September 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- The SoxProspects.com community's award polls closed over the weekend. The awards that were up for grabs included: Offensive Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, DSL Player of the Year, Graduate of the Year, Homegrown Player of the Year, and Ex-Prospect of the Year. SoxProspects senior staff writer James Dunne breaks down all the winners and highlights the reasons they took home the awards.
- The Red Sox announced their own minor league end of season awards. Winners included Sam Travis (Offensive Player of the Year, pictured, right), Williams Jerez (Pitcher of the Year), Javier Guerra (Defensive Player of the Year), top-ranked prospect Yoan Moncada (Baserunner of the Year), Lorenzo Cedrola (Latin Program Player of the Year), and Denyi Reyes (Latin Program Pitcher of the Year). For more detail on each of the Red Sox minor league award winners Nick Rabasco, SoxProspects staff writer, has you covered.
- The minor league season has wrapped up and it has been an extremely eventful year. Despite a slew of graduates, the Red Sox still finished the year with one of the top ranked farm systems. There was a ton to keep track of and the SoxProspects podcast team begins to wrap up the season with part one of their Season in Review series, including their personal picks for the Red Sox minor league awards and comments on the All-Star selections.
- The biggest Red Sox news of the week did not involve any players. Instead, it was the front office that made headlines when Mike Hazen was promoted to Senior Vice President/General Manager of the club. Hazen has been with the Red Sox for ten years and this past season served as the Assistant General Manager. Prior to that, he had worked primarily in the player development department, serving as the department's Director before being promoted to the Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting in 2011.
- The front office shakeup was not done there, as the Red Sox announced Frank Wren as their Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations as the highlight of a series of moves. Wren's relationship with new Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, goes way back to their days with the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins where Wren worked as one of Dombrowski's lieutenants. Together they were able to win the 1997 World Series with the Marlins. Wren's most recent experience was as the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves from 2008 to 2014. Dombrowki said that Wren's main responsibility will be talent evaluation at the major league level.
- Changes to the top of the organization's hierarchy was officially announced over the weekend when the Red Sox named Sam Kennedy as President. Former Red Sox President Larry Luchino will now have the title of President/CEO Emeritus and the Red Sox say he will still have an active role in the strategic direction of the organization.
- As part of the larger shuffle, the Red Sox also promoted Jared Banner to Director, Player Personnel, and promoted Brad Pearson to Head Athletic Trainer and Paul Buchheit to Assistant Athletic Trainer. All of these moves were officially announced by Dombrowski.
- Only one Red Sox prospect made the Top 20 Gulf Coast League prospects list from Baseball America. They made that one spot count though when Anderson Espinoza took home the top spot on the rankings. The 17-year-old right-hander made 10 starts for the GCL Red Sox, finishing with a 0.68 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 40 strikeouts to nine walks over 40 innings. The fact his scouting report matches those impressive numbers made him and easy choice for the top spot. He also received a very impressive ranking on the latest SoxProspects.com rankings, coming in fifth overall.
- Travis Shaw has impressed during his time at the major league level this season, posting a .275/.340/.497 line over 215 plate appearances. Matt Collins looks at Shaw's performance and tries to come up with some comparables for Baseball Prospectus Boston.
- The Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson writes that part of Shaw's development is trying to stay within himself and not trying to be the hitter he's not.
- Garin Cecchini (pictured, left) finished the 2013 season as the third ranked player on the SoxProspects.com rankings after finishing the year with a .322/.443/.471 between stops at Salem and Portland. However, since then it has been a steady decline, struggling in the majors and upper minors. Now he does not even crack the top 30 on the rankings. Baseball Prospectus Boston's Bryan Grosnick takes a look at Cecchini's struggles and the larger topic of prospect attrition.
- With the expected return of catcher Christian Vazquez next season, some wonder how they may find adequate time for both him and Blake Swihart. Interim manager Torey Lovullo cleared up one thing this week: They are not considering Swihart at first base as Jason Mastrodonato writes for the Boston Herald. He also notes that unlike Swihart, they are hoping to get a look at Deven Marrero at another position, third base.
- Emily McCarthy over at WEEI.com writes that the position change for Williams Jerez is starting to pay off. After playing outfield for his first three years in the organization, Jerez was converted to pitching last year and has shown promise across multiple levels, finishing 2015 in Portland's bullpen.
- Portland Sea Dogs pitcher Mike McCarthy is spending the off-season doing baseball activities, but in a much different context than most minor leaguers. He is spending his off-season teaching baseball to children in Kenya and Honduras. MiLB.com's Benjamin Hill details the pitcher's amazing plans this winter.
- Ex-Red Sox prospects have been making debuts all season, including Nefi Ogando, Carson Blair, and Frank Montas who all made their debuts earlier this month. That brings the number of players who've made their debuts this season after originally being signed by the Red Sox to 12 (Jason Garcia, Swihart, Dalier Hinojosa, Shaw, Jonathan Aro, Marrero, Noe Ramirez, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Montas, Blair, and Ogando) out of the 245 this season according to Baseball Reference.
- The Pawtucket Red Sox have been searching for a stadium solution for a while, including exploring options outside of Pawtucket such as Providence. In the most recent development, the club has announced that it has stopped its pursuit of a piece of land along the public waterfront in downtown Providence. The team says it will now begin looking at alternative sites, including others in Providence.
- The 2015 Fall Instructional League started up this past Tuesday. Check out this post from SoxProspects staff writer John Gray for the full rosters and schedule.
Photo Credit: Sam Travis and Garin Cecchini by Kelly O'Connor.
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.