Results tagged ‘ Baseball America ’

2013 Red Sox Top-10 Prospects

Although it’s not yet 2013, it’s never too early to take a look at the Red Sox top-10 prospect list published by Baseball America.

What first caught my eye is that while only three of listed prospects are pitchers, all three rank within the top-five — and none are yet to reach Pawtucket.

It might be hard to find a more promising top-three in any other farm system entering next year. No surprise shortstop Xander Bogaerts is ranked No. 1 overall. Only 20-years-old, Bogaerts split 2012 between High-A Salem and Portland where he combined to hit .307 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler, who spent some time around Bogaerts at the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City, commented later that his talents reminded him of Hanley Ramierez.

Like Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. split 2012 between Salem and Portland where he led all Sox farmhands in runs scored (89), walks (87), and on-base percentage (.430). He was second in the system in batting average (.315) and doubles (42). Add to his numbers the fact that Kevin Thomas (@ClearTheBases) of the Portland Press Herald told us on PawSox Insider that Bradley’s defensive abilities in center field surpass even the great Che-Hsuan Lin.

At No. 3 on the list, right-hander Matt Barnes has a good chance of seeing Pawtucket in 2013 — just like Bogaerts and Bradley. Barnes topped the Red Sox system with 133 strikeouts and was third in ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.05). In his first pro season after being taking 18th overall by the Red Sox out of the University of Connecticut, Barnes walked just 29 batters over 119 2/3 innings pitched.

To read the entire online article from Baseball America, click here.



Bogaerts’ pro career began in 2010 as a 17-year-old playing in the Dominican Summer League. (Kelly O’Connor)

Lavarnway, Iglesias Among Top I.L. Prospects

With the 2012 season in the books, Baseball America has named their top-20 International League prospects:

1. Matt Harvey, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
2. Starling Marte, OF, Indianapolis (Pirates)
3. Chris Archer, RHP, Durham (Rays)
4. Julio Teheran, RHP, Gwinnett (Braves)
5. Chris Parmelee, 1B, Rochester (Twins)
6. Ryan Lavarnway, C, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
7. Didi Gregorius, SS, Louisville (Reds)
8. Jacob Turner, RHP, Toledo (Tigers)
9. Jeff Locke, LHP, Indianapolis (Pirates)
10. Tim Beckham, SS, Durham (Rays)
11. Jose Iglesias, SS, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
12. Cory Kluber, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
13. Cody Allen, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
14. Jeurys Famila, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
15. L.J. Hoes, OF, Norfolk (Orioles)
16. Zach McAllister, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
17. Jennry Mejia, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
18. Casey Crosby, LHP, Toledo (Tigers)
19. Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
20. Christian Garcia, RHP, Syracuse (Nationals)

Not surprisingly, Ryan Lavarnway was the league’s top catching prospect. In 83 games with the PawSox, the 24-year-old hit .295 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in. In his first full season catching, Lavarnway experienced his most successful month as a professional hitter. In 21 games in July, the Yale product hit .405 with four homers, 10 doubles, and 18 RBI.

In two years, Lavarnway played exactly one season’s worth of games for the PawSox (144) and is a career .295 Triple-A hitter. (Kelly O’Connor)

Lavarnway was called-up to Boston at the start of August and finished the season with the Red Sox. While he struggled with Boston (.157/2 HR/12 RBI/11 BB/41 K/46 Gm), everyone who has seen Lavarnway play in Triple-A knows he has a bright future.

Although it’s hard to imagine a better defensive shortstop in the circuit than Jose Iglesias, the Cuban was the third ranked shortstop in the International League according to Baseball America. Iglesias entered 2012 with plenty to prove about his abilities at the plate. Although there are still some questions about his long term offensive abilities, Iglesias proved that he was capable of being an effective hitter in Triple-A.

One high-ranking scout told be that he couldn't think of a shortstop he saw in 2012 that was better defensively than Iglesias -- and that includes the Major Leagues. (Kelly O'Connor)

One high-ranking scout told be that he couldn’t think of a shortstop he saw in 2012 that was better defensively than Iglesias — and that includes the Major Leagues. (Kelly O’Connor)

The shortstop was hitting a club best .341 over 20 games in May before suffering a lower back injury which sidelined him until the end of June. Before being called-up to Boston, Iglesias hit .329 in August over 19 games and drew a monthly-high nine walks compared to eight strikeouts. Iglesias is not one to hit for extra-bases very often. Of his 94 hits with Pawtucket, 83 were singles. That being said, I’ll be the first to say that there were plenty of times where Jose drove the ball well, but right to an outfielder.

Both of these guys will be solid contributors in Boston in 2013.



A Broadcaster’s Reading List

Every baseball broadcaster needs certain books  in order to survive the season. In the last 48 hours, I’ve had virtually everything on my in-season reading list arrive on my desk here at McCoy Stadium. Here are the books I make sure to have with me during each game:

Red Sox Media Guide

This has everything I need on the Red Sox and their minor leaguers.

