Results tagged ‘ Ryan Lavarnway ’

Where Are They Now; Catching Up On Some 2014 PawSox

by Josh Maurer

As the PawSox get ready to begin their four-game series at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre one day later than expected because of a “snow out” on Thursday night, I thought we would take a look at where some of the members of the 2014 Governors Cup championship team have moved to since the title was clinched last September.

There was a large amount of turnover at the upper levels of the Red Sox minor league system last off-season.  Some of that can be attributed to the normal course of veteran Triple-A players looking for better opportunities with different organizations, but a lot of the turnover came in the form of trades made to provide immediate help to the big league club.

So without further ado – here’s a glimpse at the new surroundings for a good number of 2014 PawSox players.  Let’s start with those who were either traded or claimed off of waivers by a different organization.  These are listed in no particular order.

Alex Hassan: Round Rock Express (Triple-A, Texas Rangers) (waviers)

Alex Hassan

Hassan had quite the eventful off-season.  He was originally claimed off of waivers by Oakland on November 11, 2014.  One month later the Orioles claimed him, but then the As claimed him back at the beginning of spring training.  Finally it was the Rangers who claimed Hassan off of waivers at the end of March.  He is still on their 40-man, but has played the season in Triple A (in 12 games Hassan is batting .233/0/7).

Ryan Lavarnway: Baltimore Orioles (waviers)

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Lavarnway had a similar off-season path to that of Hassan.  He was claimed off waivers three times in December; first by the Dodgers, then by the Cubs and finally by the Orioles where he has found a home.  He made the Baltimore opening-day roster as the back-up catcher and in four games played is 1-for-13.

Carlos Rivero: Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A, Seattle Mariners) (waviers)

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Rivero was claimed by Seattle off waivers in November 2014.  He was waived again a month later, cleared, and signed back with the Mariners on a minor league deal in December.  In 14 games with Tacoma thus far he is is off to a hot start, batting .319/2/8.

Dan Butler: Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals) (trade)

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Butler was traded to Washington in January for LHP Danny Rosenbaum (who is currently on the PawSox DL).  He had been designated for assignment one week earlier, so the Red Sox worked out a deal to get something in return for the popular catcher.  While still on the Nationals 40-man, Butler is back in the IL currently playing with Syracuse (8 games played, .214/0/5).  We should see him in Pawtucket next week.

Drake Britton: Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs) (waviers)

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Britton was claimed off waivers by the Cubs in February, then outrighted to Triple-A Iowa at the end of spring training.  The lefty has appeared in four MiLB games so far and gone 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA.

Rubby De La Rosa: Arizona Diamondbacks (trade)

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Rubby was traded (with Allen Webster) back in November in the deal that brought the Red Sox Wade Miley.  De La Rosa made the starting rotation for Arizona to begin the season, and in three starts has gone 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA (18 IP, 23 H, 13 R).

Allen Webster: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks) (trade)

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Webster was also part of the November deal that brought the Red Sox Wade Miley (with De La Rosa).   Unfortunately, Allen did not make the big league rotation coming out of spring training and then struggled through his first two starts at Triple-A (0-1, 7.0 IP, 17 H, 15 R).  He was recently placed on the Reno disabled list.

Anthony Ranaudo: Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers) (trade)

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Ranaudo, the IL’s Pitcher of the Year last season, was traded to the Rangers in January for lefty reliever Robbie Ross.  The big right-hander did not make the Texas season-opening starting rotation, but he has been called up to make one start for the big league team on April 14th against the Angels.  Unfortunately he gave up six runs in 1.2 innings pitched and was optioned right back to Triple-A.  With Round Rock he has only allowed one run in 10.0 innings over two starts.

Alex Wilson: Detroit Tigers (trade)

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Wilson was included in the Red Sox December deal with Detroit that netted Boston Rick Porcello.  After starting the season in Triple-A Toledo, the righty has just been called up to Detroit.  In four relief appearances with the Mud Hens, Wilson went 1-0 with three saves and did not allow a run in 5.1 innings pitched.

Now let’s look at some other key members of last season’s Governors Cup championship team who left the Red Sox organization as free agents.  Again, no particular order here.

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Corey Brown (right), Justin Henry (center) and Mike McCoy (left) have all moved on from Pawtucket this season

Corey Brown: Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays)

Brown led the PawSox with 17 home runs last season.  He signed as a free agent with the Rays this off-season and has been playing in the IL again with Durham.  In eight games thus far Brown is 5-for-32 with one home run.

