Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of December 19 - December 25.
Dominican Baseball League
Hanley Ramirez made his winter debut this past week as the Dominican league's regular season wrapped up and appeared in three games. The first baseman, who belted 30 home runs for Boston in 2016, went 2 for 12 with a double, a walk, and a pair of runs batted in. Ramirez will play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Marco Hernandez continued to play well with four hits and a walk in 12 plate appearances along with a stolen base. Junior Lake went just 1 for 14 with three walks.
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of December 12 - December 18.
Dominican Baseball League
It was a solid week for Marco Hernandez (pictured), who went 5 for 19 with a triple and a home run. He now has three home runs in his last eight games. Outfielder Junior Lake, who signed with the Red Sox last week,also played well, going 6 for 22 with a double, home run, and three walks.
Left-hander Fernando Abad made his debut last week, allowing one unearned run over two one-inning appearances for Este. Elsewhere, Roenis Elias was also let down by his defense, as he surrendered three unearned runs over 2 2/3 innings in his only start of the week. He walked two and struck out two.
Going forward, we will be posting here on SoxProspects News whenever player page scouting reports are updated or created. This is part of our renewed focus on our scouting updates started with the launch of our Scouting Log earlier this offseason.
In the past, we've considered updates to our scouting reports to be a "behind the scenes" part of the website. But the player pages and the scouting reports therein are the lifeblood of the site, and it makes far more sense to highlight when those change (or, as in this case, are posted for the first time).
In our latest update, we've posted new, full scouting reports on the following players (current SoxProspects.com ranking in parentheses):
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of December 5 - December 12. Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez(pictured) made his first start of the winter for the Navegantes del Magallanes on Thursday, tossing two perfect innings and striking out three. Luis Yslamade one appearance this week, facing only one batter and striking them out. Austin Maddoxcontinued to struggle in Venezuela, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning in two appearances this week. Deiner Lopez, who had been playing in the Liga Paralela for Lara in recent weeks, was brought back up to the parent club and made a pinch-running appearance, in which he stole a base.
It had been a quiet start to the offseason for the Red Sox, but the club made its first addition to the major league roster on Tuesday morning, acquiring right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee in exchange for corner infielder Travis Shaw, shortstop Mauricio Dubonand right-hander Josh Pennington. To acquire Thornburg to work the eighth inning in front of closer Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox gave up three solid depth pieces, but none of them have the type of upside that will likely come back to haunt the Red Sox in the long term.
Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski had listed an eighth-inning reliever as a priority this offseason and he appears to have gotten his man, as Thornburg will slide in as one of the top pitchers in the Boston bullpen. Once a notable starting pitching prospect for the Brewers, rated as the 100th prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus before the 2013 season, Thornburg broke out in a big way in 2016. In 67 innings for Milwaukee, the 28-year-old Thornburg pitched to a 2.15 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 25 walks and was worth 2.0 fWAR. Adding to his value, Thornburg is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and will not hit free agency until after the 2019 season. However, he does carry a bit of an injury history, suffering an elbow injury in 2014 that nearly led to Tommy John surgery, but he instead opted to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection, which helped him avoid going under the knife.
Travis Shaw, who played in 145 games at third and first base for the Red Sox last season, headlines the package going to the Brewers and was reportedly the piece Milwaukee inquired about to get trade talks moving. Shaw's major league career got off to a great start, as he hit .270/.327/.487 in 65 games in 2015 and then slashed .292/.358/.508 in the first two months of 2016. However, Shaw slumped mightily from then on, hitting just .206/.270/.362 the rest of the way and losing his starting job in August.
Shaw did not have a clear spot on the Red Sox roster going forward with the return of Pablo Sandoval, reliable presence of Brock Holt, and the potential emergence of top prospect Rafael Devers (and at the time the deal was announced, one would have added Yoan Moncada, who was moved later in the day to Chicago), but he will likely receive everyday playing time in Milwaukee at third base, shifting Jonathan Villar back to his more natural position of second base.
Mauricio Dubon is the most significant prospect heading to the Brewers in this deal, ranked ninth in the SoxProspects.com rankings at the time of the trade. He was named the SoxProspects.com Breakout Player of the Year after a season in which he slashed .323/.379/.461 between Salem and Portland. Though Dubon has shown a strong hit tool since entering the Red Sox organization, he showed improved power last season after his promotion to Portland, where he slugged .538 with 20 doubles, six triples, and six home runs. The Red Sox drafted Dubon in the 26th round in 2013, and should he reach the major leagues, he would be the first-ever Honduran native to do so.
After acquiring right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg
from the Milwaukee Brewers earlier in the day (look for a coming Trade
Analysis on that deal), the Red Sox went out and made an even bigger
move on Tuesday, acquiring left-handed pitcher Chris Sale for a package featuring four prospects, including the top prospect in the SoxProspects rankings in infielder Yoan Moncada, right-hander Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-hander Victor Diaz.
Dombrowski has shown since he first joined the organization that he is
unafraid to deal top prospects if he thinks it can help the team win
now. In acquiring Sale, the Red Sox added one of the best pitchers in
all of baseball—who has had a lot of success against American League
East opponents—on a very team friendly contract for the next three
years, costing just $6.5 million against the competitive balance tax.
cost to acquire Sale, however, was not as cheap. The Red Sox had to
include three of the top 10 prospects in the system and four prospects
who all have significant upside but come with risk. The depth the system
had when Dombrowski took over is now gone and the cupboard has been
picked thin—10 of the prospects in last October’s SoxProspects Top 20
have been traded in just over a year’s time. A few years down the line,
this trade could look very different if a few of the prospects involved
reach their potential, especially if one is Moncada. Still, the cost was
easier to stomach given that the club was able to hold on to all of its
young, established talent at the big league level, including Andrew Benintendi.
