|Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of the prospects at the start of the season||04.04.13 at 1:37 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The other Opening Day is upon us.
On Thursday, three of the Red Sox’ full-season minor league affiliates open their seasons, with Triple-A Pawtucket, Double-A Portland and Single-A Greenville all set to start play, and High-A Salem of the Carolina League set to open on Friday. As was the case last year, WEEI.com will endeavor (to try, to seek, to find and occasionally to yield to the realities that it’s hard to sustain this project on an everyday basis) to offer a daily roundup of the most interesting performances in the Red Sox’ minor league system.
The emphasis will be less on individual games than it will be on the development of prospects in broader context. The idea is to give a sense of where the players who might impact the Red Sox in the months or years down the road are in the (typically) nonlinear world of their career trajectories.
With games set to kick off, here’s a level-by-level look at an incomplete list of the most interesting players on each roster with some insight into their performances in spring training.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX
– Based on the spring, right-hander Allen Webster looks like the Pawtucket prospect with the greatest chance of making a considerable mid-year impact should the opportunity (whether due to injury or poor performance by one of the five season-opening big league starters) arise. His ability to show high-90s velocity with sink on his fastball coupled with a terrific changeup and a biting slider suggest a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation potential if his command can be harnessed. He did a great job of doing just that in big league camp, striking out 14 and walking just one in 11 innings, and continued attack the strike zone once reassigned to minor league camp.
“He was very similar to what he’d done at the major league side — he only had, I think, a couple walks throughout spring training,” said farm director Ben Crockett. “A few mechanical adjustments that were made really helped him repeat his delivery a little better and kept him on line a little better, allowing that fastball to play. With as much movement and as much velocity as he has, his focus can be on the big part of the plate and letting it work to the corners rather than being too fine.”
– Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa — who, like Webster, was acquired in the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers last season — continued to work in two-inning stints over the duration of spring training, just as was the case when he showed eye-opening stuff (albeit inconsistent execution) in big league camp. He will open the year as a starter who will work in short stints, with no strictly defined plan for his progression to build his innings load as he gets further and further removed from his 2011 Tommy John surgery.
Because of his early-season innings restrictions, De La Rosa is unlikely to be in the mix as a spot starter for the Red Sox in the early months of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
|Allen Webster, Alex Wilson headline six Red Sox additions to 40-man roster||11.20.12 at 11:12 pm ET|
The Red Sox added six players — right-handed starters Allen Webster and Steven Wright, reliever Alex Wilson, catchers Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler and outfielder Alex Hassan – to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. A brief look at the group:
- Webster, arguably the top prospect whom the Sox got from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster, had a 3.86 ERA and 129 strikeouts (along with 61 walks) in 130 2/3 innings, with the sinkerballer permitting just two homers all year while pitching for the Double-A affiliates of the Dodgers and Sox. He’s considered a high-ceiling pitcher with front-of-the-rotation potential if he can command his arsenal more consistently.
- Wilson, a second round pick out of Texas A&M in 2009, was converted to the bullpen in 2012. He spent the entire season in Triple-A Pawtucket, forging a 3.72 ERA, striking out 78 and walking 33 in 72 2/3 innings. His mid-90s fastball and slider are viewed as potential late-inning weapons out of the bullpen.
- Vazquez, 22, is considered perhaps the Sox’ best defensive catching prospect, and though he’s spent just 20 games playing above A-ball (he was promoted late in the season to Double-A Portland), he’s shown both a decent approach and some power potential. The Sox could have left him unprotected and risked losing him in the Rule 5 draft, but given the paucity of solid catching prospects, they considered the risk too great to expose him to that process.
- Butler, 26, represents a catching depth option for the Sox. He gets high marks for his defense, game management and leadership, and he’s shown enough offense (.259/.357/.417/.774 in four minor league seasons) since the Sox signed him in 2009 as an undrafted free agent that the team felt there was a chance of losing him if it did not add him to the 40-man roster. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Brandon Jacobs mashing, Jose Iglesias walking, Daniel Bard striking, Chris Carpenter hitting 100||07.24.12 at 10:26 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox’ farm system on Monday …
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-1 WIN AT LOUISVILLE (REDS)
– Daniel Bard blitzed through a 1-2-3 inning in which he pumped eight of 11 pitches for strikes, the last a 95 mph fastball for a strikeout. The outing was Bard’s second scoreless effort in as many days, and offers further evidence that he is regaining his ability to throw strikes consistently. He now has four straight outings in which he’s thrown more than half of his pitches for strikes, and in his last three (dating to Thursday), he’s thrown 67 percent of his pitches for strikes. His three straight scoreless appearances represent his longest run since going to the minors.
– Reliever Chris Carpenter‘s arm appears to be healthy. According to Pawtucket play-by-play man Aaron Goldsmith (via twitter), Carpenter hit 100 mph during his scoreless inning.
– Jose Iglesias went 1-for-4 but with a pair of walks, marking the second straight game in which he took two free passes. It is the first time in his career that Iglesias has walked multiple times in consecutive games. In fact, entering 2012, he’d walked two or more times just twice — both in 2010 (once in Lowell, once in Portland). This year, he’s taken two walks in four games. His gains are still modest — his OBP is now .305 — but they show a 22-year-old whose approach at the plate is improving from year to year. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Why Daniel Bard pitched out of the bullpen; Lars Anderson showing muscle||06.12.12 at 8:36 am ET|
Daniel Bard made a one-inning appearance on Monday night, and in contrast to his first Triple-A appearance on Friday, he came in out of the bullpen in the sixth inning rather than starting the game. However, the decision for Bard to relieve rather than start, the pitcher told the Providence Journal, did not represent an abandonment of the effort to get him comfortable as a starting pitcher. On the contrary, Bard said that he asked to enter in the middle of the game to regain the feel of what it was like entering games as a relief pitcher, something that he hopes to carry back into a starting role.
