SoxProspects News

September 29, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: A trio of Top-40 prospects


As the 2020 regular season comes to a close, the SoxProspects.com team continues to maintain current and accurate scouting reports for players throughout the organization. Today's update features three players rated in the Top-40 of our latest rankings. Nick Decker (drafted in 2018) and Cameron Cannon (drafted in 2019) are two recent second-round picks that offer the team valuable depth. Antoni Flores is a player that was recently considered a top-10 prospect in the system, but a lackluster 2019 has clouded his future outlook.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Nick Decker, Outfielder

Physical Description: Strong, athletic build. Strong lower half. Some remaining projection, but already physically developed for his age.

Hit: Starts crouched with an open stance. Long, uppercut swing. Quick hands, above-average bat speed. Does a good job utilizing his lower half. Will take what the pitcher gives him and use all fields. Needs to improve pitch recognition and cut down on swing-and-miss. Has a lot of trouble picking up breaking balls, particularly from left-handers. Had a heavy platoon split in 2019, striking out 45 percent of the time against LHP, albeit in just 31 plate appearances. Has an idea of what he wants to do at the plate, but over-aggressiveness and swing-and-miss issues hold him back. Potential below-average hit tool.

Power: Plus raw power. Shows easy power during batting practice. Swing has loft and can drive the ball with backspin. Power is most notable to the pull side. Potential to develop above-average game power at his peak.

Run: Fringe-average speed. Aggressive on the basepaths. Gets good jumps and reads.
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at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Shortened season comes to a close


 Here are Tuesday's minor league notes:

  • Ian and Chris, the SoxProspects.com podcast crew, celebrated the end of the year by recording an episode covering Tanner Houck's (pictured, right) end to the year as a major leaguer, Nick Pivetta's first start with the Red Sox, new addition Jacob Wallace, and other notes from the alternate site. 

  • Currently ranked 10th on the SoxProspects.com rankings, Houck made his third and final start of the season on Saturday, throwing six innings with 10 strikeouts while allowing only one run. He ends the season with a 0.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts over 17 innings. Julian McWilliams for the Boston Globe writes about Houck's debut season and his future in the rotation.
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September 28, 2020 at 5:56 PM

Podcast #192 - Revealing my real age


Well, the season is over. The Sox finished strong and still nabbed the fourth pick in the 2021 draft. Chris and Ian wind down the campaign with an eye to the future. Tanner Houck is looking good, and Nick Pivetta made the most of his starts with the big club. Ian shares several thoughts from the Alternate Training Site, and both Ian and Chris call out that the roster reflects Chaim Bloom’s craftsmanship, citing Nick Yorke and the many top 20 prospects acquired in trades this season. Among those guys is Sox newcomer Jacob Wallace who came over as the player to be named later from the Rockies in the Pillar trade. Wallace will go straight to Instructs, which Chris breaks down the logistics of the fall camp. Teaser, we’ll have a more in-depth preview next episode. Finally, it’s mailbag time, and you all did a great job filling the bag with some awesome questions. 

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September 21, 2020 at 4:32 PM

Scouting Report Update: Jacob Wallace


Last Friday, the Red Sox announced they had acquired Jacob Wallace from Colorado as the player to be named later for Kevin Pillar. The deal now stands at Pillar and cash considerations for Wallace and international bonus slot money. Wallace was Colorado's third-round pick in 2019 out of the University of Connecticut and is set to debut in the SoxProspects.com top 20 in the coming days. This makes him the fourth prospect acquired at the trade deadline to debut in the current top 20. Here is Wallace's initial scouting report, compiled from available data and reports, as well as our scouting sources across the game. 

Physical Description: Average, proportional frame with minimal remaining projection. Above-average athlete.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. High-effort delivery. High leg kick, but gets low coming forward. Long arm action behind before he whips his arm forward.

