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   1. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:03 PM (#5204870)
SS - Marco Hernandez - Pawtucket - Hernandez made a splash in his one day appearance in Boston.  It is looking like Ben Cherington did well in his deal to unload Felix Hernandez to acquire Hernandez who looks to me like a guy who can really help the big club this year if injuries hit them.  I don’t think he’s everyday player material but a solid utility man.
Felix Doubront. If Cherington had had Felix Hernandez to unload, and succeeded, we'd tell the time machine hitman to put the baby Hitler project on the back burner for a minute while we switch him to a bigger issue.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:06 PM (#5204882)
Holy crap how did I manage THAT?
   3. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:10 PM (#5204886)
Dave Dombrowski was the GM in Detroit who had 21 year old Joel Zumaya open the year with the club, 20 year old Rick Porcello do so and he was in Miami when 22 year olds A.J. Burnett and Brad Penny and 21 year old Josh Beckett made their debuts so he does not seem adverse to promoting aggressively.
Although in fairness, the Marlins' MLB roster had plenty of room for aggressive promotion.
   4. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:11 PM (#5204887)
Holy crap how did I manage THAT?
In talking about a Felix-for-Hernandez trade. Easy mistake to make. Damn entertaining, too.
   5. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:23 PM (#5204899)
OF - Rusney Castillo - Pawtucket - I did not particularly like the move to send out Castillo at Brock Holt’s expense.  I think having Castillo’s upside was worth the gamble to this club.  In limited time he has played well and I will be surprised if he does not get another chance either through injury or something.  Chris Young is off to a poor start (shades of Jay Payton?) and John Farrell pinch hit with Josh Rutledge for him on Saturday, not a ringing endorsement.

Kinda riding off the notion of "aggressive promotion", I get the sense either that Dombrowski is not impressed with Castillo or Farrell has a problem with Cubans. I'm willing to overlook the latter as a discussion topic because, this being the internet, I'm sure we'd see no shortage of that discussion elsewhere if we really wanted to find it.

If Dombrowski is open to aggressive promotion, and if he believed in Castillo, then I'd think he'd have found room for both Castillo and Holt on the roster. That Castillo is in Pawtucket, and that Swihart is also down there learning to play the same position, that suggests to me that Dombrowski isn't keen on Castillo returning without a massive improvement or roster desperation.

I'd like to think that Castillo will pan out. I'm sure they'd like to see it, too. I don't think Dombrowski sees it.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:28 PM (#5204908)
I think you are right. I don't think there is a lot of excitement within the organization for Castillo. The top of minors are very weak in the outfield though so when someone gets hurt he is going to get a chance. I'm still hopeful he can make it work.

I love that the Sox are pretty clearly saying that a big contract gets you nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens when a Dombrowski acquisition is on the hot seat. So far it's probably been a bit easier to say \"####### Cherington stuck us with this bum" but if someone acquired by DD is in the same boat as Sandoval it will be interesting.
   7. Darren Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:31 PM (#5204910)
I'm unsure on Castillo. He's a good enough defender to make up for a weak bat--he'd probably be a good trade target for someone who needs a CF.
   8. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:36 PM (#5204916)
I'm unsure on Castillo. He's a good enough defender to make up for a weak bat--he'd probably be a good trade target for someone who needs a CF.
Oh, yes, he's certainly not without value. But with Betts and Bradley out there, and seemingly permanent* fixtures, Dombrowski is probably figuring they need a bat more than a glove** out there.

EDIT: What I mean is Castillo has more value on someone else's roster than he has on Boston's roster, and agree that he's a good trade target.

* To the extent that anything is permanent in roster construction.

** A glove better than Hanley's 2015, of course.
   9. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2016 at 04:39 PM (#5204922)
It will be interesting to see what happens when a Dombrowski acquisition is on the hot seat.


January 26, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.
November 20, 2013: Traded by the Detroit Tigers with cash to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler.
   10. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2016 at 08:38 PM (#5205133)
The fast start for Chavis came off the rails. He apparently has a torn ligament in his thumb and may need surgery. He's being sent for an MRI.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 25, 2016 at 09:55 PM (#5205184)
What I mean is Castillo has more value on someone else's roster than he has on Boston's roster, and agree that he's a good trade target.

On that contract? Even with Red Sox eating most of the money, Boston paying him all that to play in Pawtucket would be a red flag to most teams.
   12. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 26, 2016 at 12:05 AM (#5205256)
Marco Hernandez played left field tonight. Handled a couple of fly balls without incident according to Sox Prospects.
   13. villageidiom Posted: April 26, 2016 at 01:27 AM (#5205300)
On that contract? Even with Red Sox eating most of the money, Boston paying him all that to play in Pawtucket would be a red flag to most teams.
OK, first, "paying him all that" is irrelevant if the Red Sox are eating most of the money. His value obviously goes up to other teams if Boston eats the money. So let's adjust that to "Even with Red Sox eating most of the money, Boston playing him in Pawtucket would be a red flag to most teams." And that's false.

