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   1. JB H Posted: March 22, 2009 at 11:57 PM (#3110792)
Gammons had a good line too:

Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he "marvels at what the Red Sox have done in Japan. We offered Junichi Tazawa $7 million and they signed him for $3 million. They have made a huge impact in that country." Farrell says, "Tazawa is our biggest surprise. I had no idea he was this good." Scouts who have seen Tazawa think if he were in the draft, he'd be a mid-first-round pick." And some Red Sox staffers think he will be better than Matsuzaka.
   2. Darren Posted: March 23, 2009 at 01:40 AM (#3110967)
And some say he's the next Greg Maddux--only better!
   3. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: March 23, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3111365)
Has any team or writer done an analysis on whether there is a type of pitcher from Japan that succeeds?
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 23, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3111381)
Not getting a chance to see any of Tazawa's ST appearances, how does he look? It sounds like he's got impressive tempo, but what's his repertoire like?
   5. Dave Cyprian Posted: March 23, 2009 at 07:46 PM (#3111842)
How come this guy wasn't pitching in the NPB? I mean, I understand he wasn't originally, but wouldn't an NPB team have snapped him up at some point?

Anyway, this is obviously a good move by the Sox so far. Also he is not exactly a draft pick, he has been in pro ball for four years. I'd expect Tazawa could be promoted to the bigs by mid-summer if he can perform consistently.
   6. Dave Cyprian Posted: March 23, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3111846)
Unrelated Japanese pitcher question: Does anyone know why Okajima isn't pitching for the Japanese WBC team? Not that it appears they've missed him...
   7. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:10 PM (#3111876)
He would have likely been the #1 overall pick in the most recent draft (late October) had he not asked them not to tab him as he was coming to MLB. (Their draft has relatively few rounds, so it's worth it not to waste your pick).
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:25 PM (#3111890)
Not getting a chance to see any of Tazawa's ST appearances, how does he look? It sounds like he's got impressive tempo, but what's his repertoire like?


I'm sitting in Tampa on my way back from a trip to Ft. Myers. Unfortunately when I saw Tazawa pitch I was far enough down the right field line that I didn't get a good look at his pitches. I was struck by a couple of things though;

1. He seems to hide the ball well with a little wrist curl in his delivery
2. Hitters didn't seem to be comfortable against him. It looked like he's "sneaky fast."

Watching him pitch I found myself thinking of Foulke (the good version, not the bad version). Also his delivery didn't seem as deliberate as many Japanese pitchers who almost seem like they are counting off dance steps during their windup.
   9. Xander Posted: March 25, 2009 at 12:17 AM (#3113589)
Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that SoxProspects.com is starting a monthly podcast revolving around minor league topics. This week's premier episode includes talk about the crew's trip down to minor league spring training at Fort Myers, the biggest minor league stories entering the year, the Sox difficulty producing corner outfielders, and the media's coverage of the minor leagues. Three other guys from SP.com and I conduct the podcast roundtable style. We'd really like you to give our first episode a listen and give us any feedback you can. I'm sure many of you are loyal podcast listeners and have a lot of productive input to add. Runtime is around 1:08. We will also be available on iTunes shortly, after we get past the initial iTunes approval process which should take 1-2 weeks.

Link to temporary server

Direct download link
   10. tfbg9 Posted: March 29, 2009 at 06:12 PM (#3118231)
Clay's had a halfway decent spring:

Buchholz lowered his ERA to 0.46, more than nine runs fewer than his spring ERA last year. He has struck out the same amount of batters (15) that's he allowed on base in 19 2/3 innings. He has been a revelation.

Wow.
   11. OCD SS Posted: March 29, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3118255)
For guys who have been down to FL and have seen them both pitch, how does Tazawa compare to Bowden? Superficially the reports on their stuff seem similar and before reading about his results I wouldn't have considered this a point in his favor.
   12. Xander Posted: March 29, 2009 at 08:40 PM (#3118285)
Why?
   13. villageidiom Posted: March 29, 2009 at 08:47 PM (#3118288)
Clay's had a halfway decent spring


That's putting it mildly. I think we all saw last year that Buchholz wasn't getting it done in the bigs, and comments to date from Buchholz himself suggest MCoA's question at the time was right on the money: a mental thing where he was trying to be too perfect in the majors. Other than a recent infatuation with his pickoff move - which I'm hoping is just a spring training thing - he seems to have developed a better mental approach to adversity. Their rotational depth suddenly looks a LOT better, and it was already looking great.

A few years ago I was preaching that the ideal situation for a team in terms of depth is to keep their MLB-ready young talent in the minors. Quality backups and "Plan B" players are hard to attract via free agency, as nobody with talent wants to be a part-time player. Likewise, even if such talent is acquired via trade it won't take long before those players are grumbling for more PT or another trade. Consequently a team's bench should consist of short-term options, and the high minors should be stocked with long-term options - but the only viable way to do that is to keep your MLB-ready young talent there until needed.