“It’s not a secret [the bullpen is] where I’m most comfortable,” Bard told the Journal. “The adrenaline rush that comes with it, the added pressure of getting loose quick and everything, that’s where I’m comfortable. Still, while we can say that, I’m not ready to give up on starting. …
“Starting with the intention of going one inning felt really strange,” he added, referring to his first Triple-A appearance. “It felt like a really manufactured situation. It didn’t feel like I was really part of baseball game. I told them I’m all good with the short stints pushed together. I think that’s a good way to get back on track. But if we’re trying to go for a bullpen feel, which is what they talked to me about — get this and translate it to starting — I said, ‘Why don’t we just do it out of the bullpen?’ I told them, ‘Let’s just do that.’ ”
Bard will also make his next Pawtucket appearance out of the bullpen.
His results on Monday represented a slight improvement over his first outing. He allowed a leadoff single and followed that with a walk, after which a double steal put runners on second and third with no outs. But Bard limited the damage, getting an RBI groundout and then stranding a runner on third by recording back-to-back strikeouts. He threw 11 of 22 pitches for strikes.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-8 LOSS VS. GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Lars Anderson went 3-for-4 with a homer, double and walk to push his season line to .268/.393/.492/.884 with eight homers. The 24-year-old is hitting the ball with more consistent pop than at any other time in his career, at least as measured by his extra-base hits and slugging percentage. He’s collecting an extra-base hit in 12.8 percent of his at-bats, the highest mark of his career. Here are his year-by-year averages: Read the rest of this entry »
|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)
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Keury De La Cruz keeps homering, and Derrik Gibson starts hitting||05.29.12 at 12:16 pm ET|
A look at Monday’s action across the Red Sox system…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-4 LOSS VS. NORFOLK (ORIOLES)
– Alex Hassan went 2-for-4, giving him back-to-back two-hit games. It marked the first time since April 19-20 that he had back-to-back multi-hit games. Both of his hits came against right-handers, continuing a year in which Hassan has dramatic reverse splits. The right-handed hitter is hitting just .179/.289/.333/.622 against lefties, and .272/.402/.408/.809 against righties.
– Darnell McDonald went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He did reach base for the first time in his minor league rehab assignment, doing so the hard way when he was hit by a pitch. McDonald is 0-for-8 with a hit by pitch and a sac fly in three rehab games.
– Shortstop Jose Iglesias has missed three straight games, and manager Arnie Beyeler told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal that he will sit out again on Tuesday while “banged up a little bit.”
– Starter Ross Ohlendorf told Britton that he hasn’t thought in depth about whether he will exercise his right to opt out of his minor league contract on June 1 if the Sox have not added him to the 40-man roster.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-0 LOSS VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)
– Left-hander Chris Hernandez limited the damage in his 10th start of the year, tossing six innings and permitting three runs. Still, he’s starting to perform as a pitcher with far greater effectiveness against lefties than righties. All three of his walks and both of his strikeouts on Monday came against right-handed hitters. For the year, right-handed hitters have a line of .265/.340/.394/.734 with four homers, 17 walks and 24 striketouts against Hernandez. Lefties, meanwhile, are managing to hit just .233/.250/.529 with no homers, one walk and eight strikeouts against him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Lars Anderson and Keury De La Cruz double up||05.28.12 at 7:20 am ET|
A pair of multi-homer games headline the highlights from Sunday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-4 WIN VS. TOLEDO (TIGERS)
– For the first time in over three years, Lars Anderson went deep twice in the same game. It was part of a season-best performance in which the 24-year-old went 3-for-3 with two homers, a single and a walk. He also matched a season-high for hits in a game and had a new season-high by reaching four times. The big day improved Anderson’s line for the year to .244/.370/.437/.807, roughly matching the .265/.369/.422/.791 line he totaled a year ago. His .370 OBP is the best among qualifying PawSox players.
Anderson’s previous two-homer game came on May 16, 2009, when he hit two homers for Double-A Portland.
– Alex Hassan had his first multi-hit game in 13 contests, going 2-for-3 while hitting his fourth homer of the year. His homer came with a runner in scoring position, continuing a season-long theme in which Hassan has been much better with runners on base and/or in scoring position than with the bases empty. On the year, he’s hitting .205/.318/.315/.633 in 85 plate appearances with the bases empty and .277/.422/.462/.833 in 83 plate appearances with runners on base.
– Outfielder Darnell McDonald went 0-for-4 in the second game of his rehab assignment while working his way back from a strained oblique. He had a line out, fly out and two ground outs.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-5 WIN VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)
- Players of the Week, May 13-19: Mookie Betts and Matt Price
- Cup of Coffee: Montas strikes out eight in Greenville loss
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #34
- ESPNBoston: De La Rosa finding his way in Pawtucket
- Cup of Coffee: Bradley, Holt shine in PawSox loss
- Xander Bogaerts, Portland to headline Futures at Fenway
- SoxProspects Video of the Week: Matt Barnes
- Cup of Coffee: Henry, Diaz propel Pawtucket to blowout victory
- Cup of Coffee: Spring's walk-off grand slam lifts Portland
- Bradley: "Everything's back to normal"