ZiPS projected 2016 wOBA:

.367 Betts
.320 Bradley
.312 Holt
.312 Young
.308 Castillo

.307 Jacoby Ellsbury (...You were saying about "paying him all that"?)
.303 Delino Deshields Jr.
.301 Austin Jackson
.295 Jeremy Hazelbaker
.293 Jon Jay
.287 Leonys Martin
.284 Joey Rickard
.275 Michael Taylor

The first five in the list are the Red Sox four primary outfielders, plus Castillo. It's close in some cases, but Castillo projects to be 5th best of the 5. Castillo can play a competent or better CF, but in Boston he's 3rd on the CF depth chart (behind Bradley and Betts), both offensively and defensively.

The next eight in the list are the current starting CF for a handful of teams, including some playoff hopefuls. Castillo is projected comparable or better offensively, and though his cost depends on how much Boston eats he is cost-controlled for several more years. Being projected better than several teams' first CF or 1st-3rd OF, but around Boston's 3rd CF or 3rd-5th OF, is not a red flag for those teams unless they are determined to wave the white flag. He certainly has trade value.
   14. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: April 26, 2016 at 02:54 PM (#5205656)
Hell of a misunderstanding, Alex!

Alex Speier ‎@alexspeier
CORRECTION: Based on my misunderstanding of a source, I erroneously tweeted yesterday that Michael Chavis tore a ligament in his thumb.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 26, 2016 at 03:10 PM (#5205679)
That's really good news. I'm sure Speier is a bit embarrassed (and I must say I like that he blamed himself) but that is really good news.
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 26, 2016 at 03:12 PM (#5205681)
Alex Speier ‎@alexspeier
CORRECTION: Based on my misunderstanding of a source, I erroneously tweeted yesterday that Michael Chavis tore a ligament in his thumb.


Shouldn't that be followed by a clarification of what did actually happen?
   17. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 26, 2016 at 03:27 PM (#5205697)
Here's the follow up;


Alex Speier ‏@alexspeier 2h2 hours ago

(Correction 2): Until the MRI is done, that diagnosis - still a possibility - is premature. For now, the injury is described as a sprain.
   18. tfbg9 Posted: April 26, 2016 at 05:34 PM (#5205823)
Eh...what the hell...

201. karlmagnus Posted: March 10, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4385847)


They could have had Manny for an NRI, and he's still a better hitter. The Ortiz $25 million deal was truly stupid, maybe the only really bad one of the winter (we'll see if others join it.)
   19. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 26, 2016 at 09:14 PM (#5205997)
Ortiz was coming off a 173 OPS+ year in the spring of 2013, btw. Granted that was injury shortened, but two years prior his OPS+ was 154.
   20. Norcan Posted: April 27, 2016 at 08:44 AM (#5206236)
I'm so excited about Anderson Espinoza, almost too much I fear because if he doesn't make it and by make it, I mean, become an ace, it's going to really hurt. I like following prospects but I don't think I've ever followed one as closely as him, something enabled by all the videos and scouting reports/twitter accounts you can find on the internet nowadays. I'm probably setting myself up to be disappointed because there's so many things that can go wrong or be misjudged about a 18 year old pitching prospect.

Things I like: Despite being only 6 feet tall, if that apparently, he's got longer arms and bigger hands than is typical for his size. He's also far more filled out than the 6'/160 he's listed as. Some estimates have him closer to 190 and that looks about right. There's video of him when he's 15 and topping out at 87 mph in a fairly dingy looking field and then three years later, while on the same field, he's throwing again and looking so much stronger (with 11-13 more mph of velocity). I don't think there should be concerns about him not possibly being able to hold up as a starter, concerns which I think are bunk anyway. Pitchers big and small both break down.

He's a very good athlete, with excellent body control and seems to be able to field his position well. He has the requisite athleticism of a potential top notch starter. His delivery and arm action are both smooth and balanced and there's minimal head movement. One thing that's a little unusual about his delivery is how he drags his back foot into his release. His front foot lands online with his back toes and then he drags his foot almost completely sideways as he rotates. It looks like it should be really tough on his ankle. I've seen some other pitchers who've done it, Greg Maddux was one but wasn't as extreme, Steven Matz does it very similarly to Espinoza, so it's not unprecedented.

From what I've seen, he's still got a lot of developing to do, as expected. His mid to high 90s velocity is effortless and he gets great movement on his fastball but his control can waver like any 18 year old's. His offspeed pitches (curve, change) can both flash as impressive pitches when he gets out in front but his release point can vary and lead to him leaving them up and hittable. Still, that he can manipulate a changeup to have late fade and generate a hard breaking curve when thrown right is very promising.

