Results tagged ‘ Blake Swihart ’
Even though there are still a few hours left in the workweek, it’s not too early to start looking forward to the weekend. As a way to celebrate the end of the season, Heather bought us two tickets to see Brian Regan Saturday night in Boston. If you haven’t heard of Brian Regan, and you enjoy laughter, you need to check him out. He’s probably the cleanest comedian you’ll ever hear, and might be the funniest, too.
- Former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek spoke Thursday after being named special assistant to Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington. He mentioned that part of the duties will include working with minor league catchers, so you can bet we’ll see him around McCoy a handful of times in 2013.
- Watching Twins vs. Yankees highlights on SportsCenter the other morning, I couldn’t help but notice virtually every player in Minnesota’s lineup played against the PawSox at some point this season with Rochester. One Red Wings’ player we won’t see next year (at least in Rochester) is infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. The Japanese product asked to be released by the Twins and offered to pay back his 2013 salary of $3.25 million dollars. No surprise, the Twins said “yes.” Minnesota signed Nishioka for $9.25 million after shelling out $5.3 million for Nishioka’s exclusive negotiating rights from Japan. In 71 games with the Twins, Nishioka hit just .215 and was a defensive liability.
- Speaking of big money, in 2011 the Red Sox cut a $2.5 million signing bonus check to, at the time, 19-year-old catcher Blake Swihart. After finishing his first full pro season in Single-A Greenville, the former 26th overall pick has impressed Red Sox Director of Player Development, Ben Crockett in fall instructional league. “Defensively, it’s been impressive. He’s really taken some strides forward. The athleticism he’s shown behind the plate allows him to pick up things quickly.”
- Earlier this afternoon I received an ESPN mobile alert on my phone saying Terry Francona will interview for the Cleveland Indians’ managerial job. I know he’ll get back in to managing soon, but I sure will miss him on Sunday Night Baseball.
- Like most offices, the PawSox staff has mixed political views. However, no matter what side you fall on, if you’re like us, you’ll have a blast with iSpeech Obama. You type, he speaks! We’ve had a lot of fun with this over the last few days, especially my desk-mate, Rick Medeiros.
It has finally hit me that Opening Day is now just 72 hours away. Everyone has been working overtime at McCoy Stadium getting ready for Thursday’s 7:05 first pitch against Buffalo, even our manager, Arnie Beyeler.
Arnie, who just arrived from Ft. Myers, was inside our offices today participating in a live Q&A on Boston.com where fans asked him every question under the sun about the PawSox. You can replay the chat and read all of Arnie’s answers by clicking here. If one of your questions was regarding what the back of Arnie’s head looks like, I’m glad I could provide the answer.
At this time we don’t have any definitive word on what our roster will will be. As soon as the Red Sox release our roster I’ll be sure to post it here ASAP. In the meantime, Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com reported via Twitter (@MikeAndrewsSP) that outfield prospect Alex Hassan has been assigned to Pawtucket. He also reported the following moves:
- Matt Barnes, 2011 first round pick, assigned to Single-A Greenville
- Blake Swihart, 2011 first round pick, assigned to Single-A Greenville
- Xander Bogaerts, Baseball America’s No. 2 Red Sox prospect, assigned to High-A Salem.
- Heiker Meneses, infielder, assigned to Double-A Portland
- Aaor Kurcz, Jayson Hernandez, Will Latimer, and Caleb Clay assigned to Double-A Portland
- Mitch Dening, Jorge Padron, Drew Dominguez, and Josue Peley released by Boston.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe has reported that through five innings today, Aaron Cook has the following line: 2-H/1-R/1-ER/1-BB/2-K and 11 groundball outs. You can follow Pete’s live updates throughout the Red Sox vs. Nationals game on the Extra Bases Blog.
There’s a strong chance that Cook opens the season in Pawtucket before seeing time in the Big Leagues with the Red Sox. It’s important to remember that Cook has an “opt out” in his minor league contract on May 1. This could pressure Boston to call him up to Fenway before then since he has proven in Spring Training that he can get batters out.
Between getting ready for Opening Day, finalizing my taxes, and getting my couch ready for tonight’s NCAA Championship Game, there’s lots to do! I’ll leave you with a 2007 head shot of a former International League standout who is on the verge of signing a $200 million contract extension.
Highly anticipated each year, earlier this morning Keith Law of ESPN released his Top-100 minor league prospects lists. I’ve always been curious about how long it takes him to make the list. I’d have a hard time ranking the Top-10 in any given system, let alone the Top-100 out of a pool of everyone.
Reading the complete list requires an EPSN Insider subscription, so out of respect for Mr. Law, I can’t exactly copy and paste all 100 names. I do, however, feel the liberty of sharing with you which two Red Sox prospects were represented on the list and what he wrote about them.
No. 62 Overall: SS Xander Bogaerts
“The Red Sox were aggressive with the Aruban-born Bogaerts, promoting him from the Dominican Summer League right to full-season ball, where only Jurickson Profar and Bryce Harper were younger among regular position players. But Bogaerts held his own due to excellent bat speed and enough pitch recognition to keep himself afloat. He starts out very wide at the plate and closes slightly when he gets his front foot down. The ball really comes off his bat well, thanks to strong wrists and forearms and a very rotational swing with great extension through contact.
He spent the year at shortstop, making an error every three games, but isn’t likely to stay there with third base the probable destination. He has the arm and feet for it, assuming he does indeed outgrow shortstop. Boston’s system is thin right now, with several prospects who project as solid regulars but nothing more. Bogaerts is the Red Sox’s best chance right now to produce an All-Star.”
No. 100 Overall: C Blake Swihart (Sw-EYE-heart)
“Swihart is raw on both sides of the ball but extremely athletic with the bat speed and arm strength to profile as a potential All-Star at a number of skill positions. As a hitter, he can get out on his front foot early and doesn’t finish rotating his hips to produce the power his swing should allow, but the bat speed is there and he has a decent feel for the strike zone. As a catcher, he can throw and has already improved his release time since signing with Boston.
Having played a number of positions in high school, Swihart needs to work on receiving and game-calling. Given time and regular reps behind the plate, he could be similar to Matt Wieters, a switch-hitting catcher (perhaps with less power) who can add value through catching and throwing. If he has to move to another position, such as third base, he could still end up an above-average big leaguer but would obviously lose a good bit of his value.”
So there you have it. Two Red Sox prospects made the cut, and somebody had to be No. 100! Interestingly enough third baseman Will Middlebrooks (Baseball America’s No. 1 Red Sox prospect) didn’t make the list, neither did shortstop Jose Iglesias.
It’ll be some time before we see either Bogaerts or Swihart here at McCoy Stadium. The 18-year-old shortstop finished last season with Low-A Greenville, while Swihart, 19, played in an exhausting two games of rookie ball last year.
Although Boston doesn’t have a top-flight prospect like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, what it does have is a good core of “solid” prospects (mostly offensively) and plenty of youth.
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.
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.
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.