Loving Lowell

Home of the Lowell Spinners LeLacheur ParkOn Saturday night I went to check out the Sox’ Short Season A affiliate Lowell Spinners as they faced the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the Oriole system.  I lucked out as it was an absolutely beautiful night for baseball and the threatened rain held off so that we stayed blissfully dry.

High draft picks Andrew Benintendi (1st round OF) and Austin Rei (3rd C) were rumored to be in town but had not yet signed so I did not see them.  The Spinners do not really have a lot of future stars but a few intriguing guys I thought I would mention. Continue reading

Looking Ahead – The Free Agent Market

Big free agents are always on the Sox' radar (RLRS Photo).

Big free agents are always on the Sox’ radar (RLRS Photo).

Tim Dierkes of the most excellent MLB Trade Rumors has taken a pass at the top ten free agents available this winter.  The Red Sox have become a bit reticent at going for the hyper-money guys since the Carl Crawford disaster but may be looking to make a splash after what is shaping up as a poor season.

Let’s look quickly at the 2016 Sox as they currently are constructed;

CF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
LF Hanley Ramirez
SS Xander Bogaerts
1B UNKNOWN
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Rusney Castillo/Jackie Bradley
C Blake Swihart
SP: Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Wade Miley, UNKNOWN (Brian Johnson?)

Obviously that is not set in stone but given contractual obligations I think is likely to be close.  I think the Sox pretty obviously will target a first baseman (no one in the system is ready yet) and I would not be shocked if an outfielder were on the list depending on the development of Castillo and/or Bradley.

The pitching will likely be a place the Sox are eager to look but whether a top free agent is a target I think is a fair question.  If they were unwilling/unable to land a Jon Lester or Max Scherzer I find it hard to believe that a top pitcher is coming this winter.

With that in mind here are Dierkes’ list of the top ten FAs this winter and my thoughts Continue reading

Lining Up The Minors

I have not looked at the minors lately.  Why would I? If I want to see below-MLB caliber baseball I just turn on NESN at 7:10 every night!

Hiyooooo!!!

Anyway, why don’t we check around the minors?

The last name of Travis seems to be the way to go as a first base prospect (RLRS Photo).

The last name of Travis seems to be the way to go as a first base prospect (RLRS Photo).

1B – Sam Travis – Salem – 21.9 – .306/.370/.455 – #16 Sox Prospects

The slugger is making his first full pro season count at a position that the Sox lack much talent.  There is little in the way of red flags so far; his K/BB rate is decent, he is young for his league and he is improving as the season goes on suggesting that rather than teams figuring him out he is figuring them out.

There seems to be a lot of talk that Travis might be headed to Portland sooner than later.  He is young so the Sox need not rush him.

2B – Mauricio Dubon – Greenville – 20.11 – .304/.359/.432 – #18

A 26th round pick in 2013 Dubon is making his way steadily through the system.  He has added a power component to his game in 2015 that was not there a year ago and after being just 7 for 15 in steal attempts last year is an impressive 18 out of 21 in 2015.

Low minors second basemen always give me pause, they never pan out.  Just look at Mookie Betts Lowell’s primary second baseman in 2012!  Still, that is a bit of a concern for me but Dubon seems to be a name I read with enthisiasm regularly.

This is the part of the game that remains a work in progress (RLRS Photo)

This is the part of the game that remains a work in progress (RLRS Photo)

3B – Rafael Devers – Greenville – 18.8 – .306/.336/.443 – #4

If you want to see Devers swing the nice people at Baseball America have a little something for you.  That is a great power hitter’s swing, lots of torque in the mid-section and real lift with the bat.

He looks in the video like he’s slimmed down from the spring as well which is good news.  He was not fat but he was not exactly looking trim and both last year and this I have felt that he was a guy who might battle the bulge as he ages.

SS – Javier Guerra – Greenville – 19.10 – .270/.329/.476 – #12

Like Dubon, Guerra is a player I am not as familiar with as I would like to be.  He is steadily on the rise and is featuring a power jump with 7 homers this year compared to 2 last year in an almost identical number of PA.

In a good/bad scenario his K/BB rate has improved this year but that is largely due to it being so bad last year that it almost had to.  Middle infielders with pop cannot be dismissed too easily though as even if they cannot stay in the middle of the diamond they typically have some wiggle room.

outfielders and pitchers up next… Continue reading

Source: Red Sox Play Baseball Game, Win Baseball Game. Seriously.

He had a very nice day on Tuesday (RLRS Photo).

He had a very nice day on Tuesday (RLRS Photo).

So by now you know that Brock Holt has usurped John Valentin as the most recent member of the Carmine Hose to hit for the cycle.  According to Baseball Reference had Mookie Betts homered in the 8th the Sox would have become the first team to ever have two players hit for the cycle in the same game.

At this point Valentin wants you to remember that Holt has never turned an unassisted triple play.

Holt was genuinely impressive as he has been much of 2015.  I still do not believe he is someone who should be playing every day but he is a solid player.  It was impressive to see him drive a ball out of the ballpark going to the opposite field.  That is something I would not have expected him to do.

With a .375 BABIP coming into today’s game (a number that will go up) I think it still is worth being cautious with overreacting.  With that said FanGraphs shows Holt making a lot of solid contact so his BABIP should be good.  Only David Ortiz has a lower percentage of softly hit balls according to FG and Holt does not strike out a lot.  He seems to be using his skills well.

As convinced as I am that I right and that Holt should not be an every day player I think back to a good friend.  He is a big football fan and when Drew Bledsoe got hurt in 2001 he told me with the same certainty I talk about Holt “the only good thing about this is watching Tom Brady for a few weeks will make those mouth breathers on WEEI appreciate Bledsoe.  Brady could not even beat out Drew Henson at Michigan.”

So I am willing to concede I may not be as right as I think I am.

some other thoughts on a rare fun day of baseball… Continue reading