In addition to Yoan Moncada, the other top five prospect from the Red Sox system heading to the White Sox is right-hander Michael Kopech. Kopech’s 2016 was a season of extremes: After getting suspended for the second half of 2015 for his use of a diet supplement on the list of MLB's banned substances, the 2014 supplemental first-round pick broke his hand in an altercation with a teammate in spring training. When he finally did take the mound, though, he turned heads with his fastball. While the authenticity of his reported, mythical 105-mile-per-hour pitch may be debated through the ages, what cannot be questioned was his dominance from the rubber. In 52 innings for Salem, he recorded 82 punchouts and allowed only 25 hits. The excellence continued against the stiffer competition of the Arizona Fall League. In 22 1/3 innings, he struck out 26 and posted a 2.10 ERA, leading Baseball America to rate Kopech the number-two prospect in that circuit.
After acquiring right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers earlier in the day (look for a coming Trade Analysis on that deal), the Red Sox went out and made an even bigger move on Tuesday, acquiring left-handed pitcher Chris Sale for a package featuring four prospects, including the top prospect in the SoxProspects rankings in infielder Yoan Moncada, right-hander Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-hander Victor Diaz.
Dave Dombrowski has shown since he first joined the organization that he is unafraid to deal top prospects if he thinks it can help the team win now. In acquiring Sale, the Red Sox added one of the best pitchers in all of baseball—who has had a lot of success against American League East opponents—on a very team friendly contract for the next three years, costing just $6.5 million against the competitive balance tax.
The cost to acquire Sale, however, was not as cheap. The Red Sox had to include three of the top 10 prospects in the system and four prospects who all have significant upside but come with risk. The depth the system had when Dombrowski took over is now gone and the cupboard has been picked thin—10 of the prospects in last October’s SoxProspects Top 20 have been traded in just over a year’s time. A few years down the line, this trade could look very different if a few of the prospects involved reach their potential, especially if one is Moncada. Still, the cost was easier to stomach given that the club was able to hold on to all of its young, established talent at the big league level, including Andrew Benintendi.
Part One of our Trade Analysis will focus on the Moncada and Basabe, while Part Two posting this afternoon will focus on the two arms in the deal. Senior Staff Writer James Dunne contributed to this piece.
The centerpiece of the package heading to the White Sox is Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. Less than two years ago, the Red Sox signed Moncada for a $31.5 million bonus plus a 100% tax penalty for having already exceeded the international signing cap threshold. Even at that $63 million total price, Moncada had shown that massive investment to potentially be worth it. After a long layoff, he began his pro career with a sputter, hitting .200/.287/.289 in his first 25 games for Greenville. Any fears from that early performance were quickly put to rest when Moncada tortured South Atlantic League pitching to the tune of .310/.415/.500 the rest of the season.
Sound the emergency podcast siren! Dealin’ Dave was at it again today, acquiring Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee for Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, and Josh Pennington, then coming back hours later and landing the white whale from the White Sox in Chris Sale, giving up the system’s top prospect, Yoan Moncada, along with Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. In all, four of the team’s top nine prospects coming into the day, with two more on the fringes of the top 20, are headed out, but for a couple of major pieces. What did Chris and Ian think? And how did they answer your questions? Listen in!
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of November 28 - December 5.
Dominican Baseball League
Marco Hernandez had a solid week by going 5 for 16 with a home run, a double and three RBI. Rafael Devers went 1 for 5 with a walk and Aneury Tavarez was 5 for 23. Roenis Elias also posted a very nice start, going five innings while allowing just a run. He had eight strikeouts and two walks.
Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
Luis Ysla appeared in three separate contests and combined to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Austin Maddox also threw two frames and allowed two earned runs.
As we have progressed further into the offseason, prospect rankings have begun to circulate. Two editions of the SoxProspects Podcast were released this month, the first of which involved executive editor Chris Hatfield, director of scouting Ian Cundall, managing editor Matt Huegel, and editor-in-chief Mike Andrews breaking down the end-of-season rankings.
While the winter leagues are now in full swing, the Arizona Fall League has wrapped up, with the Surprise Saguaros falling to the Mesa Solar Sox in the championship game. Catch up on all the action by reading through our weekly Fall/Winter League Roundup. There were four posted this month: November 7, November 14, November 21, and November 28.
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of November 21 - 27.
Dominican Baseball League
The highlight of the week was the performance of Aneury Tavarez, who went 7 for 14 with a home run, stolen base, and a walk. The home run was his first for Oriente, and the strong week raised his line to .325/.366/.403. Marco Hernandez picked up his first extra-base hit this week, a double that was part of a 2 for 5 game, but he followed that up with three games where he combined to go 1 for 13 as his batting average dipped to .262. Rafael Devers got a hit in his only at-bat, and Roenis Elias allowed two runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings in his only appearance of the week.
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of November 14- November 21.
Arizona Fall League
The league wrapped up play this week, with the Surprise Saguaros losing 6-1 in the championship game to the Mesa Solar Sox. Michael Kopech made one start this week, going five innings and allowing two runs while fanning six and walking one. He finished his stint in the fall league with a 2.01 ERA with 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 22 1/3 innings.
Mauricio Dubon had a quiet final week of the season, playing in just two games and going 0 for 7. Danny Mars was 2 for 3 at the plate in his only start and was caught stealing in a pinch running performance. On the mound, Trey Ball made one relief appearance tossed two shutout frames with a strikeout. Southpaw Jalen Beeks allowed a run in one inning while right-hander Jamie Callahan threw two scoreless innings to close out a dominant run in Arizona, featuring a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched.
