Results tagged ‘ Portland Sea Dogs ’

Getting Closer – Moncada Joins Benintendi in Portland

by Josh Maurer

The Red Sox have one of the top (if not the absolute best) farm systems in baseball currently.  At some of the lower levels of the organization, players like pitcher Anderson Espinoza and third-baseman Rafael Devers have the potential to be big impact players in the years to come.

The two top names among Boston prospects, however, are OF Andrew Benintendi and second-baseman Yoan Moncada.  Each is considered one of the prime “can’t miss” talents in the sport today, and each appears close to reaching Pawtucket.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Benintendi was promoted to Double-A Portland last month, while Moncada joined him earlier this week.  Yoan’s Double-A debut was a strong one on Tuesday night, as he went 1-for-5 with an RBI and several standout defensive plays.

Here is the audio of Moncada’s first press conference in Portland, held just hours before he made his debut with the club yesterday:

Benintendi, meanwhile, has turned up the offense after struggling at the outset of his Sea Dogs tenure.  Over his last 10 games, he is 15-for-41 (.366) with 3 HR, 11 RBI, and 5 doubles.

It will be very fun and interesting to follow those two prized prospects in Portland over the weeks (and possibly months) to come.  It would not be a stretch to think that each could potentially see time with the PawSox before the 2016 season comes to an end.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Meanwhile, Pawtucket had a five-game winning streak snapped in game two of a doubleheader against Syracuse on Tuesday night in dropping a close 3-2 decision.  In the opener, lefty Henry Owens came within two outs of a seven-inning no-hitter before allowing a single to the Chiefs’ cleanup batter Matt Skole.

Henry Owens throws pitch w.crazy face

Instead, Owens settled for a complete-game one-hitter in which he struck out five and walked three batters. You can see the highlights from his dominant performance below.

On Thursday night, our friends at NESN will televise the finale of the five-game series against the Chiefs following a day game for the Red Sox at Fenway.  Will and I will be providing the TV play-by-play on a simulcast with the radio broadcast.  We are each looking forward to it!

Overall, the PawSox have won 14 of their last 21 games (dating back to May 31st). They have continued to excel with terrific pitching and solid defense. On Wednesday, Aaron Wilkerson looks to continue his Triple-A dominance as he takes the mound against a struggling Syracuse lineup.

Aaron Wilkerson pitch

First pitch on Wednesday is slated for 7:05 pm on another beautiful evening at McCoy. We hope to see you at the park. If not, Will and I look forward to speaking to you on the radio!

Josh M

No Rest for Red Sox Farmhands

After hours of rain postponed game one of the current series from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., the PawSox and ‘Pigs split yesterday’s double-header, with each team winning a one-run affair.

In total, the two teams combined for 22 runs on 45 hits over two games, spanning 14 innings (5 hours, 8 minutes). It could have been worse, the High-A Salem Red Sox dropped both games of their twin-bill last night against Myrtle Beach (Rangers) and played a total of 16 innings (5 hours, 29 minutes).

Even Double-A Portland played a pair yesterday, winning the first and dropping the second against Altoona (Pirates). After a long Saturday at the ballpark, the top-three levels of the Red Sox farm system combined for the following totals:


Games: 6

Innings: 44 innings

Time: 15 hours, 13 minutes

Won-Lost: 2-4

Home runs: 5

Doubles: 15

Hits: 60

Runs: 24

Of course, the odd-man left out is the Single-A Greenville Drive who got to bed early after topping Charleston 10-4 in a brisk 2 hours, 25 minutes (9 innings).

Hopefully it will be a shorter day at the yard for the PawSox, Sea Dogs and Red Sox. The PawSox and IronPigs wrestle this afternoon at 1:35 with Doug Mathis (3-3, 4.86 ERA) getting the start.

Talk with you then.



Lars Anderson Homer on SportsCenter Top 10

In the 70 year history of McCoy Stadium, no batter has ever hit the video board in right-center field with a home run.

Until last night.

Even if the video board hasn’t been there since 1942, history was still made last night in the fourth inning. That’s when PawSox first baseman/left fielder Lars Anderson unloaded on a pitch that smacked off the two-year old HD board which now needs some new parts.

It was such a blast, ESPN SportsCenter ranked it among last night’s Top 10 Plays.

