A look at the Lowell Spinners roster — with three newly signed draftees
|06.14.13 at 9:37 am ET|
The Lowell Spinners, who will play a free exhibition game on Friday night against the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in anticipation of the start of the Short-Season Single-A New York-Penn League season on Monday, will feature a noteworthy ensemble of Red Sox minor league talent in their starting rotation and up the middle of the field. A thumbnail of the Spinners’ anticipated roster:
Known members of the starting rotation are:
Sergio Gomez, RHP (19 years old) — international free agent: Gomez just made a season-ending cameo in Lowell at the end of 2012 and made a season-opening appearance in Single-A Greenville en route to Lowell. The 19-year-old from Colombia is a strike thrower with a starter’s frame.
Jamie Callahan, RHP (18 years old) — 2012 second-round pick: Just 17 when drafted by the Sox, the Sox viewed him as a big (6-foot-3), strong pitcher whom the Sox saw sitting at 92 mph while working at up to 94-95 mph (something that gives the Sox some optimism that his fastball could tick up further) with a four-pitch mix, featuring both a curve and slider as well as a change, with a downhill fastball that has deception in the strike zone.
Ty Buttrey, RHP (20 years old) — 2012 fourth-round pick: The Red Sox blew out the fourth-round slot recommendation to give Buttrey a $1.3 million bonus, in the process landing a strike-thrower with a big fastball (sitting low-90s, touching mid-90s) and enough promise with his secondary stuff to give him the opportunity to develop as a starter.
Mario Alcantara, RHP (20 years old) — international free agent: Signed in 2009, Alcantara’s stuff opened eyes this spring, when after spending his career working in the low-90s, he started showing regular velocity of 96-97 mph in Fort Myers. His command has been woeful (76 walks against 92 strikeouts in 150 innings) to date in his pro career, but the Sox are hopeful of a breakthrough.
Some other notable pitchers:
Simon Mercedes, RHP (20 years old) — international free agent: Signed out of the Dominican in the spring of 2012 (in a deal that took months to be approved by Major League Baseball), Mercedes is a big (actually, physically huge) power arm with power stuff — low- to mid-90s velocity and a big curveball.
Kyle Martin, RHP — 9th round, 2013 draft, Texas A&M: A huge, 6-foot-7 right-hander who changed his arm slot as a senior from a drop-down delivery to a more over-the-top one, Martin represents a pitcher with the potential to get big groundball rates while working in the low-90s.
Taylor Grover, RHP — 10th round, 2013 draft, USC Aiken: The 6-foot-3, 22-year-old took a considerable step forward as a closer in his junior year, with a 0.92 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29 1/3 innings with 11 saves. Opponents hit just .154 against him.
The Sox’ top position prospects in Lowell will be in the middle of the field, both in center and on either side of second base:
Manuel Margot, CF (18 years old) — international free agent: Signed in 2011, Margot looms as a potential five-tool talent. There was even talk of having him open this season in Single-A Greenville, much as the team elected to do with Xander Bogaerts in 2011.
Tzu-Wei Lin, SS (19 years old) — international free agent: Signed to a $2.05 million bonus last summer, Lin has tremendous speed, good actions at short and showed a relatively advanced approach in his first exposure to pro ball in the States last summer.
Cleuluis Rondon, SS (19 years old) — international free agent: Rondon is a tremendously athletic player with phenomenal hands, an advanced defender who will play both short (when Lin is not there) and second. He hit just .226/.265/.344 in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League last year, but there’s life in his bat, and his numbers were dampened by the fact that he started switch-hitting just before the start of his pro career, and he struggled from the left side of the plate.
OTHER POSITION PROSPECTS
Forrestt Allday — 2013 draft, 8th round — Allday had tremendous on-base numbers at the University of Central Arkansas, where he posted a .503 OBP as a senior. He’s considered a good athlete in addition to having an advanced approach.
Williams Jerez — 2011 draft, 2nd round — The 21-year-old from Brooklyn is back in Lowell, where he played last year before a broken hamate ended his year. He has terrific across-the-board tools, though his relative inexperience has him still raw at age 21.
Kendrick Perkins — 2010 draft, 6th round — The 21-year-old with tremendous power and speed (he was a tight end recruit for Texas A&M) and uncommon size is back in Lowell for a second year. Last year, he hit .223/.314/.358 with the Spinners while showing stretches of being able to drive the ball.
Nick Moore — 2011 draft, 30th round — The 20-year-old third baseman showed enough in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League to justify a season-opening assignment in Greenville, but he hit just .158/.264/.263 in 24 games at the level. He has considerable raw power, but obviously, the operative word is raw.
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