Minor league thread 2023

Heating up in the bullpen

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Hunter Dobbins with a beauty for Greenville tonight. 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 10 K. 86 pitches, 63 for strikes. His 4th game/start of the season; he wasn't activated until May 7 (I can't find out why). 8th round pick out of Texas Tech in 2021. Didn't pitch at TT in 2021 as he injured his UCL in pre-season and underwent TJ surgery. Debuted with Salem in June last year. Has a 3.27 ERA and 1.00 WHIP this season. Not in the Sox Prospects top 60.
(Drive wins 2-1)
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Ceddanne Rafaela 2-5 for Portland tonight with a double and a game tying one-out solo HR in the 9th. He was intentionally walked with runners on second and third in the 11th, and a wild pitch to the next batter ended the game.
Nick Yorke went 2-4 with a BB and HBP.
CF Tyler McDonough threw out the zombie at home in the 11th to keep the game tied.
SeaDogs win 4-3 in 11.
Brian Van Belle started and went 6.1 IP with 2 R (0 ER), 5 H, 2 BB, 9 K; 2.80 ERA for the season.
Chang 0-3 with 2 Ks in his first rehab start.
 

The Gray Eagle

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The Sea Dogs get a walk off win in the first game of a doubleheader, McDonough knocking in Koss (in the 9th inning of a scheduled 7-inning game.)
 

SouthernBoSox

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And a near identical start for Luis Perales: 5.0 IP, 10 punchouts and no walks. Great to see two of our top pitching prospects so dominant
I’d go so far as to say how Drohan, Perales and Wike finish the year will go a long way in determining the strength of the system. If these guys have strong finishes it changes the profile from a top heavy position player heavy 18-22 ranked system to a top 10ish finish.
 

Rovin Romine

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I’d go so far as to say how Drohan, Perales and Wike finish the year will go a long way in determining the strength of the system. If these guys have strong finishes it changes the profile from a top heavy position player heavy 18-22 ranked system to a top 10ish finish.
They really could use one of the AAA starters to get back on track.
 

SouthernBoSox

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They really could use one of the AAA starters to get back on track.
One thing of note and it sounds like an excuse but it’s real….

the catching situation at AAA is beyond horrific right now. They are running out three guys who can barely catch the ball.

There is very little question about its adverse impact with the AAA staff
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Koss has a .619 OPS in 147 PA at Portland this year. (After a .739 there last year in 531 PA.) Didn't so much earn a promotion as they needed to clear space for Mayer. Now he'll have to compete for playing time at short with David Hamilton.

Denlinger is a bullpen arm with a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 IP over 14 appearances at Portland this season. 0.86 WHIP, .149 AVG, .461 OPS. 20 K, 7 BB, 1 HR allowed. 7th round pick in 2021 by the White Sox, came to Boston in the Feb '23 trade for Franklin German. He's a blacksmith in his spare time.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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This goes back to some of the previous discussions, to me. That AA is where you want your prospects to cut their teeth. I can remember days where Pawtucket would sign a 35-year-old career 4A guy, or promote someone from A- just to fill a roster spot, rather than use it for a top-50 prospect. The above moves seem to point to "we need to fill these spots on the roster, and we aren't too concerned about maximizing their development"
 