Making his fourth appearance on the podcast, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe and Baseball America joined the guys to discuss his recently released Red Sox Top 10 list. How did he pick between Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada? Michael Kopech and Jason Groome? Plus we hit on some other topics, like a potential Mookie Betts extension and what players might be trade fodder for the next Dave Dombrowski deal.
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of November 7- November 13.
Arizona Fall League
Michael Kopech really struggled with his control coming off a dominant performance in the AFL Fall Star Game. He walked six in just 3 1/3 innings but was still able to put up a zero in the run column. He struck out two. He now has a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings this fall with 20 strikeouts and seven walks.
Danny Mars played just two games this past week but stayed hot by going 4 for 7 with two doubles and three RBI. He is 8 for his last 14 after a 1-for-22 start. Mauricio Dubon struggled with just one hit, a double, in 11 at-bats. He also drew a pair of walks and struck out four times. He played two games at short and one in center field.
Trey Ball made two appearances totaling three innings and allowed one run on three hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. Jalen Beeks also had two appearances and three total innings but did not fare as well. He surrendered five earned runs on five hits with two walks and three punch outs. Jamie Callahan gave up a run in two innings of work with a walk and two strikeouts.
Chris, Ian, Matt, and the returning Mike Andrews marked the end of the season by breaking down the debates that led to our end-of-season rankings! Topics discussed included ranking Yoan Moncada over Andrew Benintendi at number 1 and Jason Groome over Michael Kopech as the system’s top pitching prospect, how the system looks compared to past seasons, and highlights all the way down each of the guys’ top 60 rankings.
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of October 31 - November 6.
Arizona Fall League
The highlight of the week was Michael Kopech's (pictured) dominance in the AFL Fall Stars game, as the right-hander struck out three over two hitless innings. His fastball touched 101 mph, while he also showcased an upper-80s slider and low-90s changeup. Trey Ball also made an appearance in the game, retiring the only batter he faced, and Mauricio Dubon, who had won a fan vote for a spot in the contest, reached base in his lone plate appearance on a catcher's interference.
That was not Kopech's only dominant outing of the week, as he struck out six over four scoreless innings in his start on Tuesday. He allowed only one hit and did not walk a batter. Ball allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings in his two appearances, walking three without notching a strikeout. Jamie Callahan threw two scoreless innings and picked up a save, while Jalen Beeks struck out two over two scoreless innings.
Much of the prospect news this month was centered on the Arizona Fall League. Yoan Moncada (pictured, right) was obviously the biggest name of the Red Sox. He started off on fire going 6-for-14 with a double, home run, two RBI and five runs scored over the first 10 days of the league. After that, he got only one hit over his next 10 at-bats. Strikeouts were a problem throughout his time in the AFL, striking out in 42% of his at-bats.
The fall league continues through the 19th of November, but it will continue without Moncada. He injured his thumb which required a trip to a specialist according to Bernie Pleskoff of FanRag Sports. In the days since Moncada has been seen with his thumb wrapped with a splint and his time in the AFL is over. However, multiple reports have cited the fact that the injury is just a sprain and he should be ready for spring training.
The other top Red Sox prospect garnering a lot of attention in the AFL is righty Michael Kopech, currently the ranked fifth on the SoxProspects.com rankings. He was a logical candidate to be sent to the AFL with his advanced stuff, but also due to the fact that he was suspended 50 games to start this season and needed to make up the innings.
Kopech's strong Arizona Fall League performance has earned him a spot on the 2016 Fall Stars roster. Over his first three starts, Kopech has impressed, throwing 10 innings with a 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 12 strikeouts to one walk. He is coming off a 2016 regular season where he dominated to the tune of a 2.08 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 86 strikeouts to 33 walks over 56 1/3 innings.
It is no surprise he continues to receive national attention. Both Pleskoff and ESPN's Keith Law had very positive write-ups on Kopech's recent starts. Like everyone, Law was impressed by the upper-90s velocity and said he had "top-of-the-rotation" potential, but also stated that he needed to work on his command and his inconsistent secondaries. Pleskoff, a former Astros and Mariners scout, was much more glowing in his report, ultimately giving him a 60-grade ("all-star quality") grade.
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the offseason. This week's roundup covers the period of October 25-31.
Arizona Fall League
On Friday, the Red Sox announced that top prospect Yoan Moncada (pictured), who had not played since October 21 due to a left thumb sprain, will not play for the remainder of the Arizona Fall League season. He is scheduled to resume baseball activities in two weeks and is expected to be fully recovered in time for spring training. In six games with the Surprise Saguaros, Moncada slashed .292/.370/.458 with one double and one home run.
SoxProspects.com is seeking applicants for the positions of Web Editor and Social Media Specialist for the 2017 season.
Help Wanted: Web Editor (2)
Position Overview: We're looking to hire two Web Editors to join the SoxProspects staff through at least the end of the 2017 baseball season, reporting to and working with our Senior Web Editor. The primary responsibility will be to update the stats on the home page and Prospects 21-60 page every other day (or some other arrangement where the task is divvied up among the two Web Editors). The hope is that the two new Web Editors will split this daily task, which takes roughly 20 minutes per day and should be completed either late at night following the end of all games or in the morning before 8:00 am (ET). The other responsibility will be to serve as a back-up to the Senior Web Editor to help update the Site’s Transactions, Roster, and player pages as transactions occur, on an as-needed basis when the Senior Web Editor is busy or unavailable. Applicants should have regular availability to perform the above tasks, as well as reasonable flexibility during business hours (ET) if needed. Overall, the estimated time commitment is about 2 hours per week, maybe 3 hours in the heaviest few weeks of the season.