His last start wasn't very impressive (3.1/1 ER/3 BB/74 pitches) but judging by some tweets from someone who was there, it appears he was instructed to treat it like a fastball development game. He's said to have thrown about 90 percent fastballs so his outing was less about getting low-A hitters out than about working on his fastball command. I guess it's possible his statline would've been better if he was just trying to get hitters out. On the other hand, it shows how much work he needs with his fastball command that he can't go more than 3.1 innings/74 pitches with the kind of fastball he has.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: April 27, 2016 at 10:10 AM (#5206301)
Judging from the title, I thought this thread might have been about the Atlanta Braves' roster...
   22. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 28, 2016 at 01:12 PM (#5207510)
Speaking of guys who very much NOT major leaguers, according to Chris Hatfield Trey Ball is supposed to make his debut in Salem tonight.
   23. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2016 at 01:50 PM (#5207570)
Speaking of guys who very much NOT major leaguers, according to Chris Hatfield Trey Ball is supposed to make his debut in Salem tonight.
I know, I know, 2013 first rounder, still in A-ball. He's still a year younger than the league he's in.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 28, 2016 at 01:59 PM (#5207589)
I'm not advocating giving up on him but he has done nothing to indicate there is any future there. That he's young for the league just suggests to me the Sox are pushing him unnecessarily. He has pitched parts of three seasons in the minors and pitched well in exactly zero of them.

As you say he's still young enough that hey, maybe he figures it out. But it's the absence of progress more than anything that makes me feel like that's unrealistic optimism.
   25. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2016 at 04:55 PM (#5207936)
Yes, my only point was that it's still early, despite that he was drafted 3 years ago. He hasn't done anything to earn our faith.

I wonder about something. He went to high-A, and his rate stats got worse. K/9, BB/9, HR/9, all worse. But there are two things I find interesting.

1. BABIP went down. If he were grooving his pitches, I'd expect not just that his HR/9 would go up, but that he would've had a higher BABIP due to harder-hit balls. But it actually dropped about 10%. Maybe random fluctuation, maybe league differences; but if he were moved up a level and couldn't handle the competition I'd expect this to go up, not down. (Hey, maybe it's nothing, but I found it interesting.)

2. WP/9 almost doubled. When BB/9 goes up it could be a product of hitters at the higher level being more selective, not swinging at garbage pitches. But you wouldn't expect hitters to have been swinging at a lot of wild pitches at the lower level. So the increase in wild pitches suggests he had command issues. Some pitches evade the catcher; others are grooved and are hit for HR. Now, I'm not suggesting a rise in WP/9 is a sign of progress. But I think it's a sign that the problem lies within, and not with the competition. It's a sign not that his stuff didn't play at high-A, but that his command of his stuff changed. I think if his stuff couldn't overcome the competition, then he'd have to take on bigger changes to his repertoire to improve. But if it's that he became more wild, it could be a mechanical issue, or just not adjusting (yet) to the additional 20-30 lbs. of muscle he's put on in the past couple of years. No guarantees or anything, but I think it's easier to get improvements from "repair" than from "reinvent".

Did I mention he hasn't done anything to earn our faith? Even so, it bears repeating. But he seems like an interesting case to watch this year.
   26. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 28, 2016 at 05:10 PM (#5207951)
That's a couple of interesting points. #1 is particularly intriguing though I wonder how much of that is the players behind him? Is there a place you can see BABIP for the Carolina and Sally Leagues? Intuitively I would expect BABIP to drop as you go up in levels. The obvious one is because the players improve defensively but it also seems that the condition of fields is considerably better as you go up the ladder so balls skipping through might drop.

The counterargument to that is that the players are likely hitting the ball harder the higher up the ladder you go. That's why I want to see the data but I'm not seeing it on BBRef or MILB.com.
   27. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2016 at 06:00 PM (#5208009)
Is there a place you can see BABIP for the Carolina and Sally Leagues?
Not that I'm aware of, at least easily. MILB.com has team summaries of pitching stats. Quick math:

Batters Faced (BF) = IP*3 + H + BB + HBP
BABIP = (H - HR) / (BF - HR - SO - BB - HBP)


Sally League 2014 (the year Ball was there) was .304. Greenville was .302.
Carolina League 2015 was .289, with the majority of teams around .295. Salem was .276.

...10% lower than Greenville 2014. And both the Greenville and Salem numbers are in line with his. So maybe all of the difference could have been just from environment. Interesting, but not in the way I'd thought earlier.

FWIW, here are all the numbers for 2015:

Sally League .297, Greenville .303.
Carolina League .289, Salem .276.
Eastern League .290, Portland .295.
International League .298, Pawtucket .266.

Those Salem and Pawtucket numbers fascinate me. Is it the park? The rest of the pitching staff? The defense?
   28. Darren Posted: April 28, 2016 at 10:05 PM (#5208125)
EspinozaS--so young and far from MLB, I just can't help but think of all the top pitching prospects that have turned into mediocre relievers, even if they don't get hurt. It would be wise to at least be open to dealing him.
   29. Dan Posted: April 28, 2016 at 10:21 PM (#5208132)
EspinozaS--so young and far from MLB, I just can't help but think of all the top pitching prospects that have turned into mediocre relievers, even if they don't get hurt. It would be wise to at least be open to dealing him.


Hell no. He should be as untouchable as anyone in the organization.
   30. Darren Posted: April 29, 2016 at 07:19 AM (#5208193)
But that's how you end up with Matt Barnes (Barnes Day!!!), mediocre middle reliever.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 29, 2016 at 08:57 AM (#5208211)
I'm all for dealing prospects but at the same time the benefit of a good, homegrown starting pitcher is so huge, if you can develop it you do. Barnes was never as highly regarded as Espinoza. If someone blows the Sox away then yeah, you make a move but I wouldn't be in any rush to deal him.

