Results tagged ‘ Bryce Harper ’

Back from Vacation, Fall League Begins

After a fun visit to my homeland of St. Louis, it’s back to work at rainy McCoy Stadium. A vacation is always nice, but a vacation after broadcasting over 150 baseball games is the best kind. I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else, but there’s no doubt that those who work in sports sacrifice friends, family, and a social life in order to live out their dreams.

I love going home to my parents and their two dogs. Buddy (left) and Lilly (right) are Australian Shepherds I could play with all day!

Tuesday night was Opening Day for the prospect driven Arizona Fall League. The following Red Sox minor league farmhands are in the AFL playing for the Surprise Saguaros:

Additionally, Portland Sea Dogs’ hitting coach Dave Joppie is serving as one of the team’s hitting instructors. In the first game of the season, Brentz finished 1-for-4 with a triple while Huntzinger was dealt the loss (2 runs, 4 hits, 2.0 IP). It was 84 degrees at first pitch.

Last year the PawSox very own Arnie Beyeler managed Scottsdale in the AFL where he worked with players such as Alex Hassan,Will MiddlebrooksMike Trout, and Bryce Harper.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Bryce Brentz entered 2012 as the Red Sox No. 5 prospect and seems destined to open 2013 with the PawSox. (Kelly O’Connor)

PawSox Well Represented in All Fenway Park Team

Hard to believe it, but Wednesday night was the Red Sox final home game in 2012.  To conclude the season-long 100th Anniversary Celebration of Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox presented the All Fenway Park Team comprising the greatest 40 Red Sox players, and three managers, in Fenway Park history to appear in their positions of play.

The All Fenway Park Team was voted on by fans, historians, Front Office staff, and the club’s historical and archival consultants. Below are the three teams that make up the 40-man roster along with the three managers of each team.

The names in bold — a total of  19 — represent those who at one point also wore a Pawtucket Red Sox uniform (Johnny Pesky managed the PawSox for part of the 1990 season, while Rico Petrocelli managed Pawtucket in 1992).

Starting Lineup First Reserves Second Reserves
Carlton Fisk – C Jason Varitek – C Rich Gedman– C
Jimmie Foxx – 1B Mo Vaughn – 1B George Scott – 1B
Dustin Pedroia – 2B Bobby Doerr – 2B Jerry Remy – 2B
Wade Boggs – 3B Mike Lowell – 3B Frank Malzone – 3B
Nomar Garciaparra – SS Johnny Pesky – SS Rico Petrocelli – SS
Ted Williams – LF Carl Yastrzemski – LF Jim Rice – LF
Fred Lynn – CF Dom DiMaggio – CF Reggie Smith –CF
Dwight Evans – RF Trot Nixon – RF Tony Conigliaro – RF
Pedro Martinez – RHP Roger Clemens – P Babe Ruth – P
Lefty Grove – LHP Luis Tiant – P Smoky Joe Wood – P
Jonathan Papelbon – Closer Tim Wakefield – P Curt Schilling – P
David Ortiz – DH Dennis Eckersley – P Bill Lee – P
Terry Francona – Manager Dick Radatz – P Jim Lonborg – P
Joe Cronin – Manager Dick Williams – Manager
Pinch Runner/Pinch Hitter
Bernie Carbo – PH*
Dave Roberts – PR

Members of the All Fenway Team prior to Wednesday night’s game against Tampa Bay. (Boston Globe)

PawSox Notebook:

  • Not only was Wednesday night the final home game for the Sox in 2012, it also marked the 8,000th Major League game played at Fenway Park. That figure includes regular season and post-season games for both the Red Sox and Braves.
  • With his home run Wednesday night, Bryce Harper became the second teenager in Major League history to hit 20 homers in a season. Former PawSox and Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro (listed above) hit 24 bombs in 1964 as a 19-year-old.
  • I failed to mention the other day when writing about the Red Sox minor league award winners that Daniel Nava has received the Lou Gorman award.  The award, now in its second year, is given to a minor leaguer who has “demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles,” and was awarded last season to former PawSox pitcher Tommy Hottovy. After not being invited to Major League Spring Training, Nava has played in 82 games with Boston this year where he’s hit .249 with four home runs and 30 runs batted in.
  • According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Washington Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter will be the next manager of the Houston Astros. Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar interviewed for the position — like he did prior to the 2010 season when he lost out to  former Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. Mills, who became Nolan Ryan’s record-setting 3,509th strikeout victim, went 171-274 as Houston’s manager prior to being fired in August.
  • Plans have been drawn up to build the world’s largest Ferris wheel just beyond the fence of one of the country’s most highly regarded minor league ballparks. “At 625 feet, the $230 million New York Wheel will exceed the height of the Singapore Flyer, currently the world’s tallest observation wheel, and will also eclipse the London Eye and a ‘High Roller’ wheel planned for the Las Vegas Strip,” reports silive.com. Expected to carry 4.5 million riders annually, the Wheel will be built just to the north of Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the short-season Staten Island Yankees.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Artist’s conception of the skyscraping attraction destined for the St. George waterfront. (silive.com)

Welcome to Syracuse

It’s a beautiful 82 degree afternoon from Syracuse, New York where tonight the PawSox open up a four-game series with the Chiefs (Washington Nationals).