Commitment to the position from now through the end of the 2017 season, with the potential to renew for future years
Availability and flexibility to make stat updates and web updates as noted above
A basic familiarity with SoxProspects.com and the Red Sox minor league system (i.e., an understanding of basic facts about the system; don’t need to be an expert)
Perfunctory knowledge of HTML or web editing programs
Attention to detail
A basic understanding of baseball stats
Professional attitude and demeanor
Help Wanted: Social Media Specialist (2)
Position Overview: We're looking to hire two Social Media Specialists to join the SoxProspects staff through at least the end of the 2017 baseball season, working with our current Social Media Specialist as well as our managing editors. The primary responsibilities will be managing our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube platforms. Additionally, one Social Media Specialist will be responsible for editing/producing our Podcast, while the other will take responsibility for occasional editing of the SoxProspects Wiki.
Applicants should have flexibility to be able to post using the site’s platforms as needed, maybe a few times per day, including during business hours (ET) if needed. (Note that this does not mean being on call around the clock, but it will not work if the applicant is unavailable to post during the entire work day every day). Overall, the estimated time commitment is about 2 hours per week.
Commitment to the position from now until the end of the 2017 season, with the potential to renew for future years
Availability and flexibility to post as noted above
A solid familiarity with SoxProspects.com and the Red Sox minor league system (i.e., knowledge of key players, some feel for at least recent history of the system)
Experience with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
The podcast position will require basic understanding of editing podcasts (concept of audio editing, uploading, and posting; training will be provided on specifics)
Attention to detail
A perfunctory understanding of baseball stats
Professional attitude and demeanor
Compensation: All four of these positions are unpaid opportunities, as are all the positions on the SoxProspects Staff. However, most staffers have found the experience on the Staff to be rewarding in other ways, such as through the camaraderie of the team, invitations to occasional staff events, and the overall experience gained. We will train whoever gets these positions from the ground up on our systems and processes. Positions at SoxProspects are a great opportunity for aspiring digital content developers to gain experience and exposure in the sports industry. It’s worth noting that members of the SoxProspects staff have gone on to write for ESPN Boston, Baseball Prospectus, the Baltimore Sun, the Sun Sentinel, MLB.com, and MiLB.com, among other outlets.
Selection Process: If interested, please email email@example.com and provide a list of relevant skills and experience with respect to the position you are applying for, by Friday, November 11, 2016. If you apply for the Social Media Specialist Position, please let us know if you are interested in the Podcast position, the Wiki position, or both (if both, whether you have a preference). Resumes are strongly encouraged. We look forward to hearing from you! We hope to make decisions on these positions in November. Although this is a volunteer position, we evaluate applications based on their professionalism, attention to detail, and merits as if this were a paid job, so please approach the application process accordingly. Familiarity with the site is a plus, but level of fandom of the Red Sox will not really be a consideration.
Here is a recap of the past week's action in Fall and Winter leagues. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the period of October 17-24.
Arizona Fall League
It was a difficult week for Sox hitters in the AFL at the plate. Danny Mars went 1 for 11 with a walk and Yoan Moncada went 1 for 10 with six strikeouts, two walks, and a stolen base. Mauricio Dubon had some success, going 3 for 12 with three singles and two stolen bases. He had a 3-for-4 game sandwiched between a pair of 0-for-4 outings. He saw some more action in the outfield, starting one of three games this past week in center field.
Trey Ball made two appearances that produced opposite results. He tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday, but followed it up on Saturday by walking all five batters he faced on 27 pitches. Jalen Beeks made two appearances and allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Jamie Callahan had a nice week with two shutout innings that included three strikeouts. Michael Kopech wasn't as sharp in his second AFL start. He lasted three innings and gave up seven hits and two runs. He walked one and punched out three.
This is the first in our series of weekly roundups of the Fall/Winter Leagues. Coverage will continue every Monday into January. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in these leagues, check out our Fall & Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through January. This week's roundup covers the period of October 6-16.
Arizona Fall League
Games started on October 6, with seven Red Sox prospects playing for the Surprise Saguaros. Third baseman Yoan Moncada (pictured, right)has been the star for Surprise thus far, appearing in three games, going 6 for 14 with a double, home run, two RBI and five runs scored.
Mauricio Dubon has gone 4 for 14 with a home run and an RBI in three contests, and the shortstop got his first taste of center field in Saturday's contest as he and the organization seek to further his development as a potential utility player at the MLB level. Outfielder Danny Mars has gone 3 for 12 with an RBI in his three appearances.
On occasion, we have been featuring videos here from the SoxProspects YouTube page. Today's video is of shortstop Mauricio Dubon. The video features several at-bats from the 22-year-old in Portland earlier this season, including slow-motion replays of his swing.
Dubon had a breakout season this year, batting .306 with 23 steals in Salem before receiving a mid-season promotion to Portland. In all, he played exactly 62 game at each stop, but actually improved upon many of his numbers in Double-A. The .339/.374/.538 line with the Sea Dogs propelled him up to 10th in SoxProspects.com's season-ending rankings.
We have been incorporating more video to supplement our regular scouting material, so check back here and on the YouTube page frequently.
