SoxProspects News

January 25, 2016 at 6:32 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Championship series underway


This week's roundup covers play for the period of January 18-24. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Dominican Professional Baseball League

Not much happened in the Dominican League this past week for Red Sox players. Roman Mendez appeared in Este's one-game playoff against Escogido and went 1/3 of an inning, allowing four hits and an earned run in the loss. Marco Hernandez has yet to make an appearance for Licey, which is currently down four games to one in the best-of-nine championship series. 
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January 22, 2016 at 8:00 AM

2015 Graduates in Review: Blake Swihart


As an extension of our Top 40 in Review series, we are featuring the seven players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 40 during the 2015 season and graduated from prospect status. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2015 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs, Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 87 PA, .321/.368./370, 0 HR, 6 BB, 16 K (minors); 309 PA, .274/.319/.392, 5 HR, 18 BB, 77 K (majors)
Peak System Ranking: 1 (June, 2015)
Graduated: July 2015 (#1)
Season in Review: 2014 | 2013
Links:

Season in Review: Ever since being drafted with the 26th overall pick in 2011, Blake Swihart’s stock has been on the rise. He has only ever known the top 10 in the SoxProspects rankings and has slowly crept up through those ranks, eventually landing at the top of the rankings at the end of the 2014 season. While he struggled during his short, 18-game stint at Pawtucket to end 2014, he began 2015 on fire. He hit .338/.392/.382 over his first 18 games, showing he was capable of holding more than his own at the level despite being almost four years younger than the average Triple-A position player. Along the way, he collected Player of the Week honors for the first full week of the season, April 13-19, when he had 12 hits in 25 at-bats (.480 average) and hit safely in each game he played.
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at 6:00 AM

Help Wanted: Writers, Editors


SoxProspects.com is seeking applicants for the positions of Staff Writer and Staff Editor for the 2016 season. See below for details.
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January 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Red Sox bring back Dan Butler on minor league deal


The Red Sox have signed veteran catcher Dan Butler to a minor league contract. Butler returns to the Red Sox organization where he played from 2009 to 2014, making a brief seven-game appearance for the 2014 major league team. The contract includes an invitation to major league spring training, and was originally reported by Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.

Butler, 29, originally signed with the Red Sox in 2009 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona where he had been the backup catcher. Like most undrafted player he was not originally regarded as a prospect, but his strong .310/.411/.482 season in 2010 between Low A Greenville and High A Salem earned him recognition as a South Atlantic League All-Star.
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January 20, 2016 at 7:00 AM

2015 Graduates in Review: Eduardo Rodriguez


As an extension of our Top 40 in Review series, we are featuring the seven players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 40 during the 2015 season and graduated from prospect status. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
2015 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 48 ⅓ IP, 2.98 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 44 K, 7 BB (minors); 121 ⅔ IP, 3.85 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 98 K, 37 BB (majors)
Peak System Ranking: 1 (June 30, 2015)
Graduated: July 2015 (#1)
Season in Review: 2014
Links:
Rodriguez optioned to Pawtucket
2015 SoxProspects Pre-Season All-Stars
Dunne: System Restart, Upper Level Pitchers
April Pitcher of the Month
Cundall: The Write-Up, May 5
Rodriguez called up to Boston
Rodriguez named SoxProspects.com Graduate of the Year

Season in Review: Expectations were high for the 22-year-old Venezuelan coming into 2015 following an electrifying debut with the Sea Dogs after being acquired for Andrew Miller at the trade deadline in 2014. Rodriguez pitched to a 0.96 ERA over 37 1/3 innings with Portland to close out that season. He started 2015 in Pawtucket, where he was dominant over his first four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings. His next four starts were hot-and-cold, as he went 1-3 with a 4.18 ERA, but he still was missing bats, striking out 22 over 23 2/3 innings.
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January 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Ramos and Castillo combine for 16 hits


This week's roundup covers play from the period of January 11-17. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason. 

