It’s not as flashy as their signings of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher last offseason, but the Indians added to their outfield depth by officially signing David Murphy to a two-year contract with a third-year club option, the team announced on Monday. Murphy’s contract is reportedly worth $12MM. He will earn $5.5MM in 2014, $6MM in 2015 and has a $500K buyout on a $7MM club option for the 2016 season.
Murphy, 31, hurt his free agent stock in 2013 with a career-worst .220/.282/.374 in 476 plate appearances. While Murphy seemed destined for a sizable deal after 2012, a season in which he posted an OPS of .859, he raised question marks for clubs in his follow-up act and didn’t make Tim Dierkes’ Top 50 Free Agents list. The left fielder has spent the last seven years in Texas, posting a .275/.337/.441 slash line in that span.
With Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley as virtual locks in the 2014 outfield, Murphy’s addition brings Drew Stubbs’ role with the club into further question. The two could form a platoon, as Murphy has a .280/.347/.469 slash line against righties in his career, and Stubbs has slashed .274/.349/.448 against lefties. That platoon would figure to pay the pair $9.3MM, however, which might be spendy for a solid but not elite tandem. The Indians could trade or non-tender Stubbs and give Murphy the bulk of at-bats in right field.
Murphy began the 2013 season as Texas’ starting left fielder, but fell into a slump and saw his playing time dwindle. A return to the Rangers was viewed as unlikely and it now appears that the club has their eyes on more ambitious outfield targets such as Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, with Choo possibly being higher on their list. The Rangers could also bring back Nelson Cruz to give them pop in one of the corners.
In related news, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed catcher Alberto Rosario, who was with Pawtucket for 30 games in 2013. Combined between the PawSox and Portland Sea Dogs (41 games) the back stop hit .214 (27-for-126) with two homers, three doubles and 10 RBI.
And reports have indicated that utility man Mike McCoy and left handed reliever Tommy Layne have signed with the Red Sox as Minor League Free-Agents.
McCoy, 34 on April 2nd, spent all of 2013 with the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays, Triple-A). He batted .245 with four homers and 22 RBI while stealing 29 bases. He made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 2009 and has played in a total of 170 big league games with Colorado and Toronto. He was originally drafted by St. Louis
Layne, 29, spent 2013 between San Diego and their Triple-A affiliate in Tucson. He was 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 49 games with Tucson while going 0-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 14 big league appearances. Layne made his Major League debut in 2012 with San Diego.
Barring any news later today, 45 Miles from Fenway will be hitting the road for Thanksgiving. So, if we don’t get to you later, have a very happy and filling Thanksgiving!!
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The Brewers have traded right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop to the Red Sox in exchange for left-handed pitcher Luis Ortega, according to a press release from Milwaukee.
Badenhop, 30, posted a 3.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances during his only season with the Brewers. The reliever was acquired from the Rays in December 2012 in exchange for outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. Badenhop, who pitched to a 3.03 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings for the Rays in 2012, is eligible for arbitration and projected to earn $2.1MM by our own Matt Swartz.
Ortega, 20, was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on July 2, 2011.
Thank you to Mike Andrews of soxprospects.com for providing the below article.
The World Series trophy in hand, the Red Sox can look forward to 2014 with confidence on a number of fronts. First and foremost, a significant portion of the core of the 2013 championship team is under contract and expected to return. Even a few of the recently filed free agents may return.
On top of that, the upper levels of the farm system are stacked with talent, whether it be as potential impact starters, role players, emergency depth, or potential September call-ups. In fact, “Baseball America” recently ranked Boston as the No. 1 system in the majors in terms of prospects poised to deliver short-term value. (And frankly, the Astros weren’t that close at No. 2).
A handful of rookies are expected to compete for impact roles out of spring training. Top prospect Xander Bogaerts is highly likely to be an Opening Day starter at shortstop or third base, and he’s already the favorite for 2014 American League Rookie of the Year. If Jacoby Ellsbury leaves via free agency, Jackie Bradley Jr. is a candidate to replace him in center field. Despite some rough patches with the big club in 2013, Bradley should supply above-average defense, an above-average plate approach and an adequate bat out of the gate. While he’s still just 23, he projects as a long-term starter in center field with the ceiling of an occasional All-Star.