Fastball: 93-95 mph. Tops out at 97 mph. Pitch shows life and tail. Pitch jumps on hitters. Command and control need refinement. Potential plus offering.
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at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Houck dominates in debut; Wallace acquired for Pillar


 Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • In the most recent episode of the Podcast, Ian and Chris previewed Tanner Houck's major league debut, and also discussed MLB's decision to approve fall instructional camps. The remainder of the podcast focused on the ongoing negotiations between MLB and MiLB, and then they answered some reader mailbag questions. 
  • The 2017 Draft Retrospective posted last week, with Shawn McGrath covering each pick and then going in-depth on some of the main themes of the draft. While the draft has yet to produce a top-100 prospect, the early returns on Houck at the major league level have been positive. 
  • The 24-year-old Houck made his first two major league starts last week, going five shutout innings against the Marlins in his debut and then he allowed just an unearned run in six innings against the Yankees on Sunday. He struck out 11 in his 11 innings and allowed just three hits, but did walk six. He's featured a slider that batters are 0 for 8 against, mixed with a sinker that he puts down in the zone, and then a four-seam fastball that he places up in the zone. On a team bereft of pitching, Houck has been one of the few bright spots. 
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September 18, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2017 Draft Retrospective: A Houck of a debut


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Tuesday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2017, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our
Draft History page.

2017 Draft

Background
The Red Sox had come crashing back to Earth after the surprise World Series title back in 2013. After last-place finishes in both 2014 and 2015, ownership decided a change was in order. Enter Dave Dombrowski. The Red Sox improved markedly in 2016, winning the first of what would be three consecutive American League East championships, partially due to the win-now trades the former President of Baseball Operations is known for, sacrificing prospects and sometimes overpaying to get the player he felt would most improve the team. When those trades were combined with the graduation of Andrew Benintendi and impending promotion of Rafael Devers, the prospect cupboard was left pretty bare headed into the 2017 draft. Though there is a long way to go developmentally for many of these players, a situation complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, early returns on potential impact major leaguers have left much to be desired.
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September 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2017 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2017 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

The 2017 Draft was the first completely under Dave Dombrowski's control, as General Manager Mike Hazen departed after the 2016 season to take the same position with Arizona. The major league club had just won the first of three consecutive AL East titles, but would be swept in the ALDS by Cleveland, ending the David Ortiz era in Boston. Dombrowski responded by bringing in pitchers Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg in exchange for prospects and when combined with Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers' graduations, the system was as bare as it has been in a long time by the time the draft came around. This crop of prospects has not replenished as hoped to date, but as these players have had only two full seasons, it's early to truly judge the body of work put together by this group. The 2020 season would have been a crucial one for most of the players in this draft, as those that were 19 years old when selected are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year and must be added to the 40-man roster or remain exposed to selection by other teams.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

1 (24). Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
Bonus: $2,614,500; Slot: $2,614,500
Houck (pictured, above) starred in the Missouri rotation for three years after choosing to attend the school rather than sign with Toronto as a 14th-round pick in 2014. The Illinois native pitched for the collegiate national team and features a strong 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, throwing from a low three-quarters arm slot. The Red Sox attempted to overhaul his repertoire and mechanics in his first full professional season, having him focus on throwing a four-seam fastball up in the zone rather than the two-seam fastball he used low in the zone during college as well as altering the grips on both his breaking ball and changeup. However, these changes lasted merely half a season, as the vertical break on his breaking ball and four-seam grip proved less effective than the 10-to-4, sweeping slider and two-seam fastball mix, though the four-seam fastball has remained as a less prominent offering.  After an uneven start to the 2019 campaign with Portland, Houck straightened out in late May. Through a six-start stretch, he posted a 1.95 ERA, struck out 36, and waked 14 without allowing a homer in 37 innings. With the bullpen at the major league level in shambles, the team moved Houck to the pen in early July and then promoted him to the PawSox after a pair of outings to see if he could help fill that role down the stretch. He held up his end with a 3.26 ERA in International League play, but the team fell out of contention and thought better of using a 40-man spot on him a full year before he was Rule 5 eligible. Houck successfully slid back into a starting role in the Arizona Fall League, and that is the role he will occupy in his major league debut this evening. 
SoxProspects.com Peak Rank: No. 3
Notable Players Passed On: Nate Pearson (28), Jeter Downs (32)
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at 11:21 AM

Podcast Ep. #191 - Tankathon Update


With the possibility of a top-five pick riding on the last few weeks of the season, we have a reason to pay attention to games as the season winds down. Ian breaks down how much of a difference a high draft pick means towards overall bonus pool. And speaking of reasons to pay attention, Tanner Houck is expected to make his big-league debut on September 15. Ian gives us a full scouting report for the righthander, who we have ranked number 10 in the system. Next up the guys discuss MLB’s approval of fall instructs. We also share an update on the negotiations between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. And we hand the show over to you to close it out with more of your terrific emails and messages.