PawSox Media Guide

Produced in-house, this 226 page book has all of our club’s history, stats, and player bios.

Baseball America Prospect Handbook

This awesome book breaks down the top 30  prospects in every farm system.

Broadcaster’s Scorebook

This is my favorite. I’ll score all 144 games in this 330 page book where I keep track of every at-bat of the season.

International League Media Guide

Produced by the league office, this has statistical information on the I.L. along with interesting league history.

PawSox Official Program

Although I won’t use this as much as the Media Guide, our graphics department did a great job with our program – it’s only $3.00!

Hunger Games

Maybe this is a stretch, but I’ll be seeing the movie Saturday night with my wife, Heather. Our last date night before the season starts.

Hard to imagine, but this will be our last weekend without PawSox baseball until September. Wouldn’t you know it, we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow! That might not be the worst thing in the world – I have some reading to get caught up on.



The “Other” Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter @CCarp37

Want to thank the cubs organization for the very memorable 4 years, met alot of great people. Will never forget you guys.

That being said couldnt be more happy to join the Boston Red Sox. Very excited to get down to Florida and get back to work! #redsoxnation


Carpenter moves from one great baseball town to another (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Carpenter moves from one great baseball town to another (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

These are the first public words (on Twitter) of former Chicago Cubs’ prospect, and now current Boston Red Sox prospect, Chris Carpenter.  No, he’s not the one from New Hampshire who just won the World Series with St. Louis Cardinals.  He’s the “other” Chris Carpenter.  The one drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft out of Bryan, Oh. by the Chicago Cubs.  He’s also the final piece of the deal that involved the Red Sox, Chicago CubsTheo Epstein, and fried chicken.

Baseball America ranked him as the No. 6 overall prospect in Chicago’s farm system a year ago and had this to say about him:

“Carpenter profiles as a No. 3 starter or set-up man. Pitching out of the rotation, he works at 91-96 mph with his fastball, which has good life for a four-seamer. In relief in the [Arizona Fall League] he pitched at 94-99 mph and touched 101 in the Rising Stars Game. His low-80s breaking ball is a solid slider with bite at times and more slurvy at others. His changeup has deception and fade but probably won’t ever be more than his third pitch. Carpenter still is figuring out control and command, as he runs into problems with walks and gets hit more than someone with his fastball should. He needs to do a better job of controlling the running game after giving up 23 steals in 29 attempts last year. He works diligently to stay healthy.”

Gordon Edes of quoted ESPN’s Keith Law as saying Carpenter has “tremendous arm.”

Carpenter, who played his college ball for the Golden Flashes of Kent State, spent part of his 2007 summer on the Cape when he suited up for the Chatham A’s.  Unfortunately, after suffering pain and inflamation in his throwing elbow/forearm, Carpenter was shut down.

To make room for Carpenter on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox placed right-handed pitcher Bobby Jenks on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from back surgery.

Carpenter, 26, made his Major League debut with Chicago in 2011 and posted a 2.79 ERA (3 ER/9.2 IP) over his 10 games with the Cubs, all out of the bullpen. He limited left-handed batters to a .143 average (2-for-14) and held opponents scoreless in eight of 10 outings. The right-hander also combined for 32 relief appearances between Chicago’s Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa clubs last year, going 3-4 with two saves and a 5.91 ERA (28 ER/42.2 IP) between the two stops.

The righty led all Cubs minor leaguers with a 2.82 ERA (41 ER/130.2 IP) in 2009 and was named an Arizona Fall League Rising Star in 2010.



He Drafted Tom Brady to Play … Baseball

Hughes brings nearly a half-century of scouting experience to Boston. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

He was named by Baseball America as one of the Top-10 scouts of the 20th century.  Maybe that’s enough reason for New Englanders to forgive him for trying to sign Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady out of high school to play baseball.  But when Brady was riding the pine in Ann Arbor while Brian Griese led the Michigan Wolverines to the 1997 Rose Bowl, baseball probably looked pretty good to the now two-time Super Bowl MVP.

Although football was a better fit for Brady, that doesn’t mean Gary Hughes isn’t one of the best scouts in the business, and he’s now employed by the Boston Red Sox as a professional scouting consultant. Hughes, 70, spent the last nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs but then resigned as special assistant after the season following the firing of former Chicago general manager, Jim Hendry.

Hughes’ relationship with Hendry creates an interesting, albeit minor, subplot to all of this.  Following his recent departure in Chicago, the former Cubs’ GM is now now a special assistant to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

According to redsox.comBaseball America also honored Hughes with its lifetime achievement award in 2007, and two years later he was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.

Now in his 45th season in professional baseball, Hughes was working with the Montreal Expos in 1995 when he scouted Brady as a catcher out of  Serra High School in San Mateo, California. The now defunct Expos drafted “Tom Terrific” in the 18th round.

If Brady and the Pats win, the ballpark will be a much happier place on Monday (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

I’m sure Hughes will be watching Brady and the Pats Sunday night – and probably still thinks the star quarterback would make a great big league catcher.  Who knows, maybe he would be.

