|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: The smallest Red Sox prospect making a big statement||06.08.12 at 1:19 pm ET|
At times, Jose Vinicio looks like a kid who has been allowed to chase flyballs on a baseball field. The 5-foot-10 18-year-old has a listed weight of 150 pounds. He’s at least 10 pounds shy of that, maybe more. He does not inhabit his uniform so much as he is swallowed by it.
But a baseball field is where he belongs. He’s got terrific defensive tools and the switch-hitter has the hand-eye coordination to square balls on a consistent basis, a package of talents that led the Sox to give him a $1.95 million signing bonus out of the Dominican in July 2010.
On Thursday for Greenville, Vinicio went 1-for-3, tagging his second homer of the season (his first of the over-the-fence variety) with a walk, and in 42 games this year, he’s hitting .290 with a .345 OBP, .419 slugging mark and .764 OPS. Those are, across-the-board, above-average numbers in the South Atlantic League, where the league average marks are .256/.336/.384/.720, and the average age of hitters is over 21. In fact, Vinicio is the second youngest player in the league, making his performance extremely impressive.
“This kid is fun to watch. He’s only 139 pounds, but so what? Defensively, he’s going to make some mistakes — he’s only  years old — but he has plus range, a great arm, good hands and nice baseball instincts. He’s going to be a good middle infielder. He loves to play,” said Greenville manager Carlos Febles. “At the plate, he’s been real good. I think he’s been better than what we thought. At this point, we thought he might be hitting .240. He’s hitting .290 right now and he’s been very consistent at the plate throughout the first two months of the season. I’ve been real, real impressed with him, him being 139 pounds and handling himself the way he has so far.”
He’s succeeding despite having the silhouette of a toothpick. Though he’s never going to look like Troy Tulowitzki, there is obvious room for him to fill out and add some muscle as he matures, something that should, in turn, result in even more juice in his bat. For now, he’s off to one of the better starts that the Sox have had by an 18-year-old player in Greenville, with a statistical profile that commands prospect status.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN VS. INDIANAPOLIS (PIRATES)
|Closing Time: Clay Buchholz dominates as Red Sox blank Orioles||06.07.12 at 10:00 pm ET|
The alarm bells that were ringing early in the season when Clay Buchholz had a 9.09 ERA through six starts officially have been silenced. Buchholz tossed the third complete-game shutout of his career, dominating the Orioles (the same team against whom he’d thrown his previous two shutouts, including a no-hitter in 2007) from start to finish in a tidy four-hitter and leading the Red Sox to a 7-0 victory. He struck out six, walked one (matching a season low) and looked like the pitcher who ranked among the best in the American League in 2010-11, rather than the pitcher who spent the early stages of the season trying to rediscover his form after missing the final months of last season with an injury.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Buchholz, of course. The right-hander continued his recent excellence, as in his last five starts, he possess a 2.88 ERA with 26 strikeouts and nine walks in 34 1/3 innings. He has been working progressively deeper into games, going seven, eight and then nine innings in his most recent three outings, delivering the sort of performances that were customary in 2010 rather than the regular five-plus run yields that characterized the start of his season.
– Adrian Gonzalez delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the first inning to give the Sox a lead they never relinquished and later knocked Orioles starter Brian Matusz out of the game in the bottom of the third inning with another single against him to improve to 6-for-8 with two walks in his career against the left-hander. Gonzalez finished the day with a 3-for-4 day while delivering his American League-leading 21st double. Though his overall numbers this year remain modest, Gonzalez has been a force with runners in scoring position, hitting .362 with a 1.018 OPS in such situations.
– Daniel Nava reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with a two-run single, a double and two walks from the leadoff spot. He has 19 walks and 17 strikeouts in his time in the majors.
– Kevin Youkilis went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a walk, continuing his climb back to offensive respectability. He’s hitting .246 with a .720 OPS despite a terrible start.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– David Ortiz was visibly frustrated with his at-bats on a night when he went 0-for-4. He went 1-for-11 in the three-game series against the Orioles.
|Red Sox draft pick Ty Buttrey will be allowed to take part in graduation||06.07.12 at 5:49 pm ET|
One day after a brief controversy swirled about whether he would be able to take part in his high school graduation, Red Sox fourth-round draft pick Ty Buttrey was informed that he will indeed be able to do so. Buttrey and his mother met with the principal of Providence High School on Wednesday and were informed that, despite the fact that Buttrey had not been able to take part in the rehearsal exercises while fielding calls during the MLB draft, he would be able to participate in his graduation ceremony.