Speaking of young pitching EdRod had a bit of a tough outing last night. I didn't see it but it looks like he settled down a bit retiring 6 of the last 7 batters he faced. Swihart got the start in left field and handled a couple of chances successfully.
   32. villageidiom Posted: April 29, 2016 at 09:04 AM (#5208216)
Video of Swihart fielding like a catcher in LF last night.

That aside, here are two pitching lines from yesterday:

3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 K
4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K

The former is Eduardo Rodriguez, the latter Trey Ball. Both were their first starts after injury.
   33. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 29, 2016 at 09:42 AM (#5208235)
That wasn't pretty but Swihart caught it, that's a step in the right direction. He's athletic enough, I'm confident he can become solid out there. Still prefer him behind the plate.
   34. villageidiom Posted: April 29, 2016 at 10:11 AM (#5208253)
Oh, agreed on all counts. I just thought it was funny that the moment he catches the ball he looks like he's blocking a pitch in the dirt.
   35. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 29, 2016 at 10:20 AM (#5208257)
Nothing makes me appreciate how good these guys are than when someone switches positions. I remember Jed Lowrie playing some first base for the Red Sox and looking helpless out there. Hanley in left another example. These are guys that are Major League shortstops for crying out loud and suddenly they look helpless.
   36. Norcan Posted: April 29, 2016 at 03:15 PM (#5208457)
I'm pretty down Trey Ball. Seemingly the only positive thing one can still latch onto is that his athleticism remains excellent for a pitcher, which presumably means he could turn things around but that athleticism hasn't helped thus far. It'd be one thing if his stat line was unimpressive but reports about his stuff included 60s and 70s like reports about Cody Reed of the Reds did before he broke out last season but that isn't the case. His fastball ranges from 88-92, maybe touching 94 at times but hard throwers don't throw any fastballs in the high-80s, so his fastball is below-average. His curve is below-average enough that apparently he might ditch it for a slider instead and his change is said to flash fairly well at times but not enough. He's basically a pitcher whose stuff matches his stats.

On video, the thing that stuck out most to me is how strenuously he bends over at release. It looks like he's trying to get a little extra or a lot extra on his pitches just when he releases the ball because his stuff is pedestrian but all he manages to do is negatively impact his control and command.

All that said, he's young enough, still very athletic and still has room to get stronger/put on good weight so maybe things could turn around.
   37. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 29, 2016 at 03:37 PM (#5208478)
Edwin Escobar picked up by the Diamondbacks. It's hard to say that's a big loss but I was really geared up when the Sox landed him, I thought Cherington had stolen one. As it is Hembree is looking really good right now.
   38. Mattbert Posted: April 29, 2016 at 04:47 PM (#5208562)
Edwin Escobar picked up by the Diamondbacks. It's hard to say that's a big loss but I was really geared up when the Sox landed him, I thought Cherington had stolen one.

Agreed. I still feel inclined to give Cherington a lot of credit for that Peavy deal anyway, though. Escobar was struggling in the PCL at the time of the trade, but his age 20 and 21 seasons prior to that looked awfully good. It's a shame that the roadblock he hit at the AAA level seems to have been more or less insurmountable.
   39. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 29, 2016 at 04:51 PM (#5208572)
As much as I hated the original Peavy deal I thought Cherington made a good move in the process of trading him. Any thoughts on Hembree Matt? He looks very good to me this year.
   40. villageidiom Posted: April 29, 2016 at 07:12 PM (#5208657)
More detail on Trey Ball's stats, per milb.com...

ERA | BB/9 | K/9 | HR/9

2014 Greenville

First 11 starts: 7.27 | 3.5 | 6.7 | 1.0
Next 11 starts : 2.70 | 3.5 |11.7 | 0.6

2015 Salem (WARNING: EXTREME CHERRY PICKING)

First 6 starts: 6.03 | 3.4 | 8.6 | 1.4
Next 14 starts: 2.95 | 4.5 |11.9 | 0.9
Final 5 starts: 9.14 | 4.2 | 5.4 | 1.2

An article (at soxprospects) suggests that it took him a bit in 2014 to trust his secondary pitches. He over-relied on his fastball, which will get pounded when you're not in high school any more. Once he got past that point around mid-season, he was more effective.

In 2015 he jumped a level, had difficulty at the start, then seemed to adjust OK. Then boom.

On the plus side, in both seasons he went long stretches of decent performance, after a period of adjustment to the league. End of last year he seems to have taken a step back, though it's five starts.