Dominican Professional Baseball League

The Round Robin playoffs finished yesterday, with Licey advancing to the championship series. Este and Escogido finished tied with 9-9 records, and they will play a one-game playoff today, with the winner moving on to play Licey. Aneury Tavarez (pictured) and the Estrellas have been eliminated, with Tavarez going 3 for 10 with a triple and a walk last week. Roman Mendez appeared in three game for Este, allowing one run in 2 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out one. 
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at 7:00 AM

2015 Graduates in Review: Henry Owens


As an extension of our Top 40 in Review series, we are featuring the seven players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 40 during the 2015 season and graduated from prospect status. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2015 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 122 1/3 IP, 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 103 K, 56 BB (minors); 63 IP, 4.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 50 K, 24 BB (majors)
Peak System Ranking: 2 (Feb. 6, 2015)
Graduated: October 2015 (#4)
Season in Review: 2014 | 2013 | 2012
Links

Season in Review: After struggling in his second major league spring training, Owens returned to Pawtucket to start the 2015 season with the goal of preparing himself for his first major league call-up. It was clear from seeing Owens early in the year—if not, perhaps, from listening to him and his coaches, who would deny as much in later interviews—that he was not throwing his outstanding changeup in order to work on other parts of his game, namely his fastball command and his other secondaries, a curveball and a slider, the latter a new offering for the tall lefty. As a result, his early-season results, at least statistically, were middling. In his first 12, starts, Owens only allowed 44 hits and a .196 batting average over 64 1/3 innings, but he walked 44 batters and struck out just 51, both career-worst rates. His 3.64 ERA may not have stood out as particularly bad, but his inability to limit free passes stood out as particularly worrisome.
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January 15, 2016 at 7:30 AM

2015 Graduates in Review: Matt Barnes and Travis Shaw


As an extension of our Top 40 in Review series, over the next two weeks we will feature the seven players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 40 during the 2015 season and graduated from prospect status. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

2015 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox
Final Stats: 37 2/3 IP, 4.06 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 41 K, 22 BB (minors); 43 IP, 5.44 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 39 K, 15 BB (majors)
Peak System Ranking: 1 (July 13, 2012)
Graduated: July 2015 (#9)
Season in Review: 2014 | 2013 | 2012
Links

Season in Review: Barnes ended 2014 by transitioning to the bullpen after spending his entire professional career as a starter. Entering spring training 2015, the Red Sox intended to stretch him out as a starter, but midway through camp, the club decided to look at him in a relief role to potentially keep him on the major league roster to start the year, rather than in Pawtucket as rotation depth. That indecision on the team's part marked Barnes's 2015 season, as he bounced back and forth between the two roles all season, failing to get comfortable in either.
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at 2:10 AM

Red Sox announce 2016 minor league coaching staffs


The Red Sox announced the field staffs and player development personnel for the 2016 season on Thursday. Despite the shakeup at the top of the front office at the end of last season with the hiring of Dave Dombrowski as the new team president, Ben Crockett has continued in his role as Director of Player Development and the field staffs from 2015 have been largely retained. 

Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox

Manager: Kevin Boles (pictured, right)
Coach: Bruce Crabbe
Pitching Coach: Bob Kipper
Hitting Coach: Rich Gedman
Senior Trainer: Jon Jochim
Strength and Conditioning: Kirby Retzer
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January 13, 2016 at 10:29 PM

Red Sox add Brennan Boesch among eight non-roster invitees


The Red Sox announced the addition of eight more players to Major League spring training as non-roster invitees. That brings the total of non-roster invitations up to 14 after announcing six others were signed in mid-December. The newest group includes infielders Josh Rutledge and Sam Travis, outfielders Allen Craig and Brennan Boesch, catcher Sandy Leon, and pitchers Ramon Mendez, Danny Rosenbaum, and Kyle Martin.

The signing of Boesch had not been previously announced, and he is the only one of this group who is new to the Red Sox organization. The tall left-handed hitter is familiar to Dave Dombrowski, as the Red Sox president of baseball operations drafted him in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers. He posted a solid .729 OPS with 42 home runs over his first three seasons at the major league level with Detroit. Since leaving Detroit in 2012, Boesch has bounced around and has not received more than 94 plate appearances in the majors in one season. He spent last season with the Cincinnati Reds organization, posting a .146/.191/.202 line.
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at 8:00 AM

2015 Graduates in Review: Heath Hembree and Steven Wright


As an extension of our Top 40 in Review series, over the next two weeks we will feature the seven players who were ranked in the SoxProspects.com Top 40 during the 2015 season and graduated from prospect status. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

Steven Wright, RHP
2015 Teams: Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox
Final Stats: 72 2/3 IP, 4.09 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 52 K, 27 BB (majors); 52 IP, 3.81 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 42 K, 15 BB (minors)
Peak System Ranking: 21 (Oct. 10, 2014)
Graduated: June 2015 (#31)
Season in Review2014 
Links

