March 7, 2016 at 12:00 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- With the SoxProspects crew about two weeks away from being down in Fort Myers, Chris, Ian, and Matt spoke with Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe about some of the young players who have caught his eye so far in spring training. Sam Travis (pictured) and Yoan Moncada were two of the players who Abraham spoke very highly of on the most recent episode of the Podcast.
- The Red Sox announced that they signed David Murphy to a minor league contract last week. Murphy was Boston's first-round pick back in 2003, and he was dealt to the Rangers as part of the Eric Gagne deal in 2007. Murphy hit .283 over 132 games with the Indians and Angels last year, and he has a March 27 opt-out date.
- After a 50-game suspension ended his promising 2015 season, Michael Kopech told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe that the suspension was actually a "blessing in disguise." Despite putting up gaudy numbers during his time in Greenville, Kopech used the time away to work on his mechanics and his changeup, and the work should help him become a more polished pitcher who relies on more than just velocity to get outs.
- With the injury to Eduardo Rodriguez already putting a focus on the pitching depth, the five strikeouts in two innings from Henry Owens in his spring debut was a pleasant sight for Red Sox fans. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal talked with Owens about the importance of getting his feet wet at the major league level last season, and how that has helped him see the big picture as he begins his 2016 season.
- Another important arm in the depth chart is Brian Johnson, who took the mound for the first time since being shut down on August 2 of last season. Despite the sub-par results, Johnson was ecstatic to be back on the mound, and he told Britton that the difference in his health is night-and-day compared to the last time he was active.
- With Christian Vazquez set to appear in his first game tomorrow since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Britton talked to Dan Butler about the advice that Butler has been giving Vazquez now that he is throwing close to full-strength. Not many catchers have had the surgery, so Butler is in a unique position to help Vazquez as he continues his rehab.
- Abraham talked to Vazquez a few days back, with the catcher expressing how eager he his to get back on the field.
- Speier had an interesting note at the bottom of Sunday's 108 Stitches (editor's note: the link changes from day-to-day, and therefore no longer shows this story), discussing how Mauricio Dubon has become a leader among the minor leaguers, and how he is currently living with Xander Bogaerts. Dubon was overshadowed in Greenville's crowded infield last year, but with Javier Guerra being traded to the Padres, he should get most of the playing time at shortstop for Salem this season.
- The Dubon hype continued, as Baseball America ranked him as the 12th best second base prospect in baseball. Moncada topped the list, while Wendell Rijo came in at 13th.
- Jim Callis of MLB.com released his rankings of the top 30 prospects in the Red Sox system last week, a system that he puts as the sixth-best in the game. Comparing it to the SoxProspects.com top 30, the top 10 is very similar, but there are some notable differences further down the list. Callis has Travis Lakins all the way up at 11th, and Roniel Raudes at 14, while Trey Ball is down at 19 and Teddy Stankiewicz did not make the list.
- With spring training games in full swing, many players from minor league camp saw time in major league contests. This week, the following minor leaguers got into games with the big league club: Forrest Allday, Justin Haley, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mike Miller, Yoan Moncada, Joseph Monge, Henry Ramos, Rainel Rosario, Robby Scott, Chandler Shepherd, Cole Sturgeon, Luis Ysla, Chris Marrero, Danny Mars, Jorge Marban, and Mike McCarthy.
- For any of our readers who are heading down to spring training, Kelly O'Connor posted the minor league game schedule to our forum last week.
- In an effort to help develop pitchers, in particular the mindset of relievers as they sit in the bullpen preparing to come into the game, the Red Sox have hired former big leaguer Keith Foulke as a player development consultant. It is a newly-created position, and Foulke will work with the minor leaguers on their in-game development.
- Lastly, the week would not be complete without a Speier article about Mookie Betts. Mookie's confidence has soared after a successful 2015 campaign, and he is comfortable saying that he can be one of the best players in the league.
Photo Credit: Sam Travis by Kelly O'Connor