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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Lining up the Minors - End of Season Edition

With the minor league season over and the Sox having punted GM Dave Dombrowski to the curb (I wonder if GMs do that awkward thing where they get together over lunch to get some of their things they left at the owners house like exes).  Anyway, that wasn’t a complete sentence where was I?

Oh yeah, minor league season over, Dombrowski unemployed…and a lot of focus on the future of the Sox.  Some of that future is going to be driven by folks in the minor leagues.  The title of the post has a link to SoxProspects.com and if you are interested in this stuff I can’t recommend that site enough.  Anyway, these are my thoughts on some names you may already know or may not but are of importance in a system that had a pretty encouraging season.

1B - Triston Casas - Hi A - 19.242 (age) - Casas deservedly is #1 on Sox Prospects’ rankings and the offensive player of the year.  He is a hulk of a human at 6’4” and listed at 238 (again, look at his age in conjunction with those numbers).  Casas pounded 20 homers this year and from what I’ve read is considered a pretty strong defensive first baseman as well.  Just to give you reason to overreact;

.282/.335/.443 - 11 home runs
.254/.349/.472 - 20 home runs

The second line is Casas this year. The first line is Rafael Devers at the same age playing at the same level.

2B - Brett Netzer - AA - 23.102 - Netzer is a great example of a guy you watch swing once and expect him to turn into Robbie Cano.  This dude has a swing that is positively orgasmic.  The counter to that is the sub .700 OPS he has had each of the last three years.  For a guy largely considered a bat-first guy that’s less than encouraging.  I think Netzer can have a future though.  He lacks power so OPS underrates him a bit as he generally can get on base.  I suspect this is a guy who may be the next Marco Hernandez/Tzu-Wei Lin looking to win a spot on the shuttle to and from Pawtucket.

SS - Cameron Cannon - SS A - 21.333 - Cannon was the Sox’ top pick this year (second round due to luxury tax penalties) and the few occasions I saw him looked impressive.  He seems pretty adept at short though the Sox Prospects guys note his arm strength probably won’t play there.  He struggled offensively in his first look at pro ball but he looks the part of a player.  I am interested to see how he performs with some pro ball and wood bat experience under his belt in 2020.

3B - Bobby Dalbec - AAA - 24.077 - Ladies and gentlemen your 2020 Boston Red Sox starting first baseman.  I know I know, I list him at third here because that’s where he played but he played some first base and given that the Sox already have a mediocre third baseman it is likely Dalbec is going to cross the diamond.  Another massive guy in the Casas mold he is going to fan a lot but the power is for real with 59 homers the last two seasons.  He is also quite adept defensively, I saw him at Portland a couple of times and he is nimble and has a very strong and accurate arm. 

OF - Gilberto Jimenez - SS A - 19.068 - In what will be a theme among the outfielders Jimenez is outrageously fast.  In one game I attended at Lowell he nearly beat out a routine grounder to short then reached on a strikeout that went not five feet away from the catcher.  As you might expect from a guy like this there ain’t a ton of power at play but for a low minors player he is an intriguing fellow.  Next year will be his first full season in all likelihood and it will be interesting to see how he performs.

OF - Jarred Duran - AA - 23.009 - Remember what I said about speed?  Duran is similarly fast and obviously much further along in his career.  If you want to dream you can think “poor man’s Jacoby Ellsbury” though it’s worth noting that when he was 23 years old Ellsbury was getting five hits in a World Series game.  Duran lacks power and potentially is more Billy Hamilton than anything else but I think there is a reasonable chance that he has a chance to be the 2021 centerfielder when Jackie Bradley leaves as a free agent.

OF - Marcus Wilson - AA - 23.030 - Wilson is an interesting guy. He was acquired in a trade for future Hall of Famer Blake Swihart and is one of those “toolsy” guys.  He is a project to be sure and seemed to be locked in a rut in 2019 where he was too good for Hi A ball and not good enough for AA.  The quality is there but to this point he looks more like an athlete than a hitter.

C - Kole Cottam - Hi A - 22.107 - Catcher is a bit of a wasteland for the Sox’ system at the moment.  Cottam has shown some power in his brief (2018 draftee) career though there seems to be some question about his ability to stick behind the plate.  I’d like to say more or talk about a different catcher but none of the guys I saw at Portland or Lowell made an impact.

LHP - Chris Murphy - SS A - 21.101 - I saw this kid pitch on a couple of occasions and it is no surprise that he earned Sox Prospects’ Rookie of the Year.  The numbers (1.08 ERA, 34 K, 7 BB in 33 IP) speak for themselves and when I watched him those numbers made sense.  He is a kid who really seems to know what he is doing out there.  The downside is he is not a particularly hard thrower (low 90s) so how much of this is just a guy with an advanced pitch mix fooling 19 year old kids remains to be seen.  I am eager to watch him progress though because even if he is “just” a back of the rotation type those guys have their value as we have seen in glaring detail with the big club in 2019.

RHP - Bryan Mata - AA - 20.134 - Sox Prospects has Mata as their #2 prospect (and top pitcher) behind Casas and rightly so.  Where Murphy is the epitome of the crafty lefty Mata is the flame thrower that gets everyone’s attention.  I saw him in Manchester against the Blue Jays’ AA affiliate and he was touching 97/98 on the gun.  As you might expect from that profile control can be an issue but he’s not putting up the kind of walk numbers that a Henry Owens did.  Watching him pitch he doesn’t look out of control to me.  He seems to be physically mature given his age and in control of his body.

Final Thoughts

The Sox system is not a powerhouse by any stretch.  What is encouraging is that it seems that up and down the system there were a lot of improved performances.  It has seemed to me that the last couple of years whether by injury (CJ Chatham, Jay Groome) or just performance the Sox have had guys struggle to build on what they were expected to do.  This year it has seemed like people performed at or above their expected level.  They may not have the future superstar in this system but the team already has those.  The supporting players are here whether those players act in a support role by playing for the Sox or being dealt for a useful piece.

Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:27 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5879330)
Interesting piece from Rob Bradford at WEEI today. Recommended for all. It talks about the GM job but also includes some interesting notes about the system.

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