simplicio

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I liked the blacksmith meme value of the Denlinger pickup, but those are some nice numbers. Any idea if his stuff could actually translate upwards?
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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I liked the blacksmith meme value of the Denlinger pickup, but those are some nice numbers. Any idea if his stuff could actually translate upwards?
FanGraphs had this in a Dec '22 White Sox prospects report, with Denlinger among "Other Prospects of Note: Guys Who Throw Hard" -- "Denlinger has a plus fastball, sitting 94-96 with big movement. His slider looks good on paper but in-person scouts see it as very vulnerable."
Sox Prospects says:
"Physical Description: Large, sturdy frame. Strong with a thick lower half. Filled out, no remaining projection.
Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot, starting on the first base side. Quick, medium-height leg kick. Quick arm action. Effort in delivery.
Fastball: 93-96 mph. Tops out at 97 mph. Pitch shows life up in the zone and the ability to miss bats. Command lags behind control. Also will show a two-seam version and a cutter, both of which he added in 2022. Potential plus-to-better offering.
Slider: 79-82 mph. Long, 11-to-5 break. Inconsistent shape. Does not play as well in games as you would expect given spin rate. Will flash average potential.
Career Notes: Really into ironworking and has a workshop with a forge and anvil at his home. Three-sport athlete in high school. Barely pitched in college in 2017 and 2018 due to a knee injury and then Tommy John surgery. Impressed in the Northwoods League and was a Northwoods League All-Star. Acquired in February 2023 in exchange for the recently designated for assignment Franklin German.
Summation: Potential solid organizational depth reliever with the chance to develop into at least an emergency up-and-down arm. Ceiling of a middle reliever. Fastball is his best pitch and shows promising characteristics, but needs to find consistent command and a secondary pitch."

 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Grant Gambrell with a third straight solid start since his call-up to Portland. 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (earned), 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. The walks and strikeouts are a (small, at this point) red flag -- 8 Ks 0 BBs in his first Portland game, then 4/3 and now 3/4. We know the Sox development team asks pitchers to do particular things to help them grow; the K/BB ratio may be related to that.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Nick Yorke continues to mash for the SeaDogs, 2-4 with a single, triple and walk tonight. He's at .280, .407, .480, .887 OPS for the season, with a 16% BB rate and 28% K rate. His numbers are down a bit in May (.822 OPS) from April (.967 OPS); his BB rate is the same, but his K rate has risen to 30% in May from 25% in April. He's still young for AA, just turning 21 on April 2.
 
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BaseballJones

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Rusney remains the undisputed heavyweight AAAA champion.
I think Rusney would have been a credible MLB player, but not for the money he would have cost them against the luxury tax. So he was a credible MLB player stuck in AAA because of his contract, not talent.
 

TimScribble

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Would be safe to assume that the Sox aren’t interested in his stats at this point, no? I’d be curious to see if he threw like 50% sliders then none after the 3rd inning or something like that.
I agree with this especially after that Athletic article. Still promising to see that many walks and it result in limited runs.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Might be time to start keeping an eye on Brainer Bonaci at Greenville.
He showed up late to spring training due to visa issues, then got hurt and started the season on the IL. Activated April 28, so has had just one month instead of two. He's a shortstop, but with Mayer in Greenville he didn't get many opportunities there -- just 6 games at short. But he can play all over the field, so he also played 14 games at 2B, three at 3B, and even 3 innings in LF.
He's also been tearing the cover off the ball. After a 3-4 tonight with a walk, single, double and homer he's hitting .344, .400, .542, .942 OPS with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 9 walks (8.5%) and 22 strikeouts (23%). He'll turn 21 on July 9.
 

The Gray Eagle

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The Dominican Summer League and Florida Complex Leagues are starting up on Monday.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/06/01/sports/some-young-red-sox-players-keep-an-eye-lower-minors/

