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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Lightly Tinted Shades

For the first time in about a decade the Red Sox have a farm system that can best be described as “thin.”  Despite that the Sox are in pretty good shape as the core of the roster is relatively young and club controlled for 2-3 more seasons which is plenty of time for things to be built back up.  With that in mind I want to consider a few guys currently in the system who in my opinion could be breakout stars in 2018;

1B - Josh Ockimey - Likely Start Point*: Portland (AA) - I’ve liked Ockimey dating back to his Lowell days, he just looks like a first baseman should look.  He’s listed at 6’1” on BBRef but looks bigger than that and has a lovely swing and while he hasn’t shown great power yet his swing and size both look designed for it.  He’s not exactly Keith Hernandez defensively but I won’t be shocked if when next winter rolls around he will be viewed as a very real long term answer at first base for the big club.

IF - Chad De La Guerra - Portland (AA) - Another guy I liked a lot at Lowell.  He reminds me a ton of former prospect and current Padre Carlos Asuaje.  I don’t think De La Guerra has a big upside but a steady utility player who can do a job filling in for an injured starter is not beyond his capability.  I can see him as a guy who never sniffs a top 100 prospect list but still has a solid MLB career.

2B - Brett Netzer - Greenville (Lo A) - Netzer was a 2017 draftee and looks like a high upside possibility.  There are questions about his glove but there is hope his bat can play elsewhere on the diamond.  I saw him a couple of times at Lowell last year and he’s one of those guys who just seems to have a line drive on the end of his bat every time he swings.

RHP - Roniel Raudes - Salem (Hi A) - Hey someone I haven’t seen in person!  Raudes is interesting though as a guy who has been competing and while perhaps not thriving certainly holding his own at levels well above his age group.  Raudes turned 20 earlier this month and while Salem is his likely starting point a good start could have him in Portland in short order.  SoxProspects says he has a pretty advanced mix of pitches and the Sox could use a few pitchers stepping up this year.

RHP - Tanner Houck - Greenville (Lo A)
- Last year’s top draft pick was described by Jim Callis recently as potentially the first 2017 draftee to reach the bigs if he moves to the bullpen.  His motion is all over the place with a bunch of deception that is expected to be very tough on righties though in 2017 he didn’t have a particularly noticeable platoon split.  He has a bit of a Matt Barnes vibe to him and he will likely be groomed as a starter with everyone in the system recognizing that his long term future may well be in the bullpen.

The system is not strong but I think these guys and a few others represent potential for a much improved system in 2018.  One of the nice things about being a Sox fan in Massachusetts is that with less than a two hour drive you can see the genuine kids at Lowell, the top prospects in Portland or the guys on the cusp of the Majors in Pawtucket.  As someone who does that every year I highly recommend it.  Each location is a lot of fun.

* - per SoxProspects.com

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 30, 2018 at 10:56 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: January 31, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5616371)
August 18, 2015 was the date DD took over as PBO. Here are the prospects coming or going since then.

LOST
Yoan Moncada - traded
Manuel Margot - traded
Travis Shaw - promoted*, then traded
Michael Kopech - traded
Anderson Espinoza - traded
Edwin Escobar - waived
Henry Owens - waived
Mauricio Dubon - traded
Josh Pennington - traded
Pat Light - traded
Wendell Rijo - traded
Luis Alejandro Basabe - traded
Luis Alexander Basabe - traded
Carlos Asuaje - traded
Jonathan Aro - traded
Dayan Diaz - released
Zeke Spruill - released
Madison Younginer - released
Logan Allen - traded
Javier Guerra - traded
Garin Cecchini - sold
Aaron Wilkerson - traded
Jose Almonte - traded
William Cuevas - released
Victor Diaz - traded
Yeison Coca - traded
Gregory Santos - traded
Gerson Bautista - traded
Jamie Callahan - traded
Rafael Rincones - traded

NO NET GAIN
Edgar Olmos - signed as free agent; later released
Justin Haley - lost as Rule 5 pick; later returned
Ali Solis - signed as free agent; later released
Nik Turley - signed as free agent; later released
Shaun Anderson - drafted, then traded
Stephen Nogosek - drafted, then traded
Roman Mendez - waiver claim; later released

"LOSS"
Eduardo Rodriguez - promoted
Andrew Benintendi - promoted
Rafael Devers - promoted

GAIN
Jay Groome - drafted
Tanner Houck - drafted
Cole Brannen - drafted
Mike Shawaryn - drafted
Alex Scherff - drafted
CJ Chatham - drafted
Bobby Dalbec - drafted
Danny Diaz - drafted
Jake Thompson - drafted
Oscar Hernandez - signed as free agent
Luis Ysla - acquired in trade
Josh Tobias - acquired in trade
Roenis Elias - acquired in trade
Dan Butler - signed as free agent**

* was promoted before DD got there, but wasn't established yet
** could still have been considered a prospect when DD re-acquired him from Washington, but probably not any more.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 31, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5616384)
William Cuevas - released


This is what happens when you check MLB Trade Rumors ten times a day for two months hoping for SOMETHING about JD Martinez. Anyway Cuevas actually has rejoined the Sox on a minor league deal and is expected to be in camp. I like Cuevas so I'm happy about this. He won't actually make a difference but I'm glad he's back.