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September 11, 2020 at 1:30 PM

Scouting Report Updates: Tanner Houck and CJ Chatham


Our newest scouting report updates include a pair of top-20 prospects who have spent time on the Red Sox taxi squad this season, RHP Tanner Houck and IF CJ Chatham. Both are on the cusp of making their major league debuts at some point soon, and reports are that the former could debut as soon as this weekend.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by our scouting team, led by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Tanner Houck, right-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Tall, athletic pitcher's frame. Type of frame you look for in a pitcher. High waist, long limbs. Minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot. Utilizes a full wind up. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Long arm action including elbow climb in the back and high leg kick. Cross-fire delivery is very tough on right-handed hitters. Gets good extension to the plate. Very quick arm. Unique delivery with a lot of effort, but it works for him. Has worked on staying squarer to the plate with very obvious improvements. Does struggle to repeat his delivery as he works deeper into games.
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at 12:30 PM

2016 Draft Retrospective: Dalbec and Groome highlight a strong draft


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Tuesday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2016, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2016 Draft


Background

The Red Sox were coming off a second consecutive last-place finish in 2015, a year that ended with the hiring of Dave Dombrowski and departure of Ben Cherington. The move signaled an urgency to get right back to the top, as Dombrowski had a reputation of depleting his farm systems and utilizing a win-now strategy. He certainly did that in Boston, and it all started in 2016 with the signing of David Price and the trade for Craig Kimbrel. Dombrowski had also often been criticized for his bullpen construction, and he immediately looked to fix that by shipping four prospects off for one of the top closers in the game. He came in and made it clear right away that he was not afraid to go for it and take some risks, which is a mentality that the Sox took in this draft as well. 

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September 9, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2016 Draft Retrospective: The Picks


We welcome you to the 2016 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available. 

This is the first year of overseeing a Red Sox draft for Dave Dombrowski, although he kept the organization's amateur scouting department intact when taking over. The Red Sox were coming off their second consecutive last-place finish, but 2016 was off to a much better start, as they would eventually win the division. Dombrowski came in and made a big splash right away, signing David Price to what was at the time the richest contract ever for a pitcher. Part of what made Price so appealing was  that he was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer due to a deadline day trade from Detroit to Toronto, and the Red Sox could ink him without surrendering the 12th overall pick. Dombrowski also made his first of many impactful trades in Boston, dealing Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, and Carlos Asuaje for closer Craig Kimbrel
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September 8, 2020 at 3:00 PM

Minor Notes: Scouting report updates & 2015 draft retrospective


 Here are Tuesday's minor league notes:

  • The 2015 draft was largely a disappointment, highlighted a player who has been a disappointment for the Red Sox thus far in 2020 - outfielder Andrew Benintendi (pictured, right). He was selected seventh overall in this draft class and in Part 1 of the series, SoxProspects.com senior staff writer Jim Crowell takes you through all of the 39 draft selections.
  • In Part 2, Crowell lays out some themes and takeaways from the 2015 draft, the last of Ben Cherington's tenure as Red Sox GM. Some themes were focused around repercussions from the picks that were surrendered when signing free agents - that the Red Sox had a small margin for error and that they tried to take some "safe" picks that did not pan out.
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at 1:53 PM

Scouting Report Update: Deivy Grullón


Just minutes ago, the Red Sox recalled their latest addition to the organization, catcher Deivy Grullon, as the 29th man in their doubleheader today against Philadelphia. Claimed off waivers from those same Phillies on September 3, Grullon immediately became the second-ranked catcher in our rankings, entering at number 29. Today, we give you his initial scouting report in time for his potential Red Sox debut.

Physical Description: Wide, stocky catcher's frame. Maxed out physically.

Hit: Starts open with his hands by his chest. Utilizes a toe-tap timing device. Swing has some length. Whips the bat through the zone. Fringe-average bat speed. Lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Strikeouts numbers are a concern, especially as he faces more advanced pitching. Has an aggressive approach, but will take a walk on occasion. Potential below-average hit tool.
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September 4, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2015 Draft Retrospective: The end of the Cherington era


Thank you for checking in on the newest entry in our draft retrospective series. Tuesday was a pick-by-pick rundown of 2015, while today we will dig a little deeper into a few of the more interesting and prominent draftees. For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.

