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SoxProspects News

March 1, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Fort Report: New hires for SP as spring training ramps up

Here are this week's minor league notes from Fort Myers:
  • If you read the first edition of the Fort Report this year, you might have noticed something different. The byline read "by Shawn McGrath." Shawn is one of three new staff members to join the SoxProspects.com staff where he will adding content as a Contributing Editor. In addition to Shawn, please also welcome Tommy Cassell, who will also be a Contributing Editor, and Gabriel Fidler, who will act as the site's Social Media Specialist.
  • Now that the long winter is over, the SoxProspects.com podcast crew is back with a new, transaction-heavy episode that helps catch you up on the plethora of recent transactions and moves. They also speak with one of our Patreon contributors, Brian Morelli from SoxSignatures.com.
  • Baseball has always been a sport that utilized lots of statistics, and with the help of Bill James and others, this was taken to the next level with advanced statistics. The trend of utilizing advanced statistics has not slowed down, and the Red Sox have hired Ramon Vazquez as a coach to act as a liaison between the Red Sox advanced scouting department and the players and coaches. Mass Live's Jen McCaffrey dives into what that will look like as the 2018 season approaches.
  • Red Sox top prospect, left-hander Jason Groome, got a text this winter claiming to be from Red Sox ace Chris Sale. He thought his friends were messing with him, but McCaffrey tells the story of how it was actually Sale and how the two lefties pushed each other in workouts this offseason.
  • Red Sox manager Alex Cora has said that the team is approaching the year assuming neither Steven Wright nor Eduardo Rodriguez will be ready to start the season as they recover from knee injuries. That opens up opportunities for others, and the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham writes that Brian Johnson is making his case to be one of the benefactors.
  • SoxProspects.com's second-ranked prospect Michael Chavis has battled injuries throughout his professional career, including missing time the last two seasons with hand and arm injuries. On Sunday, Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reporting that Chavis was shut down this spring with an oblique injury and there was no timetable for his return. One hopes the Red Sox are being overly cautious here, but with his history, it does raise some concern. 
  • Speaking of Red Sox who have battled injuries, Blake Swihart (pictured, left) is having a great start to spring training over a very small sample. Prior to Thursday's game, he has hit .417/.500/.917 with 3 doubles, a home run, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He has seen time at catcher, DH, and first base. Swihart is finally back to full health, and Cora said he will be getting plenty of at-bats this spring to showcase what he can do writes MLB.com's Glenn Sattell.
  • Cora has already stated definitively that Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez are his catchers to begin the 2018 season, but that did not stop Matt Collins at Over the Monster from naming Swihart one of his five breakout candidates for this season.
  • As previously mentioned, Swihart has seen playing time all over the diamond in his professional career, and Collins takes a deeper look into his defense to see if it should be an area of concern.
  • One final injury note - infielder Marco Hernandez was sent back to Boston when he continued to experience discomfort in his surgically repaired left shoulder. He had a second procedure to "remove some hardware" Cora told reporters, and will miss all of spring training as a result.
  • As first reported by Brian MacPherson formerly of the Providence Journal, the Red Sox have signed lefty Tommy Layne to a minor league deal. Lane last pitched for the organization in 2015 pitching for both Pawtucket and the major league team. Last year, Layne pitched for the Yankees and Dodgers Triple-A affiliates and also threw 13 rough innings for the Yankees major league team.
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart by Kelly O'Connor.

Will Woodward is a Co-Owner and Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.