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SoxProspects News

March 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Fort Report: Swihart stays hot and Travis goes deep twice

Here are Monday's minor league notes:
  • Sam Travis (pictured, right), the fifth ranked prospect on SoxProspects.com, went deep twice on Friday, and after the game Red Sox manager Alex Cora praised the way Travis is controlling his at-bats. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald noted that Cora also wants to get Travis some corner outfield reps to increase his positional versatility. Travis hit only six home runs in 82 games with the PawSox last year, and increasing his power output will get him a longer look at the big league level.
  • Positional versatility is clearly a desirable trait for Cora, and he has mentioned Marwin Gonzalez a few times this spring as he stresses the importance of a player being able to field multiple positions. Cora coached Gonzalez on the Astros last season, and Gonzalez played every outfield position and every infield position except for catcher, all while hitting .303. In addition to Travis, Cora has played Esteban Quiroz in the outfield this spring even though he was exclusively an infielder over the last two years.
  • Blake Swihart has caught and played first base so far this spring, and getting playing time in the outfield seems like a good possibility for the soon-to-be 26-year-old. With his talent and the way he is hitting this spring he has earned a spot on a major league roster, and if that team is the Red Sox he will need to play multiple positions with Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon on the roster. 
  • With Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez unlikely to be healthy enough for Opening Day and Drew Pomeranz now dealing with a mild flexor strain in his left forearm, Brian Johnson is the top in-house candidate to open the season as the fifth starter. Johnson has allowed two hits and struck out two without allowing a walk in his four innings this spring, including two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday.
  • Another key depth piece is Jalen Beeks, who is more likely to start in Triple-A since he still has options remaining. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe talked with Beeks about his breakout 2017 campaign and how he is carrying that momentum into 2018. 
  • The pitching prospect showing arguably the best stuff in camp is Ty Buttrey, who in addition to showing a fastball that can touch triple digits has flashed a two-seam changeup with good movement. Christopher Smith of MassLive.com talked with Boston's vice president of pitching development Brian Bannister, and Bannister stressed the importance of Buttrey's changeup and his pre-pitch routine on the mound. If Buttrey can harness his stuff he could see his status rise from his current ranking of 28th on the SoxProspects.com list, and the fact that the Red Sox added him to the 40-man will help him get every chance to prove himself. 
  • Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald caught up with 2017 first-round pick Tanner Houck as he prepares for his first full season as a professional. One very interesting nugget from the article is how the Red Sox had Houck work on his four-seam fastball this offseason in lieu of his two-seam fastball, which he refers to as his "bread and butter". Houck said that his four-seamer has touched 98 mph. 
  • While top position prospect Michael Chavis has not played this spring due to an oblique injury, he was in the news over the weekend for a tribute to the late mother of his best friend. Smith has the full story on MassLive.com, and it is clear that she is one of Chavis' biggest inspirations. 
  • When the Red Sox played the Cardinals on Friday, Tate Matheny was able to play against his father, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Cora had the prospect bring out the lineup card, and Matheny led off for the Red Sox and went 0 for 2 with three walks and a run scored. 
  • The PawSox announced their 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, with 1975 Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Fred Lynn, and PawSox co-owner and vice chairman Mike Tamburro, who has been with the team since 1977, getting the honors. 
  • The following minor league players (not on the 40-man or a non-roster invitee to major league camp) saw action in major league games this Thursday through Sunday: Matheny, Nick Lovullo, Josh Smith, Daniel McGrath, Matthew Gorst, Jake Cosart, Matthew Kent, Jantzen Witte, Danny Mars, Adam Lau, Daniel Gonzalez, Trey Ball, Roniel Raudes, Mike Olt, Josh Ockimey, and Teddy Stankiewicz.
Photo Credit: Sam Travis by Kelly O'Connor