Pitchers Drake Britton and Rubby De La Rosa should both compete to join Brandon Workman in Boston’s bullpen when the team breaks camp in April. While none of the three will technically be rookie eligible in 2014 — Workman and Britton due to service time and De La Rosa due to innings — each is still on the upward plane of his respective development curve. By the end of the 2014 campaign they could form the makings of a young middle relief corps similar to the 2013 Cardinals’ bullpen.
The Sox system also has three arms that could get attention for the starting rotation by mid-season, assuming there are open spots. Allen Webster struggled in 8 appearances with Boston in 2013 and will seemingly need to prove himself again in Pawtucket to start the 2014 season. Similarly, 2010 supplemental first-round pick Anthony Ranaudo and 2011 first-round pick Matt Barnes are poised to crack the PawSox opening day rotation, giving the club solid starting pitching depth. Barnes and Ranaudo profile as middle-of-the-rotation starters, while Webster really needs to demonstrate that he can maintain consistent command and poise if he’s to nail down a spot as a No. 4 or 5 starter in the Boston rotation.
There are also likely to be several impressive emergency depth players at Triple-A next season. Outfielders Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan, catcher Dan Butler, infielder Brock Holt, knuckleballer Steven Wright and reliever Alex Wilson all should be more than capable of filling in during extended stretches should an injury situation arise on the major league team. Moreover, each of those players has the potential to develop into more than emergency depth if given the opportunity. In addition to these players, look for the club to add a handful of additional depth players in the near-term, with minor league free agency opening up this week.
A few players who could get September call-up attention include catchers Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, third baseman Garin Cecchini, shortstop Deven Marrero and pitcher Henry Owens. They would probably get earlier consideration in many other organizations, but their opportunities may be limited with the Red Sox in 2014 due to the depth ahead of them, service time considerations and 40-man roster space. They should have better opportunities to break through in 2015.
Looking for a few sleepers? Relievers Chris Martin and Noe Ramirez could surprise and compete for spots in the Boston bullpen at some point. Both project as up-and-down reliever types at this stage, but both also have the potential to become major league middle relievers in their peak seasons. Right-hander Dalier Hinojosa, 27, recently signed a $4.25 million minor league deal out of Cuba. He’ll seemingly begin the 2014 season with Pawtucket, but at this point it’s unclear if the club intends to utilize him as a starter or reliever. He should get a long look with the big club in spring training.
Outfielder Ryan Kalish, while technically no longer a rookie, hopes that 2014 is finally the season he’s able to get back on the field in full health. In the latest of his hard luck string of injuries, Kalish underwent cervical fusion surgery in August. If healthy, he could be worked in as a versatile, gritty fourth outfielder at some point next season.
The Boston Red Sox have signed Brandon Snyder to a minor league deal. The deal also includes an invitation to spring training. Snyder confirmed the report on his personal Twitter account.
Snyder, who turns 27 on Saturday, elected free agency after being removed from the Red Sox’ 40-man roster at the beginning of the month.
In 27 games with the Red Sox in 2013, Snyder hit .180 with 2 HR and 7 RBI in 52 plate appearances. He appeared in 68 games for the PawSox, hitting .261 with 10 HR and 37 RBI before being called up to the big league club at the end of June.
BOSTON, MA-The Red Sox today selected outfielder Bryce Brentz and right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo to the Major League roster from Triple-A Pawtucket, and selected third baseman Garin Cecchini to the roster from Double-A Portland. With the moves, Boston’s 40-man roster is now at 39.
The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington.
Brentz, 24, hit .264 (86-for-326) with 16 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs, 56 RBI, 36 runs, and 20 walks in 82 regular-season games for Pawtucket in 2013. He led the PawSox in home runs and placed second on the club in RBI, total bases (155), and slugging percentage (.475). He hit 19 home runs overall this past season, including two on rehab with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, tying for the most for a Boston minor leaguer. Brentz appeared primarily in right field at Pawtucket with 55 games at the position, and also played 14 games in left field. The right-handed batter went 4-for-34 with two doubles, one home run, and two RBI in eight International League Playoff games, tying for the IL Playoff lead with three extra-base hits.