There is some quality there. Nothing to negate the negativity, but he doesn't seem hopeless just yet.
   41. covelli chris p Posted: April 29, 2016 at 07:27 PM (#5208661)
2015 Salem (WARNING: EXTREME CHERRY PICKING)
was this eric van's work?
   42. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 30, 2016 at 12:41 AM (#5208826)
Ball is still young enough that it's not worth giving up on him. I'll admit to just going for a bit of a cheap snark-driven laugh with #22. I'm at the stage where Ball is someone I expect nothing from. He's young enough and raw enough that I wouldn't just give up on him but my emotional investment in him is nil. At this point I'll be a lot more bothered when Teddy Stankiewicz doesn't pan out.
   43. Mattbert Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:04 PM (#5210034)
As much as I hated the original Peavy deal I thought Cherington made a good move in the process of trading him. Any thoughts on Hembree Matt? He looks very good to me this year.

I assume by "the original Peavy deal" you mean the 3-way trade with the White Sox and Tigers that brought him to Boston in the first place? Yeah, don't get me started on that one.

I need to see more of Hembree before drawing any serious conclusions, but in the small sample of 2016 thusfar he looks like a guy who's found another gear in terms of his command and is enjoying huge dividends. I also wonder if he's absorbed some things from being around Koji because his stuff (rising fastball, hard slider) lends itself to a similar approach: working vertically in the strike zone and changing the hitter's eye levels.
   44. covelli chris p Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:55 PM (#5210100)
I also wonder if he's absorbed some things from being around Koji because his stuff (rising fastball, hard slider) lends itself to a similar approach: working vertically in the strike zone and changing the hitter's eye levels.
i don't really see it. koji reminds me a lot of foulke, though. you really need command for that approach to work. when you're going low in the zone with offspeed stuff and you you miss in, you get hit real hard.
   45. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 04, 2016 at 08:39 PM (#5212924)
Rodriguez much better in his second using last night, 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 K, 0 BB. I can't possibly think of any pitcher I want to see on the DL for him to replace though. Price, he will be ok, Porcello, been great, Owens, I like Owens, Wright, he's been amazing. Nope, no starter I can think of.
   46. villageidiom Posted: May 04, 2016 at 09:48 PM (#5212980)
Rodriguez much better in his second using last night, 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 K, 0 BB. I can't possibly think of any pitcher I want to see on the DL for him to replace though. Price, he will be ok, Porcello, been great, Owens, I like Owens, Wright, he's been amazing. Nope, no starter I can think of.
Your "eventual DL" list has some 'holz in it.
   47. Norcan Posted: May 04, 2016 at 10:04 PM (#5212994)
I too like Owens but every time I watch him I get a little bit more disheartened about his lack of control and his need to subsist on a heavy diet of offspeed pitches since his fastball is so light. I think it was a beat writer on twitter who compared his outing against the Yankees to a late stage Jamie Moyer special and that rung true. He's too young to be pitching like a 40 year old Jamie Moyer.

Eduardo is only slightly more established than Owens but I would swap him for Owens without a moment's hesitation.
   48. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 06, 2016 at 08:35 AM (#5214258)
Anderson Espinoza is not really lowering expectations. Greenville Drive record 11 Ks last night in just 5 innings.

Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects tweeted yesterday that Benintendi's promotion to Portland is probably a matter of weeks. He thinks Moncada stays in Salem until mid-season though.
   49. Darren Posted: May 06, 2016 at 10:34 AM (#5214328)
Even weeks sounds conservative for Benintendi. Every time I hit Sox Prospects, I expect to see he's been promoted. He's a real bright spot! Moncada's strikeouts are high but other than that he's doing pretty great as well. Espinoza's looking good too, but Travis hasn't been great and Devers is struggling mightily. Overall, for your top 5, I'd say these are pretty good results.

You know who I'm rooting for? Aaron Wilkerson. Indy player who's pitched very well in the system. This year in Portland/Pawtucket, he's at 30.2 IP, 23 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 38 K.
   50. Norcan Posted: May 07, 2016 at 02:10 PM (#5215477)
Maybe it's not hopeless for Trey Ball after all. He turned in perhaps his best start of his career thus far last night, going 6 innings/0 BB/2 Ks on only 62 pitches. The lack of walks and efficiency are encouraging. I saw a highlight of one of his outs and his delivery looked a little bit different and in my opinion, better. In high school, he used to jab his arm straight down and then take it up to his release point while "hiding" the ball behind his body. As a pro, he was a bit smoother, no longer jabbing down hard but his arm action was long, maybe too long for him to time well. In one video his arm path and release point were all over the place. Last night he looked more compact, still hiding the ball but now with a compact arm circle motion. His athleticism is still immediately evident. I hope he turns things around this season.
   51. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 07, 2016 at 02:24 PM (#5215485)
That's encouraging, more the scouting notes than the results honestly. It would be great if he could make progress this year.
   52. Norcan Posted: May 08, 2016 at 08:06 PM (#5216351)
I'm really interested in seeing how Kopech looks when he returns. I think I read that he's back throwing but not to the point of nearing a return or anything. It sounds like his return is still a ways off. At least his arm is staying fresh.