“Makes me feel good, man,”  said Anderson in a post-game interview. “[Pedro] Ciriaco and I have a competition of who has the most Top 10 Plays, so that’d be awesome if I could have that as a step up on him.”

Photo taken of the video board at McCoy Stadium seconds after Anderson’s blast. (Jillian Souza)

Lost in the hype surrounding his home run is the fact that Anderson tied a career-high with five runs batted in. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the first, connected on a two-run single in the second, and then the 2-run homer in the fourth (he later struck out and grounded out).

It’s the third, five-RBI game of Anderson’s career, his first since April 26, 2009 with Double-A Portland.

Last night’s performance comes on the heels of Anderson’s two-homer night against Toledo on Sunday, May 27. It marked his third-career game with a pair of home runs, his first since May 16, 2009 with the Sea Dogs.

In related long ball news, the PawSox have homered 12 times over their last four games and now lead the International League with 57 bombs – the 5th-highest total in the minor leagues. The High Desert Mavericks, in the hitter-friendly California League, are  pacing everyone with 77 round-trippers.

Congrats to Lars. Now we just need to see Ciriaco hit one a foot higher.



Anderson has hit three of his six home runs this season over his last three games. He hit a career-high 18 homers in 2008 between Lancaster and Portland. (Kelly O’Connor)

Goodbye, Ft. Myers

My first Spring Training was a blast.  I saw nine different games, met some terrific people, and learned a lot. I’m timing things right because this morning it’s raining for the first time all week.

Yesterday I went to the PawSox game at the Twins’ facility with my friend Mike Antonellis, the “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs.” Here are some pics from yesterday’s game.

Former PawSox and Red Sox player, Aaron Bates. Now with the Twins, Aaron was the first player I ever covered to get called up to the big leagues.

Aaron talking with Mike after the game.

Red Sox outfield prospect Alex Hassan playing in his first minor league game since being sent down from big league camp.

Billy Buckner, no relation to Bill Buckner, pitched yesterday for the PawSox. The 28-year-old has appeared in 36 major league games (21 starts) since 2007 with Kansas City and Arizona.

Jeremy Kehrt appeared in seven games (two starts) for the PawSox last year.  The righty pitched for Scottsdale in the prospect-driven Arizona Fall League this past off-season.

The PawSox fell to Rochester 6-2 yesterday with Kehrt getting the start, pitching two innings, and suffering the loss. Both of Pawtucket’s runs came on RBI groundouts in the fifth inning. The only real offensive highlight was a sixth-inning triple by J.C. Linares to right-center. The ground shook when he slid into third base.

This will do it for me from beautiful Ft. Myers.  Today is a camp day for the PawSox (no games), but tomorrow they’ll host Rochester at 1:00 p.m. EST. My broadcast partner Steve Hyder will be down here for a week starting  tomorrow and will have lots of coverage on his blog which can be read here.

Thanks for your terrific readership this week – it’s been a privilege writing for you each day. I’m sure Spring Training 2013 will be even better, but before then, I’m counting down the 11 days until Opening Day 2012 on April 5th at McCoy Stadium.

Hope to see you there.



PawSox Fan of the Week

If this beacon of health enters, he will automatically win (

The thing I love most about working in the Red Sox farm system is the fans.  There’s a good chance that you love your minor league teams more than any other fans out there.  I experienced this firsthand during the 2009 season when I worked for the Portland Sea Dogs and we had fans in the ballpark for all nine innings during those cold, rainy April nights.

I’ve been told that fans here in Rhode Island are just as passionate as those in Maine and I’m wanting to see it first hand.  That’s why we’ve created a new contest where we’re seeking out the PawSox Fan of the Week.

It’s pretty simple: send me a picture showing why you are the biggest PawSox fan out there.  We launched this contest yesterday and I’ve already received about 15 emails.  While some of the pictures are good, none have blown me away.  Although pictures of you, the fan, from  McCoy Stadium cheering on the PawSox are nice, what I’m really looking for is a picture taken specifically for this contest.  Deck yourself out in all your PawSox gear.  Dress your brother and sister up like Paws and Sox.  Build a replica McCoy Stadium in your backyard (too much?).  Bottom line, do something over the top.

If Matt Damon enters, he'll also automatically win (Man Crush).

What will you win if selected?  The winner receives four tickets to the PawSox double-header on April 7. Plus you’ll be entered to win the GRAND PRIZE of 4 tickets to an upcoming 2012 Red Sox game at Fenway Park with a limo ride to and from the game!  Of course, you’ll also get your picture posted to our Facebook wall.