Season in Review: Spending his third full season with the Red Sox on the I-95 shuttle, Wright recorded more than twice as many innings in the majors in 2015 as he had the prior two combined, earning nine starts. With Joe Kelly beginning the season on the disabled list, the knuckleballer actually broke camp with the major league club as an extra arm, in case Kelly could not make his first start. Instead, he wound up a key piece of an early season win in the Bronx, pitching the 15th through 19th innings to pick up the win on April 10 in his lone appearance before heading down to Pawtucket. Wright made four starts for the PawSox during this stint, allowing eight earned runs in 11 innings in his first two outings before a seven-day layoff thanks to a one-day call-up in which he did not pitch. After returning, he threw two, seven-inning gems in which he allowed one run on seven hits and five walks while striking out 14.
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January 11, 2016 at 9:52 AM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Playoffs continue in earnest


This week's roundup covers play from the period of January 4-10. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Dominican Professional Baseball League

Aneury Tavarez saw quite a bit of action this week, as Estrellas move to 4-8 in the Round Robin playoffs. Tavarez was 8 for 22 with a two run home run in six games this week.

Roman Mendez made three appearances this week for Toros, hurling 3.1 innings, allowing two hits and three walks.
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at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Yoan Moncada


Today, we finish recapping the Top 40 with the top-ranked player in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. Wednesday will mark the beginning of the 2015 Graduates in Review series. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#1 Yoan Moncada, 2B
2015 Teams: Greenville Drive
Final stats: 363 PA, .278/.380/.438, 8 HR, 42 BB, 83 K, 49 SB
Peak Ranking: 1 (current)
Links:
Report: Red Sox have agreement to sign Moncada for $31.5M
Cundall: Scouting Scratch, March 27
2015 SoxProspects Pre-Season All-Stars
Dunne: System Restart 2015: Middle Infielders
Yoan Moncada to debut with Greenville on Monday
Cundall: Scouting Scratch: August 18
Moncada's big year nets him multiple South Atlantic League honors
August Player of the Month
2015 SoxProspects.com All-Stars
Travis, Moncada highlight Red Sox minor league awards

2015 Season in Review: At this time a year ago, Yoan Moncada had one of the brightest futures of any amateur player in the world. What he did not yet have was a team. After leaving his native Cuba in a move that did not follow the usual defection narrative in June 2014, Moncada established residency in Guatemala and was granted free agency by Major League Baseball in November. The 19-year-old phenom’s status as a potentially franchise-altering talent made him one of the most talked about players of the winter. The Moncada thread on the SoxProspects.com Forum had already surpassed 20 pages of posts even before the report came in that he and the Red Sox had agreed to a contract.
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January 8, 2016 at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Rafael Devers


This week, we recap the players ranked 43, and 2 in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#2, Rafael Devers, 3B
2015 Teams: Greenville Drive
Final Stats: 508 PA, .288/.329/.443, 11 HR, 24 BB, 84 K, 3 SB
2015 Peak Ranking: 2 (current)
Season in Review: 2014
Links:

Season in Review: Rafael Devers entered his first full season as a professional in 2015 and he did not disappoint. At just 18 years old, Devers was a full 3 1/2 years younger than the average age of his competition in the South Atlantic League. Still, after an adjustment period of about a week, he caught fire, hitting .352/.382/.517 with three home runs from April 18 to June 1. The league caught up to him by June, however, and he spent the rest of the season alternating between stretches of slumping (e.g., .154/.258/.295, 2 home runs from July 24 to August 17) and stretches of success (e.g., .365/.375/.596, 3 home runs from July 6-22). Still, his success at a very age-advanced level earned him national notice, and mid-season, he was selected as the second-youngest player to the MLB Futures Game, going 0 for 2 in the exhibition, as well as to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. He finished his 2015 with 43 at-bats in the Dominican Winter League, where he hit .279/.340/.349 despite being very young for that circuit as well.
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January 6, 2016 at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Anderson Espinoza


This week, we recap the players ranked 4, 3, and 2 in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#3 Anderson Espinoza, RHP
2015 Teams: DSL Red Sox, GCL Red Sox, Greenville Drive
Final Stats: 58 1/3 IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 65 K, 14 BB.
2015 Peak Ranking: 3 (Current)
Links
Dunne: System Restart, Low Minors Pitchers
Anderson Espinoza promoted to GCL
June Pitcher of the Month
Espinoza promoted to Greenville
August Pitcher of the Month
2015 SoxProspects.com All-Stars
SoxProspects.com 2015 season-end award winners
Cundall: Scouting Scratch, October 16

Season in Review: Espinoza has been garnering attention since he was very young, and that led to him being signed out of Venezuela last year as an international amateur free agent for a bonus of $1.8 million, more than double the signing bonus of any Venezuelan pitcher ever. His high profile and advanced stuff led to the then 16-year-old being ranked 30th on the SoxProspects.com rankings entering the year. That may seem low at first glance considering his meteoric rise this season but was actually very impressive for someone of his age and inexperience.
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January 5, 2016 at 1:00 PM