Selected by Boston in the supplemental first round (36th overall) of the 2010 June Draft, Brentz has hit .273 (419-for-1,536) with 87 doubles, 10 triples, 71 home runs, 273 RBI, 220 runs, and 123 walks in 399 minor league games. He entered the 2013 season rated as the eighth-best prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America.
The 22-year-old Cecchini split the 2013 season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, batting a combined .322 (146-for-454) with 33 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 61 RBI, 80 runs, 94 walks, a .443 on-base percentage, and 23 stolen bases in 129 games. He led all minor leaguers in on-base percentage and topped Red Sox farmhands in average this season. The left-handed batter began the year by hitting .350 (75-for-214) with 43 walks, a .469 on-base percentage, and .547 slugging percentage in 63 games for Salem and was named a mid-season Carolina League All-Star. He also twice earned Carolina League Player of the Week honors before his late June promotion to Portland. Cecchini played for the U.S. Team in the 2013 All-Star Futures game and went 1-for-2 with an RBI in a 4-2 U.S. win. After the season, he played for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League and hit .277 (18-for-65) with four doubles, nine RBI, nine runs, and 17 walks in 18 games and helped the Saguaros to the league’s title. He was also the 2013 recipient of the AFL’s Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.
Taken by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 June Draft, Cecchini is a .312 (319-for-1,023) career hitter with 83 doubles, 12 triples, 14 home runs, 146 RBI, 185 runs, 172 walks, and 86 stolen bases in 279 minor league games. He entered the 2013 season ranked as Boston’s seventh-best prospect according to Baseball America and was named the Red Sox Base Runner of the Year in 2012.
Ranaudo, 24, spent most of the 2013 season with Double-A Portland where he was named to both the Eastern League’s mid-season and year-end All-Star teams. He went 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA (36 ER/109.2 IP), 106 strikeouts and 40 walks, and held opponents to a .204 average over 19 starts with the Sea Dogs before an August promotion to Pawtucket. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA (10 ER/30.1 IP), 21 strikeouts, and seven walks in six games, including five starts, with the PawSox over the final month of the season and also made two starts for Pawtucket during the International League playoffs. His combined 11 wins between Portland and Pawtucket tied for the most among Red Sox minor leaguers, and he was third in that group in strikeouts (127), and fourth in ERA (2.96). Ranaudo also pitched for the U.S. team at the 2013 All-Star Futures game.
Selected by Boston in the supplemental first round (39th overall) of the 2010 June Draft, Ranaudo is 21-14 with a 3.84 ERA (130 ER/304.2 IP) and 271 strikeouts compared to 120 walks in 60 career minor league games (59 starts).
BOSTON RED SOX 40-MAN ROSTER (39)
PITCHERS (20): Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, Drake Britton, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Jake Peavy, Anthony Ranaudo, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Brayan Villarreal, Allen Webster, Alex Wilson, Brandon Workman, Steven Wright.
CATCHERS (4): Dan Butler, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross, Christian Vazquez.
INFIELDERS (6): Xander Bogaerts, Alex Castellanos, Garin Cecchini, Brock Holt, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia.
OUTFIELDERS (8): Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, Alex Hassan, Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino.
DESIGNATED HITTER (1): David Ortiz.
You know you’ve made as an actor/actress/performer when you get a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But how old do you have to be to get a star? Is there a minimum age? Child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of 90′s sitcom Full House fame are the youngest to ever get enshrined in terrazzo and brass at the age of 18.
Athletes have their sports respective Hall of Fames to recognize their achievements. The youngest player ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame was Sandy Koufax at 36 (and 21 days), followed closely by Lou Gehrig at 36 (5 months and 19 days).
For one 2013 World Series Champion, he has both…well short of.
21-year-old Xander Bogaerts was honored by his native country of Aruba with a star in front of the Capitol.
It may not be the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but, for a kid who was starting at shortstop in Pawtucket in early August, that’s pretty special. A huge thank you to Matt Baudoin, friend of PawSox Account Executive Geoff Sinnott, for the photo during his travels.
To add to Bogaerts accolades, he had the batting gloves he used during the World Series add to the 2013 World Series display at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s not an induction, and he’s got a lot of games to play before he could even be considered, but to have a piece of history used by YOU in the Hall is remarkable.
