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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Lining Up The Minors

A combination of time and a farm system that is not nearly as interesting as it has been in recent years has kept me from talking much about the minors this year.  With the regular season over I thought I’d take a quick gander at the system with a look at a few interesting players;

1B - Josh Ockimey - Salem/Portland - The 21 year old (22 in two weeks) had a strong season with 43 extra base hits.  He also maintained gains in plate discipline that he showed in Greenville last year.  Ockimey has a sweet left-handed swing and next year should be a year where he has the opportunity to entrench himself in the long term discussion at first base.  The power has not quite come yet but it does not appear far off.

2B - Brett Netzer - Lowell/Greenville - After tearing it up in Lowell he was promoted to Greenville and scuffled a bit.  I wonder if he was fatigued a bit playing a full year of baseball between college and then the minors after being taken in the third round of the draft.  I got to see him in Lowell on a day he was DH and his swing was beautiful.  There are questions about his ability to stick at second base but he seems to have a bit of an uppercut that could lend itself to some power down the road.

3B - Michael Chavis - Salem/Portland - Up until this year his bowtie on draft day had been his most notable achievement.  It came together in 2017 for Chavis who slammed 31 homers.  He looks like a bit of a free swinger and while he has cut down on his strikeouts he does not walk a lot so how he performs as he moves up the system is a concern.  He is just 21 having been drafted out of high school but listed at 5’10” first base is probably not an option for him.  He will be the big ticket in the Arizona Fall League from the Sox’ system.

SS - Chad de la Guerra - Salem/Portland - This kid has the whole Carlos Asuaje thing going on for me.  I saw him a bit at Lowell and every time I did he was just a line drive machine.  He had a breakout of sorts this year and his 31 doubles were fourth in the organization.  I can see him as a reasonable utility player option down the road.

OF - Rusney Catsillo - Pawtucket - .314/.350/.507…those are the numbers that should matter but $72 million is clearly the one that does.  Maybe Castillo will never be a star but it is hard not to think that the Sox left a couple of wins on the table this year letting Chris Young have 276 plate appearances and the Sox go through extended struggles against lefties while Castillo was in Pawtucket.  I can’t feel THAT bad for a guy with $72 million but he deserves a shot somewhere.

OF - Aneury Tavarez - Lowell/Portland/Pawtucket - After being taken (and returned) by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft suffered through an injury plagued season notching only 58 games.  The lefty is not going to provide a lot of power but he is a serviceable outfielder who can play all over.  It is hard to picture a place for him on a 2018 roster but as a fourth or fifth outfielder he can have some value.  He is eligible for Minor League free agency this winter so he may not stick around.

OF - Keibert Petit - DSL - Petit gets a mention by virtue of being the Latin Program Player of the Year for the Sox.  He signed in 2015 for $200,000 which is not Yoan Moncada money but it’s not “oh what the hell” money either.  He turned 19 in August and after three years in the DSL it is likely that he will find himself in a US league in 2018.

C - Austin Rei - Salem - The rocket armed catcher was named the Sox’ minor league Defensive Player of the Year after throwing out 40% of would be base stealers.  The bat has not really come along yet and catcher is a bit of a thin position throughout the system though like many positions the Sox have a young starter who looks like he will be a fixture for a few years to allow guys like Rei or Chavis to evolve and improve.

OTHER - Bobby Dalbec - Greenville - Dalbec is a big hulking dude who both pitched and played third in college.  He is a full time third baseman now and banged 13 homers in just 85 games.  Just from his size and potential power profile I would like to see him get a shot at first base at some point.

SP - Bryan Mata - Greenville - It is easy to dismiss Mata’s season as fairly pedestrian with just a 3.97 ERA in 17 starts.  However, having turned just 18 in May he is very young for his league and while not dominant was not at all out of place. At almost exactly the same age last year highly touted Anderson Espinoza had a 4.38 ERA and very similar K and BB rates.  He may well be the pitching prospect in the system with the highest upside at the moment.

