Results tagged ‘ Xander Bogaerts ’

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.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

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

That’s a Touchdown?

Just like in your office, the big topic of conversation this morning around McCoy Stadium centered around Golden Tate’s catch/no-catch/offensive pass interference/blown call/touchdown. One of the best tweets I read following the catch came from Luke Rodgers (@thelukerodgers): “In Golden Tate’s defense how incredible is it to make a no-handed catch?”

It’s a…touchdown? (Timothy Burke via ESPN)

PawSox Notebook:

  • The off-season is off to a fast start in Buffalo where the Bisons recently announced they are the new Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Bisions, who have spent the past four seasons as the Mets’ top affiliate, are essentially swapping parent clubs with Triple-A Las Vegas — the Jays’ top affiliate for the past four years. For Toronto, the affiliation change brings them back to upstate New York where they spent 30 years with Triple-A Syracuse before moving to Sin City. Distance between Las Vegas and Toronto: 2,256 miles. Distance between Buffalo and Toronto: 100 miles.
  • Have questions about Jose Iglesias in 2013? Wonder about the future of Bryce Brentz, Xander Bogaerts, and other top prospects? Ian Browne covers all that and more in his latest Inbox column.
  • In addition to writing about delicious cider donuts yesterday, I also listed the Red Sox minor league award winners. Among them was Single-A third baseman Garin Cecchini who was named the Red Sox Baserunner of the Year after topping all Boston farmhands with 51 stolen bases. Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) of the Providence Journal wrote a nice piece on Cecchini Tuesday morning that is well worth a read.
  • If you’re like me, you love a good hamburger. If that’s the case, you’ve no doubt wondered where in Japan you can get the best hamburger, right? Today is your lucky day because my brother-in-law (and die hard Sox fan), Stephen, is living in Japan for a year and keeping a blog. In his latest entry, “Stephen-san” tells us where to track down Japan’s best hamburger.  You’ll also be shocked to learn how much peanut butter costs.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Cider Donuts & 2012 Red Sox Minor League Awards

The off-season is officially here. With no more bus rides, hotels, and press box dinners until April 2013, this past weekend was the perfect time to re-introduce myself to my wife, Heather.

Our first date of the off-season was on Saturday when we joined some family and went apple orchard hopping. We tasted some of the finest cider donuts, apple cider, and, of course, apples, New England has to offer. I always thought the traffic around Fenway was bad until I saw the line of cars waiting to get inside Honey Pot Hill orchard in Stow, Ma. (just think of the final scene from Field of Dreams).

For as much as we all love baseball, it was a nice change to enjoy a Saturday with family. I’ll never be able to repay Heather for surviving my schedule during the season. She’s endured countless dinners, holidays, and weekends by herself while I’ve been away calling a baseball game.

Look closely and you can see the specks of cinnamon sugar all over my face from a day’s worth of cider donuts.

Transitioning from apple orchards to baseball…In case you missed it, the Red Sox recently announced their 2012 Minor League award winners. All information was provided by the Red Sox media relations department:

Pitcher of the Year: Brandon Workman 

Workman combined to go 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA (54 ER/138.2 IP) and 130 strikeouts in 25 starts between High-A Salem and Double A-Portland. The 24-year-old ranked among organizational minor league leaders in strikeouts (T-2nd) and wins (4th), and among Carolina League leaders in ERA (4th, 3.40), WHIP (2nd, 1.09) and opponent batting average (2nd, .244). He was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for April 23-29 after tossing a 6.0-inning, three-hit shutout in a start on April 27. Workman was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Offensive Player of the Year: Xander Bogaerts

The 19-year-old Bogaerts hit .307 with 37 doubles, three triples, 20 home runs, 81 RBI and 44 walks in 127 games with High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, including a .326 average (30-for-92) in 23 games for the Sea Dogs. He was named Carolina League Player of the Week for July 30-August 5 and was selected as a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star. He also represented the Red Sox organization at the 2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, playing for the World team. After an August 9 promotion to Double-A, Bogaerts hit safely in 19 of 23 games with Portland, including 10 multi-hit contests. Named to Baseball America’s 2012 Minor League All-Star Second-Team, he ranked among organizational minor league leaders in home runs (T-2nd), RBI (3rd) and batting (T-4th). Bogaerts signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in August of 2009.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jackie Bradley

Bradley committed just seven errors in 260 chances for a .973 fielding percentage in 115 games between right field (1 game) and center field (114 games) with High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. He batted .315 (146-for-463) with 42 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 87 walks and 63 RBI in 128 games with Salem and Portland. The 22-year-old hit .359 (84-for-234) with 26 doubles, 34 RBI and 52 walks for Salem before making his Double-A debut on June 21. Bradley was named Topps Player of the Month in the Carolina League for May, batting .382 (34-for-89) with 21 walks to lead all CL hitters. He ranked second in Boston’s minor league system in batting average, was selected as a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star and named to Baseball America’s 2012 Minor League All-Star Second Team. Bradley was selected as the fourth pick by the Red Sox (sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds, 40th overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Base Runner of the Year: Garin Cecchini

The 21-year-old Cecchini led the Red Sox organization with 51 stolen bases for Single-A Greenville, third-most in the South Atlantic League, and was caught stealing just six times for an 89.4 percent success rate. He led qualifying South Atlantic League third basemen with a .944 fielding percentage, committing 14 errors in 251 chances. Named a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star, he ranked among league leaders in doubles (T-3rd, 38) and runs scored (T-4th, 84). Cecchini was selected as the sixth pick by the Red Sox (4th round, 143rd overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: Keivin Heras

Heras was 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA (14 ER/62.0 IP) in 13 starts for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox. Named a DSL All-Star, the 18-year-old held opponents to one earned run or less in nine of his 13 starts. He led the team in wins (tied) and innings pitched.

