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SoxProspects News

June 22, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Minor Notes: Draft review & undrafted signings continue

Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • The MLB draft is over but there will still be plenty of related content on SoxProspects.com over the next six weeks. The signing deadline for drafted players this year has been moved back from July 10 to August 1, so it may take a while before we start to hear finalized numbers for any of the four players drafted by the Red Sox.
  • It is never too early to start talking about the Red Sox draft where they selected second baseman Nick Yorke, third baseman Blaze Jordan, and left-handed pitchers Jeremy Wu-Yelland and Shane Drohan. The SoxProspects.com Podcast team brought in industry expert Jim Callis from MLB.com to discuss the Red Sox draft strategy, the shortened draft format, and his thoughts on the Boston's selections.
  • Just when it seems like the Red Sox undrafted free agent signings had slowed down, the team signed three more players this week. The first was Maceo Campbell, a right-handed pitcher from Longwood University. He is a redshirt junior after missing the 2019 season for undisclosed reasons. The six-foot, 21-year-old pitcher is a bit short for a traditional starter but worked as both a starter and reliever at Longwood. His body of work is very small, as he has only thrown a total of 22 2/3 innings between 2018 and a shortened 2019 campaign. In 2019, he threw 14 innings with 18 strikeouts and 13 walks while reportedly topping out at 96 mph. As SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall points out, he is the third player the Red Sox have signed out of Longwood, including Kyri Washington (now a pro scout with the Red Sox) and infielder Michael Osinski who finished the 2019 season in Pawtucket.
  • Next up was first baseman Cuba Bess (pictured, left) out of Grand Canyon University. The redshirt junior took his redshirt in 2018 after a knee injury forced him to miss the season, and Bess also missed the start of this season with a hamstring injury, ultimately only getting nine at-bats. Between his two injuries, Bess broke out in 2019, hitting .341/.476/.632 for GCU with 11 home runs, 18 doubles, and walking more than he struck out. 
  • According to AZCentral.com, the Red Sox have been in touch with Bess ever since his senior year of high school when he was selected in the 39th round by Colorado. Those conversations really came to life after his breakout when he led GCU in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. As WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes, Red Sox scout Vaughn Williams knew other teams would be after Bess, so Williams sent a recruiting video to Bess from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts the very moment the signing period opened. Bess' father, Johnny, was also drafted and played minor league baseball, making it as high as Triple-A.
  • The third and final signing of the week was Robert Kwiatkowski, a right-handed pitcher out of Marshall University. A redshirt junior, Tyler Russo with Perfect Game USA described him as showing potential out of the pen and sitting 90-92 mph with good athleticism. He also throws a changeup and a slider. Over his time at Marshall, he threw a total of 42 1/3 innings with a 2.25 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 18 walks, and 43 strikeouts.
  • Righty Jacinto Arredondo was the first undrafted free agent to sign with the Red Sox as detailed in last week's Minor Notes. He spoke this week with MassLive's Christopher Smith about the chip on his shoulder related to a leg defect at birth, others doubting him, dominating community college for two years, and his odd delivery.
  • While the major league season is still on hold, the SoxProspects.com team has not been taking time off. The scouting staff was busy updating the scouting reports (hopefully) in advance of the season. This week's update included right-handed reliever Durban Feltman and right-hander Hunter Haworth, among others.
  • The Red Sox and Red Sox fans alike have been eagerly awaiting word from the US Navy on the status of righty Noah Song (pictured, right), who currently ranks ninth on the SoxProspects.com rankings. The 23-year-old has a six-year service requirement after graduating from the Naval Acadamy. Song had originally submitted a waiver request for that service requirement, but after six months he decided to withdraw that request. Now, according to the Capital Gazette, Song learned that a new order that allows graduates to pursue professional sports immediately following graduation could not be retroactively applied to him since it was put into place after his graduation in May of 2019. Song now has to report flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola no later than June 26. However, Song can still apply under a longstanding policy that would grant him release from active duty after two years of service as long as he commits to six-years service as a reserve. Song will be eligible to apply for that in May of 2021. That could mean he might only miss a few months early in the 2021 season since it seems more-and-more likely that there will not be a minor league season in 2020.
  • Speaking of which, Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue to squabble over the plan to have some version of a season in 2020. Proposals have been sent back and forth, but an agreement has not been made and does not seem within reach. In the meantime, MLB has shut down the team's spring training facilities for a deep cleaning after at least 11 players on seven teams tested positive thus far in June. This news comes as Florida and Arizona both saw huge spikes in their number of cases as the states attempted to reopen their economies and loosen restrictions related to the pandemic. Teams will now train at their home stadiums.
  • According to Baseball America, the start date for the next international signing period will be pushed back from the traditional July 2 date until January 15, 2021. As Baseball America details, this decision is basically a financial one for the owners as they attempt to protect a pandemic-limited cash flow that would have been affected by bonuses given out to eligible players during this time. While their development may not be impacted by the change of date, there certainly are financial ramifications for the players who were likely to be signed. Many top players sign within a few days of the period opening, and some come from situations where delaying their bonus by about six months could impact families who were in need of or were anticipating the bonus payments.
Photo Credit: Cuba Bess by Grand Canyon University Athletics and Noah Song by Kelly O'Connor.

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