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SoxProspects News

December 2, 2016 at 1:27 PM

November Notes: Prospect rankings and new CBA

Here are this month's minor league notes:
  • 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.
  • Seven players from the Red Sox organization participated in the Arizona Fall League this year: Michael Kopech (pictured, above), Yoan MoncadaMauricio Dubon, Trey Ball, Jamie Callahan, Jalen Beeks, and Danny Mars. Following the season, Baseball Prospectus took a look at each player's fall performance (save for Moncada, who played in just six games due to injury) and how their stock has changed. 
  • Kopech in particular impressed during the fall, turning in a notable performance in the Fall Stars game. In two innings, Kopech did not allow a baserunner and struck out three batters while touching 100 mph five times according to MLB.com. In 22 1/3 innings for Surprise during the season, Kopech pitched to a 2.01 ERA with 26 strikeouts and eight walks, six of which came in one start. Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked Kopech as the fourth-best prospect and the best pitching prospect in the Arizona Fall League. 
  • Kopech has had some struggles with staying on the field as he missed the end of the 2015 season after receiving a 50-game suspension for oxilofrine, a banned substance. He then missed the first two months of the 2016 season after breaking a bone in his right hand in an altercation involving a teammate. However, Kopech dominated when he was on the field in 2016 both in Salem and the Arizona Fall League and believes his controversies are behind him for good. 
  • One more of Boston's prospects received some recognition in Arizona as Dubon was named to the Fall Stars game via the Final Vote. In 18 games with Surprise, Dubon slashed .211/.273/.408 with three home runs and three stolen bases. This came after a breakout season between Salem and Portland which saw Dubon hit .323/.379/.461 with six home runs, all coming after the promotion to Portland. 
  • Christopher Smith of Masslive.com suggested a few Red Sox prospects that could make the jump to the major leagues in 2017. Among these names were Kopech, Dubon, first baseman Sam Travis, and relief pitchers Kyle Martin, Chandler Shepherd, and Luis Ysla
  • There was some movement in the Red Sox front office this month. The Red Sox promoted Frank Wren to senior vice president of player personnel, where he will report directly to team president Dave Dombrowski. Within the scouting department, Blair Henry was promoted from amateur scout to major league scout and Tim Huff was hired as a major league scout. 
  • Outfielder Rusney Castillo, whom the Red Sox signed to a seven-year contract worth $72.5 million in 2014, is scheduled to play in the Puerto Rican Winter League on December 8. The 29-year-old Castillo spent most of the 2016 season in Triple-A Pawtucket after the Red Sox outrighted him from the 40-man roster, hitting .263/.309/.354 in 103 games. 
  • Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Union were able to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the December 1st deadline. The most significant changes in the new agreement revolve around draft pick compensation, as teams will no longer forfeit first-round picks to sign players who decline a qualifying offer. Instead, teams will give up a third-rounder if they are under the luxury tax threshold and a second and fifth-round pick if they are above that line. Additionally, all teams will receive a hard bonus cap for international signings depending on their market and revenue status. In other minor changes, the minimum disabled list stint has been changed to 10 days, the All-Star game will no longer determine home-field advantage in the World Series, and incoming players will be banned from using smokeless tobacco during games (though current users will be grandfathered in).
  • The Red Sox have been quiet this offseason, as they are yet to add a player to the major league roster. They appear to have a rationale for their inaction, as Dave Dombrowski and staff were waiting until the players and owners settled on a new CBA, which determined the luxury tax threshold will be around $195 million. 
  • Ben Buchanan of Over the Monster breaks down how the changes in the new CBA will affect the Red Sox. The new rules around international signings will hurt the Red Sox, but not as much as the proposed international draft, while the new qualifying offer rules will allow Boston to be more active on the free agent market, especially as the luxury tax threshold increases in upcoming seasons. 
Photo Credit: Michael Kopech by Kelly O'Connor