Derrik Gibson: Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles)

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Gibson played the final two months of the season last year as a super utilityman for the PawSox.  He signed with the Orioles in the off-season and is playing in Double-A Bowie.  Thus far in 13 games played, Gibson is batting .250/0/5.

Mike McCoy: El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres)

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McCoy was the veritable “swiss army knife” player for the PawSox last season, playing all over the diamond defensively and providing leadership in the clubhouse.  He signed with the Padres in the off-season and is hitting .171 thus far in 11 games with Triple-A El Paso.

John Ely: Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Milwaukee Brewers)

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Ely was a valuable member of the PawSox bullpen in 2014.  He signed as a free agent with Milwaukee in the off-season and has been pitching in Triple-A Colorado Springs as a starting pitcher.  After making two starts and allowing eight runs in 7.2 innings pitched, Ely went on the disabled list.

Ryan Verdugo: Nashville Sounds (Oakland As)

Verdugo helped the PawSox pitching staff as a long reliever and fill-in starter during the final two months of last season.  He signed with Oakland in the off-season and has been pitching in a similar role with Triple-A Nashville thus far in 2015.  In three outings (one start), Verdugo is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA.

Brandon Snyder: Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Independent)

Snyder, a big power-hitting infielder, was injured and played only two months at the beginning of the 2014 season.  He has caught on with Southern Maryland in the Atlantic League.

Rich Hill: Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals)

The Massachusetts native Hill pitched the first three months of last season in the bullpen for the PawSox, then opted out of his contract for a big league deal with the Angels in July.  He has bounced around since, but has landed in the Nationals organization to begin 2015 and is back in the IL pitching for Syracuse.  He has only allowed one earned run in six innings over his first five appearances this season.

Finally, here are some 2014 PawSox players who are no longer active in the game at the beginning of this season.

Justin Henry, Coach (Greenville Drive, Red Sox Single-A)

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Henry was a popular member of the PawSox for the past two seasons.  He has retired from playing and is now a coach in the Red Sox organization at Low-A Greenville.  I am confident he will move up the ladder in the coaching ranks quickly.

Ryan Roberts: not playing

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Roberts was the regular second-baseman for the PawSox for most of last season.  The Tatman was in spring training with the Royals but was released in late March.  He does not appear to have caught on with another organization as yet.

Jose Valdez: not playing

The veteran Valdez was on the mound for many key outs during the Governors Cup playoffs last season, including the final out in the 13th inning of Game 4 in Durham.  From what I can tell, Valdez is not playing in 2015.

Chris Hernandez: not playing

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The southpaw Hernandez pitched for the PawSox in various roles for most of the last three seasons.  He was released by the Red Sox at the end of spring training and does not appear to have caught on with any other organization as yet.

So there you have it.  Pretty interesting to see where these guys have landed, no?

Will Flemming and I will talk to you from PNC Field in Moosic, PA tonight at 6:50 for pregame coverage.  Henry Owens is on the mound for the PawSox with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm. Happy Friday!

Josh M

PawSox Christmas Party (Photos)

On what turned out to be a rainy Saturday in Pawtucket, nearly 1,000 PawSox fans showed up at McCoy Stadium for the annual PawSox Christmas Party.

Those in attendance had a chance to get their picture taken with the Governors’ Cup trophy, donate to Toys for Tots, make Christmas ornaments, and, of course, grab autographs from our three special guests: Ryan Lavarnway, Tony Thomas, and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Here are some photos from the afternoon:

A big thanks to all three players and all our outstanding fans for making this event such a success!

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

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.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

The Governors’ Cup Returns to Rhode Island

After waiting 28 years, PawSox fans have been rewarded. With a 4-1 win over the Charlotte Knights Thursday evening, the Pawtucket Red Sox proved they were the best team in the International League in 2012 and won their first Governors’ Cup in nearly three decades.

Not only was the win over Charlotte the club’s first championship since defeating the now defunct Maine Guides in 1984, it was also the first post-season series sweep in franchise history. You could make a strong argument that the PawSox played some of their best baseball of the entire season during the playoffs. Here’s the proof:

  • Pawtucket finished the post-season with a 6-1 record.
  • The pitching staff combined for a sparkling 2.01 ERA (14 ER/62.2 IP).
  • In the last six games, Pawtucket starters combined to go 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER/39.1 IP).
  • In seven playoff games, PawSox batters combined for 10 home runs, 10 doubles, and three triples.
  • The PawSox outscored the Knights 13-3 in three games.

Here’s what it looked like on the field Thursday night following the final out.

