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April 30, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Podcast Ep. #208 - A visit to the Alternate Site

The 2021 Minor League Baseball season kicks off May 4th, and after a year away, we’re all glad that the games are getting started again. In advance of the resumption of minor league games, the Red Sox announced their roster assignments as well as a few cuts and retirements to trim the rosters down. Ian files a report from the Alternate Training Site where he got to see the Sox players scrimmage against players from the Mets Alternate Training Site. As a reminder, with minor league games returning, so do our game reports for our patrons. Visit our Patreon for details. Finally, we close out the show with a trip through the mailbag. Thanks for writing in and make sure to send your questions to podcast@soxprospects.com
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April 28, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Scouting Report Updates: Flores, Van Belle, and more

Today's SoxProspects scouting report update highlights seven prospects that participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League and are expected to open the season in Greenville or Salem.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Antoni Flores, Shortstop
Physical Description: Already physically developed for his age. Was noticeably thicker during the 2019 season, to the point that it limited his mobility and quick-twitch athleticism, and looked even less athletic during the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Declining athleticism has become a significant problem. Lacks definition, needs to get stronger.

Hit: Starts square and utilizes a leg kick. Loose at the plate. Good bat angle. Average bat speed. Bat will take some time to develop. Approach needs work. Needs to improve pitch recognition. Will shorten up with two strikes. Struggled against more advanced pitching in an aggressive assignment to the New York-Penn League in 2019. Was unable to catch up to velocity, especially up in the zone, and was overly aggressive early in counts, leading to a lot of weak contact. Potential below-average hit tool.

Power: Will show fringe-average raw power in batting practice. Could take some time to translate in game action. Power is primarily to the pull side at present, but could develop all-fields power in the future. Could stand to add some loft to his swing.

Run: Well-below-average speed. Will not be a threat to steal bases, but could grab a few due to strong baserunning instincts. Speed dropped a half grade in 2019 and another grade in 2020. Will need to put work into taking care of his body to prevent further decrease.

Field: Soft hands, fluid actions in the field. Strong instincts for his age. Reads the game well; rarely lets the ball play him. Plays defense with some flair. Range decreased in 2019 as he lost some of his athleticism, raising questions about whether he will stick at shortstop long-term. Played only second base during 2020 Fall Instructional League. Potential to develop into an above-average defender.

Arm: Plus arm strength. Capable of making all the throws necessary from the left side of the infield. Solid carry.
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April 27, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Duran into top 100, Whitlock continues to dominate

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • The SoxProspects.com scouting team continues to update the scouting reports with six updates this week. The updates were led by an 18-year old shortstop, Brainer Bonaci, who is currently ranked 15th in the SoxProspects.com rankings. Other players covered are lefty Jeremy Wu-Yelland, third baseman Nick Northcut, and right-handers Nathanael Cruz, Dylan Spacke, and Osvaldo De La Rosa
  • Baseball America updates its Top 100 Prospects rankings throughout the year. In this week's update, Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran (pictured, left) made the list at #99. Duran is currently at the Alternate Site in Worcester and is expected to join the Worcester Red Sox when the season starts up on May 4.
  • One of the prospects with the big league club generating the most attention is 24-year-old righty Garrett Whitlock, currently ranked 16th on the SoxProspects.com rankings. His start has been hard to miss since he has yet to allow a run in his first five games, pitching 11.1 innings with 14 strikeouts and only one walk. Selected from the Yankees in this past offseason's Rule 5 draft, Whitlock was moved to the bullpen but the Red Sox still envision a future as a starter. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes about how Whitlock is adapting to the new role.
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April 26, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Bonaci, Northcut, and a quartet of arms

Today's SoxProspects scouting report update is headlined by shortstop prospect Brainer Bonaci. Only 18 years old, Bonaci turned heads at the Fall Instructional League, competing and having success with many other players several years his senior.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Brainer Bonaci, Shortstop
Physical Description: Physically mature, but small frame. Athletic build and strong lower half. Has some remaining projection even after adding 40 pounds since signing.

Strong contact skills and feel at the plate for his age. Average bat speed, shows above-average barrel control. Swing is short and direct to the ball. Potential average hit tool at least.

Average raw power. Sneaky power for his size and has shown the ability to drive the ball in the DSL. Projects for below-average in-game power.

Below-average speed. Not a major part of his game. Plays faster than his speed grade due to athleticism and instincts.

Average defensive profile. Fluid in the field. Hands work. Average range at present, but this could become an area of concern based on how he physically matures. Has primarily played shortstop early in his pro career, but has also seen time at third base.

