SoxProspects News

April 15, 2020 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Where are they now? (Outfielders)


4/15 Cup of Coffee: We continue to check in on some players who started their rise in the Red Sox organization. Today we look at a group of outfielders ranging from an established major leaguer to a former top international signing struggling to get out of the New York-Penn League. 

It is now over four years from the still-polarizing deal that sent Margot and three other prospects to San Diego for Craig Kimbrel, and we still don’t have a terribly firm handle on how good Margot is. He’s still young (he’ll be 25 for most of a theoretical regular season) and he’s already amassed over 1500 major league plate appearances. He was good but not great in 2017, mediocre but not poor in 2018, and somewhere in between in 2019. If there’s been a disappointment in his development it’s with his contact skills. Margot had high contact rates in the minor leagues, including a memorable stretch where he began the 2015 season with only one strikeout in the entire month of April. In the majors, the K rate has floated close to 20%, keeping his batting averages a little too low for a player whose low walk rates and middling power make his offensive game rather base hit dependent. 


Still, there are signs that something of a breakout may be in the offing for Margot, which is likely why Tampa dealt on of the league’s most effective relievers in Emilio Pagan to acquire him this winter. First, his defensive metrics are strong. Similar to Jackie Bradley Jr., the player who was blocking his path with Boston. Margot combines decent speed (though the plus-plus from his minor league scouting profile no longer applies) with excellent jumps and a good arm. Away from the cavernous dimensions off Petco Park he delivered a strong .188 isolated slugging in 2019 (compared with a .114 at home). The Rays have a strong record of major league scouting, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see Margot become a thorn in Boston’s side with its AL East rivals.

NOTE: I expect that most of you reading this are fairly well versed on where Manuel Margot is now, and these two paragraphs... and perhaps this whole exercise... were just a pretext to run Kelly’s picture from Spring Training 2014.

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Like Santiago Espinal, discussed in Tuesday’s entry, Cedrola was one of the few bright spots in Boston’s minor league system in the first half of the 2018 campaign, and the organization used that as an opportunity to try to sell high. Cedrola, 20 years old when he was dealt for international bonus pool money, was hitting .318/.350/.427 in 50 game for Class A Greenville, combining excellent plate coverage and good speed to make up for an inability to consistently drive the ball. The lack of harder contact has seemingly caugt up to Cedrola as he has climbed the ladder in the Cincinnati system. He hit .277/.330/.356 for High A Daytona and was not added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. He is likely tabbed for Double-A Chattanooga.

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One of the two key outfielders in the Red Sox money laundering-esque fiasco that cost them their 2016-17 international class, Muzziotti has developed some helium and now finds himself ranked 10th in the Phillies system by MLB.com. After struggling with some challenging placements throughout his professional career, things seemed to click in 2019 with High A Clearwater, hitting .287/.337/.372 as a 20-year old. According to a recent write-up in Baseball America he has bulked up from his signing weight of 159 to his current 190-pound frame, gaining strength that allowed him to tally a career-high 21 doubles. 

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Forever linked with Muzziotti due to the 2015 scandal, Guaimaro has not replicated his signing classmate’s success during his time in the Marlins system. Repeating Short Season in Batavia in 2019, he actually saw his production decline notably, hitting just .238/.263/.344 in 156 plate appearances across 40 games. Guaimaro is still athletic and young, but he has to be considered a long shot at this point.

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An extremely athletic ex-soccer player who turned to baseball late, Ramos was at least superficially comparable to Gilberto Jimenez. Ramos, a fifth-round pick out of Puerto Rico in 2010, has been knocking on the door of the major leagues for years now, with his penchant for terrible injury timing perhaps the biggest reason he’s not yet tasted a Cup of Coffee. Since reaching Triple-A Pawtucket back in 2016, Ramos has hit a solid .278/.326/.443 in nearly 300 games at that level. A groin injury in 2017 and hip flexor strain in 2018 during his stint in the Dodgers organization cost him some time. Though he missed only two weeks with the latter injury, it may have been the more devastating one, as it came in August during a season when he’d played very well and when Los Angeles could have used his services. Ramos moved on to the Giants in 2019, delivering a .269/.319/.439 slash for Sacramento that becomes less impressive when reminded of how offense-heavy the Pacific Coast League played. Released in August, he signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in the offseason, a deal that did include a spring training invite. Ramos was 4 for 19 without an extra-base hit in Cactus League play.

Photo Credit: Manuel Margot by Kelly O'Connor

 
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