On what proved to be the final day of the Boston Red Sox 2013 season, Chris and Ian recapped the latter’s trip to Instructs. Scouting reports included Jason Groome, CJ Chatham, Victor Diaz, Roldani Baldwin, Bryan Mata, and others… even Pablo Sandoval! Plus, we answered a slew of listener questions: Which players might get surprising, aggressive assignments next year? What will the Sox do with all of their minor league third basemen, and will Rafael Devers move off of the position? Who is the next Robby Scott… and what do you take that question to mean? These and more discussed herein!
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Each year, the Fall Instructional League provides us here at SoxProspects.com with the opportunity to catch 50 or so of the system’s young prospects in one place at the end of a long season. This year, Director of Scouting Ian Cundall spent four days at Instructs. These are more of his reports from Saturday, September 24, when the Red Sox campers took on the Twins across town at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.
Though right-hander Bryan Mata is the youngest pitcher on the Red Sox instructional league roster by eight months, he showed off an intriguing arm in his inning of work. Mata had a very solid year for the Red Sox DSL 2 team and seems to have carried what he was doing over stateside. He struck out 61 in the same number of innings over 14 starts, posting a 2.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP as a 17-year-old.
Mata has a tall, projectable pitcher’s frame, listed at 6-foot-3, 160 pounds. He is on the thin side at present, but has a frame that looks like it could support added weight as he matures, both in his lower body and upper body. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a low-effort delivery. He has some whip when he comes forward, but otherwise has solid mechanics and a quick arm.
SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall spent four days down at the Fall Instructional League, and he wrote a pair of Scouting Scratches on some of the top young players in the Red Sox system. The main attraction was first-round pickJason Groome, who showed off an outstanding curveball as well as a promising fastball. In the same article, Cundall highlighted Gerson Bautista, who has premium fastball velocity and also flashed a new pitch that had some success.
The other Scouting Scratch was led by Victor Diaz, a reliever with a fastball that consistently hits 99. Cundall was able to see the huge upside that Diaz possesses in his dominant appearance, with improved secondary pitches and control. Robby Sexton, Francisco Lopez-Soto, and Jordan Weems were also covered, with Sexton showing some potential as a left-handed reliever.
While not a single Red Sox player graduated from prospect status during the 2016 season, the newly crowned American League Eastern Division champions had a distinctly homegrown feel. The team gave at least 50 at-bats to at eight players who had been named SoxProspects.com All-Stars during their ascent to the majors: Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia, Travis Shaw, Blake Swihart, and Christian Vazquez. With that backdrop, we present the 2016 SoxProspects.com All-Stars.
The 25-year old backstop turned in a solid season both offensively and defensively, earning honors as an Eastern League All-Star to go with his SoxProspects.com recognition. In 90 games with Double-A Portland, Romanski hit .308/.338/.410 with 22 doubles. While power is not a major part of his game, he did set a career high with four round trippers. He also solidified his reputation as a strong handler of pitchers and threw out 49 percent of attempted base stealers. It was the first all-star selection for the 2013 14th-round pick out of San Diego State.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Each year, the Fall Instructional League provides us here at SoxProspects.com with the opportunity to catch 50 or so of the system’s young prospects in one place at the end of a long season. This year, Director of Scouting Ian Cundall spent four days at Instructs. These are his reports from Saturday, September 24, when the Red Sox took on the Twins across town at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.
The 12th pick overall in June’s draft, left-hander Jason Groome, started the game, throwing two scoreless innings, striking out three and walking one. The first thing that stands out with Groome is his build, as he does not look like a typical 18-year-old. He has a wide, mature frame and looks all of his listed 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. An up-close look at him gave me the impression that he has a body that might need some watching, given how he is built now and his youth. He has the frame to support added weight, but whether that is good or bad weight will depend on how he maintains his body and how much work he puts in off the field, both during the offseason and in-season.
Groome’s delivery is remarkably easy, and even though his velocity was down a tick from when I saw him earlier this month with Short-Season A Lowell, he still sat 89-92 mph, touching 93 mph. Given that Groome is at the end of a long year spanning high school and pro ball, it is not a surprise that his velocity is down a tick. With the ease of his delivery and arm action, as well as his youth, as he matures I expect him to add a few miles per hour to the pitch, though I would not be surprised if he sat in the low-90s generally, with the ability to ramp up if the situation calls for it.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Each year, the Fall Instructional League provides us here at SoxProspects.com with the opportunity to catch 50 or so of the system’s young prospects in one place at the end of a long season. This year, Director of Scouting Ian Cundall spent four days at Instructs. These are his reports from Thursday, September 23, when the Red Sox campers took on the Twins at Fenway South.
The standout pitcher on the day was 22-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz. Diaz’s numbers with Greenville this year—a 3.88 ERA and 1.49 WHIP with 25 walks to 63 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings—do not really stand out, particularly considering his age. But even though he is already 22, he is relatively new to pro ball having only signed when he was 20 years old. Looking further into his season, however, reveals bad performances in the first half of the season leading to a 6.59 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in his first 28 2/3 innings with 12 walks and 23 strikeouts. But in the second half, Diaz put up a 1.42 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 31 2/3 innings with 40 strikeouts and 13 walks. Furthermore, to end the year, Diaz did not allow a run in 16 2/3 innings over August and September, striking out 25 hitters and allowing only 8 hits and 9 walks.
In his inning of work, Diaz struck out the side, showing off not only his impressive fastball but improved secondary stuff and the ability to locate when he is locked in. Diaz is listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, but looks heavier than that. He is filled out and has a sturdy pitcher’s frame with minimal projection remaining. Because of his size, he does have effort in his delivery and a lot of moving parts. As a result, Diaz has struggled in the past to lock into his three-quarters arm slot at times, but in this outing, he was repeating his delivery well. Diaz works exclusively from the stretch and sat at 99 mph for every fastball he threw. The pitch has late life and showed bat-missing ability, eliciting two swing-and-misses against right-handers. If he can harness his command and stay within himself like he did in this outing, the pitch has elite potential and is easily one of the best fastballs in the system.