2015 Draft

Background: 
Cherington had the magic touch after the 2012 season, with basically every move he made at the major league level contributing to the 2013 World Series victory. A lot of these signings were role players or undervalued regulars, and he spent about $100 million in total on Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, and David Ross. With the 2014 team suffering a World Series hangover and scuffling to a 71-91 record, Cherington decided to change course. 

With a revamped farm system thanks to the 2011 draft, several talented, cost-controlled players such as Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Matt Barnes were either knocking on the door to the majors by the end of the 2014 season or were already there. This, combined with the financial flexibility from the Adrian Gonzalez trade to the Dodgers, allowed Cherington to flex Boston's financial muscle and pay a premium for established talent and high-end international professionals. $255 million later, the Red Sox had signed Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, and Rusney Castillo, three signings that would, arguably, ultimately cost Cherington his job. 
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at 10:20 AM

Podcast Ep. #190 - We're talking trade deadline today


The Red Sox wheeled and dealed at the deadline. In total, they struck four deals, including the Workman-Hembree deal talked about last episode. We don’t know who the club got for Kevin Pillar and Josh Osich, but can break down the two players the Sox got for Mitch Moreland. And both Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario are intriguing young players with some upside who debuted in the top 20 on our recently released rankings. Both Potts and Rosario will need to be added to the 40-man ahead of the winter’s Rule 5 draft. Who else is eligible to be selected, and which should be protected? We discuss. And with the trades, a number of Sox Prospects are playing in the bigs and the guys break them all down. And we hand the show over to you to close it out with more of your terrific emails and messages.

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September 3, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Scouting Report Update: Hudson Potts


At this year's trade deadline, the Red Sox added two more top-20 prospects to the system. Today, we post our initial scouting report on the second of those players, infielder Hudson Potts. Acquired along with Jeisson Rosario from the San Diego Padres for Mitch Moreland, Potts enters the SoxProspects rankings at number 15.

Physical Description: Large, sturdy frame. Looks the part, well proportioned. Minimal remaining projection.

Hit: Starts square with his hands by his shoulders. Relaxed, loose at the plate. Utilizes a leg lift timing device. Barrel stays in the zone. Has had trouble catching up with high fastballs. Will take a walk on occasion, but approach still needs refinement. Lot of swing-and-miss in his game, especially on pitches within the zone at a high rate. Potential below-average hit tool.
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September 2, 2020 at 3:30 PM

Scouting Report Update: Jeisson Rosario


At this year's trade deadline, the Red Sox added two more top-20 prospects to the system. Today, we post our initial scouting report on one of those players, outfielder Jeisson Rosario. Acquired along with Hudson Potts from the San Diego Padres for Mitch Moreland, Rosario enters the SoxProspects rankings at number 11 today.

Physical Description: Medium-sized frame. Extremely athletic. Has some remaining projection in upper half. Needs to add strength.

Hit: Starts slightly open with his hands high. Utilizes a toe-tap timing device. Quick wrists, but bat can drag due to his lack of strength. Swing could use some refinement, primarily in making it simpler. Doesn't make great quality of contact and struggles to pull the ball with any authority. Can get slap-happy at the plate, looking to push the ball in play the other way. Advanced feel for the strike zone for his age. Above-average plate discipline, has always shown a willingness to take a walk. Potential average hit tool, but has the potential to develop into more than that if he can add strength and refine his swing.
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September 1, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2015 Draft Retrospective: The picks


We welcome you to the 2015 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available. 

After going from worst to first in the AL East from 2012 to 2013, the Red Sox were back in the basement in 2014. A lot of the heroes from the 2013 World Series squad sputtered in the subsequent season, and by 2015, the team had a completely different identity. In the middle of the 2014 season, the Red Sox traded Jon Lester to Oakland, John Lackey to St. Louis, and Jake Peavy to San Francisco. On the position player front, they signed Rusney Castillo to a $72.5 million contract in August 2014, and after the 2014 season, they splurged for Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. These notable missteps are what ultimately led to the 2015 draft being the final one that Ben Cherington would oversee as General Manager for the Red Sox. Meanwhile, Amiel Sawdaye, who had helmed the 2010-2014 drafts, moved up into a VP position with broader responsibilities, and Mike Rikard took the helm as Director of Amateur Scouting for the club.

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page.
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