Enough can’t be said about the work of manager Arnie Beyeler. The second-year PawSox skipper constantly dealt with a changing roster that, in total, featured 69 players — one shy of the franchise record.

In two years in Pawtucket, Arnie has won a North Division title and now a Governors’ Cup. From my time spent around Arnie and our 1-on-1 conversations (both on-air and off), I can tell you that he is the perfect example of how hard work pays off.

After more than five months and 150 games, it’s awfully difficult sum up a season and fully appreciate all that happened. Let’s face it, there has been plenty to celebrate in 2012 in addition to a Governors’ Cup championship:

  • Mauro Gomez was named International League MVP.
  • Jose Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway were named post-season All-Stars.
  • We were able to watch Will Middlebrooks crush it for all of April.
  • People in Pawtucket fell in love with Pedro Ciriaco before anyone else.
  • PawSox team president Mike Tamburro was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.
  • Lars Anderson and Jason Repko each made SportsCenters’ Top-10 Plays.
  • The beautiful statue Ben Mondor was unveiled inside Mondor Gardens.
  • Big Leaguers like Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford, and Cody Ross all wore a PawSox jersey.

The remaining members from the PawSox Opening Day roster (left to right): Tony Thomas, Che-Hsuan Lin, Alex Wilson, Will Inman, Alex Hassan, Jason Repko, Nate Spears, Tony Pena, Jr.

The PawSox have a chance to add another highlight to the list with a win Tuesday night in Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game against either Reno or Omaha.

Both on-air and in this blog, it has been a pleasure bringing PawSox baseball to you in 2012. Your loyal readership always gives me a reason to type and constantly reminds me how fortunate I am to be in this position.

Over the years you’ve listened to some of the most talented broadcasters in baseball come through Pawtucket, and living up to the standards they set has been the greatest — and most fulfilling — challenge of my career.

Thank you for making PawSox baseball on the radio part of your summer and for bringing me with you in the car, in your home, and everywhere else in between.

What a way to start my stay in Pawtucket.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Arnie Beyeler, Mike Tamburro, and PawSox general manager Lou Schwechheimer getting drenched during the trophy celebration on the field.

PawSox Win the 2012 I.L. Wildcard

It took 142 games to nail down a post-season berth, but who cares.

Saturday night the PawSox shutout the North Division champion Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 2-0, and in doing so, won the wild card.

PawSox players celebrating on the field after Saturday night’s won over the Yankees. (Jillian Souza)

As Pawtucket heads back to the Governors’ Cup playoffs for the second straight year, here are some facts, figures, and observations about this 2012 PawSox club:

  • 68 players have played for the PawSox this season — 70 is the franchise record set in both 1995 and 2006 (“so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance”).
  • 21 different players have been promoted to Boston this season (not including 10 called-up from injury rehab).
  • Five players in the Boston’s lineup Saturday night had played for Pawtucket in ’12.
  • Three of the Red Sox five pitchers Saturday had spent time with the PawSox this year.
  • The members PawSox six-man Opening Day rotation are currently spread over four different time zones:
      • Justin Germano: traded to the Cubs on July 19
      • Brandon Duckworth: signed with Japan
      • Doug Mathis: also signed with Japan
      • Alex Wilson: now in the PawSox bullpen
      • Aaron Cook: in Boston’s rotation
      • Ross Ohlendorf: opted out of his contract, signed with the Padres
  • Since August 1, the PawSox have received seven players from Double-A Portland currently on the active roster. They had 23 games of Triple-A experience, combined.
  • Pawtucket has won seven of its last eight games. During that time the PawSox…
      • Rotation has gone 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA (11 ER/50.2 IP) with six quality starts
      • Closers have gone 5-for-5 in save situations
      • Are hitting .271 (overall this year, Columbus leads the league batting .269)
  • Somehow I haven’t mentioned yet some of the position players now in Boston:
      • Mauro Gomez: 2012 International League MVP
      • Will Middlebrooks: We knew he wouldn’t last long
      • Ryan Lavarnway: Hit a league-best .405 in June
      • Pedro Ciriaco: The club’s offensive spark plug and played three positions
      • Jose Iglesias: One scout told me, “the best shortstop in all of baseball.”

The PawSox will host Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in the playoffs on September 5 and 6 in a best-of-five series. The two clubs will then travel to Rochester, Ny. to finish the series at Frontier Field.

A Red Sox vs. Yankees post-season will happen after all.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

 

Gomez Named 2012 International League MVP

After an impressive 100 games with the PawSox, the International League announced Tuesday morning that 27-year-old Mauro Gomez is the league’s 2012 Most Valuable Player and a post-season All-Star (designated hitter).

