SoxProspects News

January 11, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Minor Notes: Minor league coaching staffs set, battle for the PawSox continues


As the baseball world waits for the hot stove to heat up, there have been a few pieces of notable news relating to Boston's minor league system over the last few weeks, as well as a few important updates from the SoxProspects.com staff.

  • The Red Sox announced the 2018 field staffs of their minor league affiliates earlier this week. In Pawtucket Kevin Boles will return for his fifth year as manager, where he will be rejoined by hitting coach Rich Gedman and assistant coach Bruce Crabbe. New to the staff is pitching coach Kevin Walker, who held the same position in Double-A Portland last season. 
    Portland’s coaching staff got a major overhaul, with Darren Fenster coming in to replace Carlos Febles (pictured with Michael Chavis), who moved up to become Boston’s third base coach and infield instructor. Fenster led Greenville to the South Atlantic League Championship in 2017, and this will be his seventh year overall in the Boston system. Paul Abbott will be his pitching coach after spending the last two years in Salem, and Lee May Jr. is staying on as hitting coach.
    Joe Oliver will once again head Salem’s coaching staff in 2018, with Nelson Paulino back as hitting coach. Lance Carter is moving up from Lowell to take over pitching coach duties.
    After managing Lowell for the last two seasons, Iggy Suarez is replacing Fenster as the manager of the Drive. He will have a lot of experience beside him in Bob Kipper, as the South Carolina native is moving down to Greenville after three seasons with the PawSox. This will be Kipper’s third stint as pitching coach for Greenville, and it will be his 20th year coaching in the Boston system.
    Corey Wimberly served as an assistant coach on the Drive last season and he is now taking the role of manager for the Lowell Spinners. Wimberly played professionally from 2005-16, so this will be his first managerial experience. Nick Green, who played in the minors for the Angels and Brewers from 2004-2010, will be joining the staff in his first year as pitching coach. 
    The most experienced member of the minor league field staff, Tom Kotchman, is returning for his 39th season as a minor league manager or scout and his fifth season as manager of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. He will be rejoined by pitching coach Dick Such and hitting coach Junior Zamora. New to the staff is 2003 American League Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa who will serve as an assistant coach.
    After going down to one team in the Dominican Summer League last season, the Red Sox announced that they will have two teams again in 2018. Aly Gonzalez will return to manage one of the teams, while Fernando Tatis is joining the organization to manage the other team. Tatis played 11 major league seasons for five different teams before retiring in 2010. Jose Zapata will return for his 12th season as the Latin American field coordinator. 
  • On January 5 the Red Sox announced that they extended the player development contracts with Pawtucket and Lowell, with both contracts running through 2020. The partnership with Pawtucket has been in effect since 1973, while Lowell has been affiliated since 1996. 
  • This contract extension will not be impacted by any potential move for the PawSox. It is a two-city race between staying in Pawtucket and moving to Worcester, Mass. Rhode Island's Senate Finance Committee voted 8-1 to approve a new riverfront ballpark in Pawtucket that includes $44 million of public funding. The bill will now move to the full Senate before possibly facing a tough battle in the House of Representatives.  
  • While the specifics of any potential Worcester move are unknown, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien referred to the risk of losing the PawSox as "real", and PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino has visited Worcester City Hall. 
  • Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus released their top 10 prospects in the Red Sox system, with both outlets agreeing on Jay Groome (pictured) as the top prospect and Michael Chavis at number two. They diverged from there, with BA being high on Darwinzon Hernandez and Cole Brannen, while BP was higher on Josh Ockimey and Lorenzo Cedrola
  • While no major player movement has happened yet this offseason, several players have entered or left the system since our last update. 
  • The Red Sox selected Andy Ferguson and Luke Tendler in the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Ferguson has been injured for most of the past two years but the right-hander had strong seasons on the mound in the Royals system in 2014 and 2015. Tendler is an outfielder who was selected from Texas, and he will likely start the 2018 season in Portland. He hit .245/.315/.405 in Double-A last season.
  • Dan Butler, Mike Olt, Conrad Gregor, Ivan De Jesus, and William Cuevas were all signed to minor league deals. Butler, Olt, and Gregor were all in Boston's system last season, and a brief write-up of De Jesus was included in this week's Fall/Winter League Roundup. Cuevas returns to the Boston system where he spent eight seasons from 2009-16 before playing in Detroit and Miami's systems last season. 
  • On the way out of the system are Ryan Oduber, Mitchell Gunsolus, Bryan Hudson, Mike Meyers, Steven Reveles, Jose Sermo, Dakota Smith, Tucker Tubbs, and Yomar Valentin, who were all released. Tyler Spoon, who was drafted out of the University of Arkansas in 2015 along with Andrew Benintendi, retired.
  • The SoxProspects ownership group got a little bigger this year, as Senior Database Engineer Mike Reynolds, Senior Web Editor Matt Picard, and Senior Staff Writers Jim Crowell, James Dunne, and Will Woodward all joined Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews, Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, and Director of Scouting Ian Cundall as members of the site’s ownership team. 
  • Two job openings have recently been posted for the 2018 season, with one being for a Contributing Editor and the other for a Social Media Specialist. Please visit those links for more information on the positions as well as the application process.
Photo Credit: Carlos Febles, Michael Chavis, and Jay Groome by Kelly O'Connor

 
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