As a result, I like Buchholz in AAA, assuming Penny is ready; or Buchholz starting in MLB but moving back to AAA when Penny is ready. I'm not sure what they do when Smoltz is ready - OK, Wakefield takes a back seat - but that's a nice problem to have.
   14. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM (#3118604)
I was listening to a ST game recently and heard Chip Ambres name mentioned. Didn't MCoA use to like him?
   15. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 30, 2009 at 01:00 PM (#3118630)
I was listening to a ST game recently and heard Chip Ambres name mentioned. Didn't MCoA use to like him?

Yeah, four years ago when he was having a nice season for Pawtucket, everyone here was clamoring for him to get a call up - but they ended up trading him to KC. He had a decent enough year last year in Portland in the PCL - but he's still a 4th/5th OF type at best.
   16. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 30, 2009 at 01:11 PM (#3118637)
Yeah, Joe. I just recall Matt calling for Ambres freedom at one point.
   17. OCD SS Posted: March 30, 2009 at 02:13 PM (#3118696)
Why?


Because that would limit his upside to a #3 starter. While that's not bad, it's also not an infusion of impact talent to a club that can just pay for these guys. I was also down on him because I thought he might have a similar translation to DiceK's, but his results (granted SSS in ST), as compared to Bowden's, are encouraging.
   18. tfbg9 Posted: April 01, 2009 at 03:35 PM (#3120970)
I post it, and the kid gets shelled. Oh well. Clay I mean.

Oh and his problem last year was fastball command--too many fat ones. If you watch him
pitch you'll see that--if its a fastball count, his ball can be fairly hittable, not much movement--
he's not the kid of guy who gets swings and misses in the zone all that much. He needs to spot the thing
better than he did in '08. A lot better.
   19. tfbg9 Posted: April 02, 2009 at 03:17 PM (#3122061)
And somebody needs to pull some vet rank on Pedroia, who's shooting his mouth off a little too much.
Did he really call A-rod a "dork" in an interview?
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2009 at 03:44 PM (#3122099)
Where'd you see that tfbg9? I wouldn't be surprised if he did but I haven't seen it. Pedroia definitely is comfortable giving a quote or two when the opportunity arises which can be a good or bad thing. I did enjoy this from boston.com this morning though;

As he stuffed bats in a black bag, Pedroia waxed about his days at Arizona State using a metal bat. Fielders "feared for their lives," when Pedroia was at the plate with his DeMarini long handle, he said. "Third basemen were playing shallow left. Ask Jacoby. I almost ripped his [expletive] arm off."
   21. tfbg9 Posted: April 03, 2009 at 02:49 AM (#3122830)
#20--there's a quote that has him calling A-rod a "big dork" in the teaser paragraph over the boston.comn
article--but I scanned the story and don't see the actual words. Did I get taken in by an April Fools prank?
Or am I just a bad scanner? The thing ran yesterday, on 4/1.

Hmm. Well, I hope it is a prank--no need for such stupid bulliten board crap to
unite the Yankees, no?
   22. JB H Posted: April 03, 2009 at 03:14 AM (#3122858)
I love Pedroia. I wish more players gave quotes like him. He doesn't really ever say anything substantively negative about other players, he's just goofing around
   23. Darren Posted: April 07, 2009 at 01:45 AM (#3127522)
Except when he says they suck.
   24. ekogan Posted: April 08, 2009 at 03:45 PM (#3129710)
Time for a new Sox Therapy thread?
   25. ericr Posted: April 10, 2009 at 01:32 PM (#3133125)
Yeah, not for nothing, but maybe we can get someone in here who can start a thread?
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 15, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3138363)
Just saw that Felix Doubront had a good first start - 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K - in Portland. He only had three starts in Lancaster last year, so that's a pretty impressive level jump for a 22-year-old who only rated #27 in the Sox BA list. Anyone know the story there? Something new this spring?
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3146552)
Various thoughts on minor leaguers.

-Josh Reddick is crazy, 383/714 with eight XBH in ten games, and playing CF to boot. He's striking out enough that it'll be hard for him to maintain that 300+ average, and Portland does seem to be a nice stadium for power, but Reddick is looking like a serious prospect.

-Bowden and Tazawa have both been great, Bowden in particular (0.64 ERA with a K per inning), but Tazawa's got 15 Ks in 15.2 IP and a 2.30 ERA that matches his periphs. Do the Sox still plan to pitch Tazawa out of the pen? He seemed to have an arsenal that could work in the rotation.

-Bard is interesting, in that minor leaguers clearly can't hit his fastball - he's allowed 43 hits in 86 relief innings since last year - but his control is still a work in progress, with 33 walks allowed in those innings. I think there's an interesting development problem with guys like Bard, who can succeed wildly in the minors but I worry could struggle in the majors against more patient hitters. On the other hand, I'm not sure if most major leaguers will be able to hit a fastball that sits 96-99 with nasty boring action. It's a sick pitch - Bard's no Matt Anderson, his heater is more than its velocity.