One thing I thought was notable from a video of one of his instructional outings was how much shorter his stride was. From a baseball america video taken in midseason to the instructional, he was shorter by a full shoe length. Most pitchers drag their back foot some ways from the rubber; he basically had no drag at all. I don't know if he was experimenting or he's doing it because it gives him better control over his delivery or whatever, but I thought it was a little odd in this day and age of effective velocity.
   53. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 08, 2016 at 08:07 PM (#5216353)
Some good news before we try to avoid a sweep tonight. EdRod seems to be getting close. 5.2 innings, 93 pitches. My recollection is that Farrell said they wanted him to get up to 85-90 pitches so I'm guessing 1 more start at most. Rotation this week with no injuries/changes;

Sun - Wright
Mon - Buchholz
Tue - O'Sullivan(?)
Wed - Porcello
Thu - Matt Young
Fri - Wright or first available for the Venezuelan Viper. I could see them keeping to rotation and going Wright-Buchholz-Rodriguez on Sunday or maybe skipping Buchholz who could probably use the occasional day off and having Rodriguez pitch Saturday.
   54. Norcan Posted: May 08, 2016 at 11:13 PM (#5216504)
How about guys who are only hypothetical members of the Red Sox? Baseball America had the Red Sox taking Zack Collins of Miami in their latest mock draft. Since I have nothing but my non-rep on the line, I'm going to say, I hope not. He's a catcher who is not expected to be remain at catcher so his future position looks like 1B or DH. I don't have anything against those types of players. So much is freaking made about profile and all that. If the guy can mash, fine, I'll take him. His statistics this year are eye-popping: 405/571/686, 9 Hrs, 50BB/25 Ks in 148 PA. The thing that turns me off about him is that he has the Josh Hamilton hitch to his swing in that he juts his bat towards to the opposite batter's box really late in his swing. You have to have incredible bat speed and strength to be effective with that kind of hitch, like a Josh Hamilton. I don't think Collins has the tools of Josh Hamilton though.

I have my heart set on them taking a pitcher because pitching is generally where my heart lies. Thankfully this draft is loaded with a lot of promising arms that should be available when the Red Sox pick at 12.
   55. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 08, 2016 at 11:23 PM (#5216510)
I'm hoping to do some digging the next few weeks. I'm with you on non catcher catchers. Of course that describes Swihart who I adore.
   56. Norcan Posted: May 09, 2016 at 12:26 AM (#5216522)
Swihart's a different animal than Zack Collins. One, I think he's actually a bona fide catcher who improved drastically in blocking pitches in the dirt from last season and unfairly took the blame for the pitching staff's early struggles. Two, he is a far better athlete than Collins, not that that's a reason why I don't have a thing for Collins.

One pitcher that caught my eye is college pitcher TJ Zeuch of Pittsburgh. He goes 6'7 with long arms and has unbelievable body control and fluidity for a pitcher of his size. The other 6'7 behemoth in the draft, Alec Hanson, has bigger stuff, but not that much bigger and he is gangly and seems loosely put together compared to Zeuch. Zeuch has the actions of a small guy in a huge frame. He has a good fastball that sits in the 92-94 range and he gets it to the knees consistently, which from his height is a big weapon.

Ian Anderson, a prep pitcher from upstate New York, is another one I like. He is so smooth and flexible, with a motion reminiscent of Daniel Bard. Already has a good fastball in the low to mid-90s, not too often in the mid-90s or higher but could get there with normal strength gains. Also good curve and changeup too. The only thing that gives me pause and I don't know if it should is that he does what one internet guy, Chris O'Leary, labelled as premature pronotion in that he points the ball to second base as he brings up the ball. I don't know if the guy is credible or not, some think he's a crank and troll but it's one thing to consider. Anderson's motion is so, so smooth though.

Matt Manning is a 6'6 pitcher from California and before anything else, his basketball background is always brought. His father played briefly in the NBA and he too happens to be a good basketball player but the whole thing seems overblown because it's not like he possesses the great athleticism of a high level basketball prospect (I saw a basketball highlight and he looked like a regular high school player). In other words, if basketball wasn't in his background, I doubt his athleticism would be brought up. The thing I like most about him is the extension he gets on his fastball. He pitched in the Under Armour game in Petco Park and the carry his fastball had through the plate was so much stronger than the other pitchers. It immediately jumped out to me. The mound could be set a 61 feet or slightly further and I don't think he would be affected. His motion is a little funky as he pitches across his body.
   57. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 10, 2016 at 09:27 PM (#5218340)
Looks like EdRod will make one more start Friday in Pawtucket. Bradford said he was having some velocity issues and they think they got worked out in the bullpen this afternoon.
   58. Norcan Posted: May 11, 2016 at 08:41 AM (#5218530)
I finally got to see some full starts of Anderson Espinoza and I have to say, to no surprise, he is far, far away. It's not even the up and down performances, the good game followed by the bad, the walk numbers, etc, he's just at the very beginning of using his pitches. For instance, his fastball. It's not about manipulating different heights, maybe going up and out of the strike zone to put hitters away, he's simply trying to hit different sides of the plate on command. There are good flashes of him being to do that and then there are fastballs that are so off target they go to the backstop. Forgot about cutting the ball, backing hitters off the plate and so on. I didn't expect him to be wielding his fastball like a veteran but it's still jarring to see how many developmental steps remain ahead of him. I'm not sure he even throws a 4-seamer yet. Everything moved like a 2-seamer.

