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SoxProspects News

April 23, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Notes from the Field: 2017-2018 International Signees and more

At the end of March, the SoxProspects Staff made their annual trip to Minor League Spring Training. Over the next few weeks their notes and observations will be featured on SoxProspects News. Here is the sixth edition of Notes from the Field from Spring Training 2018 highlighting two more Greenville relievers and several 2017 international signees.

Though he went undrafted out of Western Carolina as a junior last year, left-hander Brendan Nail signed for $125,000 after a strong Cape Cod League season, that mark significantly representing the most the Red Sox could pay him without his bonus counting toward its draft signing bonus cap. Nail has an average frame and starts on the first base side of the rubber. He throws exclusively from the stretch from a high three-quarters arm slot with short arm action behind. He does a good job hiding the ball with his body and was tough for hitters to pick up, especially left-handers. 

Nail’s stuff does not stand out, however, so command and deception are how he will have to succeed. His fastball sat 86-89 mph and showed cut. He mixed in a breaking ball at 75-80 mph that looked like a curveball at lower velocities and more like a slider when thrown harder. 


A converted catcher, Devon Fisher is now in his third year of pitching and has continued to make steady improvement, earning a chance to make his full-season debut on the mound. Fisher still has a catcher’s build, short and stocky, with no remaining projection. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot and has a quick, short, arm action. His fastball sat 93-95 mph and he mixed in a slider at 83-85 that flashed above-average with two-plane, 10-to-4, break. 


Because the Red Sox were banned from signing international free agents in the 2016-17 signing period, the organization signed several older Latin American arms early in the 2017-18 signing period for smaller bonuses ($10,000 or lower) to bolster their DSL squad. (Typically, new signees do not play in the DSL the season they sign, at least in the Red Sox organization.) Several of those arms made their way stateside this spring, including Yasel Santana, Alberto Franco, Alexander Montero and Jose Bens

Alexander Montero, the youngest member of this group at 20 years old, was hit hard in a Low A game in Sarasota, but did show an interesting fastball/splitter combination. Montero has an athletic, projectable frame, listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, but was trying to overthrow at times, impacting his command. His fastball sat 90-92 mph with some life down in the zone, and he mixed in an inconsistent splitter at 86-88 mph as well as a slider. His splitter was his best pitch, showing late dive and falling off the table, down and out of the zone, at its best. 

21-year-old Yasel Santana showed off a live arm, topping out at 95 mph. He sat 92-94 mph, but had no command or control. Santana has a max-effort delivery with long arm action behind and hard head whack. He mixed in a firm changeup at 85-86 mph, but didn’t show much feel for the pitch. His curveball was slightly better at 81-82 mph with 12-to-6 shape. He didn’t consistently get over the pitch, and as a result it got slurvey at times when he got on the side of it. 

23-year-old Alberto Franco showed a fastball up to 94 mph. He’s undersized with minimum projection and has a max-effort delivery. 

Right-hander Jose Bens is the only member of this group that did not debut last year, signing on August 15. Bens is already 23 years old and is on the lanky side, but doesn’t have the build of someone who could support much additional weight. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and has unique pre-pitch motion, starting with a slight trunk twist before coming set at his waist. Bens throws form a three-quarters arm slot with a short leg kick and long arm action behind. He throws exclusively from the stretch and has rigid mechanics. Ben’s fastball sat 89-93 mph. He struggled with his command and control, giving up loud contact when he elevated the pitch, but also eliciting several swinging strikes. He complimented his fastball with a changeup at 83-84 mph and slurvey breaking ball at 76-78 mph with varying shape. 

Photo credit: Juan Florentino by Kelly O'Connor 

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.