An estimated 20 million people visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame annually. The Capitol building in Aruba won’t come near that number of visitors, but for Bogaerts, his name will forever be recognized in his homeland.
Some Red Sox rumors from the late last night and early today.
Corey Hart told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM that he’s getting interest from a handful of interested clubs, including the Red Sox. However, he won’t be getting full medical clearance for a couple of weeks and he admits that he’ll likely be in a holding pattern until that point.
The Red Sox have had “serious dialogue” with free agent oufielder Carlos Beltran, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Boston has been said to have interest in the veteran, but the Yankees, Orioles, Royals, Indians, and Mariners are also said to have interest.
Given the value they place on draft picks, the Red Sox’s interest in Beltran is puzzling to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, even if they get picks for their own free agents. Abraham wonders if this might be a case of an AL East team engaging a free agent in an attempt to raise the price for their rivals.
GM Ben Cherington & Co. are exploring a right-handed setup-type reliever, tweeted Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox should have plenty of payroll flexibility to work with as they look to bolster their bullpen and other areas and they could free up more space by trading a veteran starter like Jake Peavy, John Lackey or Ryan Dempster.
And a pair of Red Sox farmhands, Gerin Cecchini and Mookie Betts were named in the Arizona Fall League’s Top 20.
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Great work by the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton as he looks to today’s pending roster moves for Boston.
Today represents a sneakily important day for major-league organizations. It’s the deadline for teams to protect players from December’s Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster.
Back in July, it appeared as if Boston would have several tough calls to make this week regarding the 40-man. The Red Sox, though, have made Wednesday’s task easier by planning ahead. First off, Brandon Workman and Xander Bogaerts are already on the 40-man, having been called up during the season and turning into key contributors in the postseason.
Second, possible 40-man additions Brandon Jacobs and Jeremy Hazelbaker have been traded. Neither was likely to be protected, and so the Sox turned them into other assets. Jacobs was dealt for Matt Thornton, a piece that helped — albeit not as much as hoped — in 2013. Hazelbaker was traded for Alex Castellanos, a 40-man player with more defensive versatility.
Boston currently has 36 players on its 4-man roster, meaning it can add up to four on Wednesday. Remember, though, that the Red Sox will have to make room for any free-agent or trade additions, as well. The team’s current free agents, such as Mike Napoli, aren’t on the 40-man roster right now.
There are 41 players in the organization who can be selected in December 12′s Rule 5 Draft if left unprotected Wednesday. The large majority of them aren’t risks to leave, either because they lack significant long-term potential or because they’re not close to being big-league contributors just yet. (A player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be carried on a team’s 25-man roster all season, meaning it’s difficult to draft on potential alone.)
There are three players who are almost certain to be added: Bryce Brentz, Garin Cecchini and Anthony Ranaudo.
The outfielder Brentz had a rough start to 2013, being sent to minor-league camp in spring training after he shot himself in the leg in January. He also missed time toward the end of the season after undergoing knee surgery. While plate discipline remains a work in progress for Brentz — his on-base percentage was .312 in 82 Triple-A games last year — he possesses outstanding power from the right side of the plate. He’s hit 66 home runs in his three full professional seasons, and in a market increasingly devoid of sluggers, Brentz remains valuable.
Cecchini, a third baseman, took another major step forward in 2013. Arguably the most polished hitter in the system, the 22-year-old posted a .443 on-base percentage between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland — best in all the minors. Cecchini’s defense is a step behind his offense, and he — more so than Will Middlebrooks — could be a candidate to eventually move across the diamond to first base.
Ranaudo had a huge bounceback season in 2013 after laboring through injuries all 2012. The tall right-hander compiled a 2.96 ERA between Portland and Pawtucket in 25 games (24 starts), throwing 148 innings. The 24-year-old should start the year with the PawSox and serve as rotation depth.
Michael Almanzar and Keury De La Cruz looked like possible additions earlier this year. Almanzar, who resurrected a fading career with a great 2012, had a decent year this past season in Portland. It would appear tough, though, for a team to carry him on its major-league roster all season.
