March 31, 2015

Baseball America: Boston Has MLB's #2 Farm System

Baseball America ranks the organizational talent of all 30 major league teams.

The top five farms: Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Twins, and Mets. ... The Yankees rank #18.
2. Boston Red Sox
2014 Rank: #2
2013 Rank: #6

 1. Yoan Moncada, 2B
 2. Blake Swihart, C (17)
 3. Henry Owens, LHP (44)
 4. Rusney Castillo, OF (21)
 5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (59)
 6. Brian Johnson, LHP (82)
 7. Rafael Devers, 3B (99)
 8. Manuel Margot, OF (72)
 9. Matt Barnes, RHP
10. Deven Marrero, SS
How They Got Here: An aggressive spender under the old draft rules, Boston has attacked the Cuban market aggressively, spending more than $130 million on Yoan Moncada and Rusney Castillo in bonuses, guaranteed major league contracts and international bonus pool penalties. Their top lefthanded starters all had success in Double-A or higher in 2014.

High-Ceiling Sleeper: Hard-throwing RHP Michael Kopech has one of the fastest and liveliest arms of any 2014 draft pick. He has a somewhat unconventional delivery for a starter, but the Red Sox will let him take his time to develop.

2015 Rookies: Castillo will challenge 2014 rookies Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley for a spot in Boston’s crowded outfield. Matt Barnes could ease into a relief role. Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez all could pitch their way to Boston in 2015.
Note: Moncada signed with the Red Sox after BA had compiled its Top 100 list.

March 30, 2015

Buchholz To Start Opening Day; Vazquez Put On 60-Day DL; Mookie!

Clay Buchholz will start on Opening Day, next Monday afternoon, in Philadelphia.

Christian Vazquez was placed on the 60-DL with a sprained right elbow. The Red Sox immediately added to their catching depth by trading for Sandy Leon of the Nationals.

Koji Uehara (hamstring) has not pitched since March 14 and will likely not be on the Opening Day roster. Edward Mujica will be the closer.

Mookie Betts continues to tear it up. In 14 games, Betts is hitting .452/.477/.857 for a 1.334 OPS. He leads the Grapefruit League with 11 extra-base hits, is second with 36 total bases, and is tied for second with 19 hits.

March 26, 2015

David Ortiz: On The Record

David Ortiz:
In some people's minds, I will always be considered a cheater. And that's bullshit. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I've been tested since 2004? More than 80. They say these tests are random. If it's really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It's no joke. Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will. ...

In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, "You're from the Dominican. You're older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don't you think you're a prime suspect?"

He's saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I'm like, I'm Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?

I wanted to kill this guy.

March 23, 2015

Everyone Loves A Contest #17

With Opening Day (April 6) only two weeks away, it's time for this year's Red Sox W-L Contest!

Correctly guess Boston's 2015 regular season record and win a copy of Peter Golenbock's Red Sox Nation: The Rich And Colorful History Of The Boston Red Sox.

Older readers may remember Golenbock's Fenway: An Unexpurgated History Of The Boston Red Sox from the early '90s. This new book, which will be published next month by Triumph*, updates the team's history through the 2013 World Championship season.

* FYI: Triumph published another cool Red Sox book last spring.

Contest entries must be emailed to me and include the following two items:

1. Predicted 2015 W-L record
2. Tiebreaker: Mookie Betts's OPS (OBP+SLG)

W-L guesses must be exact. Tiebreaker winner will be the closest guess, either over or under.

Deadline: Sunday, April 5, 11:59 PM.

March 22, 2015

Friday: Angels Hit Four Triples In One Inning

On Friday, the Angels hit four triples in the third inning against Cleveland. Erick Aybar, CJ Cron, Johnny Giavotella and Collin Cowgill hit the three-baggers.

According to The Baseball Almanac:
On September 15, 1901, Chicago hit five triples against Milwaukee in the eighth inning which is the most ever hit in a single inning by one team.

