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SoxProspects News

March 30, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Fort Report: Roster takes shape, Houck makes case

Welcome to another week of the SoxProspects.com Fort Report. With the minor league season scheduled to begin in early May, we will be continuing the Fort Report through the month of April. 

Here are this week's minor league notes:
  • Major league spring training is scheduled to wrap up this afternoon with a contest against the Braves at JetBlue Park. The roster has begun to take shape, which Chris Hatfield and Ian Cundall discussed in-depth on the latest SoxProspects.com podcast
    • On Friday, the team optioned infielder Jonathan Arauz to the alternate training site and reassigned Chris Herrmann, Danny Santana, Cesar Puello, Michael Gettys, Kevin McCarthy, and Marcus Walden to minor league camp. 
    • Hermann and McCarthy had upward mobility clauses that went into effect on Sunday. If a team wants to add either player to its major league roster, the Red Sox would have to either add them or allow them to sign elsewhere. The clause has a 48-hour window, so Boston should know the status of both players on Tuesday.
    • Injury considerations notwithstanding, two roster decisions remain: Phillips Valdez and Colten Brewer are competing for the final spot in the bullpen, while Michael Chavis and Franchy Cordero vie for a spot on the bench. Cordero remains on the COVID-19 injured list, so the team would need to open up a 40-man spot to add him. 
  • Right-handed hurler Tanner Houck (above, right) was optioned to the alternate site a week ago but seems to have positioned himself to get the start for the major league club on Saturday. With Eduardo Rodriguez all but officially ruled out, Houck turned in a very strong outing on Monday, allowing just two hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six against one walk. 
  • The pitching staff was temporarily thrown into disarray on Saturday when Matt Barnes had a positive COVID-19 result. Barnes seemed to be out for the start of the season, and eight other members of the organization, including pitchers Garrett Whitlock, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Richards went into quarantine. However, word came down on Monday that Barnes' had a non-infectious positive, meaning that he and those who had been in contact could rejoin the team.
  • Bobby Dalbec continues to impress with his power. He blasted two more homers, giving him seven on the spring, behind only Corey Seager and Jon Pederson. The 2016 fourth-round pick has a .311/.392/.822 line in 18 games, with the only blemish being the 19 strikeouts in 51 plate appearances.
  • With conference play now in full swing at the collegiate level, some movement has been afoot in the draft rankings. Baseball America released an updated mock draft that has Boston selecting prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer out of Chula Vista, Calif. with the fourth overall pick. 
  • Some ex-Sox were on the move around the league:
    • Right-handed pitcher Noe Ramirez, part of the famed 2011 draft class, was released by the Cincinnati Reds. He was picked up by the Angels, who had dealt him only three months ago as part of the deal that sent Raciel Iglesias out west. Upon the Ramirez signing, the Angels optioned Ty Buttrey to their alternate site. 
    • Heath Hembree hooked on with the Reds on a minor league deal. 
    • CJ Chatham, sent to Philadelphia in exchange for cash or a player to be named later, was released by the Phillies and became a free agent.
Photo Credit: Tanner Houck by Kelly O'Connor