There is buzz surrounding Yoeilin Cespedes, a 17-year-old shortstop whom the Red Sox signed out of the Dominican in January for a seven-figure bonus. At 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, he not only has raw power but has regularly juiced balls with surprising regularity in extended spring training games in the Dominican thanks to his ability to zone in on pitches he can drive.
“He definitely stands out offensively,” said Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero. “He’s been one of the better offensive players that we’ve had there in a while.”
Though Cespedes is a bat-first prospect, he has made progress on his defensive first step. But it is his offensive traits — strength, bat speed, approach, advanced feel for the strike zone, ability to handle velocity — that make it conceivable that he could move to the Florida Complex League this summer.
FCS players to watch:
Freili Encarnacion, 3B/SS. He has what one scout described as “absurd tools,” placing 70 grades (double-plus on the 20-80 scouting scale) on both his raw power and throwing arm. But he struck out in 32 percent of his plate appearances last year in the DSL. The 18-year-old has worked to develop a more compact swing with two strikes.
He’s big and strong enough that he doesn’t need his A swing to make hard contact.
“I feel like he gets taller every time I see him,” said Abraham. “It’s hard to not see a young Xander Bogaerts [in stature] when you look at this kid.”
2 catchers to keep an eye on:
Johanfran Garcia, C, and Brooks Brannon, C: In the 18-year-old Garcia and 19-year-old Brannon, the Sox have a pair of players with raw power and a chance to stick behind the plate. Garcia has shown a surprising amount of polish both in his offensive game and technical aptitude. Brannon shows an eagerness to learn behind the dish and lead a pitching staff.
“I think you would be hard-pressed to find another organization that’s much better in terms of an FCL caching duo, based on what I’ve seen,” said Abraham.
Marvin Alcantara, SS: The 18-year-old was a standout last year in the DSL, showing impressive bat-to-ball skills that yielded a .302/.406/.397 line in his pro debut. He has a very high baseball IQ and quick first step to suggest the ability to stick at short.
“He’s the kind of guy you can dream about,” said Abraham. “He’s got a chance to be a really good overall player,” said Romero. “I don’t know if any one tool outside of the defense screams, but he’s just steady, consistent, reliable, and the upside is very compelling.”
Mikey Romero has been out since spring training with a back strain, but could be back by mid-June.

A couple of pitchers to keep tabs on:
Righthanded starter Eybersson Polanco, 19, gets his fastball up to 94-95 and shows the ability to spin the ball.
Righthander Yordanny Monegro, 20, has made a significant jump in stuff and mechanical consistency since a poor performance in the FCL last year, showing a fastball up to 96 with a good changeup.
DSL:
Franklin Arias, SS: A defensively advanced shortstop whom the Sox signed out of Venezuela in January as what Romero described as “a true five-tool player where the defense is plus, the hit tool is going to be possibly above-average. That’s a really valuable player when you combine that with his makeup and his desire to get better.” His strong defensive skills are complemented by game savvy. Offensively, he’s a line-drive hitter with some pop.

Yoiber Ruiz, 2B/SS: A 5-7, 170-pound, dynamic top-of-the-order player who has shown a balanced skill set as a 17-year-old.
“He’s a sparkplug-type player,” said Romero. “He’s a gamer and he hits the ball hard. For being a smaller-frame guy, despite being shorter, he’s still strong. He’s physical. He backspins the ball really well.”

Righthander Obed Balderas, 16, has added roughly 15 pounds of strength since signing out of Mexico, and is now touching 90 while showing the makings of a multi-pitch repertoire.
Bummer news: Bleis is on the IL.
Outfielder Miguel Bleis, 19, suffered a recurrence of the left shoulder strain that had sidelined him in May. He’ll be on the injured list for Salem and likely sent to Fort Myers to rehab.
On the other hand, Wikelman had a great start and Bradley Blalock is back after TJ surgery:
Righthander Wikelman Gonzalez, 21, struck out a career-high 12 with no walks over six innings in his last start for High A Greenville.
Righthander Bradley Blalock, 22, made his return from Tommy John surgery, touching 97 m.p.h. while allowing one hit in four innings for Single A Salem, his first start since 2021.
 

RoDaddy

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Mayer now 0-16 after the promotion. Welcome to AA kid!

Two more hits for Blaze who's now hitting .321 with power. Since Mayer was promoted, seems like Jordan should be any day as well. That would give 14-games-over-.500 Portland an even sicker lineup of Rafaela, Yorke, Lugo, Mayer, Jordan, Kavadas, Meidroth and Rosier!!
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Mayer now 0-16 after the promotion. Welcome to AA kid!

Two more hits for Blaze who's now hitting .321 with power. Since Mayer was promoted, seems like Jordan should be any day as well. That would give 14-games-over-.500 Portland an even sicker lineup of Rafaela, Yorke, Lugo, Mayer, Jordan, Kavadas, Meidroth and Rosier!!
And Hickey