Latin Program Player of the Year: Manuel Margot 

Margot hit .285 (74-for-260) with 10 doubles, 45 RBI, 36 walks and 33 stolen bases in 68 games for the DSL Red Sox. The 17-year-old ranked third among DSL leaders with 33 stolen bases and was selected as a Dominican Summer League All-Star. He paced the club in hits, RBI, stolen bases, runs (49) and total bases (110).

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Bogaerts did nothing in 2012 to keep scouts and fans from thinking he is one of the most talented prospects entering the 2013 season. (Kelly O’Connor)

Carl Crawford Rehabs with PawSox

Following the three-day All-Star break, the PawSox are back at it tonight versus the Buffalo Bisons from McCoy. Joining them this evening will be Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford who begins a new 20-day rehab assignment.

Crawford rehabbed from June 23-30 with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and continued from July 3-5 with Portland before suffering a left groin strain while running out a triple on July 5 in New Hampshire. Having not played for the past six days, Crawford is eligible to begin a new rehab assignment.

Originally a second-round pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Crawford is yet to suit up for the Red Sox this season after suffering wrist, elbow, and groin injuries. (Kelly O’Connor)

The second-year Boston outfielder went 3-for-14 with five walks in five games for the Gulf Coast Red Sox, and 4-for-10 with a triple, RBI, and two walks in three games for Portland.

PawSox Notebook:

  • Ryan Lavarnway, Pawtucket’s lone mid-season All-Star not in Boston, finished last night’s Triple-A All-Star game 1-for-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of over 18,000 in Buffalo.
  • Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes needed just two pitches to record two outs Sunday evening at the Futures Game in Kansas City.
  • Barnes’ Salem teammate, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, suited up for the World Team and finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts as the designated hitter.
Doug Mathis (6-6, 4.05 ERA) starts tonight for the PawSox and will be opposed by Jeremy Hefner (4-2, 2.50). First pitch is set for 7:05, we hit the air at 6:50 with the pre-game show.

Talk with you then.

-AG

agoldsmith@pawsox.com

 

Red Sox Farmhands Selected to Futures Game

The Red Sox will be represented by two young promising prospects at the 2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game held on July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes (U.S. Team) and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (World Team), both with High-A Salem, have been selected to represent the Red Sox organization at the game. The PawSox will also be represented at the event by manager Arnie Beyeler who has been selected as one of the coaches for the World Team.

“I’m very excited,” Arnie said from the visiting clubhouse in Syracuse today. “I feel honored to be selected. It should be a lot of fun to get to a big league ballpark and spend time with some real talented young players.”

Barnes, 22, was taken by the Red Sox with the 19th overall pick last June out of the University of Connecticut. He began the season with Single-A Greenville where he flat out dominated. He went 2-0 in five starts and compiled a microscopic 0.34 ERA (1 ER/26.2 IP) while walking four and fanning 42. Numbers that resembled a video game more than anything else, he allowed just 12 hits.

Barnes has struck out 95 batters in 72 2/3 professional innings pitched (Kelly O’Connor).

Barnes was then promoted to High-A Salem where in eight starts he’s gone 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (7 ER/46.0 IP) with eight walks and 53 punch outs.  With the Salem Red Sox he’s been paired with the 19-year-old Bogaerts who hit .293 over the first half of the season.

One of only two 19-year-olds in the Carolina League, some argue that Bogaerts should be the Red Sox No. 1 prospect because he may have the highest ceiling. At 6-foot-3, he could wind up being too big for a shortstop, but for now that’s the only defensive position he’s played in his young pro career.

Ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox No. 2 prospect, Bogaerts clubbed 16 homers as an 18-year-old with Single-A Greenville in 2011. (Kelly O’Connor)

For the complete rosters, click here. Current Red Sox players to suit up in the Futures Game include:

  • Josh Beckett
  • Clay Buchholz
  • Aaron Cook
  • Carl Crawford
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Adrian Gonzalez
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Will Middlebrooks

Enjoy the game, and keep an eye out for Arnie who will probably get an inning or two coaching third base.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmth
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

T-Minus 72 Hours

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.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Beckett, Saltalamacchia, & Bogaerts in Same Minor League Game

This will be a quick post, but I wanted to share a few pictures I took from one of the minor league games going on right now at Fenway South.  There’s much more fanfare at this particular game because Josh Beckett and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both started.  As an added bonus for the fans, Xander Bogaerts, arguably the Red Sox top minor league prospect, is at shortstop.

More content coming later this evening.  I hope you enjoy the Red Sox vs. Yankees game at 7:05 ET.  Judging by the number of TV trucks at JetBlue Park, my guess is that it will be on any channel you turn your television to tonight.

-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

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) MiLB.com 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.

-AG

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.

-AG


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