January 5, 2016 at 7:00 AM
Happy New Year! As we turn the page from 2015 to 2016, there is plenty of hope in Red Sox Nation despite the club's third last-place divisional finish in the past four seasons. A new
General Manager President of Baseball Operations, a new ace, and a new closer joining an exciting young core of players brings that excitement for a new season.
As we do at this time of year, we like to take a look back during the offseason at the year that was. One way we do that is through our Top 40 Season in Review series, which will reach number 3 in the countdown tomorrow and continue into the new year, followed by our 2015 Graduates in Review. We also enjoy looking back at our top posts of the past year. Although, for some reason, we missed last season (oops?), it's fun to look back at what everyone wanted to read about in 2013 and 2012 (love that shot of Xander in the parade at the top of the 2013 post - nice work, Kelly).
Thank you to everyone for reading (and listening!) in 2015, and cheers to a great 2016!
#10: Trade Analysis: Scouting Anthony Ranaudo, by Ian Cundall, Jan. 27
Our Trade Analysis series has proven to be a favorite of SoxProspects readers (spoiler: it pops up again near the top of the list). At the beginning of the year, the Sox traded right-hander Anthony Ranaudo to Texas for left-handed reliever Robbie Ross, Jr. Sox fans wanting one last read on what the club was giving up, as well as, perhaps, Rangers fans wanting to see what they were getting, checked Ian's report out in a big way for a January piece. As we noted then, the trades of Ranaudo and, previously, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa cleared up the rotation picture on the southern side of the I-95 shuttle. For his part, Ranaudo spent most of the season in Triple-A putting up middling numbers in the Pacific Coast League (7-6, 4.58 ERA, 1.44 WHIP in 21 starts) while getting hit pretty good in his four MLB appearances, two of which were starts (7.63 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 11 K/8 BB in 15 1/3 IP).
#9: Red Sox select Andrew Benintendi with the seventh overall pick, by Will Woodward, June 8
Our readers were pretty excited about the Red Sox having the number 7 overall pick in this June's draft, and the selection of Andrew Benintendi (pictured) in that spot has done nothing to quiet that excitement. The consensus collegiate player of the year as a draft-eligible sophomore, little did we know that "Benny Baseball"—or, as I prefer, Ben Nintendo—was just getting started with a monster 2015 campaign. We'll see more of him below.
#8: Scouting Scratch: Trey Ball, by Ian Cundall, March 24
Keeping on the theme of number 7 overall picks, after an up-and-down 2014, many SoxProspects readers were quite interested in how Trey Ball looked in camp this spring, pushing Ian's report from Fort Myers onto this list. Flashing a plus-to-better changeup and sitting in the low-90s, Ball flashed the potential that led the Sox to take him in the first round in 2013, but unfortunately, that potential failed to lead to consistent results for most of the 2015 season.
#7: Weekly Notes: Blake Swihart's hot start; Rusney Castillo on the mend, by Eric Gendron, April 20
Every year, one or two entries on this list confuse me. This year, this is the one. Was it that Ball and Blake Swihart (pictured) were the players of the week? The plans for the proposed--and since scuttled--new stadium in Providence for the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate? Did Eric send this to his entire extended family? (Just kidding, Eric.) Beats me, but a bunch of you read this, which we are happy about because our staff puts a lot of work into the Weekly Notes.
#6: 2015 Red Sox Draft Preview, by Mike Andrews, June 4
Again, early pick means you all want to know what's up, and this preview gave you that, listing not only Benintendi as a possibility for the Red Sox at number 7, but correctly tabbing Tate Matheny as a possibility for the Red Sox in the fourth round. And yes, I'm still bitter the Red Sox didn't pick Chris Chatfield. I guess there's always 2018?
#5: Scouting Scratch: Anderson Espinoza, Roniel Raudes, Logan Allen, and Josh Pennington, by Ian Cundall, Oct. 16
That first name is the big one of course, but this piece featured a trio of arms that many of you were interested in hearing about from Ian and Chaz Fiorino's first looks at the Fall Instructional League, as well as a fourth that should interest you. Espinoza's breakout was one of the big stories of the year in the farm system, representing the kind of potentially special arm the Red Sox have not had in the system since Clay Buchholz, and probably Jon Lester before that.
#4: Scouting Scratch: Yoan Moncada, by Ian Cundall, Aug. 18
Ah, the other huge international free agent-related story of the season. The news of Moncada (pictured) choosing to sign with the Red Sox in February/March was a huge deal, in large part because it seemingly came out of nowhere. More on that in a bit though. By August, Moncada had shaken off the rust and was starting to put up some pretty numbers, and when Ian and I took a trip down to Greenville (funded in large part by your donations, so thanks!), Ian wrote up why Moncada was starting to have success after a disappointing first half.
#3: BREAKING: Andrew Benintendi promoted to Greenville, by Chris Hatfield, Aug. 16
Here at SoxProspects, we don't just do scouting, and this was a case where we were able to break the news that the aforementioned top draft pick, Benintendi, was getting moved up to Greenville after making a mockery of the New York-Penn League. We actually expected this to happen around the turn of the month, so it was somewhat surprising that it even took until the 16th and the NYPL All-Star Break for Benintendi to get the bump to Greenville.
#2: Scouting Scratch: Yoan Moncada, by Ian Cundall, March 27
Same title, different time of year—yes, it's the Cuban guy again. Last offseason, more than half of the SoxProspects Forum members who participated in a poll thought Moncada was heading to the Yankees. But come February, the young infielder decided to sign with the Red Sox, and the wait for our first look at Moncada was on. This post went up following our trip to Spring Training (again, thanks!), which gave us that first, albeit limited, look at Moncada. Complete with video, we analyzed the heck out of the little bit of batting practice, fielding practice, and baserunning we saw, and readers happily lapped it up.
#1: Trade Analysis: Scouting the prospects dealt for Kimbrel, by Ian Cundall and Chaz Fiorino, Nov. 13
Told you this series was coming back. When the club deals four of the system's top 25 prospects, including two of the top six and three of the top 13, that's a huge deal for both Red Sox fans and, in this case, Padres fans. This recap of scouting reports on Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen (pictured at top, clockwise from top left) appears to be our most-read post in the history of the SoxProspects News Page. Did the Sox give up too much? We'll just have to wait and see. (Tip of the cap to Mike Andrews for the collage at the top of this post, by the way.)
Ten not enough for you? Fine. In chronological order, here are eleven honorable mentions for you to check out, including some features from Matt Huegel and Jon Meoli, our most-downloaded podcast of the season, some news, and of course, more scouting from Ian and Chaz.
Feb. 6: Owens, Johnson among eight invited to Red Sox Spring Training, by Eric Gendron
Feb. 19: Unveiling the updated SoxProspects scouting reports, stage one, by Chris Hatfield
March 2: Fort Report: Moncada Madness, by Will Woodward
March 18: Anxious Michael Chavis opens spring training with power display, by Jon Meoli
April 8: Pitching coach's prediction for Trey Ball turnaround came to fruition in 2014, by Jon Meoli
May 5: The Write-Up: Eduardo Rodriguez, by Chaz Fiorino
Aug. 4: The Write-Up: Benintendi, Basabe, and more from Lowell, by Chaz Fiorino
Aug. 7: Scouting Scratch: Rafael Devers, by Ian Cundall
Aug. 11: After surge up draft boards, Benintendi adjusting quickly to pro life, by Matt Huegel
Sept. 10: 2015 Fall Instructional League rosters and schedule take shape, by John Gray