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SoxProspects News

March 6, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Fort Report: Benintendi catches fire, Swihart settles in

Beginning this week, we will be publishing two editions of the Fort Report/Notes columns every week through the end of the season. They will run every Monday and Thursday and cover all the relevant news for the Red Sox farm system.

Here are this week's minor league notes:
  • Chris, Matt, and Ian returned with their first Podcast of 2017, as they went over the current state of the system while also digging into the non-roster invitees currently in camp. The guys also reviewed some of the big winter trades which have left the system exceedingly thinner at the top. 
  • The site also has updated scouting reports on seven Lowell Spinners, highlighted by Bobby Dalbec. As a reminder, be sure to check out our new Scouting Log which will be updated every time new scouting information is available. Chris reports that more reports are in the pipeline, hopefully coming out this week, with at least one more top-ten prospect in the group.
  • After an initial scare a couple weeks ago in which he struggled to throw the ball back to the pitcher, Blake Swihart (pictured, right) has looked good behind the plate so far this spring. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe noted that Swihart looks comfortable defensively, and he spoke with manager John Farrell, who noted that Swihart's pitch-framing skills have improved.
  • A much bigger scare for the team was the concern over David Price's sore elbow. While the news on that ended up being positive, it did shine a light on the lack of pitching depth in the system. Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Herald noted this in a recent column, highlighting the struggles of Henry Owens which have continued this spring. 
  • Top prospect Andrew Benintendi has been the hottest hitter on the team, as he is 8 for 10 in his last three games with three doubles and two home runs. His 4-for-4 performance on Friday earned him the title of Spring Training Player of the Day on fanragsports.com. 
  • Another piece of the pitching depth is Kyle Kendrick, who was signed to a minor league deal in January. Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com wrote about how Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. has a long history with Kendrick and helped push the front office to sign him. 
  • Allen Craig has become a forgotten piece in the system after struggling in his limited appearances since coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014. His former manager, Mike Matheny, spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com and expressed his confidence in Craig's abilities. Matheny also got to manage against his son Tate, who came in as a pinch-runner for Xander Bogaerts and struck out in his only at-bat. 
  • One player who is off to an impressive start this spring is Deven Marrero, who is hitting over .400 with a couple extra-base hits. Marrero spoke with Christopher Smith of MassLive.com and noted that he has tweaked his mechanics after undergoing elbow surgery in November. He has been working with Red Sox hitting coaches Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez to use his athleticism more in his swing. 
  • Smith also talked with Luis Ysla (pictured, right) about growing up in Venezuela and working on his family's farm. His parents never had the money to allow him to play baseball full-time, so he never solely focused on the sport until 18 years old, which is why he was not signed by the Giants until he was 20. Now 24, Ysla hopes to continue making strides and help the major league team this season.
  • Another player who has made a good impression this spring is Sam Travis, who seems to be fully recovered from last year's ACL tear. Travis rarely smiles on the field and is very professional during interviews, so Smith interviewed Travis and some of his teammates to see if the first-baseman has a less-serious side. 
  • Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald caught up with top pitching prospect Jason Groome, who seems to be enjoying life as a professional so far. Groome revealed how he is motivated by doubters while also showing plenty of self-confidence. 
  • That interview with Groome is supplemented well with Brian MacPherson's article in The Providence Journal about the Red Sox drafting and developing starting pitching. While the Red Sox hope Groome can develop into the next Jon Lester, their track record in the draft and the high washout rate for high-school pitchers makes Groome's future seem more unpredictable than he let on in his interview with Silverman. 
  • The following minor league players saw action in major league games this past week: Tate Matheny, Mike Miller, Nick LonghiTeddy Stankiewicz, Tzu-Wei Lin, Taylor Grover, Danny Mars, Cole Sturgeon, Jose Rosario, Jantzen Witte, Heiker Meneses, Jalen Beeks, Ryan Court, Joseph Monge, and Kyri Washington.
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart and Luis Ysla by Kelly O'Connor