If it’s tough for a team to carry Almanzar, it’s probably impossible for one to carry De La Cruz, who took a step back from his own breakout 2012 in High-A Salem.
We’ll check back in later today with more news and notes about potential protected players and other happenings in and around the Red Sox system.
Yesterday we learned that lefty, and key cog to the PawSox bullpen from 2013, Ryan Rowland-Smith had signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
We also learned that two more pieces of that vaunted bullpen will be pitching elsewhere in 2014. Closer Anthony Carter has signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres. The 27-year-old right-hander posted a 3.47 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 79/23 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings in relief. He tied a franchise record with 24 saves. Carter was named the PawSox Pitcher of the Year. His deal with Padres includes an invitation to spring training where he’ll attempt to secure a spot in the San Diego bullpen.
Brock Huntzinger signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He combined to go 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA over 49 appearances between Portland and Pawtucket. Opponents batted just .208 against the righty. In 24 games with the PawSox, Huntzinger was 2-2 with a 1.43 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 37.2 innings.
Everyone with the PawSox wishes Anthony and Brock the best of luck in the future. They were outstanding pitchers and both great teammates when they were here.
In other Red Sox rumors, Dioner Navarro is thought to have “drawn initial interest from the Red Sox,” Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports. The switch-hitting catcher hit a career-best .300/.365/.492 in 266 PA with the Cubs last season, doing most of his damage against left-handed pitching. Navarro is just one of several catching options the Sox are considering, from Brian McCann or A.J. Pierzynski to re-signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
There doesn’t seem to be much, if any, chance of a Kevin Youkilis return to Boston, MLB.com’s Ian Browne writes as part of a reader mailbag. Browne also addresses such topics as the length of a possible Mike Napoli contract and the Sox acquiring a veteran backup for the left side of the infield. http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/bos/red-sox-inbox-is-will-middlebrooks-primed-for-bounce-back-season?ymd=20131118&content_id=64006708&vkey=news_bos
The Red Sox figure to have around $20-$25MM in spending room this offseason, CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam calculates, though the club could free up more space by trading a veteran starter like Jake Peavy, John Lackey or Ryan Dempster. The team has lots of payroll flexibility both this winter and for future years. http://www.csnne.com/boston-red-sox/how-much-do-red-sox-have-spend-offseason
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Diamondbacks have signed left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The Aussie spent his age-30 season with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket where he pitched to a masterful 1.55 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 52 1/3 innings of relief work. Rowland-Smith posted an outstanding 0.94 WHIP and held opposing lefties to a mere .192/.244/.274 batting line, though his .200/.268/.278 line from opposing righties is equally impressive.
He hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2010, and all 362 2/3 of his big league innings have come in a Mariners uniform.
From all the PawSox, we wish Ryan the best of luck with the Diamondbacks. He’s an outstanding pitcher and even better teammate!
The below article is courtesy of Sam Dykstra of milb.com.
What’s that saying? Pitching wins championships? If anyone needed more proof of that, they needn’t look further than Saturday’s Arizona Fall League championship game.
“Their pitching was incredible,” fourth-ranked Cubs prospect Kris Bryant told MLB.com. “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team.”
Behind three impressive innings from Orioles left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and strong performances out of five relievers, West Division winners Surprise captured the AFL title with a 2-0 victory over East Division leader Mesa at Scottsdale Stadium.
In a game that featured only 10 combined hits between two of the best hitting teams the AFL had to offer, Orioles and Saguaros left fielder Henry Urrutia proved to be an offensive bright spot, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles — the only extra-base hits of the afternoon — and a run scored.
Rodrguez, Baltimore’s No. 2 prospect, struck out four and scattered only two hits in his three scoreless frames. It was the first zero-laden outing for the 20-year-old southpaw during the Fall League. He had posted a 5.52 ERA in five AFL starts (14 2/3 innings) entering Saturday’s winner-take-all matchup, although he had struck out 16 in the same span. He was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 25 starts between Class A Advanced Frederick and Double-A Bowie during the regular season.
The Saguaros first got to the Mesa staff in the second inning when top Rangers prospect Jorge Alfaro followed up Urrutia’s first two-bagger with an RBI single before being thrown out at second while trying to take an extra base.