He really doesn't throw many off speed pitches at all. Between the change and curve, I was more impressed by his change, not that his curve isn't good. He has very good arm speed on his change and is able to take the weight off the pitch. If they didn't have him working predominantly on his fastball, he could definitely be putting more hitters away with his change. The thing I like about his curve is that he's capable of generating very hard break on it, though he's not currently capable of throwing a sharp curve for a strike. The curves that are strikes tend to be of the slow, get me over variety. Those must be the curves clocked in the low-70s. Still, some pitchers aren't even capable of creating a sharp break on their curves at all so it's promising that he's able to do that at his young age. He noticeably slows down his motion though on his curves so that's something he has to work on.

One other thing: he's landing more across his body than last season. He's gone from landing in line with his back toes to landing several inches in front of them. I don't know if that's intentional or whether he's even aware of it. As odd as it sounds, a pitcher can be unaware of changes in his landing spot. Andrew Heaney talked about how he had to go to video to see that he progressively kept throwing more across his body.
   59. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 11, 2016 at 08:46 AM (#5218533)
Thanks, that's really interesting stuff. Reading between the lines a bit it sounds like there is a legitimate three pitch pitcher in there once he gets himself more refined.
   60. Norcan Posted: May 12, 2016 at 08:39 AM (#5219379)
Roniel Raudes looks good. I was shocked that he got an assignment to Low-A ball right away as he's really skinny and only the cream of the crop 18 year old international players play at that level. I thought he'd spend the whole season at Lowell and then if he pitched well, move on to Low-A the following season. Instead, he's on the same accelerated path as Espinoza. After watching him, it's not surprising he's there as he's got a good feel for his delivery and good control of a three pitch mix (fb, ch, cu), better control than Espinoza for sure. His results thus far has validated the aggressive assignment.

Currently his velocity is said to be in the underwhelming 86-89 mph range but I'd be shocked if he doesn't sit in the low-90s in the future. He has so much room to get stronger but more than that, I think he has the arm speed and timing in his delivery to parlay any strength gains into more velocity. With his arm speed, his fastball appeared faster to me than the velocity readings. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought it was in the low 90s. Something else that might forecast increased velocity is his ability to throw a sharp curveball. I thought his GCL coach comparing his curve to K-Rod's ferocious yakker at the same age was hyperbole and while, I don't know, it may not quite be at that level, it's damn good already. I like his curve better than Espinoza's right now.
   61. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 12, 2016 at 01:17 PM (#5219715)
You know who I'm rooting for? Aaron Wilkerson. Indy player who's pitched very well in the system. This year in Portland/Pawtucket, he's at 30.2 IP, 23 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 38 K.


I was listening to the Sox Prospects most recent podcast today and they like him as organizational fodder but not as any kind of prospect. The comparison was Sean O'Sullivan if things break right which ain't a bad result for an Indy Ball signing.
   62. Norcan Posted: May 13, 2016 at 12:37 AM (#5220169)
Mauricio Dubon was featured in Alex Speier's latest minor league column. I know it was just Spring Training but he was impressive, looking very capable of making hard, line drive contact. He's continued that at Salem. Most impressively his BB:K ratio is 14:9. He kind of fits the profile of a San Francisco Giants player along the lines of Matt Duffy and Joe Panik, unheralded players (I know Panik was a late first round pick but the consensus besides from the Giants was that he was a future utility player) who exceeded initial expectations, make a ton of contact and have plus hitting ability. If I was a more charitable person and in charge of the Red Sox, I might just trade him away to the Giants for no one just because he'd be such a natural fit there.

One reason I'm high on Dubon's hitting ability is that it's incredible he got drafted at all with the swing he had in high school. It was one of the weirdest swings I've ever seen and looked very ill-suited to actually hit a baseball. He had to have a great feel for the barrel so if you take that ability and give him the smooth swing has now, he should be a good hitter for average. That said, he does look like a prime candidate to be a trade chip this season. He's blocked in a similar way that Margot was and his possible value as a "third" player in a big trade might exceed his value as a player to the Red Sox.
   63. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 15, 2016 at 08:25 PM (#5221666)
In a not surprising and perhaps overdue move Andrew Benintendi has been promoted to Portland.
   64. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 15, 2016 at 10:54 PM (#5221815)
According to Speier it is the quickest a draftee has hit Portland since Pedroia.
   65. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 16, 2016 at 09:21 AM (#5221932)
In a not surprising and perhaps overdue move Andrew Benintendi has been promoted to Portland.


Benintendi, Bradley, Betts. 2017-2020 starting outfield. Yes please!
   66. Chip Posted: May 16, 2016 at 09:57 AM (#5221992)
Helping create the Killer B's, 21st Century Edition, with Betts & Bogaerts as the Biggio/Bagwell core.
   67. Norcan Posted: May 17, 2016 at 12:44 AM (#5222704)
According to Speier it is the quickest a draftee has hit Portland since Pedroia.


Hard to beat Pedroia too since he started there in his first full season. It wouldn't have been surprising if Benintendi had started in Double-A too.