On May 6, 1934, Boston hit four consecutive triples [Carl Reynolds, Moose Solters, Rick Ferrell, and Bucky Walters] against Detroit in the fourth inning which is the most ever hit consecutively in a single inning.
The Red Sox scored 12 times in that fourth inning and beat the Tigers 14-4.

March 20, 2015

Pedro > Koufax

March 16, 2015

Something You Must Do Today

Actually, do it now, because if you put it off until later, you might forget.

Subscribe to Alex Speier's "108 Stitches".

It's like Peter Gammons's classic Sunday Notes columns, but all about the Red Sox and written every single day. Get it delivered to your inbox and you won't have to worry about going to the Globe and then accidentally clicking on a Cafardo or CHB link.

March 15, 2015

Napoli Dreams Big

Mike Napoli cranked two home runs yesterday and is 7-for-15 this spring.

He also described two vivid dreams he had recently:
I was roller skating with old school roller skates, headband, jean shorts, tank-top, old school earphones with the cassette player, skating through a city. Like dancing skating. Through cars, busses going by. I went by the Ritz and an NBA basketball team was checking into the hotel. Then all of a sudden I ended up being in a mall, skating around the mall, just dancing around and going around and around the mall.

March 11, 2015

ST: Red Sox 10, Yankees 6

It doesn't count ... but it counts!
Red Sox - 001 400 230 -10 18  1
Yankees - 002 100 102 - 6  8  2
Mookie Betts (3-for-4, 2B), Travis Shaw (2B, HR, 3 RBI) and Garin Cecchini (2-for-5, 3 RBI) led the way.

John Farrell on Betts:
He works deep counts, he gets on base, the bat speed is there. He's obviously got the ability to drive the baseball. He's an exciting player and seemingly has picked up where he left off last year.

March 8, 2015

Linescores From Astros' Split-Squads

Two interesting linescores from Houston's split-squad games on Sunday:
Atlanta - 100 000 010 0 - 2  7  0
Astros  - 000 000 200 0 - 2  0  0
Atlanta used nine pitchers in completing the no-hitter. How did Houston score twice? They began the inning with two walks and a HBP. Two groundouts brought home the runs.
Astros - 210 322 121 - 14 20  1
Tigers - 202 220 010 -  9 13  0
The Astros left the bases loaded in the third inning. So close ...

March 3, 2015

Baseball Today!

The Red Sox play their traditional spring college doubleheader today.

Clay Buchholz will start in the first game against Northeastern, with Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez following him. Wade Miley will start against Boston College at night; Steven Wright, Craig Breslow, and Brandon Workman are also expected to pitch.

Boston's Grapefruit League opener is Thursday against the Twins, with Joe Kelly getting the ball.

March 2, 2015

And Then We Came To (Almost, Sort Of) The End

My relationship with the Red Sox has changed dramatically over the course of writing this blog. Back in mid-2003, I was obsessed with the team. Now, after three championships over a ten-year period, my attachment has decreased significantly.

These days, I glance at stories online (mostly ESPNBoston, WEEI, Over The Monster, and, but I no longer feel the need to be in the know about everything every day. And because of that, I don't feel like I have anything worthwhile to say about the team.

This disengagement has been helped along by two last-place finishes in the past three seasons. (Of course, the Red Sox won the World Series in the middle year, but I was somewhat distracted during that time because of Don't Let Us Win Tonight.)

In 2012 and 2014, I lost interest in following the Red Sox in the second half of each season. The teams were horrible, and listening to Don and Jerry was like hearing nails on a blackboard. (I have my issues with the radio guys, as well.) I asked myself if I really wanted to devote three hours of every evening watching my favourite baseball team lose. The answer was a resounding No - a wise choice, I think, in the long run.

I don't know what will happen in this space once the season begins. Other things, such as researching a new book, feel more important to me. I've always said I'd keep writing The Joy of Sox until it felt like a job, and then I'd stop. But after all these years, it doesn't seem right to simply stop cold. So the blog will remain, but I truly don't know in what form. (Naturally, I reserve the right to completely change my mind and post 2-3 times a day.)