SoxProspects.comput out a new podcast last Monday to discuss and recap the minor league season. They talked about each affiliate's season and the crew mentioned players from each team that stood out. The Padres' scandal involving their trade with Boston was also discussed, along with much more.
The Fall Instructional League games got underway on Thursday down in Fort Myers, and SoxProspects.com's Director of Scouting Ian Cundall was there to catch some of the action. Check out his Twitter feed for some notes on Jason Groome, Pablo Sandoval, new draft picks, and more.
Catchers Alan Marrero and Alberto Schmidt were selected in the Puerto Rican League's draft and have been added to Criollos de Caguas' roster. Marrero is an 18-year-old who was taken by Boston in the eighth round this past June. He was just 5 for 54 with a home run this year in the GCL but is highly thought of as a defensive catcher. Schmidt was also selected in the 2016 draft, in the 16th round. He is also very solid defensively but was just 8 for 41 with three doubles for the GCL Sox this year.
Coming down the stretch in MLB, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to talk about in the world of SoxProspects! In this episode, the guys wrap up each affiliate’s season, discuss the Fall Instructional League roster, and the Padres trade scandal. Plus your emails! Which players might get protected from the Rule 5 draft this offseason (take 2)? What mechanical flaws are immediate red flags? What’s the deal with Rafael Devers’ 18 steals? Plus, thoughts on Jake Cosart, Austin Glorius, Matt Kent, and more!
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
SoxProspects.com unveiled its 2016 season-end award winners this past week. It was a good year for the system, and there were several worthy candidates for every award. In the end, the winners were as follows: Andrew Benintendi won Player of the Year, Jake Cosart won Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year went to Bobby Dalbec (pictured, right), Mauricio Dubon was the Breakout Player of the Year, Jhonathan Diaz won Comeback Player of the Year, Pedro Castellanos and Ritzi Mendoza won the DSL Hitter and Pitcher of the Year awards, Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo won the Ex-Player of the Year, and finally, Red Sox star right fielder, Mookie Betts, won the Homegrown Player of the Year.
The Red Sox announced their own season-end award winners this past week as well, and there were not many double-ups from our awards. The repeat winners were Castellanos and Mendoza who won the Red Sox Latin Player and Pitcher of the year honors as well. Other award winners were Yoan Moncada as Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, Roniel Raudes as the Minor League Pitcher of the Year, third basemen Rafael Devers won the Minor League Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Mauricio Dubon was awarded the Baserunner of the Year.
It was a great year for the Red Sox farm system. Officially, the system saw no graduates this year and several of their top prospects had performances that only resulted in their stock continuing to rise. The fact that Baseball America's Player of the Year did not win a SoxProspects.com award shows the depth of talent in the system. That depth was only buoyed by the addition of several highly regarded draft picks, with a few already impressing as professionals.
The system saw team success again this season as well, with the DSL Red Sox1 winning the Dominican Summer League title, Salem losing in the Southern Division Championship Series, and Lowell losing in the New York-Penn League semi-finals.
Coming off a season where he was drafted seventh overall in the MLB Draft and took home both the SoxProspects.com Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards, Benintendi somehow managed to keep those amazing performances going as he raked at level after level. After a 2015 in which he produced a .972 OPS between Lowell and Greenville, he began 2016 in Salem, where he was a year and a half younger than the average position player. Over his 34 games there, his production only increased, hitting .341/.413/.563 over those 135 at-bats. The next stop on the tour was Portland, where he was over three years younger than the average positional player. You might think that he would hit a slump at some point with the never-ending series of aggressive promotions, but that slump just never came. After hitting .295/.357/.515 and getting a few reps in left field while at Portland, he got the call to the majors.
His first game came on August 2, and his first major league hit came a day later. Through August 24, he was hitting .324/.365/.485 and had earned the everyday role in left field. Turns out the only thing that could slow the 22-year-old down was an injury. While running the bases, he tweaked his knee and the worst was feared, but an MRI later revealed no structural damage. He spent about three weeks on the DL and was activated by the Red Sox on Monday, the hope that he will be able to help them as they make their playoff push. His production across all levels, including the majors, is what was able to separate Benintendi from a competitive field led by Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Yoan Moncada and earn him Player of the Year honors.
SoxProspects.com has confirmed the full roster of participants and schedule for the 2016 Fall Instructional League, reported on Tuesday by Baseball America. Players will report to Fort Myers on September 18, followed by the first game on September 22.
The 47-player roster includes a host of 2016 draftees such as Jason Groome (pictured, right), CJ Chatham, Shaun Anderson, Bobby Dalbec, Michael Shawaryn, Stephen Nogosek, Ryan Scott, Santiago Espinal, and Alan Marrero.Groome, Dalbec, Chatham, and Anderson are all ranked in the top 20 prospects in the Red Sox organization by SoxProspects.com.
The league is used to develop players in the low minors and includes both classroom training and on-field workouts. The games are frequently open to the public, though the game start times are not necessarily entirely accurate.
Here is the full roster of participants, broken down by position:
Baseball America has named Yoan Moncada(pictured, right) its Minor League Player of the Year. The 21-year-old infielder has had a meteoric rise throughout the Red Sox system in 2016, starting with High-A Salem, eventually leading to his promotion to Boston a little under two weeks ago.
