies are asking for Henry Owens (pictured, below) and either Blake Swihart (pictured, above) or Mookie Betts in return for the lefty. Despite his name coming up in trade talks, it was merely a coincidence that Swihart was in the lineup on Sunday as the Red Sox took on the Phillies, and manager John Farrell insisted it was not a showcase for the catcher, according to WEEI.com's John Tomase. Despite the frequency with which his name pops up in trade rumors, Swihart has been doing his best to ignore the speculation and focus on baseball, says ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- Though he battled some control problems, Owens held the Pirates hitless over three innings in his first spring training start. Britton details the mechanical adjustments Owens has made coming into this season.
- Betts is making one of John Farrell's impending roster decisions a little bit easier, writes ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes. While he's competing with the likes of Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. to make the 25-man roster out of camp, the outfielder is making a strong case, hitting .444 in five games this spring.
- Edes profiled third baseman Garin Cecchini and how baseball runs in the prospect's family. The
- Though Matt Barnes is slated to start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, his performance in spring training thus far may give the Red Sox something to think about, says MLB.com's Ian Browne. Barnes has allowed just two hits in four innings of scoreless work in two appearances this spring.
- Browne also took a look at the impression Swihart is making in camp. According to Farrell, thee club would be comfortable calling up the catcher, who is ranked as the top prospect in the organization, in the event of an injury to either Christian Vazquez or Ryan Hanigan.
- In transaction news, left-hander Cody Kukuk was officially released from the Red Sox organization. The 21-year-old was arrested this past November for an aggravated robbery in Lawrence, Kansas. Kukuk was drafted by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the 2011 draft, and had previously been in trouble with the law, being arrested and charged with drunk driving in 2012.
- The Red Sox signed veteran minor league utility man, Joe Thurston, to an interesting contract. The 35-year-old will serve as a player/coach with emphasis on the coaching aspect in Portland.
- Former Red Sox infield prospect Miles Head was released by the A's this week. Head was dealt to Oakland in the 2011 trade that brought Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston. The 23-year-old hit .219 with a .626 OPS at the Double-A level in 2014.
- With spring training games in full swing, many players from minor league camp saw time in major league contests. This week, the following minor leaguers got into games with the big league club: Forrest Allday, Carlos Asuaje, Kevin Heller, Manuel Margot, Mike Miller, Henry Ramos, Jonathan Roof, Cole Sturgeon, Aneury Tavarez, Blake Tekotte, Sam Travis, Jantzen Witte
Photo credit: Blake Swihart and Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor
Katie Morrison is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow her on Twitter @KatieMo61