Plus arm. Plenty for the left side of the infield.
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April 20, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Minor Notes: Bazardo debuts; Mata has surgery

Here are this week's minor league notes: 

  • The 207th episode of the SoxProspects Podcast came out on Friday, with Chris and Ian covering some early season news, including Eduard Bazardo's debut with the Red Sox. They also discussed the streaming from the Alternate Site in Worcester and some of the notable performances thus far.
  • Some of the bad news that was covered in the podcast was Bryan Mata (pictured, right) undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 13. Mata entered the year as the top pitching prospect in the system but will drop in the rankings as he is out until some point in 2022. The Red Sox have historically taken a conservative approach with young pitchers coming back from this surgery. 
  • While he wasn't a Red Sox prospect when he went under the knife, Garrett Whitlock is a best-case scenario for Mata as he looks to begin his rehab. Whitlock has had a meteoric rise in the last two months, going from a player the Yankees did not add to the 40-man roster to one of the best pitchers on the Red Sox. Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe noted that the Red Sox want to begin stretching Whitlock out, and they did just that on Patriots' Day as he recorded the final eight outs of their win over the White Sox. 
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April 16, 2021 at 4:15 PM

Podcast Ep. #207 - It is not a terrible take

The 2021 Major League Baseball season is just over two weeks old. Chris and Ian got together to discuss what they have seen with the big club, including some early takes on who is figuring things out. There’s some bad news on the injury front, and some good news with Eduard Bazardo’s MLB debut and the return of streaming from the Alternate Site in Worcester. Plus, there’s the hot-button issue of the new rule change experiments the Atlantic League will be trying out this summer. And we close out the show taking a quick dip into the mailbag. Thanks for writing in and make sure to send your questions to podcast@soxprospects.com 

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April 13, 2021 at 11:27 AM

Minor Notes: Sox scrimmage Mets minor leaguers

Welcome to the first edition of the Minor Notes. The Minor Notes will run every Tuesday throughout the minor league baseball season, catching you up on all things prospect-related, from the Dominican Summer League through Triple-A.

Here are this week's minor league notes: 
  • SoxProspects.com's Director of Scouting Ian Cundall has updated the scouting reports on some key players before the season gets going. His first update includes right-hander Brayan Bello, who is currently ranked 26th at SoxProspects.com, along with 2018 second-round selection Nick Decker (pictured). 
  • His next update includes 20th rated prospect Blaze Jordan, an 18-year old third baseman the Sox selected in the third round in 2020. He also updates a handful of players in the lower levels of the Red Sox' system. 
  • Danny Santana could be ready soon, as he has begun baseball activities in Fort Myers, Christopher Smith of Masslive.com writes. He is another player who can play almost anywhere on the diamond. 
  • Pitching coach Paul Abbott talks to Masslive.com's Matt Vautor about the need to keep pitchers ready to go just in case they are needed to be called up to the big league team, rather than just preparing them for the minor league season to begin. 
  • Former SoxProspects.com contributor Katie Morrison, now of Masslive.com, added a ton of photos of Red Sox minor leaguers from the first few days of the Alternate Site, including a sim game at Polar Park in Worcester. 
  • The Sox minors leaguers got to face some real competition last weekend in Brooklyn, as they played the Mets minor leaguers at their alternate site. The news that these scrimmages would happen was first reported by the Worcester Telegram's Joe McDonald. In her Worcester Red Sox Notebook for Masslive.com, Morrison wrote about the ballpark in Brooklyn and how it is the kind of place Worcester envisions for Polar Park. She also includes that Paul Abbott loves the bullpens at Polar Park. 
  • Right-hander Tanner Houck is now at the alternate site, as Eduardo Rodriguez was activated. He made his first start since 2019 after missing the 2020 season due to myocarditis likely caused by COVID-19.

Photo Credit: Nick Decker by Kelly O'Connor

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at 8:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Blaze Jordan, Chris Murphy, and a trio of teenage arms

The latest SoxProspects scouting report update features 2020 third-round pick Blaze Jordan, left-handed starter Chris Murphy, as well as three young hurlers in the lower levels of the minor league system--Wilkelman Gonzalez, Juan Daniel Encarnacion, and Gabriel Jackson.

SoxProspects.com scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Chris Murphy, Left-handed pitcher

Physical Description: Athletic frame with some remaining projection. Looks bigger than listed. Average lower half, medium build.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, starting on the third base side of the rubber. Takes two small steps before a medium leg kick. Drives towards the plate with a big stride and gets plus extension. Left leg kicks up on follow-through, can tend to fall off towards third base post-delivery. Quick, compact arm action. Slight arm hook with some effort behind. Does not consistently finish delivery and can lose release point at times.

Fastball: 90-94 mph. Tops out at 96 mph. Works all over the zone. Command needs work. Especially to the glove side. Much more comfortable locating arm-side at present. May have over-relied on his fastball in college. Potential average pitch.
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April 9, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: Brayan Bello, Nick Decker and more

Today's SoxProspects scouting report update features five prospects who participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League and who are projected to open the season in either Greenville or Salem.