[Providence High School principal Tracey] Harrill met with Ty Buttrey and his mother Wednesday afternoon to discuss his participation in the graduation ceremony. During the meeting, Harrill shared her thoughts about the situation and made a decision at 5:30 p.m. to allow Ty to participate in the graduation.
“No decision had been made prior to this meeting and Ms. Harrill never told Ty or his parents that he could not walk,” school officials told WBTV Wednesday evening. “She communicated her decision directly to Ty and his mother at today’s meeting.”
School officials say they wish Buttrey well in his future endeavors.
“We are proud of all he has accomplished.”
Buttrey, considered a potential first-round selection entering the draft, was taken by the Red Sox with their fourth-round selection after going 9-1 with a 0.91 ERA as a senior. The 6-foot-6 right-hander features a mid-90s fastball along with a knuckle-curve. He slipped in the draft amidst questions about his signability away from a scholarship at Arkansas. While his slot in the draft carried a $291,300 recommended bonus from Major League Baseball, it is believed that Buttrey would need a bonus significantly beyond that figure — perhaps into seven figures — in order to sign with the Sox.
For more on the right-hander, click here.
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Ryan Kalish and the rehab fast track; Xander Bogaerts shows precocious power; Ryan Lavarnway shows familiar power||06.07.12 at 10:17 am ET|
For the second time in as many days since his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, Ryan Kalish went deep, bashing another homer to right as part of a 2-for-3 day in which he also singled up the middle and walked while scoring a pair of runs. In those two games, Kalish is 4-for-5 with two homers and four walks, having reached base in eight of nine plate appearances. Over the course of his rehab assignment (now eight games across three levels), Kalish has been as hot as virtually anyone in the system, hitting .385/.529/.769/1.299 with three homers, a double, eight walks and two steals. One can make the case that the eight walks are as impressive as any part of that line, since the natural tendency might have been for Kalish to chase nearly every pitch in sight after missing most of a 13-month span due to surgery-necessitating injuries.
On Wednesday, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine broke down the checklist of what a team wants to see from a player in a rehab assignment after he has been sidelined for such a substantial stretch.
“What you want him to do is to face left-handers and right-handers, you want him to be hot, you want him to be not, you want him to come out of being not, see him hitting the ball the other way, pull the ball, run the bases, just a long checklist of making sure he gets it done when you’re out that long,” said Valentine.
That suggests the possibility of a relatively significant stretch in the minors, perhaps even an option to the minor leagues before the expiration of the 30-day window for a rehab assignment. However, there is another potential model that Kalish could follow.
Jed Lowrie missed almost all of 2009 after undergoing early-season wrist surgery and then missed the first half of 2010 due to mono. When he finally began a rehab assignment in July of that year, it seemed almost inevitable that it would be a lengthy one to get him re-acclimated to the full spectrum of playing experiences. Instead, necessity dictated a call-up after just 10 games (six in Lowell, four in Pawtucket), and Lowrie went on to have a tremendous stretch in the big leagues, hitting .287/.381/.526/.907 with nine homers in 55 games over the second half of that season.
Whether or not Kalish follows such a model remains to be seen. After all, when he was healthy at the beginning of last year, the Red Sox said that they wanted Kalish to have more time in the minors (even after a two-month stint in the majors at the end of 2010) to complete his player development, suggesting that his career may be at a somewhat less advanced stage than was Lowrie’s in 2010. And, as Valentine suggested, there is likely a stretch coming in which Kalish will struggle and have to make the adjustment to shed a slump.
Still, the initial returns offer a reminder that the outfielder — still just 24 — is capable of helping the Red Sox at the major league level this year, and perhaps sooner than anyone anticipated.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-5 WIN VS. INDIANAPOLIS (PIRATES)
– Ryan Lavarnway went 1-for-4 with a homer, his second in as many days and his fifth of the year. After collecting just five extra-base hits in his first 29 games of the year, Lavarnway now has 10 in his last 16 contests, bringing his slugging percentage up to .449 for the year. During that 16-game stretch, Lavarnway is hitting .350/.418/.617/1.035. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox draft picks, Rounds 31-40: An NFL QB, a celebration of New England and Red Sox ties, and a guy who has ‘no idea’ why he was drafted||06.07.12 at 2:58 am ET|
An eclectic blend of picks closed out the Red Sox’ 2012 draft, including a player who is currently in the employ of an NFL club…31ST ROUND (NO. 961): AUSTIN DAVIS, RHP, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (SENIOR), 23 YEARS OLD
Just as they did in rounds 21-30, the Red Sox selected a college football standout with little to no baseball experience. Davis was a record-setting quarterback at Southern Miss, an undertaking he took seriously enough to stop playing baseball as of 2007. Though he wasn’t selected in the NFL draft, he signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent.