I forgot about Nogosek, I liked that kid too. He struggled a bit after the trade but I'd like to see him blossom.
   3. villageidiom Posted: January 31, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5616389)
When I look at the list of players lost to trades or waiver claims, I see half a dozen names that are significant losses, and a whole lot of players who are likely of no consequence to MLB. (No offense intended to any of these players. I'm thinking of it as whether these players will significantly help another MLB team's roster.) When I focus in on the players they no longer have, vs. the players they still have, in all honesty I think Shaw is the only one who would be an upgrade on the MLB roster. In another couple of years we might say the same for Kopech, too, but not at this point. And most of these names of consequence brought in Sale and Kimbrel, so in some sense it's like we promoted these prospects to the majors and they turned into Sale and Kimbrel.

Y'know what? I didn't want to get into who they were traded for; I wanted to focus on the net flow of talent for the minors. Let's look at it a slightly different way:

Promoted:
Moncada
Margot
Shaw
Rodriguez
Benintendi
Devers

On MLB/BA top 100 prospect lists:
Kopech
Espinoza
Chavis
Groome

BTW, the color scheme: black is gone, blue is "prospect before DD, still in the system", red is DD gain.

Anyway, it seems like there's a 50-50 rule going on here. For every quality prospect they keep there's another prospect they trade away. I'm not sure what the proper balance is. If the team were like, say, the Pirates - shifting into rebuilding mode - I'd better see most of my prospect "losses" being promotion to MLB, and a significant net gain in the minors despite that. But with a MLB team having many established players, and prospects who didn't line up with Boston's MLB roster needs, I could see 50/50 as a decent ratio. Actually, I like that a lot.

I think where those lightly-tinted shades come in to play is that Boston doesn't really have the depth to pull off any more of those Sale or Kimbrel trades. If they're making such a trade, they need to trade MLB talent for MLB talent. They have few MLB holes to fill, and because of that they have time for the lower prospects to develop. I like that, too.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 31, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5616406)
Anyway, it seems like there's a 50-50 rule going on here. For every quality prospect they keep there's another prospect they trade away. I'm not sure what the proper balance is. If the team were like, say, the Pirates - shifting into rebuilding mode - I'd better see most of my prospect "losses" being promotion to MLB, and a significant net gain in the minors despite that. But with a MLB team having many established players, and prospects who didn't line up with Boston's MLB roster needs, I could see 50/50 as a decent ratio. Actually, I like that a lot.

I think where those lightly-tinted shades come in to play is that Boston doesn't really have the depth to pull off any more of those Sale or Kimbrel trades. If they're making such a trade, they need to trade MLB talent for MLB talent. They have few MLB holes to fill, and because of that they have time for the lower prospects to develop. I like that, too.


Yeah, this is kind of what I was trying to get at. Plus of course the fact that they've won 2 straight division titles. I really don't understand why there seems to be this perception that the Sox haven't accomplished anything the last couple of years and I think they should be good the next couple of years. After that they will have some work to do but they have the financial resources to keep the guys they want to keep or fill the holes through free agency while they build the system back up.
   5. villageidiom Posted: January 31, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5616416)
Yeah, this is kind of what I was trying to get at.

Harmony is boring. We need a Real Housewives Of Lansdowne Street vibe around here.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 31, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5616426)
Have you put on weight?
   7. villageidiom Posted: January 31, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5616505)
Nah, it just seems like that ever since I've been carrying your sorry ass.
   8. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: February 05, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5619576)
HAPPY TRUCK DAY!!!!
   9. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: February 15, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5625850)
Looks like Eduardo Ninez is coming back into the fold. I couldn’t be happier about this, With all the focus on JDM the need for a strong utility infielder given the injury to Pedroia, Devers’ uncertainty and Bogaerts’ health was crucial. He won’t be as good as he was last year but he should be good enough.
   10. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5625961)
Looks like Eduardo Ninez is coming back into the fold.
I'd rather have Nunez. ;-)

If he's good with being a backup, I'm good with it, too. Relying on Brock Holt! \o/ to be the backup at every position is becoming a losing proposition. As you note there's enough playing time potential here that he shouldn't be rotting away on the bench. He's in the same role Alex Cora took on when Pedroia came up, so I'm hoping Cora's presence will maximize Nunez's contribution, whether on the field or in the clubhouse.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: February 16, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5625968)
Nunez is a hack, Ninez is where it's at!
   12. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5626008)
Nunez is a hack, Ninez is where it's at!
Is his physical scheduled for nine or nune?

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