-the Dominican bonus babies Tejeda and Almanzar have had some good games (Almanzar has 5 xbh in 10 games, not bad), but both continue to struggle to hit the ball, falling under the mendoza line combined. Hopefully this is just an early season fluke (I guess, statistically, everything is at this point), but contact and BA were their problems last year, too.

-Ryan Kalish is playing like a speedy version of minor league Youks - he's walking more than once a game while hitting for enough average to post a 500+ OBP, and he's got doubles power and steals. Everyone said we needed to wait on his bat, that once his hands and wrists healed, he'd show more hitting ability, and this is looking pretty nice.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2009 at 04:14 PM (#3146569)
I was listening to a ST game recently and heard Chip Ambres name mentioned. Didn't MCoA use to like him?
I remember calling for Ambres to have a regular platoon with Nixon back in the day, I think.

With Baldelli's injury, I was hoping a bit that Ambres would get the call because, if he still has the legs to play CF, he fits the team's needs a lot better. But then I checked, and he's not on the 40-man, so it's a moot point.

EDIT: and it appears the Sox are waiting out Baldelli's hamstring for a couple days, so no moves yet. I assume that Bailey would get the call if Baldelli has to go on the DL (Kotsay and Van Every are hurt). It would give us a funny roster, reminiscent of Earl Weaver, with two defensively challenged minor league sluggers as platoon pinch-hitters on the bench.
   29. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 21, 2009 at 04:37 PM (#3146599)
All that and nothing about Anderson?

I guess I can sort of see why - 283/320/413. Not particularly inspiring, but he has cut down on the strikeouts somewhat.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2009 at 04:49 PM (#3146617)
Lars Anderson is having a slow start that suggests neither that he's regressed nor that he's progressed. Yeah, I got nothing. He's back to striking out in 20% of his PA like he has throughout the rest of the minors, as you note.
   31. Joel W Posted: April 21, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3146779)
So Bard has given up 1 hit in 8 innings and it was a homer? 13/3 K/BB is pretty nice, though I suppose that's pretty wild over 8 innings. Still, would there be any reason not to make him the first bullpen call up?
   32. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 21, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3146827)
Still, would there be any reason not to make him the first bullpen call up?


I would say the only problem with calling Bard up is the Sox want to keep him pitching. It's not in his (or the Sox') best interest to have him pitching somewhat regularly. I think they want to avoid putting him on the I-95 shuttle and I also suspect that their experience with Craig Hansen makes them likely to be overly cautious.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2009 at 12:02 AM (#3147105)
Baldelli on 15-day DL; Lowrie has surgery, back in 6-8 weeks supposedly.
   34. Darren Posted: April 22, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3147556)
Bard's also not on the 40 man. 3 BB in 8 IP--how is that "pretty wild?"

The most impressive thing to me about the minor league system is how many guys are playing reasonably at levels above their age: Kelly, Almanzar, Doubront, Rizzo, Lars, Reddick, Tazawa (experience more than age), Kalish (sorta?), Pimental, etc.
   35. Darren Posted: April 22, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3147557)
Ooh, and Bowden, of course.
   36. Joel W Posted: April 22, 2009 at 04:03 AM (#3147569)
It's not that 3.4BB/9 is all that wild in AAA, but I have to imagine that translates to something over 4 in the majors (can't find a good MLE chart online). Obviously extremely small sample size and such.
   37. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: April 23, 2009 at 02:25 PM (#3149296)
Bard's now up to 9 innings 1h 1r 3bb 16k after striking out the side last night. Who cares about losing a guy off the 40 man, at this point Bard's the 4th best option out of the pen. At worst.
   38. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2009 at 02:42 PM (#3149327)
He's been pretty dominant so far no question but who goes? I don't think he steps in and pitches ahead of any of the five setup guys currently on the roster (Masterson, Saito, Okajima, Delcarmen, Ramirez), right or wrong Lopez isn't going anywhere (alas) and obviously Papelbon is set.

As long as Masterson is in the rotation the obvious response is Bard in/Jones out. As I mentioned above I think it simply comes down to the fact that they want to let him keep pitching regularly.
   39. RobertMachemer Posted: April 23, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3149615)
From the player news on foxsports...

News: Julio Lugo (knee surgery) fared fine in his first rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket, according to the Boston Globe. He struck out in his first three at-bats, but fielded all four chances at shortstops cleanly.


Insert joke about "midseason form" here...
   40. Joel W Posted: April 23, 2009 at 05:45 PM (#3149657)
Well, Masterson is starting right now, so there's that. Good god 16Ks in 9 innings and 1 hit is sick.
   41. Xander Posted: May 21, 2009 at 05:38 AM (#3187415)
This is a podcast recorded by some of the guys at the SoxProspects.com website. This week's episode looks at Ryan Kalish's future in the organization, Daniel Bard's prospects at being the future Red Sox closer, and other impressions from the early season. We also got rid of the skips which plagued the earlier podcasts. Check it out if you get a chance.

Link to MP3 site

iTunes link

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