32ND ROUND (NO. 991): HUNTER WOOD, RHP, ROGERS HERITAGE HS (AR.), 18 YEARS OLD
Wood is a 6-foot-1 right-hander with room to fill out his listed 171-pound frame. Though he played center field for his high school team, the Sox announced his selection as a pitcher. Baseball America described him as a pitcher with an 87-91 mph fastball and room to add velocity, but suggested his curveball was a ‘meh’ pitch. He has a scholarship commitment to Howard College, a junior college in Texas.
33RD ROUND (NO. 1,021): CHRIS CARLSON, OF, ORANGE COAST COLLEGE (CA.), 21 YEARS OLD
Carlson, who is slated to transfer from Orange Coast College to New Mexico State, hit .438 with a .521 OBP, .723 slugging mark and seven homers in 2012. He earned California Community College Player of the Year honors. Baseball America describes him as a player with slightly above-average speed and surprising pop given his 5-foot-10 frame. His academic interests sound rather narrowly defined. It is difficult to overlook the fact that he had a teammate at Orange Coast named Boog Powell.
34TH ROUND (NO. 1,051): XAVIER TURNER, 2B, SANDUSKY HS (OH.), 18 YEARS OLD
Turner features a good across-the-board skill set and had a huge performance in a summer wood bat league prior to his senior year, hitting .603 with a 1.678 OPS. He played third, short and outfield in high school, but the Sox announced him as a second baseman. He has a scholarship commitment to Vanderbilt, a school that rarely loses its recruits through the draft at the end of high school. It sounds as if Turner will be no different, as his father told The Morning Journal that his son had taken himself “officially unofficially” out of consideration for big league clubs.
Xavier was the 77th most popular name conferred upon newborns in 2011, but when Turner was born in 1993, it ranked just 141st.
35TH ROUND (NO. 1,081): PAT DELANO, RHP, BRAINTREE HS (MA.), 18 YEARS OLD
The Red Sox’ first New England draftee, Delano had a 1.21 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 57 innings. He is a giant on the mound, listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds. After losing his junior season to Tommy John surgery, his velocity bounced back as a senior. He features a fastball that some reports have in the low-90s and a curveball that, according to this Patriot Ledger profile, was ex-Sox pitcher Brian Rose. Delano has a commitment to Vanderbilt, however.
36TH ROUND (NO. 1,111): MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ, C, UNC-CHARLOTTE (SENIOR), 21 YEARS OLD
Rodriguez, the son of Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez and the brother of Red Sox scout Victor Rodriguez Jr., struggled offensively as a senior, hitting .160 with a .236 OBP and .173 slugging mark. However, as a junior, he hit .300/.353/.420. Here’s a good video profile of the catcher, which includes some entertaining anecdotes about both his playing career and life on a college baseball team.
37TH ROUND (NO. 1,141): JONATHAN DZIEDZIC, LHP, LAMAR UNIVERSITY (TX.), 21 YEARS OLD
The Humble, Texas, native missed almost all of 2011 with an elbow injury (after leading his conference in strikeouts as a freshman) but bounced back well in 2012, going 5-4 with a 3.47 ERA, 68 strikeouts and 34 walks in 72 2/3 innings. As a result of his missed 2011 season, he just finished his redshirt sophomore season, and has two more years of college eligibility.
And he’ll use at least one of them. Dziedzic made clear to teams that he planned to stay at Lamar. Asked (in this article) why the Sox drafted him, Dziedzic replied, “I have no idea.”
38TH ROUND (NO. 1,171): DONALD SMITH, C, CLAFLIN UNIVERSITY (FL.) (SENIOR), 22 YEARS OLD
Smith sounded more enthused than Dziedzic about being selected, referring to the development (in this article) as being as exciting as “when I was a kid catching my first big fish.” In his junior year, the catcher/DH hit .423/.518/.701. Smith is the first player drafted in Claflin history.
39TH ROUND (NO. 1,201): KURT SCHLUTER, RHP, STETSON UNIVERSITY (FL.), 21 YEARS OLD
Winner of the title of Best Twitter Handle By A Red Sox Draft Pick, Schluter evidently learned of his selection by the Sox while driving up the East Coast en route to the Cape where he will play for Chatham this summer. After going 8-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 18 walks in 57 2/3 innings as a sophomore, Schluter was 5-3 with a 5.45 ERA, 53 strikeouts and 28 walks in 67 2/3 innings as a junior. His college coach said that he expects Schluter to stay in school.
