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November 4, 2015 at 1:30 PM

October Notes: Winter leagues & off-season begin

Here are this month's minor league notes:

  • At the start of October, SoxProspects.com Assistant Director of Scouting Chaz Fiorino had some remaining notes from the last couple of weeks of the season, and put out one more regular season edition of The Write-Up with notes on 2015 draft picks Logan Allen and Travis Lakins and former international signees William Cuevas and Yankory Pimentel.
  • With baseball continuing to be played after the regular season ended, Chaz and SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall headed down to the Fall Instructional League to report on the goings-on in Fort Myers. There were six posts total from this trip and three were Scouting Scratch posts from Ian: the first covered pitchers Luis YslaVictor Diaz and Gerson Bautistathe second also focused on pitchers, covering SoxProspects.com's third-ranked prospect, Anderson EspinozaRoniel RaudesLogan Allen and Josh Pennington; and the third switched it over to take a look at positional players with notes on Josh OckimeyJerry DownsJeremy Rivera and Jhon Nunez.
  • Likewise, Chaz had three Write-Up posts of his own from The Fort: The first focused on pitchers Michael KopechJose Almonte and Enmanuel De Jesusthe second finished up his notes on pitchers including Jamie CallahanDioscar RomeroJake Cosart and Kevin Kelleher; and on the final piece, he gathered his notes on hitters with scouting information on Michael ChavisLuis Alexander Basabe, and Stanley Espinal.
  • Chaz will continue to pump out amazing content for us at SoxProspects.com, but we were excited to hear that he will be part of the staff at 20-80 Baseball as Joe Hamrahi, the owner of 20-80 Baseball and former Baseball Prospectus president, announced on Twitter.
  • 'Tis the season that the SoxProspects.com brass put out their individual top 60 rankings. Executive Editor Chris Hatfield got it started on Monday, Founder and Editor-In-Chief Mike Andrews followed it up on Tuesday, and today we had Managing Editor Matt Huegel's. Ian will follow tomorrow with a wrap-up on Friday.
  • Speaking of News Page content, keep an eye out for our annual Top 40 Season in Review series, starting next week!
  • The SoxProspects.com podcast team began wrapping up the season in September with Part 1 of their Season in Review podcast series and kept it going in October with Part 2 with mailbag questions, discussion of the end of season rankings, and an interview with former first-round pick Trey Ball.
  • As Chris has mentioned on Twitter, the Red Sox will have to designate at least three players on the 40-man roster for assignment by the time injured players come off the 60-day disabled list this Friday. Hatfield expects two of the DFA candidates to be catcher Sandy Leon and first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig.
  • Another important date related to the 40-man roster will come prior to the next Monthly Notes. By November 20, teams must add players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Check out the SoxProspects.com Wiki page for all Red Sox prospects eligible this off-season with the highest profile player being outfielder Manuel Margot (pictured, above). Other likely additions include shortstop Marco Hernandez and right-handed reliever Pat Light, with left-handed reliever Williams Jerez also a possibility.
  • The World Series may have ended, but that doesn't mean baseball is over! To keep up to date on all Red Sox action in the various and tough-to-track winter leagues, check out the weekly SoxProspects.com Fall/Winter League Roundups. You can also track the statistics of all the Red Sox prospects playing by checking (and bookmarking) the Fall & Winter League page.
  • Unfortunately, second baseman and top Sox prospect Yoan Moncada will not be one of the players to track on those pages. Rob Bradford reported for WEEI.com that Moncada will not play in the Puerto Rican Winter League as planned after injuring his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in the Fall Instructional League.
  • Baseball America released their top 20 prospects in the South Atlantic League and it is no surprise to see the Greenville Drive dominate the list. They finished with four players inside the top 10: Moncada (first overall), shortstop Javier Guerra (fourth), third basemen Rafael Devers (fifth), and right-hander Kopech (10th).
  • With a fantastic team this year, the Greenville Drive had a great fan turnout and the second best attendance figure in their 10-year history. They are not resting on their laurels and are planning ballpark enhancements this off-season as part of a multiple season plan writes Bill Poovey for the GSA Business Journal.
  • Red Sox prospects also fared quite well on Baseball America's top 20 prospect rankings for the Carolina League. They netted three spots with Margot (third), first basemen Sam Travis (ninth, pictured left), and second basemen Wendell Rijo (19th). Margot also made their ranking of the Eastern League's top 20, finishing 10th as the Red Sox sole representative. 
  • Left-hander Brian Johnson is back throwing again after experiencing elbow discomfort earlier this year, and he had more good news for WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. He said in addition to examinations on his elbow showing no signs of problems with his UCL, he is now back to throwing completely pain-free and doing it five times a week.
  • Thew news was not all good for Johnson, writes Ian Brown of MLB.com. He relayed that Johnson and some friends were car jacked in the left-hander's hometown in Florida. Fortunately for everyone, he came out of the incident unharmed. 
  • It was not that long ago when Mookie Betts was a multi-sport star in high school. Baseball America's Michael Lananna writes that this off-season he went back to high school, but this time he was coaching for the Dulins Dodgers, the team he played for growing up in the World Wood Bat Association World Championship showcase. That is not the only aspect of high school Betts is looking to re-live, as he also plans on entering a professional bowling event in December, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
  • Like Mookie, former Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington is going back to school as well. Cherington turned down a role as Assistant General Manager with the Yankees, and instead will teach a class at Columbia University as an "Executive-in-Residence," the university announced
  • In one of the strangest moves of the off-season, the Red Sox announced that former Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will take over as first base coach next season, as first reported by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Amaro, an eight-year MLB veteran, will be a fun story to track this spring.
  • Another former player, Brian Bannister, was promoted this off-season to be the new Director of Pitching Analysis and Development for the Red Sox. McPherson has an interesting look into Bannister and how being on the forefront of advanced pitching analytics could help the Red Sox identify the 'overlooked pitching stars of the future'.
  • Dave Dombrowski's new presence as Red Sox President of Baseball Operations has some fans worried that he will mortgage the future for more immediate returns--in other words, trading a significant portion of their elite farm system for major league veterans. Over the Monster's Ben Buchanan has two great articles relating to this subject this month. The first explains that even if Dombrowski does make moves, the Red Sox farm system is too deep and major league roster too talented to completely "blow up" the farm system. The second assumes that Dombrowski wants to make a blockbuster deal and takes a look at the prospect pieces that could act as the centerpiece of such a deal. Names include all of your favorite prospects and recent graduates, so brace yourselves accordingly.
  • Teams are prepping for free agency, but one of the most coveted pitchers may not be coming off a major league roster. 24-year-old Cuban right-hander Yasiel Sierra has impressed scouts during showcases recently, and MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez writes that could make him one of the highest-paid Cuban pitcher ever. Due to his age and experience, he will not be subject to the international signing bonus caps, and thus should be highly sought after by any team looking for starting pitching. 
  • Matt Eddy at Baseball America publishes their weekly minor league transactions, and one that stood out at the end of October was that the Red Sox had released catcher and 2013 third-round pick Jon Denney. Denney was placed on the Restricted List after an incident in Fort Myers prior to the 2014 season and has not played since. During his brief time with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2013, Denney struggled, hitting only .203/.379/.243 over 74 at-bats. According to Hatfield, SoxProspects.com sources indicated that Denney had significant off-field issues during his entire tenure with the team beyond the arrest that kept him off the field.
Photo Credit: Manuel Margot and Sam Travis by Kelly O'Connor.

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