Obviously it can't be long until Moncada joins him in Portland. I don't understand why they weren't promoted together. He doesn't appear any less ready to move on than Benintendi. I saw a short vine of him doing a Happy Gilmore swing that produced a single; I think he might be a little bored at his current level.

I was surprised to see Jose Almonte make his full-season affiliate debut with Greenville. I had thought Espinoza was lined up to start. Almonte is intriguing in his own right as he was one of the names highlighted in his signing class. His delivery kind of reminded me of Ivan Nova's in that his arm took a bit of time to uncoil, although thankfully it's not quite as lengthy. His fastball got up to 93, which I think is a jump from last season and he seemed to have a nice little cutter.

   68. Norcan Posted: May 17, 2016 at 02:08 AM (#5222721)
It turns out Espinoza's start got skipped and that's why Almonte started instead. One of the soxprospects guy tweeted that it's normal for the younger pitchers to get skipped once in a while but coming after Espinoza's worse career start during which his control abandoned him in the second inning, I wonder if the timing isn't a bit too coincidental, like they have some mechanical things they want to work on.

After looking more at his curveball, he definitely shortens up his arm stroke a bit on it. I don't know if it's noticeable from the hitter's viewpoint but from the center field camera, it's immediately evident that's there something different when he's going to throw a curveball. If there's anything that shows that he's really freaking young, that has to be it. You can't change your arm action based on the pitch.
   69. villageidiom Posted: May 17, 2016 at 07:21 AM (#5222741)
Obviously it can't be long until Moncada joins him in Portland. I don't understand why they weren't promoted together.
Don't remember whose Twitter said it, but I read that Moncada will likely be promoted in the next few weeks. Maybe they have other roster moves to make?
   70. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 17, 2016 at 07:59 AM (#5222748)
Don't remember whose Twitter said it, but I read that Moncada will likely be promoted in the next few weeks. Maybe they have other roster moves to make?


The Sox probably want to make sure Moncada isn't blocked by Wendell Rijo.
   71. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 17, 2016 at 08:25 AM (#5222753)
The Sox Prospect guys (particularly Hatfield) have been answering questions about Moncada on Twitter a LOT lately. They seem to think he's more likely to be promoted around the all star break. There are pretty clear things they feel he needs to work on; his defense and his right-handed bat in particular.

They have also talked about the fact that the Sox like a lot of teams feel that there is a benefit to keeping a group together and that Salem team has a very "together" feel with some of the bigger prospects there like Devers and the on the rise Dubon.
   72. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 18, 2016 at 08:34 AM (#5223627)
EdRod is apparently having some knee soreness and his rehab start scheduled for tomorrow has been scratched. At this point his return date is anyone's guess. Could be ten days, could be two months, who the #### knows?
   73. Norcan Posted: May 19, 2016 at 02:39 AM (#5224570)
Sucks that Eduardo still has soreness in the knee. At least that can explain his average performances and reduced velocity in his rehab stints. Hopefully he can come back in the second half.

Roniel Raudes had a very impressive start on Tuesday. His fastball command at his age is unbelievable. In his last two innings, he didn't miss a single spot except for one fastball that was low in the dirt. Inside, outside, at the knees, at the letters, he got his fastball where he wanted. No matter what the radar readings say, it has life that plays above its readings and by life I don't mean a ton of movement, it just seems to pop the glove and get bad swings or misses. Of course that typically doesn't work out at the major league level, he's going to need a fastball that has velocity and life but there's no reason his fastball can't become that. And his curveball is really sharp. I also really like how athletic and well-timed his delivery is. Overall, just an exciting young player to follow.

Jake Cosart has a big-time fastball that frequently reaches the high-90s but man, his delivery is funky, which is about right for a reliever. It looks like he jerks himself upright when he releases the ball as if he's in some invisible phone booth. I don't know what it is with the Cosart brothers but they like to play their baseball funky.
   74. villageidiom Posted: May 19, 2016 at 08:01 AM (#5224585)
Roenis Elias: 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 13 K, 2 HR
   75. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 19, 2016 at 08:34 AM (#5224587)
Holy ####. That's a nice little night. Kevin Boles (PawSox manager) kind of called out Elias, Owens and Johnson this week for not throwing strikes, seems like Elias took that to heart a bit.
   76. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 19, 2016 at 04:26 PM (#5224962)
How about guys who are only hypothetical members of the Red Sox? Baseball America had the Red Sox taking Zack Collins of Miami in their latest mock draft. Since I have nothing but my non-rep on the line, I'm going to say, I hope not. He's a catcher who is not expected to be remain at catcher so his future position looks like 1B or DH


They still have him going there in the latest update from last week. I'm underwhelmed. Looking at the system I'd really like to see the Sox gamble on a college arm. Given the dearth of them at the top of the draft Dakota Hudson seems to be the guy who fits that bill. They also mention Jordan Sheffield but I worry about his frame. Still he has a big arm, MLB pedigree as Gary's nephew and he's a Vanderbilt kid which Mr. Price and Mr. Gray can attest too. I feel like the Sox need someone a bit closer to the bigs.

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