Brayan Bello
Physical Description: Athletic right-hander with remaining projection. On the skinny side at present.

Mechanics: Loose, quick arm. Throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and lands soft and closed on his front side. Could do a better job incorporating his lower half in his delivery. Gets good extension.

Fastball: 93-96 mph. Tops out at 98 mph. Below-average command at present. Tends to crossfire the pitch. Average spin rate. Shows tail down in the zone and some ride when up in the zone. Velocity has steadily increased over his career, from 91-93 mph during the Fall Instructional League in 2018. Will mix in a two-seam fastball on occasion at 92-94 mph. Potential plus offering.
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April 6, 2021 at 11:30 AM

Fort Report: MLB Opening Day; Alternate Training Site Opens

Welcome to another week of the SoxProspects.com Fort Report. The Fort Report will run every Tuesday throughout spring training, catching you up on all things prospect-related in Fort Myers and the Alternate Training Site in Worcester.

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • The Red Sox made their first addition to the roster of the regular season, signing right-handed pitcher Hector Rondon to a minor league contract and assigning him to the Alternate Training Site on Sunday. The 33-year-old has pitched 436 innings in the major leagues since 2013, mostly with the Cubs, but also with Houston and Arizona.
  • Yairo Munoz, a utility player, was also added to the minor league injured list with right wrist inflammation on Sunday.
  • The team outrighted right-handed pitcher John Schreiber to the Alternate Training Site on Friday. He was initially designated for assignment on Tuesday, when outfielder Franchy Cordero was added back to the 40-man roster after he was removed from the COVID-19 injured list.
  • Right-handed pitcher Tanner Houck was recalled from the Alternate Training Site on Friday to replace left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez in the starting rotation, as he was placed on the injured list retroactive to March 29 with left elbow inflammation.
  • Right-hander Ryan Brasier was also added to the injured list on Friday retroactive to March 29 with a left calf strain.
  • Infielder Michael Chavis and right-handed pitcher Colten Brewer were each optioned to the Alternate Training Site on Tuesday.
  • LSU right-handed pitcher Jaden Hill will miss the rest of the season with a torn UCL and undergo Tommy John surgery. Prior to the season, he was considered in play for the Red Sox to select at No. 4 overall in this year's MLB Draft, though this injury will likely cause him to slip in the draft. At the time of the injury, he was No. 8 in Baseball America's MLB Draft rankings.
  • Rule 5 selection Garret Whitlock made his major league debut in mop-up duty on Sunday, giving the team 3 2/3 innings, and The Boston Globe's Julian McWilliams has the story.
  • Houck was also pressed into duty in place of Rodriguez on Saturday and had a solid five-inning outing with 8 strikeouts. McWilliams discussed the hope for the near future that Houck represents.
  • He also was able to have family in the stands for the first time, which is important to the right-hander. Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald has the scoop.
  • Speaking of Houck, the Boston Herald's Jason Mastrodonato is of the opinion that Houck, between last season and this year, should stay up with the big club for good.
  • No. 6 in the SoxProspects.com  rankings, right-handed pitcher Bryan Mata (pictured, left) has resumed his throwing program after a slight UCL tear, according to MassLive's  Chris Cotillo.
  • Chris Cotillo of MassLive reported that Kevin McCarthy will remain in the organization despite his upward mobility clause to a 40-man roster spot, as he was not added to the Red Sox 40-man roster.
  • The first workout at the Alternate Training Site, which will now be in Worcester at Polar Park rather than Pawtucket, was Thursday. It was the first organized baseball activity at the field since construction began. Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has the story.
  • The Portland Sea Dogs will be allowing 2,000 spectators into Hadlock Field for May games. They will be in pods, similar to how the Red Sox opened Fenway Park. Tickets will go on sale to the public on April 14.
Photo Credit: Bryan Mata by Kelly O'Connor

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April 1, 2021 at 4:30 PM

Podcast Ep. #206 - Maple syrup is overrated

The season is upon us! Chris and Ian are pumped to preview the imminent MLB season (since delayed 24 hours) and hope you're ready too. The guys discussed what prospects (and graduates) are most likely to impact the MLB club this year on the mound and in the lineup. We also just updated the #SP60 coming out of MLB camp, and the guys discussed Bryan Mata's short drop, Garrett Whitlocks big rise, and more. Plus the Matt Barnes COVID scare and what it said about the team's depth this year, and as always, your terrific emails led to some great discussion about the draft, Gilberto Jimenez and... David Price? Thanks for writing in and make sure to send your questions to podcast@soxprospects.com 

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