Yesterday afternoon the PawSox gave up a 9-3 lead and suffered a shocking 10-9 loss in extra innings to the Buffalo Bisons to split the series 1-1. We had about a three hour bus ride from Buffalo to Syracuse and to my surprise, I’m pretty sure I heard someone yell a request from the back of the bus before we left to watch Scooby Doo during our brief trip. He was quickly vetoed, and instead we were able to watch ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on the bus’ satellite TV.

Scooby Doo and company couldn't compete with ESPN. Sorry, Scooby.

Scooby Doo and company couldn't compete with ESPN. Sorry, Scooby.

PawSox Notebook

  • I’m looking forward to watching Ross Ohlendorf make his second start of the year for the PawSox. Today the right-hander was named International League Pitcher of the Week for the period of April 9-15. Ohlendorf fired six scoreless innings in his previous start on April 10 vs. Lehigh Valley and faced just one batter over the minimum.
  • Thanks to his two hits and two RBIs yesterday, Will Middlebrooks is tied for an I.L.-leading 11 RBIs this year and is currently riding a team-best seven-game hitting streak.
  • Over the first 10 games of the year, the Pawtucket bullpen allowed five total earned runs over the span of 30 1/3 innings. Yesterday in Buffalo they allowed seven earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
  • In this four-game series in Syracuse, the PawSox will face arguably the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball: Bryce Harper. The former catcher turned outfielder is hitting .220 with 0-HR and 1-RBI in the first 10 games of his Triple-A career.
  • Chatting with PawSox catcher Ryan Lavarnway at a rest stop last night on our way to Syracuse, I learned that both his sister and his girlfriend are outstanding pastry chefs. His girlfriend, Jamie, has a website called CookingInRedSocks.com that is well worth a look. I have a feeling this discovery will require a blog of its own at some point soon.

Lavarnway somehow lost 20 pounds over the off-season despite being surrounded by great food. (Kelly O'Connor)

First pitch tonight from Alliance Bank Stadium is set for 6:00. Our pre-game coverage begins at 5:45.

Talk with you then,

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

ESPNBoston.com Red Sox Prospects Chat

One down, 143 to go.

I had a terrific time calling last night’s PawSox win with Steve Hyder, but it feels great to get the first broadcast out of the way. As I prepare for game No. 2,  I’ll be taking a break from my pre-game prep for something you very well may want to join.

From noon-1:00 I’ll be talking Red Sox prospects with Grodon Edes on ESPNBoston.com. In what is being called “Red Sox Chat: Minor League Voices,” this event will take the form of an online chat where fans can give their two cents and ask questions. The rest of the “voices” include my great friend and “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs,” Mike Antonellis, the play-by-play broadcaster for the High-A Salem Red Sox, Even Lepler, and Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com

You can CLICK HERE to enter/read the chat. Who knows, if you ask a question and mention the blog, there might be some kind of prize.

PawSox Notebook

  • The PawSox 4-2 win over Buffalo last night marks the club’s 7th consecutive Opening Day win – the longest in franchise history.
  • Ciriaco, who almost broke camp with the Red Sox, has a good chance of seeing Fenway park this year. (Kelly O'Connor)

    Second baseman Pedro Ciriaco had a strong PawSox debut going 4-of-5 with two RBIs. Who cares that only one of his hits left the infield. With his speed, he doesn’t have to hit ‘em quite as deep to reach safely. By the way, he was one of only two International League batters with four hits last night (Matt Carson of Rochester also had four).

  • When Steve interviewed Pedro on the field following the game, I loved it when Ciriaco said “thank you” to the fans. It might not seem like much to the players, but that kind of gesture goes a long way these days.
  • One game into the season and we’ve already seen outstanding defensive plays by the two guys who get hyped the most for their defense: Jose Iglesias and Che-Hsuan Lin. Jose made an outstanding line drive catch on a ball that, off the bat, I would have told you had a 100% chance of landing in left field. Lin, meanwhile, made a catch sliding forward and on his side on a ball that seem destined to be a bloop single in shallow center. These guys will be fun to watch.
  • New Pawtucket right fielder Jason Repko showed nice speed and great hustle when he reached on an RBI infield single in the 5th. I had a chance to interview him at Media Day and really enjoyed our conversation.

Around the International League

  • The new “Empire State Yankees” were almost no-hit last night by Lehigh Valley. If not for a Ray Krumi double in the 7th, it would have been all zeros for the club without a home this season.
  • In his Triple-A debut, arguably baseball’s top-prospect Bryce Harper went 2-of-4 with a double against Rochester.
  • Speaking of the Red Wings, former PawSox first baseman Aaron Bates had a nice Opening Day for the Twins’ Triple-A club, going 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
  • One day into the season and we already have our first rain out (Charlotte and Norfolk), and our first extra inning game (Durham topped Gwinnett 4-3 in a 12-inning, 4:04 contest).