December Notes: Sox make rule 5 selections, Cecchini traded


Here are this month's minor league notes:

  • The Red Sox did not make any major moves in the Rule 5 draft, but they were able to add a couple right-handed pitchers to the minor league system. Jhonny Polanco was selected from St. Louis and Anyelo Leclerc was selected from Texas. Both saw time at the Double-A level in 2015. Boston also lost outfielder Jesus Loya to the Chicago Cubs.
  • Boston also made six minor league signings. William Cuevas, who has been with the Red Sox organization since 2009, signed along with Anthony Varvaro, Sean O'Sullivan, Chris Dominguez, Ryan LaMarre, and Ali Solis.
  • Garin Cecchini, who was once highly regarded as a prospect, was dealt to the Brewers. The Red Sox received cash considerations in return. Cecchini began his career with the Red Sox in 2010 when he was drafted in the fourth round. After putting up huge numbers early in his career, Cecchini tailed off significantly once he reached Pawtucket.
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at 7:00 AM

SoxProspects.com's Top Posts of 2015


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!

- Chris
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January 4, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Fall/Winter League Roundup: Playoffs underway in Dominican, Venezuelan Leagues


This week's roundup covers play from the period of December 28-January 3. For the full list of Red Sox prospects participating in offseason action, check out our Fall and Winter Leagues page, which will be updated continuously through the end of the offseason.

Dominican Professional Baseball League

In the midst of the playoffs, a few Red Sox minor leaguers have found success. In the first two games of the week for Oriente, Aneury Tavarez was a defensive sub then a pinch-hitter. He singled in his pinch-hitting appearance, earning himself a few starts. He was the DH for the next two games, going 1 for 4 with a walk overall. He played left field on Sunday and came up big, going 2 for 5 with a  triple, a home run, two RBI, and one run scored. Marco Hernandez also had a big week by going 4 for 6 with three walks and two runs. He did not play in the team's final two games of the week, however. Romon Mendez made three appearances and went 3 2/3 innings while allowing five hits, four runs (one earned), one walk, and two strikeouts.
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at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Manuel Margot


As we near the end of our countdown, this week we will recap the players ranked 4, 3, and 2 in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#4 Manuel Margot, CF
2015 Teams: Salem Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs
Final Stats: 480 PA, .276/.324/.419, 6 HR, 32 BB, 51 K, 39 SB
2015 Peak Ranking: 3 (May, August-September)
Season in Review: 2013 | 2014
Links

Season in Review: The 21-year-old athletic center fielder entered the year ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the system on the SoxProspects.com rankings after a 2014 season that saw him impress in both Greenville and Salem. He got 2015 off to a similarly strong start, hitting .362/.391/.586 with six stolen bases over his first 15 games. He garnered headlines as the last player in the minor leagues to strike out, failing to whiff in his first 62 at-bats of the season and continuing his streak including the end of last season to combine for an amazing 79 at-bats. However, after that strong start, even while continuing to not strike out, his numbers collapsed as he tried to play through what would eventually be diagnosed as a strained intercostal muscle. Over his next 12 games, he hit just .116/.204/.116 before finally heading to the disabled list for 20 days. In 19 games after coming off the disabled list, Margot hit .313/.337/.463, even despite some rust in his first week back, and he was promoted to Double-A Portland on June 21. Shortly afterward, his selection to the 2015 Futures Game was announced, where he later went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, starting in center field and hitting seventh for the World team.
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January 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Andrew Benintendi


This week, we recap the players ranked 7, 6, and 5 in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#5 Andrew Benintendi, OF
2015 Teams: Lowell Spinners, Greenville Drive
Final Stats: 239 PA, .313/.416/.556, 11 HR, 35 BB, 24 K, 10 SB
2015 Peak Ranking: 4 (Current)

Links:

Season in Review: Benintendi was already having a memorable 2015 season before even signing his first professional contract. Coming off a solid-but-unspectacular freshman season, the University of Arkansas center fielder was not even rated among the top 50 sophomores in the nation by Baseball America. A monstrous breakout season helped carry the Razorbacks to the double elimination phase of the College World Series, earned him nearly every award he was eligible for, and placed him among the top prospects in June’s upcoming draft. He hit .376/.488/.717 with 20 home runs and 24 stolen bases, winning the Golden Spikes Award (top amateur player), Dick Howser Award (top college player), Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year, and First Team All-American honors.
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