Email your (over the top) picture to me at with the headline “PawSox Fan of the Week.”  Tell me you heard about the contest from this blog and you’ll get extra credit points.

The winner will be announced Friday afternoon.

Don’t let me down.


State of the (Red Sox) Farm System

In light of last night’s State of the Union Address, I thought it might be good timing to examine the State of the (Red Sox) Farm System.  And don’t worry, much to the displeasure of my office-mate, Rick Medeiros, there will be no further talk of politics.

I was an avid follower of the Red Sox farm system in 2009 when I was the No. 2 broadcaster with the Portland Sea Dogs (best summer of my life).  For the last two years I’ve done my best to check up on things while I was broadcasting games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A, Texas Rangers).  I’ll share with you some of my findings over the last month on how the “experts” believe the Sox system looks heading into 2012.

Tejada played in 123 games last year for Portland, hitting .249 with five HRs and 41 RBIs (Kelly O'Connor)

1) recently ranked the Top-10 prospects at each position (LHP, RHP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF).  Of these eight positions, the Sox had a Top-10 prospect in the following four:

  • Second Base: Oscar Tejada, ranked 4th
  • Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway, ranked 8th
  • Third Base: Will Middlebrooks, ranked 6th
  • Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, ranked 10th
Four other teams had four prospects ranked within the Top-10 at any given position (CHC, PIT, SD, STL).  Only one team, Seattle, had five prospects ranked within the Top-10.  Of the 30 major league clubs, two were not represented by any Top-10 prospects: Chicago (AL) and Los Angeles (NL).

2) Former Bill James research assistant and current SB Nation minor league guru John Sickels ranked the Sox farm system as the 11th best among the 30 major league teams.

“Large group of B- types who can improve. Hitting stronger than pitching at this point.”
According to Sickels’ rankings, Toronto has the top system, followed by San Diego and then Texas. Milwaukee, Miami, and Chicago (AL) round out the bottom three.

3) Who is the Red Sox No. 1 overall prospect entering 2012?  Well, pretty much everyone agrees.

  • Baseball America: 3B, Will Middlebrooks

    Middlebrooks figures to spend much of 2012 in Pawtucket (Kelly O'Connor)

“Middlebrooks could use a full 2012 season in Triple-A, after which the Red Sox will face an interesting decision.  They hold a $12 million option for 2013 on Kevin Youkilis … Middlebrooks figures to push Youkilis to DH or out of town at that point, and has the tools to blossom into an all-star.”
“Middlebrooks is the top prospect [in the system], but could be the furthest away. Look for the 23-year-old third baseman to get the call to the big club in August or September, but any injury to Kevin Youkilis could require an earlier promotion for the third baseman. “
“The 2007 draftee started to turn some of his strong tools into performance in the Carolina League in 2010, setting highs in average, slugging percentage, doubles, homers and RBIs. There’s more power to come and with his good glove; he has the chance to be a prototypical all-around third baseman.  “
“Bogaerts is seemingly on the track for stardom.  He still has to prove he can hit at the upper levels, and he may not stay at shortstop, but the scouts agree on one thing: Xander Bogaerts has the highest ceiling in the Red Sox system.”

According to SoxProspects, “the key story to watch in 2012 may be how Bogaerts fares against more advanced pitching, especially pitchers with refined off-speed offerings. Fans may also want to keep an eye on him in the early spring, to see how much he’s physically matured during the offseason. If he continues to grow, he could end up moving to third base or right field down the line.”

Red Sox fans will enjoy plenty of interesting minor league story lines throughout 2012 thanks to some promising young players.  Some will be seen on a nightly basis here at McCoy Stadium, others at Hadlock Field in Portland, and many more at the lower levels.

There’s no doubt Boston has invested heavily.  According to Baseball America, “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.”

As a result, on paper there’s a good group of minor league talent  in the system – especially offensively. Now it’s up to the coaches and the work ethic of these young teenagers and twenty-somethings to truly develop.


PawSox 2012 Coaching Staff

Over the weekend the Boston Red Sox formally announced their 2012 minor league coaching staff.  The Sox have added three new individuals for assignment in the 2012 field staff alignment, most notably Gerald Perry as the hitting coach here in Pawtucket.

