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September 12, 2018 at 2:12 PM

Trey Ball's outfield conversion to highlight Fall Instructional League

A year after being mostly washed out by Hurricane Irma, the Red Sox 2018 Fall Instructional League will open on September 17, running through October 9 and featuring many of the system's top prospects.

"Fall Instructs," as it is often called, is used to develop players in the low minors and includes both classroom training as well as on-field workouts. The organization will have 55 players in Fort Myers this year, although the game schedule has been noticably slimmed to just nine games, five of which come against the Orioles, with two more each against the Rays and Germany's Under-23 team.

In the past, the schedule has featured between 12-15 games against the Twins, Rays, and Orioles (14 contests were on the 2016 slate). With teams opting to run fall camps focused more on intra-squad games—including the Twins, who will hold an exclusively intra-squad camp—the schedule has gotten much lighter this year. 

On the roster of invitees, perhaps most noteworthy is the inclusion of 2013 seventh-overall pick Trey Ball as an outfielder. Thought at the time of his selection to potentially have first-round talent as an outfielder as well as on the mound, it appears that the tall right-hander is making the conversion after limited success as a pitcher. As a reliever in Double-A this season, he posted a 7.58 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 26 walks in 65 1/3 innings.

Ball had reportedly been taking batting practice for most of the season, and it appeared this transition was in the works when Ball was the designated hitter in Portland's final two games, going 1 for 9 with 6 strikeouts and a memorable game-winning double in the season's penultimate game.

Fifteen 2018 draftees are on the roster, including the Red Sox' first three selections in third baseman Triston Casas, outfielder Nick Decker, and right-handed reliever Durbin Feltman. Ten of SoxProspects.com's top 20 prospects will participate as well, headlined by third-ranked Tanner Houck (pictured), fifth-ranked Casas, and seventh-ranked CJ Chatham.

Players on the roster will ready to participate on-field in some capacity, noteworthy given the presence of a number of players who were injured at the end of the season. This list includes pitchers Roniel Raudes (last start June 8) and Alexander Montero (July 6), catcher Roldani Baldwin (last game July 29), Casas (June 25), third baseman Danny Diaz (July 2), shortstop Antoni Flores (August 1), and outfielder Tyler Dearden (August 18). A number of players coming stateside from the Dominican Summer League have also had extended absences, although it is unclear if that was for injury: pitcher Aldo Ramirez (July 17), infielder Ceddanne Rafaela (August 6), and outfielder Angel Maita (August 6).

Finally, two players in camp—left-hander Josh Taylor and second baseman Esteban Quiroz—will be in camp tuning up for the Arizona Fall League, explaining their invitations despite their advanced status relative to the other players in camp.

Pitchers (19)

Yoan Aybar, Eduard Bazardo, Brayan Bello, Durbin Feltman, Tanner Houck, Francisco Lopez-Soto, Chris Machamer, Joan Martinez, Alexander Montero, Andrew Politi, Aldo Ramirez, Roniel Raudes, Yasel Santana, Zach Schellenger, Alex Scherff, Chase Shugart, Miguel Suero, Josh Taylor, Thad Ward.

Catchers (6)

Jonathan Diaz, Roldani Baldwin, Alan Marrero, Elih Marrero, Lane Milligan, Justin Qiang

Infielders (16)

Jecorrah Arnold, Triston Casas, Pedro Castellanos, CJ Chatham, Andre Colon, Danny Diaz, Ryan Fitzgerald, Antoni Flores, Devlin Granberg, Brandon Howlett, Everlouis Lozada, Brett Netzer, Nick Northcut, Esteban Quiroz, Ceddanne Rafaela, Kleiber Rodriguez

Outfielders (14)

Juan Carlos Abreu, Trey Ball, Cole Brannen, Marino Campana, Tyler Dearden, Nick Decker, Jarren Duran, Tyler Esplin, Gilberto Jimenez, Angel Maita, Bramdon Perez, Caleb Ramsey, Jagger Rusconi, Kervin Suarez


Sept. 21 vs. Orioles, 12 p.m.
Sept. 24 vs. Rays, 1 p.m.
Sept. 27 @ Rays, 1 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs. Team Germany, 12 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Team Germany, 12 p.m.
Oct. 3 @ Orioles, 12 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. Orioles, 12 p.m.
Oct. 8 @ Orioles, 12 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Orioles, 12 p.m.

Each of the remaining days between Sept. 17 and Oct. 9 will function as camp days, with intrasquad workouts. Much like minor league spring training, the games are frequently open to the public.

Photo Credit: Tanner Houck by Kelly O'Connor