We hit the air tonight at 6:00 with the pre-game show. First pitch in the series finale with Buffalo is set for 6:15.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

2012 International League Prospect Team

We all know that one guy who always seems to know everything about every baseball player.  It doesn’t matter if he’s in Single-A, Triple-A, or the big leagues, this guy’s heard of him. For me, that guy is Michael Damman.  I met Michael in 2010 when I began broadcasting games for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.  He was the ‘Riders Press Box statistician and has now started writing for Seedlings to the Stars.

In his first article, Michael wrote about the top prospects in the International League entering 2012.  Because I like Michael so much (and because I’m swamped proof-reading our 223 page media guide and don’t have time to do a blog entry), I thought you might be interested in who he believes are the most promising IL prospects entering this year.

I’ve put the list below, but you can click here to read Michael’s full article.

Ryan Lavarnway is performing well in Spring Training and has a shot of breaking camp with the big league club. (Kelly O'Connor)

Ryan Lavarnway, Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox)

1B Neftali Soto, Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds)

2B Henry Rodriguez, Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds)

3B Will Middlebrooks, Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox)

SS Tim Beckham, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays)

LF L.J. Hoes, Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles)

CF Starling Marte, Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates)

RF Bryce Harper, Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals)

DH Tyler Moore, Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals)

RHP Julio Teheran, Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta Braves)

LHP Manny Banuelos, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (New York Yankees)

RHP Randall Delgado, Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta Braves)

RHP Dellin Betances, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (New York Yankees)

RHP Chris Archer, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays)

Nice job my Michael – making this kind of list is never easy.  I’m now on page 111 of the media guide … getting close to half-way done.  Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Keith Law’s Top-100 Prospects for 2012

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

(Photo: Dave Letizi/soxprospects.com)

“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)

(Photo: ESPN.com)

“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.

-AG

Hot Stove Party Invitees – Alex Hassan

You’re invited this Friday, January 13th to the 35th Annual Pawtucket Red Sox Hot Stove League Party at McCoy Stadium.  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.  I’ll profile each player on the blog this week leading up to Friday.

Today we start things off with Alex Hassan.

Ht.: 6-3      Wt.: 195      Age: 23     Hometown: Milton, Ma.    Drafted: 20th Rd., 2009

Hassan at the Futures at Fenway Game in 2010 (Kelly O'Connor)

Alex spent all of 2011 with Double-A Portland where he hit .291 over 126 games while clubbing 13 home runs and driving home 64 runs.  His defensive versatility was seen last year by playing all three outfield positions with the vast majority of games coming in left field where he stood in front of the “Maine Monster.”

The former Duke Blue Devil actually appeared in three road games for the PawSox in 2010, all in Scranton/WB.  In other words, there’s a good chance that this Friday will be his first time at McCoy Stadium.

Judging by the numbers, one of the impressive facets of Hassan’s game is his walk to strikeout ratio.  I thought it’d be fun to compare his 2011 Double-A BB/K numbers to those of Josh Reddick’s 2009 season in Portland:

 

Reddick
Games Played: 63     Walks: 30     Strikeouts: 62

(*Expanded to 126 games: 60 BB/124 K)

Hassan
Games Played: 126    Walks: 76     Strikeouts: 79

Of the 13 players in the Double-A Eastern League that hit .290 or above in 2011, only one player drew more walks than Hassan (Matt Rizzotti, Reading, 79).  In fact, his 76 walks were second to only Pawtucket’s Lars Anderson’s 80 in the Rex Sox farm system.

The soon-to-be PawSox spent this fall playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions.  There he played alongside the top two prospects in all of minor league baseball: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

This fall, Hassan actually had better numbers than Trout – the only player of the three to have seen big league action.

Harper
Games: 25     Avg.: 333     HR: 6     RBI: 26    BB: 11     K: 22

Hassan
Games: 25     Avg.: 253     HR: 2     RBI: 7       BB: 15     K: 16

Trout
Games: 25     Avg.: 245     HR: 1     RBI: 5       BB: 15     K: 33

OK, enough with the numbers, we’ll wrap this up with some fun stuff …

  • Originally drafted as right-handed pitcher but wanted to play outfield
  • Played in the Cape League in 2008 for Orleans where he played both positions
  • There he hit nearly .290 and made the Cape League All-Star Team
  • The following spring, he made the All-ACC second team as a junior and was drafted by the Sox
  • Boston eventually determined he had a chance to make a bigger impact at the plate than on the mound.
  • He’s probably smarter than all of us, was a psychology major at Duke.
  • Was also a National Honor Society member in high school
  • Threw a no-hitter in his first high school start as a freshman in 2003 at Boston College High School.
  • As a kid, his parents helped him build a mini-Fenway Park in his backyard complete with a tall plywood Green Monster, a mini Pesky pole in right, and a Citgo sign he dug up at an old gas station.

Without a doubt, Hassan should be fun to talk to this Friday night.  Hope to see you there.

-AG

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