SP - Jalen Beeks - Portland/Pawtucket - Beeks got a bit of an extended look in Fort Myers and it seemed like he might be poised to get a shot with the big club.  While it did not happen for him that does not reflect on his season which was very good.  He has not had any L/R splits of note the last couple of years so thinking of him as a LOOGY probably isn’t the way to go.  He may be set to have a shot at being 2018’s Brian Johnson “in case of emergency break glass” pitcher.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 03, 2017 at 04:13 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 03, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5543739)
So what's the time horizon on Chavis in Boston, if Devers didn't exist? I figure he's probably half a (good) season away from Pawtucket, putting him maybe on the September 2018 call-ups but not a regular until 2020 (at age 24).

At that point, Devers is 23 and entering his 3rd full season, IIRC not quite arb-eligible. So I'm thinking they would be in no rush to trade Chavis until down the road, when they have had more time to see what Devers can do. And then they might have enough confidence in Chavis that they'd trade Devers instead.

OK, before I go too far down this path, let me be clear that all I'm doing is to understand when they'd deal with the potential redundancy. I'm not interested at this time in how they deal with it. We've got at least a couple years before a move is really warranted.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 03, 2017 at 05:34 PM (#5543746)
Yeah I think you're probably right. He could potentially be in the mix by the second half next year but that would mean he was having a big year at Pawtucket which is a good problem to have.
   3. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5544184)
Rusney Catsillo


His contract is not currently considered when reviewing the Sox tax status correct? Because he is off the 40-man roster? What would it take for Fat Panda to be off tax payroll? Not be on anyone's 40-man?
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5544216)
What would it take for Fat Panda to be off tax payroll? Not be on anyone's 40-man?
Nope, otherwise every team would be able to just release players to avoid the luxury tax.

Panda was already no on anyone's 40-man for a time period this year, right?
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5544218)
Sorry, read the title and thought this was the Off-Topic Popery thread. Carry on.
   6. villageidiom Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5544229)
His contract is not currently considered when reviewing the Sox tax status correct? Because he is off the 40-man roster?
Yes. Per the tax rules he doesn't get counted because he is not under a Uniform Player Contract (which is what anyone on the 40-man roster has). (CBA Article XXIII.C.1)

What would it take for Fat Panda to be off tax payroll? Not be on anyone's 40-man?
Not happening. The tax provisions account for salary obligations of the Red Sox to the Giants to pay his salary (XXIII.C.2.b) as well as salary obligations of the Red Sox to Sandoval directly if he is released and his contract is guaranteed (XXIII.C.2.d.ii).

What I'm noticing in the new CBA is this, from XXIII.C.2.f:
(f) Outright Assignment to a Minor League club
Any Uniform Player’s Contract that is assigned outright to a Minor League club during the term of this Agreement shall be included in the Club’s Actual Club Payroll. Any Uniform Player’s Contract that was assigned outright to a Minor League club prior to the effective date of this Agreement shall be excluded from Actual Club Payroll; provided, however, that if any Uniform Player’s Contract that was assigned outright to a Minor League club prior to this Agreement is subsequently selected to a Club’s 40-man roster, the entire remaining Salary under that Uniform Player’s Contract shall be included in Actual Club Payroll, even if the Player is thereafter assigned outright to a Minor League club.
So it looks like the Allen Craig / Rusney Castillo loophole has been closed. Going forward, any players outrighted off the 40-man roster will still have their salary obligations count toward the tax. If they were already not being counted, they'll continue being counted. So even if Sandoval were outrighted like they were his salary would count toward the tax.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5544233)
Hopefully they would not have needed that loophole in the future anyway.
   8. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5544340)
The tax provisions account for salary obligations of the Red Sox to the Giants to pay his salary (XXIII.C.2.b) as well as salary obligations of the Red Sox to Sandoval directly if he is released and his contract is guaranteed (XXIII.C.2.d.ii).


I thought the Sox were on the hook for 100% of Sandoval's contract, but if another team signed him that signing team would take over whatever contract Sandoval (and in this case the Giants) agreed to. Specifically, the Sox pay $17.6 million - whatever the prorated minimum was that the Giants paid. Sandoval doesn't make any more and the Sox pay SLIGHTLY less.