I’m not a Pats fan (although I respect them), but I’m a huge NFL fan and can’t wait for the game.  Not to mention I think Al Michaels is one of the best in the business and NBC might produce an NFL game better than anyone else.

For all those reasons, and because of the food, Super Sunday promises to be one of the best days of the year.


Hot Stove Party Invitees – Alex Wilson

You’re invited this Friday, January 13th to the 35th Annual Pawtucket Red Sox Hot Stove League Party at McCoy Stadium from 6-9 p.m.  This FREE event is open to the public and gives our great fans a chance to get autographs and photos with some terrific Red Sox prospects.

Today I’ll profile the fourth and final player who will be here Friday night, RHP Alex Wilson.

Ht.: 6-0      Wt.: 215      Age: 25     Resides: College Station, Tx.    Drafted: 2nd Rd., 2009

Born in Dhahram, Saudi Arabia, Wilson is the son of a geologist and, believe it or not, grew up a Red Sox fan.  If he makes it to Fenway, he’ll become the first Saudi Arabian-born pitcher to make the major leagues and the second player overall (Craig Stansberry, 2007-’09).

Wilson made four starts with the PawSox at the end of 2011 (Elsa/Getty Images)

His family eventually relocated from the sands of Saudi Arabia to the mountains of West Virginia where Alex was named Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior in 2005.

Wilson then went on to pitch at Winthrop University (S.C.) where he was named Collegiate Baseball’s National Freshman Pitcher of the Year in 2006.  However, the righty soon suffered a setback when he needed Tommy John surgery.

In a video interview Wilson did with Sox In Site, he talked about how he believes having already had Tommy John is a positive.  “I feel like I’ve already got it out of the way.  A lot of guys – power guys especially – have to end up having it.  I got that out of the way when I was in college.  I’ve been 100% since then, have had no problems whatsoever with it.”

After recovering from the surgery, Wilson pitched in the Cape League for Falmouth during the summer of  2007.  He didn’t put up great numbers, but then again, didn’t pitch very much (0-1/9 hits/5 walks/7 runs/4.0 innings).

Wilson then transferred to Texas A&M where he redshirted in 2008. That summer the Chicago Cubs drafted him in the 10th round but Alex wisely opted not to sign. Instead he returned to Falmouth for another summer where he improved to 0-1, 4.60 with 36 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.

His career as an Aggie was was short lived: 24 appearances in 2009 before the Red Sox selected him in the second round.

Things have worked out well for wilson since being drafted by his childhood team:


  • Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year
  • Sea Dogs Opening Day starter
  • Invited to big league Spring Training
  • Tied for the second-most wins in the system (10)
  • Tied for second-most strikeouts in the system (123)
  • Second-highest winning percentage in the system (.714)
  • Third-lowest ERA in the system (3.11)
  • Ranked by Baseball America as having the best fastball and slider in the Sox system

A self-proclaimed “low-tech” country boy, Wilson will be here at McCoy Stadium tomorrow (Friday) night to sign autographs and answer questions.  Both of us look forward to seeing you then.



Baseball America’s Top-10 Red Sox Prospects

Hot off the digital presses this morning comes the annual Baseball America Red Sox Top Prospects List. Eight of the 10 players are yet to play above the High-A level.

1. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS
3. Blake Swihart, C
4. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
5. Bryce Brentz, OF
6. Brandon Jacobs, OF
7. Garin Cecchini, 3B
8. Matt Barnes, RHP
9. Ryan Lavarnway, C
10. Jackie Bradley, OF

As noted by author Jim Callis, “For the third time in four years, the Red Sox set a new franchise record for draft spending, upping the ante to $11 million in 2011.”

Of that healthy sum went $2.5 million to 19-year-old catcher Blake Swihart.  The Bedford, Tx. native played in just two games for the GCL Red Sox last year after being selected No. 26 overall by Boston.  The Sox knew he would be one of the most difficult players to sign because he had apparently dreamed of a college career with the Texas Longhorns.

Swihart led Team USA in 2010 by batting .448 with six doubles and five home runs. (Brace Hemmelgarn/ESPN)

The signing bonus was not only enough to convince him to head east instead of south, it was also the largest bonus given out by the Sox to a high school position player under GM Theo Epstein.  Because of his potential,   Baseball America decided to rank Swihart as Boston’s No. 3 overall prospect and top ranked catcher.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lavarnway comes in as the No. 9 overall prospect for the Red Sox, their No. 2 ranked catcher.  The Yale product signed for (a mere) $325,000 in 2008 as a 6th round pick.  With Boston’s off-season signing of Kelly Shoppach, Lavarnway will seemingly start 2012 in Pawtucket where he’ll look to improve his defensive skills to compliment his major league-ready bat.

Lavarnway hit .295 in 61 games with the PawSox in 2011. (Kelly O'Connor)

It will will be a number of years before we see Swihart here at McCoy Stadium, and who knows, when it’s all said and done he may end up having the better career.  But what I do know is that I can’t wait to see Larvarnway play at McCoy this season.