In a situation that resembles Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine switching offices, Perry is part of an identical exchange with Chili Davis.  

Perry, the Oakland A’s hitting coach in 2011, was not resigned at the end of the season and was thus on the open market.  Who did Oakland replace him with?  2011 PawSox hitting coach, Chili Davis.  Who replaces Davis in Pawtucket?  Gerald Perry, of course.

And around and around we go.

The new job for Davis reunites him with former San Francisco Giants teammate, and current Oakland manager, Bob Melvin.   A three-time All-Star, Davis had a career batting average of .274, while belting 350 home runs and batted in 1,372 runs.  Despite a 19-year major league career, the Jamaican-born 52-year-old is relatively inexperienced as a coach:

2003-04: Australian National Team Hitting Coach
2010: Dodgers’ Instructional League Hitting Coach
2011: PawSox Hitting Coach

Perry is a familiar face around McCoy Stadium, previously spending four seasons in the Boston organization as a minor league hitting coach with Single-A Michigan (1997) and Pawtucket (1998 and 2010), and was the club’s minor league hitting coordinator in 1999.


Perry enters his 29th season in professional baseball after being selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 11th Round of the 1978 draft.  A 13-year major leaguer and 1988 National League All-Star, Perry’s career was spent predominately at first base.  The video above is Perry with our very own Steve Hyder at Media Day in 2010.  Below is the complete minor league field staff list for this upcoming season.  -AG

Pawtucket (Triple-A, International League)
Manager: Arnie Beyeler
Pitching Coach: Rich Sauveur
Hitting Coach:
Gerald Perry
Athletic Trainer: Jon Jochim

Portland (Double-A, Eastern League)
Kevin Boles
Pitching Coach:
Bob Kipper
Hitting Coach:
Dave Joppie
Athletic Trainer:
Brandon Henry – Begins his first year with Portland after spending the last two seasons as athletic trainer for Salem. He enters his sixth season with the organization having also served as athletic trainer for Greenville (2009) and Lowell (2008-07).

Salem (High-A, Carolina League)
Billy McMillon – Will serve as Salem’s manager after skippering at Greenville from 2010-11. He led the Drive to the South Atlantic League Championship Series in his 2010 managerial debut.
Pitching Coach: Kevin Walker
Hitting Coach:
Rich Gedman – Joins Salem after serving last season as hitting coach for Lowell in his first coaching position in affiliated ball.
Athletic Trainer: David Herrera – Moves to Salem from Greenville, where he was the Drive’s athletic trainer from 2010-11. He also held that position for Lowell (2009) and the GCL Red Sox (2008).

Greenville (Single-A, South Atlantic League)
Carlos Febles – Moves to Greenville after making his managerial debut with Lowell in 2011. He was Salem’s hitting coach from 2009-10 and held the same role for Single-A Lancaster in 2008.
Pitching Coach: Dick Such
Hitting Coach:
Darren Fenster – Joins Greenville in his affiliated coaching debut after spending six seasons on the Rutgers University baseball staff, including three as an assistant coach (2009-11). He also served as an assistant coach for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Orleans Cardinals in 2008. Selected by Kansas City in the 12th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, Fenster spent five seasons in the Royals minor league system and was named a Carolina League All-Star in 2002 and 2004.
Athletic Trainer: Mauricio Elizondo  Enters his fifth season in the Red Sox organization and his first as athletic trainer with Greenville. He previously served as athletic trainer for Lowell (2010-11) after joining the system as an intern with the GCL Red Sox (2008-09).

Lowell (Short-A, New York-Penn League)
Manager: Bruce Crabbe – Returns to Lowell after serving as Salem’s manager in 2011. This will be his third season at the helm of the Spinners (also 2006 and 2010).
Pitching Coach: Paul Abbott
Hitting Coach: Nelson Paulino – Joins Lowell as hitting coach after serving in the same capacity for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox over five seasons from 2001-02 and 2008-11.
Athletic Trainer: TBA

Gulf Coast (Rookie, Gulf Coast League)
George Lombard
Pitching Coach:
Goose Gregson
Pitching Coach:
Walter Miranda
Dave Tomlin
Hitting Coach:
U.L. Washington
Noah Hall – Makes his coaching debut after playing parts of 13 seasons as an outfielder in affiliated minor league baseball from 1996-2009. He also played parts of five seasons in independent leagues (2001, 2007 and 2009-11).


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