Moncada, who was originally signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2015, has consistently been ranked as one of the top prospects in all of baseball and is currently ranked the #1 prospect in the Red Sox system by SoxProspects.com. In 106 games with Salem and Double-A Portland, Moncada hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs, 31 doubles, 62 RBI, and 45 stolen bases.
The Red Sox minor league season concluded this week, as the Lowell Spinners and Salem Red Sox were eliminated from playoff contention but the DSL Red Sox1 wrapped up the summer in style with a DSL championship.
9/10 Cup of Coffee: The final Red Sox affiliate ended its season Friday, as High-A Salem fell 2-1 in a decisive Game Three of the Southern Division Championship Series. Matt Kent (pictured) tossed a gem for Salem, but two late runs were enough for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to claim the victory.
Through six innings, Matt Kent had a shutout working and Salem held a 1-0 lead. But the Pelicans plated the equalizer in the seventh and scored the game-winner off Yankory Pimentel in the eighth. Simon Mercedes did not allow a hit in the final 1 1/3 innings, but the Red Sox could not close the gap. Three straight singles to start the fifth pushed across Salem’s lone run, with Jordan Procyshen’s knock scoring Jayce Ray. Rafael Devers’ two hits, including a double, upped his series line to 5 for 12 with a home run, a double and 4 RBI. Seven different Red Sox notched hits, as Salem outhit Myrtle Beach 8-7.
Moncada to the majors? September call-ups? First-hand Jason Groome, Bobby Dalbec, CJ Chatham, and Mike Shawaryn reports? And even new rankings? Sounds like a recipe for a podcast, so Chris and Ian got into the kitchen to cook up some prospect talk.
Click through for the in-site player and download/streaming links!
9/9 Cup of Coffee: Salem staved off elimination thanks in part to a big night from Rafael Devers(pictured), forcing a deciding Game 3 on Friday. An exciting season came to an end for Lowell, despite a solid start from Jason Groome.
Salem bounced back in a big way after losing the series opener, pounding out 10 hits. Rafael Devers led the charge with a 2-for-4 night, clubbing a two-run shot in the fifth to give the Sox some breathing room. He also drove in a key run in the third inning on an RBI single. Jayce Ray kicked the scoring off in the second inning with a solo home run. Trey Ball came through in the clutch, picking up the win with 5 2/3 innings of solid work. He allowed just one run on three hits while striking out three and walking two. Myrtle Beach was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Jamie Callahan staved off disaster to earn the save.
NORWICH, Conn. -- After two appearances in the Gulf Coast League, Red Sox 2016 first-round pick Jason Groome was promoted to Lowell and made his New York-Penn League debut last Friday, September 2, on the road against the Connecticut Tigers. Groome was regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2016 draft class, but fell all the way to the 12th pick, where the Red Sox selected him and then signed him on July 15 for a $3.65-million bonus, just over $450,000 over slot.
Groome threw two innings in each of his two appearances in the GCL, but lasted two and two-thirds in his Lowell debut. He did not allow any hits and struck out two, but did walk four and was charged with a run when an inherited runner scored. Overall, Groome threw 56 pitches, half for strikes, and while his control came and went at times, it was still a very encouraging first look.
9/8 Cup of Coffee: The DSL Red Sox1 had to wait a day, but they wrapped up the DSL championship with a convincing 8-1 victory. In Game 1 of their respective series, both the Salem Red Sox and Lowell Spinners lost. They will look to stave off elimination Thursday in Game 2 of their series.
In the opening game of a best-of-three series, the Pelicans rode a six-run third inning to an easy 8-1 victory. Michael Kopech struggled, going 2 1/3 innings and allowing six runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out five. Anyelo Leclerc added 1 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Jake Cosart, Bobby Poyner, and Trevor Kelley combined for four scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
The lone run of the contest for the Red Sox came in the sixth on a Rafael Devers RBI single. Trey Ball will take the mound in Game 2 as the Red Sox look to keep their season alive.
Six Red Sox minor leaguers are receiving recognition as postseason All-Stars after strong seasons. Most notably, SoxProspects.com top-ranked prospect Yoan Moncadaand third-ranked Rafael Devers(pictured)were named to the Carolina League roster. Joining them in receiving all-star honors were first baseman/outfielder Chris Marreroin the International League, outfielder Aneury Tavarezin the Eastern League, and outfielders Luis Alexander Basabeand Tate Mathenyin the South Atlantic League.
To have six postseason All-Stars is quite an accomplishment to the Red Sox farm system, as players who receive midseason promotions are unlikely to receive consideration (though Moncada still made the Carolina League's team). In 2015, the Red Sox affiliates had only one postseason All-Star, with Moncada representing the South Atlantic League. The last time Red Sox affiliates had as many as six postseason All-Stars was 2012 when they had nine, including Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, and Mauro Gomez for Pawtucket; Christian Vazquez, Xander Bogaerts, Michael Almanzar, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Travis Shaw for Salem; and Keury De La Cruz for Greenville.
9/7 Cup of Coffee: The DSL Red Sox1 remain one victory away from winning the championship series as their contest was suspended by rain. They were the only Red Sox affiliate in action.
DSL Red Sox1 4, DSL Rangers1 1 (suspended)
The DSL Red Sox1, who lead the championship series, 2-1, had their contest suspended by rain with one out in the top of the eighth inning. The game will resume Wednesday morning; if the Red Sox falter, a deciding Game 5 will be played immediately following Game 4.
Ritzi Mendoza struck out six over five innings, allowing one unearned run and three hits. Carlos Cortes added two innings of hitless relief, striking out four. Carlos Pulido, Eddy Reynoso, Marino Campana, and Ramfis Berroa each had two hits and an RBI before the game was suspended.