Despite being called-up to Boston four different times, the first baseman/designated hitter ranks among the league leaders in most offensive categories. Gomez hit .310 (T-3rd) with 34 doubles (T-2nd), 24 homers (T-2nd), and 74 runs batted in (4th). He leads the league with a .589 slugging pct. and 59 extra-base hits, and is 3rd in total bases (228).

Signed by the Red Sox as a free agent last February after hitting .304 with 24 home runs and 90 runs batted in for the Gwinnett Braves in 2011, Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut with Boston this May and, in 14 games with the Red Sox, is batting .292 with one homer and six runs batted.

In his two seasons in Triple-A, Gomez has hit .307 with 48 homers, 68 doubles, and 164 RBI. (Kelly O’Connor)

Gomez becomes the seventh player in franchise history to win International League’s Most Valuable Player award and joins shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher Ryan Lavarnway as post-season All-Stars.

This is the first time since 2008 that the PawSox have had a post-season All-Star selection. In 2008, first baseman Jeff Bailey won the MVP, while second baseman Joe Thurston, outfielder Chris Carter, and right-hander Charlie Zink where all post-season All-Stars.

I’m thrilled for Gomez who always seemed to bring a smile — and a big bat — to the ballpark.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Ryan Lavarnway’s 2012 Quotes

Like any top prospect, it was a matter of “when” not “if” for Ryan Lavarnway. The question was answered Wednesday afternoon when it was made official that the PawSox catcher had been called-up to Boston.

Because he left for Boston shortly after Tuesday’s game in Rochester, I never had the chance to talk with Ryan after he received the good news. However, I did have the opportunity to interview him a number of times of the course of the season, and here are some of his most insightful responses to my questions over the last few months.

On being known as more than just a catcher who can hit:

“Catching is something I take a lot of pride in and that I’ve devoted a lot of work to over the last couple of years. Being known as a complete player is something I’ve been striving towards and I think I’m getting really close to people recognizing.

How he reacts to having a game where he hit the ball hard but finished 0-for-4:

“You try to focus on the process, and that’s having a good approach, having good at-bats, and making solid contact. Once it leaves your bat it’s out of your control. The more you try to control things that are out of your control, that just leads to frustration. Controlling the way you react to things is what keeps you successful.”

In his first full season as a catcher, Ryan Lavarnway threw out 32% of opposing base stealers. (Kelly O’Connor)

Perception versus reality: his skills behind the plate:

“I think a lot of time the recognition lags a little bit behind the actual results – which is maybe how it needs to be – but I feel very comfortable behind the plate.”

On his defensive improvements this year:

“My body has gotten used to catching everyday. I feel solid. I feel like my footwork is great, I’m receiving the ball well, throwing the ball well, blocking the ball well, and I’m excited to see where this year goes.”

How he likes catching everyday for the first time in his career:

“I’m loving it. It’s great to feel like I can make a positive impact on the game even if I don’t happen to get a hit that night. Defense doesn’t slump.”

How he has improved as a catcher since Opening Day:

“It’s continuing to working on consistency. Everyday going out there and trying to be that Type-A player. Throwing out runners, blocking balls, installing confidence in [the pitchers] that they can spike a pitch when they need to, and presenting the pitches well the the umpire.”

At the time of his August 1 call-up, Lavarnway was batting .295 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in for the PawSox. (Kelly O’Connor)

Describing his approach during June where he hit a career-best .405 with 18 RBI over 21 games:

“I finally remembered my mindset from last year. It took a little longer to come back than I would’ve liked, but I feel like I have the right aggression level up there now.”

On not seeing many good pitches to hit:

“I know a lot of times these teams aren’t going to want to let me beat them, but I have to at least trick myself into thinking they’re going to throw something that I can hit.”

No one knows if we’ll ever see Ryan Lavarnway at McCoy Stadium again. If he follows in the steps of Will Middlebrooks … we know how that turned out. No matter what the future holds for Lavarnway, he was a special player to not only watch, but also to get to know.

Baseball players, like most athletes, have the reputation of being nothing more than “jocks.” However, in Ryan’s case, there’s no doubt in my mind that if he never discovered baseball, he would have still found tremendous success in another walk of life.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

With almost the same look on his face, the first words Ryan ever said to me were, “have you ever seen the movie ‘American Psyscho?'” He passionately argues that I resemble Christian Bale from the movie, but, unfortunately, not from “Batman.” (Kelly O’Connor)

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