The run was charged to Cubs right-hander and Solar Sox starter Dallas Beeler, who was impressive in his own right. The 6-foot-5 hurler allowed just the one run on two hits and a walk while striking out five in his five frames on the mound.
The Solar Sox had their best chance to put runs on the board in the sixth inning. After struggling against Rodriguez and Brewers right-hander Tyler Cravy (two innings, one hit, two strikeouts), the East Division champs managed to load the bases with one out against Orioles southpaw Tim Berry. Jett Bandy (Angels) walked, Addison Russell (A’s) singled and Devon Travis (Tigers) reached on an error by the pitcher.
“I had to bear down. It was moving a little fast for me at first,” Berry admitted to MLB.com. “I left some pitches up and I wasn’t really commanding my offspeed stuff. When it gets to that point where it’s bases loaded, everything goes out the window. You’ve just got to get outs. That’s the only thing that matters.”
Baltimore’s No. 6 prospect stood strong against the biggest bats of the Sox lineup, getting Bryant to pop out in foul territory for the second out of the frame.
“I was 2-0 to Bryant and we had a meeting and we talked about what we wanted to do, fastball in, and I just looked at the glove and executed it,” Berry said. “That’s when it turned to go my way.”
Bryant agreed, saying, “They came through when they needed to.”
Berry struck out Angels prospect C.J. Cron to exit unscathed.
“It was unreal,” Berry said. “It was such a bad start to the inning and such a big finish to the inning. I was just glad to get out of there with no runs on the board.”
It was smooth sailing from there for the Saguaros. Noe Ramirez (Red Sox) struck out the side in the seventh and Keone Kela (Rangers) tossed a perfect eighth. Second baseman Mookie Betts, who already won a Carolina League title this season with the Salem Red Sox, tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single in the bottom of that frame.
Brewers right-hander David Goforth tossed a perfect ninth that included a called third strike on Steven Souza (Nationals) that sent his Surprise teammates streaming toward the mound in celebration.
“That experience I had right there was the best I’ve had in baseball so far,” Berry said of winning the title. “All the O’s guys that got invited here are great players. I was learning from them and hopefully they were feeding off me. It was a good six weeks. Watching Eddie [Rodriguez] go out there every time was something special as well.”
The impressive pitching performances from both sides in Saturday’s championship came as a bit of a, well, surprise. The Saguaros averaged a league-best six runs per game in the AFL regular season, and the Solar Sox weren’t far behind at 5.5, good enough for third. If anything, it was Mesa, who led the league in team ERA at 3.23, that seemed more likely to dominate on the mound compared to Surprise, which sported a 4.70 mark in the regular season.
Of course, that circles back to another popular baseball championship axiom. That’s why they play the game.
Before the game, the league announced that Bryant, who led the Fall League with six homers and a 1.184 OPS, had won the Joe Black Award as the AFL MVP, and Surprise third baseman Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) had won the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.
As for the Sox prospects final lines:
Cecchini batted .277 (18-for-65) with four doubles, nine RBI, nine runs scored and a team high 17 walks. He finished second on the team with a .434 OBP.
Mookie Betts batted .271 (16-for-59) with a homer, three doubles and five RBI. He stole a team high eight bases while getting caught twice in 16 games played.
First baseman Travis Shaw finished third on the team with a .361 average (22-for-61) while slugging a team high five homers and driving in 19 runs. He score 18 runs (T-3rd).
Infielder Derrik Gibson was the lone offensive player to really struggle in the Arizona Fall League as he hit just .125 (5-for-40), but he did homer and drive in two. He also drew nine walks.
On the pitching side, starter Miguel Pena threw the second most innings (27.2) while matching a team high with seven starts. He went 3-2 with a 4.55 ERA (14 earned runs allowed). He struck out 19 batters.
Reliever Noe Ramirez appeared in 10 games going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA (3 ER/14 IP). He finished 3rd in the AFL with a 0.86 WHIP while striking out 11 and recording two saves.
Keith Couch pitched in 11 games going 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA (6 ER/13.1 IP) and 12 strikeouts. He recorded one save.
Finally, Pete Ruiz went 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA (3 ER/5.2 IP) with five walks and seven strikeouts in five games.
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