ETA:
Looking on COTS and I noticed the Giants have to pay luxury tax! Nothing like paying that after being the worst team in the league.
   9. Textbook Editor Posted: October 04, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5544350)
Is enough $ coming off books that it makes sense for Castillo to be the 4th/5th OF next season? Granted... he still might flop, and maybe continued success at AAA will entice someone to take on more of the contract than they normally would have... But it seems if the $ is being spent and he *is* producing--at least as much as a 4th/5th OF might be expected to produce--then it's worth a shot to see if he can stick.

I'm also squinting and thinking JBJ could be a candidate for a trade this off-season. He's a 2nd year arb guy (seems to have been a super-2 last year), made $3.6 million in 2017, and a Boras client. It's doubtful he'll sign any kind of extension (see, Boras, Scott), and likely to move on once he's a FA (because most Boras clients do)... Depending on the postseason, I could see them trading JBJ, moving Betts or Benintendi over to CF, and bringing up Castillo. It would weaken them defensively, but it's possible they'd do as well (if not better) offensively as a result.

Of course, that could just be crazy pants thinking. But of the pieces Dombrowski is likely willing to consider (given the state of the minors), it would seem JBJ is one of the more attractive options to trade, even with 2 arb years left. JBJ himself doesn't get you a solid 2/3 starter of course (which I'd argue is what they need, in addition to maybe a 1B bat), but it's a piece that could be used. (Holt is another piece that--to me--becomes expendable if you are able to sign Nunez, and, arguably, lamentably, Swihart is probably another piece he'd consider moving, given where Vasquez is now.)
   10. villageidiom Posted: October 04, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5544351)
jacksone - Yes, correct. But we're making a distinction between "what the Red Sox pay" and "what the Red Sox pay that is considered in the luxury tax provisions". In Sandoval's case, there is no distinction. In the case of Craig and Castillo there is a distinction, but in future cases like those there will be no distinction.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5544398)
I hope they don't deal Bradley. I don't think you are likely to put someone in his place that is as good as he is and frankly given his age and skill set I think he's a guy you ride (ideally) up until his free agency season when he will be 31 (I think) and then let him walk. He looks like a guy who can be a solid contributor and then when the time comes to pay him you move on.

Of course if they sign JD Martinez this winter and move Benintendi to center I'd be cool with trading him.
   12. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5544401)
This is the weakest the Red Sox system has been in a while, though that is because they a) cashed in prospects for top-tier talent (Kimbral, Sale), and b) promoted a bunch of talent the last several years.

If you think David Price is going to be healthy in 2018, then the REd Sox don't have too much to worry about in the rotation - Sale and Porcello are durable, Pomeranz is...not...but the team seems to have figured out how to keep him upright for a full season, and ERod would be the logical 5th starter.

As for the lineup, the problem is the lack of production from 1B/DH. Ramirez gets his 2019 $22M option picked up if he gets 497+ PAs next year. Could somebody have more incentive to keep their hamstrings loose more than Hanley next year? I still think he has received a total free ride from the Boston fan base. I'd like to see Sam Travis at 1B, with a legit bat at DH, but that seems unlikely.

The rest of the diamond is what it is, right? Pedroia, Devers, Bogaerts, and the Killer B's outfield, Vazquez/Leon at catcher. Nobody in the system is threatening any of those spots...
   13. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5544403)
jacksone - Yes, correct. But we're making a distinction between "what the Red Sox pay" and "what the Red Sox pay that is considered in the luxury tax provisions"


So even though the Giants pay Sandoval (for ease of conversation let's say $100,000) the Sox have to account for 100% of his contract for luxury tax provisions?

That whole off-the-40-man-roster loophole certainly benefited the Sox - Castillo and Craig were owed $22M+ and the team is only $12M+ under the cap. Any other big names waived like this? Looks like Carl Crawford IS calculated into the Dodgers current tax payroll.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5544405)
So even though the Giants pay Sandoval (for ease of conversation let's say $100,000) the Sox have to account for 100% of his contract for luxury tax provisions?


As I understand it the portion of Sandoval's contract paid by the Sox counts against their luxury tax provisions, e.g.;

Giants - $2,000,000
Red Sox - $20,000,000 (numbers made up for simplicity)

What the Sox could NOT have done that they did with Castillo and Craig is waive/release him and take his money off their luxury tax calcluation.
   15. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5544408)
(Holt is another piece that--to me--becomes expendable if you are able to sign Nunez, and, arguably, lamentably, Swihart is probably another piece he'd consider moving, given where Vasquez is now.)


