April 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM
This week's minor league notes:
- SoxProspects.com's Matt Huegel chatted with top prospect Blake Swihart (pictured, left) and Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles on learning to catch Steven Wright's knuckleball. While the results were mixed at times, he held his own in Thursday's home opener, Huegel wrote.
- SoxProspects.com Senior Staff Writer James Dunne took an in-depth look at the pitchers at lower levels in the Sox system. He wrote that 2014 third-round draft pick Jake Cosart is the top prospect to watch in those levels as he is projected to start the year in Lowell. He also noted that the stock of GCL Red Sox righty Gerson Bautista is rising coming off a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol.
- Dunne also broke down the mid-minors pitchers to keep an eye on, highlighting Michael Kopech and Trey Ball. He wrote that Kopech comes with a lot of risk, but still has a very high ceiling. Ball, meanwhile, will require patience in developing.
- Episode 73 of the SoxProspects Podcast was released this week with Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, Director of Scouting Ian Cundall and first time podcaster Chaz Fiorino. They break down the first few games of the minor league season and take a look at the rosters. They also go in-depth about decoding "scout-speak," and lots more in an extra-large episode.
- Sean Coyle is reminding Bill Koch of the Providence Journal of another second baseman: Dustin Pedroia. Coyle's size and ability to generate bat speed despite that size makes him very comparable to the Red Sox star, Koch writes.
- A shoulder injury has put the brakes on Rusney Castillo's ascent to the majors and he admitted to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and other members of the press that the time off the field is frustrating. He also said through his translator that there is "no specific timeline" for his return.
- WEEI.com's Full Count Blog provided an update on Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, who is currently at extended spring training in Fort Myers. Minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers told Ryan Hannable that Moncada is getting reps and working on identifying pitches since he has not played since late 2013.
- Chris Teeter of Baseball Prospectus took a look at some of the top prospects in the Red Sox system. Teeter specifically wrote about Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Pat Light, Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that a more aggressive approach at the plate for Deven Marrero is paying off. Marrero is off to a hot start after putting in work in the Arizona Fall League and in spring training. Marrero has a .321/.424/.536 slash line in 33 plate appearances to start the year with a home run, six RBI and four stolen bases.
- Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that Manuel Margot is creating a buzz in Salem, drawing rave reviews from his manager Carlos Febles. The fourth-ranked prospect on SoxProspects.com is comparable to a young Carlos Beltran, Febles said, who he played alongside as a young prospect in the Kansas City system.
- Eduardo Rodriguez lit up the radar gun in his 2015 debut, touching 99 mph at one point, Bill Koch writes for the Providence Journal. He threw 66 of his 95 pitches for strikes and was comfortably sitting between 95 and 97 mph on his fastball, according to Koch.
- James Skeffington, the president of the Pawtucket Red Sox, provided details of the proposed new stadium that the Red Sox AAA team would move into upon their move to Providence, according to NBC 10. Skeffington claimed that the new stadium would generate $12.3 million annually in spending for the city. The stadium is slated to cost $85 million to build and would include a 750 car garage.
- Dustin Palmateer of Baseball Prospectus makes an argument that the Red Sox finishing in last place two of the last three years might not be planned, but could actually benefit the team in the long run with the top prospects acquired at the top end of the draft.
Trey Ball, SP, Salem Red Sox
1 G, 1-0, 6.0 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 KBall (pictured, right) was fantastic in his second start of the season, allowing only two walks and striking out five in six innings. The left-hander was in total control from the outset. He did not allow a base runner until there were two outs in the fourth inning.
Blake Swihart, C, Pawtucket Red Sox
5 G, 20 PA, 11 H, 3 2B, 3 R, 7 RBI, .550/.550/.700
Swihart was on fire this week, posting a video game-like slash line. His average rose to .389 for the year. Swihart has hit safely in every game this year and has had multi-hit games in three of his last four.
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart and Trey Ball by Kelly O'Connor