While Schluter has tasted victory plenty of times in a college career that has seen him forge a 16-6 record, he has also tasted defeat in the form of an evident mauling with shaving cream.
40TH ROUND (NO. 1,231): KEVIN HELLER, OF, AMHERST COLLEGE (MA.) (SENIOR), 22 YEARS OLD
As detailed here, Heller was more than happy to shift his loyalties very rapidly on Wednesday, as the lifelong Yankees fan (and Brooklyn native) embraced a lifelong rival when the Red Sox called his name with their 40th round pick. The Red Sox can open an Amherst alumni chapter, as several front office members (including GM Ben Cherington and amateur scouting coordinator Jared Banner, who contacted Heller right after the pick) hail from the NESCAC school.
Heller hit .374/.474/.523 this year; last summer, he set a home run record in the wood-bat Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League by going deep 19 times.
The 40th round has featured some illustrious draftees in recent years, having yielded big leaguers Brandon Morrow, Hunter Pence, Matt Garza and Jonathan Papelbon, though none of those players signed after being taken in the 40th round, instead returning to school and putting themselves in a better draft position. However, there has been an impact player at the 1,231st pick in the draft, as the Nationals selected (and signed) Brad Peacock from that draft spot in 2006. Peacock went to Oakland this past offseason in the deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to Washington.
|Josh Beckett claims title of hardest-luck loser in the American League||06.06.12 at 11:27 pm ET|
Yet despite his consistent strong work, Beckett dropped to 4-6 on Wednesday, as the Red Sox could muster almost no support behind him in a 2-1 loss to the Orioles. In each of his losses, the Sox have scored three or fewer runs. Thus, a number of Beckett’s quality starts have been wasted, a theme that continued on a night where he had a tremendous pitch mix.
“Those are eight of the best innings I’ve seen all year. He was efficient with great stuff, all of his pitches. Damn shame,” said Sox manager Bobby Valentine. “He deserved better. He gave up two runs in eight innings. We’ll take that every time out.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox draft picks, rounds 21-30: Red Sox go for college football standouts and a Muddy Chicken winner||06.06.12 at 9:44 pm ET|
This group of picks is most notable for an unusual demographic: College football players at prominent national programs who have spent little time on a baseball field in recent years. That, and for one player whose hero is a pop sensation, and another who claimed an honor inspired by a certain Red Sox second baseman…
21ST ROUND (NO. 661): JAKE DAVIES, 1B, GEORGIA TECH (SENIOR), 22 YEARS OLD
Davies hit .326/.401/.548 with 14 homers and led the ACC with 73 RBI as a senior. Though he also served as a left-handed bullpen contributor for Georgia Tech, the Sox announced his selection as a first baseman. Listed at 6-foot-0 and 230 pounds, there may be limitations regarding his defense and athleticism, but evidently, the man can hit, at least in college. Playing for Harwich in the Cape League last summer, he hit .266 with a homer and 19 RBI. He is the brother of former Braves and Royals pitcher Kyle Davies.
22ND ROUND (NO. 691): JOE GREENFIELD, RHP, SOUTH SUBURBAN COLLEGE (IL), 20 YEARS OLD
The Sox often like to take big right-handers from the Midwest, believing that as with many New Englanders, pitchers from the region can be undervalued in the draft because they spend most of their short seasons pitching without their best stuff. That said, because Midwesterners are at the mercy of the weather, they are often more raw than players from warmer regions of the country who play virtually year-round.
Greenfield was 3-6 with a 4.28 ERA, 95 strikeouts and 30 walks in 82 innings as a sophomore. He has a big pitcher’s frame (6-foot-4, 220). On the team’s website, the South Suburban coach suggested that Greenfield features an “intimidating fastball” and an off-speed repertoire. Something not intimidating about Greenfield? The fact that he professes his personal hero to be Justin Bieber.
23RD ROUND (NO. 721): BRANDON MAGEE, OF, ARIZONA STATE (SENIOR), 21 YEARS OLD
Magee barely played baseball at ASU, as he spent most of his college career as a linebacker for the football team. Still, he played in 27 games, hitting .103/.297/.138 while striking out 22 times in 29 at-bats. Still, he is considered an incredible athlete and is incredibly strong. In this interview, Magee said that even though his college baseball eligibility has concluded, his baseball-playing days were not done. That said, after missing the 2011 football season and 2012 baseball season after blowing out his Achilles and undergoing surgery, he is expected to return to ASU to play football in the fall. But Magee told the Arizona Republic that the Red Sox expressed a willingness to let him play his senior football season at ASU if he signs.
Read the rest of this entry »
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