March 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM
Here are this week’s minor league notes:
- In the most recent episode of the SoxProspects.com podcast, Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, and Ian Cundall dug through a pre-camp mailbag and answered a number of your questions about the state of the farm.
- This week marked the annual SoxProspects.com scouting trip as Ian Cundall, Chaz Fiorino and the rest of the gang headed down to Red Sox spring training. On Wednesday, the guys headed to Port Charlotte to watch the High A and Low A teams take on the Rays. Then on Thursday, they stuck around Red Sox camp and took in High A and Low A games on the back fields of JetBlue Park. Their notes from the field include reports on Yoan Moncada, Anderson Espinoza, Luis Alexander Basabe, Michael Chavis, and more.
- The Red Sox have begun to trim their roster in earnest, cutting ten players from big league camp this week. Over the course of the week, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder Sean Coyle, left-handed pitcher Edwin Escobar, infielder Marco Hernandez, and right-handed pitcher Pat Light to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox also optioned left-handed pitcher Williams Jerez to Double-A Portland and reassigned non-roster invitees infielder Chris Dominguez, right-handed pitcher Kyle Martin, right-handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, and catcher Ali Solis, to minor league camp. With these cuts, the Red Sox roster currently stands at 45 players, including 11 non-roster invitees.
- The PawSox’ 2016 season will begin on April 7th and as fans file into McCoy Stadium, they’ll be able to visit the new PawSox Hall of Fame. On Wednesday, a 15-person panel determined that longtime owner Ben Mondor, as well as Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Jim Rice will make up the Hall’s inaugural class.
- It was already strongly suspected that left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez would begin the season on the disabled list, but Red Sox manager John Farrell removed all doubt on Thursday. Though Rodriguez did throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, the Red Sox want the southpaw to go through a full spring training and he likely won’t make his season debut until late April or May.
- With Rodriguez out of the picture to start the season, there is now a competition brewing for the fifth starter job between Steven Wright, Henry Owens, and Roenis Elias. Wright pitched on Wednesday, allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched. Owens continued his rough spring with a shaky start on Thursday, allowing four runs in 2 2/3 innings for the second consecutive time, and he appears to be destined to start the season in Pawtucket. Elias, on the other hand, may have gained a leg up on the competition by putting together a strong start on Friday against the Rays, allowing a run with five strikeouts and no walks over four innings.
- Speaking of position battles, Travis Shaw (pictured, above right) has emerged as an unexpected contender for the starting third base job. Shaw has torn the cover off the ball this spring, slashing .441/.472/.676 while looking adept at both first and third base. Meanwhile, incumbent Pablo Sandoval has been shaky defensively, though he has had a solid spring at the plate. On Saturday, Farrell noted that Shaw “could be competing for regular at bats” and declined to label Shaw as a utility player.
- Shaw, the son of major league relief pitcher Jeff Shaw, has a unique perspective on the controversy between the White Sox and Adam LaRoche and gave his thoughts on the situation.
- Another young Red Sox slugger named Travis, first baseman Sam Travis, has been making a name for himself in camp. Travis is having an incredible spring, hitting .600/.536/.920 and he had a particularly big day on Thursday in a win against the Orioles.
- Number four prospect Andrew Benintendi made his spring debut on Friday, starting in center field against the Twins. Benintendi made an impression in his first game, going 2 for 3 and sparking further excitement about his first full season as a professional.
- With inclement weather in Port St. Lucie on Sunday, David Price stayed in Ft. Myers and pitched in a simulated game against Red Sox minor leaguers rather than traveling with the team. He was particularly impressed with Moncada, describing the phenom’s tools and plate approach as “pretty impressive.”
- A pair of Red Sox minor leaguers got in on some World Baseball Classic qualifier action during the past week with William Cuevas representing Colombia and Jhonny Polanco suiting up for Nicaragua. Cuevas started against Spain on Thursday and tossed a gem, notching the win with four scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. After defeating Panama in the Panama City qualifier championship on Sunday, Cuevas and the Colombian team will advance to the World Baseball Classic in 2017. Polanco pitched twice during the week, allowing a run in 2/3 of an inning against Germany on Thursday and throwing a scoreless 1/3 of an inning on Saturday against the Czech Republic. Old friend Adrian Gonzalez led Mexico to victory by mercy rule over Nicaragua in the Mexicali Qualifier, cementing Mexico's place in next spring's Classic as well.
- In less cheerful news, outfielder Brennan Boesch fractured his right wrist in an attempt to make a diving grab and is out indefinitely.
- The following minor league players saw action in major league games this past week: Forrestt Allday, Luis Alexander Basabe, Andrew Benintendi, Jordan Betts, Jamie Callahan, Chad De La Guerra, Rafael Devers, Mauricio Dubon, Bryan Hudson, Tzu-Wei Lin, Nick Longhi, Deiner Lopez, Jorge Marban, Chris Marrero, Danny Mars, Henry Ramos, Joseph Monge, Josh Ockimey, Wendell Rijo, Rainel Rosario, Robby Scott, Chandler Shepherd, Aneury Tavarez, J.T. Watkins, Jantzen Witte, Luis Ysla
Photo Credit: Travis Shaw by Kelly O'Connor