SoxProspects.com managing editor Matt Huegel took a look at another 2016 draftee who's playing in Lowell right now in fourth-rounder Bobby Dalbec. After struggling at the plate in his junior season at Arizona, Dalbec has hit .391/.432/.688 with 13 doubles and seven home runs in 33 games with Lowell. Dalbec credits his success to a return to the hitting mechanics that he used in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Dalbec is featured on this week's Scouting Scratch as SoxProspects.com director of scouting Ian Cundall took a recent trip to Lowell to see some of the 2016 draftees.
With rosters expanding in September, the Red Sox promoted top prospect Yoan Moncada (pictured) from Portland to Boston for Friday's game against Oakland. Moncada entered Friday night's game as a defensive replacement and then made his first start on Saturday, going 2 for 5 with a double for his first major league hit. Through four games, Moncada is 4 for 13 with a double and a walk.
LOWELL, Mass. -- Somewhat surprisingly, Lowell has been one of the more intriguing affiliates in the system, with a nice blend of young players moving up from the complex leagues and 2016 draftees. Thus far, the most impressive player of the group has been third baseman Bobby Dalbec, and in fact, he has done things that I haven’t seen any hitter do in Lowell since I started scouting games at LeLacheur Park back in 2011. Through 112 at-bats, Dalbec has put up a .375/.426/.679 line with six home runs, two triples and 12 doubles with only a 21.3% strike out rate. His stat line has not been approached by a Spinners regular since at least Ryan Kalish in 2007 (.368/.471/.540 with three home runs in 87 at-bats in 23 games).
Dalbec led the Cape Cod League in home runs last summer despite spending a good part of that season playing for Team USA, heading into his junior season at Arizona as a potential first-round selection. However, he struggled this spring, striking out 76 times in 207 at-bats and seeing his home run total drop from 15 to six and his average drop from .315 to .266. Complicating things further, perhaps, Dalbec excelled on the mound late in the year, moving into in a starting role late and turning in a stellar pitching performance during the College World Series. As a result, some speculated that his long-term future might be in that role, but the Red Sox drafted him as a position player and thus far their faith in his bat has been rewarded.
9/6 Cup of Coffee: The 2016 season came to an end for Pawtucket, Portland, and Greenville, while Salem and Lowell will move on to the playoffs. The DSL Red Sox1 held on to beat the DSL Rangers1 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series for the DSL title. Henry Owens (pictured) and Bryce Brentz helped Pawtucket go out with a victory, while Mauricio Dubon ended the season on hot streak for Portland.
Henry Owens ended the minor league season on the right foot, leading the PawSox as they doubled up the Bisons. Owens allowed two runs, one earned, over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five while walking three. He ends the season with a 10-7 record and a 3.53 ERA, though his 81 walks in 137 2/3 innings will be a key development point as he looks ahead to 2017. Kyle Martin finished the game with 2 1/3 scoreless innings as he picked up his sixth save.
9/5 Cup of Coffee: No-hitters being broken up on singles back to the mound seemed to be a theme on Sunday, even in the minors. Justin Haley (pictured) was brilliant in his no-hit bid for Pawtucket. Salem won in 12 innings, while the GCL Red Sox' season ended in the playoffs. The DSL Red Sox had their championship series tied up.
This was an interesting game, as the only run came in the first inning when Buffalo starter Scott Copeland made a throwing error when attempting to pick off Jose Vinicio at second base. The PawSox had just four hits, with Chris Marrero ripping his 30th double and Chris Dominguez adding a double of his own.
Justin Haley was dominant, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Just like Eduardo Rodriguez' start in Oakland, Haley's no-hitter was broken up on a single back to the mound. Overall, he threw eight shutout innings, struck out seven, and walked just one. Luis Ysla picked up the save with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.
Cup of Coffee 9/4: It was a night of low-scoring games for the affiliates, as Salem was the only team to score more than four runs, putting up nine in a blowout win behind a banner day from Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured). A strong performance by Sean O'Sullivan led Pawtucket to victory while struggles from Kevin McAvoy and Roniel Raudes ended in a pair of losses. The DSL Red Sox1 won the first game of the DSL finals in an exciting walk-off win in the 14th inning.
Starting pitcher Sean O'Sullivan led the PawSox to victory with a strong performance on Saturday night. O'Sullivan tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out eight. Roman Mendez tossed 1 2/3 innings of shutout baseball before turning the ball over to Austin Maddox and Heath Hembree for a scoreless frame each. The PawSox bats drew first blood in the third inning, when Jose Vinicio and Rusney Castillo each doubled to start the inning. Pawtucket's only other run came via a fifth-inning RBI single off the bat of Ryan LaMarre, scoring Castillo.
9/3 Cup of Coffee: The Spinners had a historic night as they swept a doubleheader and gained further clarity on their playoff situation. Meanwhile, the PawSox and Sea Dogs both lost. Salem and Greenville both came away with wins, while the DSL Sox won their opening playoff series in walk-off fashion.
The PawSox ended up on the wrong end of a pitcher's duel, dropping a close 1-0 decision in ten innings. Roenis Elias (pictured, right) took the mound for Pawtucket, allowing just three hits and two walks in six shutout innings. The left-hander struck out nine, throwing 59 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Noe Ramirez added two scoreless innings of relief, punching out three. Chandler Shepherd took the loss, allowing the lone run of the game during his inning of relief. Pawtucket mustered just three hits, with Chris Marrero's double accounting for the team's only runner to reach scoring position.