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SoxProspects News

February 27, 2024 at 8:13 PM

Podcast Ep. #306:Tell your neighbor baseball is here!

Red Sox Major League Spring Training games have started so Ian runs through some things he noticed during the first weekend of games and the recent transactions. Ian then sits down with Geoff Pontes of Baseball America to discuss some underlying metrics they look at with minor league hitters and pitchers and what those metrics show. They also discuss the key rule changes for the minor leagues this year, the reduction of the reserve list and the new complex league schedule, and the impact that could have on teams this year.
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at 9:00 AM

Fort Report: Mata injures hamstring; Anthony and Teel make spring debuts

With exhibition games already underway, the SoxProspects.com team is back with the first Fort Report of the spring. Following Monday's walk-off win over the Phillies at JetBlue Park, the Red Sox are 3-1 in Grapefruit League play and 4-1 on the spring overall after defeating Northeastern University last Friday. Because Opening Day is still more than a month away, there are still plenty of important decisions that need to be made in the coming weeks. Having said that, here is a rundown of some key things that have happened since Boston held its first full squad workout eight days ago:

Mata injured
Bryan Mata (pictured, left), who is competing for a spot in the Sox' Opening Day bullpen, has been shut down from throwing due to a right hamstring strain. The right-hander sustained the injury during a fielding drill last week and will be sidelined for the time being, per manager Alex Cora.
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February 22, 2024 at 12:23 AM

Podcast Ep. #305: Enter Sandlin

With spring training ramping up, the podcast is back with a different lineup than usual as Ian and Chris Clegg are running things this week. We start off with some college baseball talk and then move on to discuss the Red Sox trade with the Royals where they acquired a very interesting starting pitching prospect. We also briefly touch on the signings of Liam Hendriks and Michael Fulmer, before going through what the top pitching prospects in the system need to do to take the next step in their development!
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February 13, 2024 at 11:31 AM

Help Wanted: SoxProspects Social Media Specialist

We are looking for an enthusiastic Social Media Specialist to join the SoxProspects Staff immediately! We're seeking a commitment of at least through the end of 2024, but ideally we are looking for someone who will want to stick around with us for the long-term if there’s a mutual fit. We are hoping that this position will help work on expanding our social media presence beyond Twitter, while also serving as a backup on Twitter. We expect that the commitment would be a few hours per week during the baseball season, and less in the off-season. 

As for requirements, we’re looking for someone with flexibility to be able to post using the site’s social media platforms as needed, maybe a couple times per day, including during business hours (ET). This does not mean being on call around the clock, but it will not work if the applicant is totally unavailable to post during the entire workday every day. 

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at 8:00 AM

How the Red Sox draft strategy has affected the club's pitching development

For years, any discussion of the Red Sox farm system has eventually turned to the organization's struggles to develop homegrown pitching, especially impact starters. This is clearly an area Craig Breslow was brought in to improve, and this offseason he has already made sweeping changes to the pitching infrastructure. He brought in Andrew Bailey as the major league pitching coach, Justin Willard as director of pitching, and Kyle Boddy as a special advisor, also overhauling almost the entire Worcester pitching apparatus with new coaches and catchers. This group is tasked with developing a group of pitching prospects that is deep, with many arms with major league potential, but many, if not all of those arms profile best as multi- or single-inning relievers. In the current SoxProspects top 60, the highest-ranked pitcher is Luis Perales at 7, and there are only three other pitchers in the top 20: Wikelman Gonzalez (9), Richard Fitts (11), and Yordanny Monegro (20). From 21-40, we have 13 pitchers ranked, most of whom either already are or profile as relievers. 

Developing starting pitching is not easy, but other systems have certainly had more success at it than Boston. So what are teams like the Mariners and Dodgers doing that has allowed them to have a stream of major league-ready arms coming through their system, including high-end starting pitchers? Overall, the Red Sox have done a good job with the players they’ve had in the system. Brayan Bello is up at the major league level and drastically improved during his time in the organization. Perales and Gonzalez are both international signees who have steadily improved as they’ve progressed. Draftees such as Hunter Dobbins (highest-ranked Red Sox draftee in the system at 23rd) and Shane Drohan also made steady progress as they moved up the ladder, but overall, there is still a lack of starting pitching prospects.  

Given the effort the Red Sox have put into modernizing their pitching development, especially starting in September 2015 with the appointment of Brian Bannister to Director of Pitching Analysis and Development, their continued relative inability to develop a top starting pitching prospect stands out. The top recent pitcher to come through the system, Bello, and the top two pitching prospects in the system all came via the international market, where the Red Sox have done a good job of identifying pitchers and developing them. The amateur draft is a different story, however. Diving into the club’s draft history from 2018-2023 reveals a lack of resources (high picks and bonuses) devoted to pitchers, especially compared to other organizations that have successfully developed multiple homegrown starters and top pitching prospects. Digging into where the most successful major league starting pitchers and high-end pitching prospects came from, it appears that the Red Sox have made it more difficult for themselves to develop these high-end pitchers by primarily allocating their draft resources toward hitters.
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February 11, 2024 at 12:01 PM

Podcast Ep. #304: Back for more in '24

After a month to recharge, the podcast is back... and so is Theo Epstein? After the offseason of our discontent, we finally got some good news after Winter Weekend seemed to present a low point for Red Sox fandom. Plus, there's a new batch of minor league free agents and international amateur signees to discuss, and as always, your emails!
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