Holt and Rutledge are basically the same player - looks like Holt may be a bit better at 2B, but both of these guys are not needed considering Marrero and Lin can be the back up utility player if need be.

I'd rather see Swihart be the 2nd catcher than Leon, depends on Blake's pitch calling I guess. His speed is a huge upgrade from Leon even if his bat isn't much better.
   16. villageidiom Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5544415)
As I understand it the portion of Sandoval's contract paid by the Sox counts against their luxury tax provisions, e.g.;

Giants - $2,000,000
Red Sox - $20,000,000 (numbers made up for simplicity)

Yes, this. A player's salary for luxury tax calculations is split to the teams based on the proportions of his salary that each is paying. Boston is paying near 100% of Sandoval's salary, so Boston gets near 100% of his salary counting toward their luxury tax.
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5544441)
Of course if they sign JD Martinez this winter and move Benintendi to center I'd be cool with trading him.


I know I'm crazy regarding this but... I just don't trust bats (or arms) switching leagues. I realize I'm in the minority on this.

PS: I am not a nutter.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:52 PM (#5544446)
I know I'm crazy regarding this but... I just don't trust bats (or arms) switching leagues. I realize I'm in the minority on this.


Martinez has played 3 1/2 very successful seasons in the American League. I don't think you're a nutter regarding league switching (for other reasons perhaps) but in Martinez' case I don't think there is any reason to think it's relevant.
   19. Textbook Editor Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5544479)
Jose--Good point. I'm an idiot and forgot about Detroit, probably because I figured it was more or less a smoke and mirrors thing while he was there.

I dunno. While I suppose it's true we don't have stud OF left in the system, it's also true that basically every long term hitter contract (save Manny Ramirez) has basically gone off the rails or been traded away not far into it. He's not 25, he's 29... The 25% K rate scares me, as does the suspicion the BABIP might collapse, he's basically never played in a hothouse environment like Boston... Eh. It has "1 great season and then a world of pain"-kind of contract written all over it.

But Dombrowski is as Dombrowski does... So you're probably right to suspect he'll be gone after hard in the off season.
   20. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5544489)
I'm fine whatever they decide w/r/t Martinez (I suspect he or Hosmer is the big off-season target). My point more generally was that unless they get Martinez (or someone similar) I don't see trading JBJ as making sense. Even if you assume this year is the more relevant one for him 3 WAR centerfielders don't grow on trees, particularly ones who are going to be comparatively inexpensive for a few years.
   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5544509)
it's also true that basically every long term hitter contract (save Manny Ramirez) has basically gone off the rails or been traded away not far into it.


Cespedes is the one that really irks me. Trade Lester, get Cespedes, re-sign Lester. Not that ####### hard. Instead Cespedes decides Boston is the only place he CAN'T hit in, and for some ungodly reason Lester is lowballed.
   22. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5544511)
I don't mind Cespedes, I think he is a guy who looks a lot better when you don't see him every day. They screwed the pooch on Lester, full stop.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5544522)
Game 3 start time now listed: 2:30 pm. Presumably, the game 4 time will be released tomorrow.
   24. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:04 PM (#5544562)
I don't mind Cespedes,

139
103
110
116
98
136
125
155
136
132

OPS+ numbers. Guess which year he was in Boston?
   25. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5544572)
Presumably, the game 4 time will be released tomorrow.


As I recall game four will get announced later in the weekend with an either/or depending on which series are still going. So it will be a 5PM start if the Indians and Yankees are playing that night, if that series is over we'll be 8PM (or whatever time they deem).
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:31 PM (#5544580)

As I recall game four will get announced later in the weekend with an either/or depending on which series are still going. So it will be a 5PM start if the Indians and Yankees are playing that night, if that series is over we'll be 8PM (or whatever time they deem).
I don't know, if the CLE-NYY series starts 2-0, they won't know whether or not there's a game 4 on Monday until almost midnight on Sunday night.
   27. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 04, 2017 at 07:35 PM (#5544627)
What they've done in the past is make it provisional; if the other series is still going it's a 5PM start, if not, 8PM.

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