Yoan Moncada Should Be Untouchable at Trade Deadline

Red Sox top minor league prospect, second basemen Yoan Moncada, is the one prospect that should be untouchable. Moncada, 21 years old, has shown great potential and will only get better. Elite offense at second base is very hard to come by and dealing Moncada would be a major mistake. He is also the ideal candidate to replace Dustin Pedroia at second base when Pedroia retires.

When people think of elite offense production, the outfield spots and the corner infieldYoan Moncada spots are what comes to mind. When a team gets offense from the shortstop, second base and catching position, that is seen as a luxury. Pedroia has given the Sox that luxury as a career .299 hitter to go along with his four time gold glove defense. With Pedroia signed through the 2021 season, some may question how Moncada will wait in the minor leagues that long. Moncada would be 25 years old if that were the case. Him waiting in the minor leagues that long will not happen and should not happen. So where does he fit in the makeup of the Red Sox? There are two likely scenarios I see for Moncada in a Sox uniform. One of those is to trade away Travis Shaw and stick Moncada at third base until Pedroia’s contract ends. Another option is to trade away Pedroia if his production goes down.

What Is Moncada’s Future With The Red Sox?

Shaw has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox and at 26 years old many teams would want him as he is entering his prime. Shaw is under team control until the 2019 season and if Moncada is ready before then, the team could get a nice return for Shaw while not losing much of the production if any from Shaw. Trading away Pedroia when his production goes down is the less likely and less ideal situation. The Sox would have to eat a lot of Pedroia’s contract in this case, something the Sox seem to do enough with aging players. Even if neither of these options are the route Dombrowski decides to take, Moncada will not be traded and doing so would turn out to be a huge mistake for the Sox.

Moncada is a .284 hitter in the minor leagues up to this point in his career with 11 homers in 479 at bats. He has drawn comparisons to former Yankee and current Mariner, Robinson Cano. Moncada has the switch hitting dimension to his game, something Cano does not have. If Moncada continues to grow, seeing him come close to Cano’s numbers would not be a big surprise. His power is there and he has a great eye at the plate, showing that with his .424 OBP this season.

Sox fans have a lot to look forward to this season and in future seasons. Having a Bogaerts and Moncada middle infield would be special and if Dombrowski is as smart as I believe he is, he knows not to trade Moncada unless he is blown away and offered a trade involving a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw or even Chris Sale.

Eduardo Rodriguez is Finally Back

Starting pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez will finally make his long awaited return to the major league club tonight against his former organization, the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez had been injured with a knee injury and following a setback, Rodriguez ended up making five starts at Pawtucket.

Rodriguez pitched very strong in his last start at Pawtucket, throwing seven innings of oneEduardo Rodriguez run ball and striking out seven. Following this start, Rodriguez’s had a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings pitched at Pawtucket, only striking out 17 in those innings. The lack of strikeouts can be seen as a concern as Rodriguez has been seen as a guy with strong strikeout potential but has yet to flash that at the big league level. Although, with Buchholz having struggled greatly in the rotation and coming off a shaky start, the timing was perfect for Rodriguez to replace him in the starting rotation.

Last season Rodriguez was the ace of the Sox staff. To go along with his 3.85 ERA, his command at a young age was very impressive. Rodriguez does not seem to get phased by tough situations in a game. He walked just 37 batters in 121.2 innings pitched. As he approaches his second year at the major league level, expect Rodriguez to improve on these numbers.

Rodriguez will eventually become a strong strikeout pitcher and president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, believes Rodriguez can be an ace at the major league level. Rodriguez’s strong three pitch make-up featuring his fastball, slider and changeup give him three impressive pitches to bring at major league hitters. To improve upon his second season, new ace and veteran pitcher, David Price, can be of great help to propelling Rodriguez to that next level. One pitch that Price features and Rodriguez doesn’t is the cut fastball. If Rodriguez can learn this pitch from Price and begin to add it to his repertoire, he could become a very lethal starting pitcher.

Tonight is an exciting night for Sox fans and Rodriguez in general. With Buchholz to the bullpen and Rodriguez back, the Sox have a more reliable option on the mound even if he doesn’t improve but stays on track with last year’s numbers.

Red Sox Minor League Teams In Post-Seaon Action

red sox minor league teams

Courtesy of milb.com

The Red Sox Minor league teams, namely the Pawtucket and Salem Red Sox, enjoyed, or are enjoying, post-season play.

The Pawtucket Red Sox are both in pursuit of a pennant race. Pawtucket is looking to accomplish an unprecedented back to back Governors Cup win. The Governor’s cup is earned by Minor League Baseball’s best triple-A team. As of Thursday, they are tied with the Durham Bulls. They return to McCoy Stadium for game three with former Portland Sea Dog pitcher, Matt Barnes on the mound.

The reason this team has been able to go as far as it has is due to the teams strong pitching, many of them promoted from the Double-A Red Sox affiliate Portland Sea Dogs at the end of July and August. Names like Matt Barnes, Keith Couch, and most importantly Anthony Ranaudo made a significant difference in the five-man rotation and the bullpen. Other members of the pitching staff, like Steven Wright, are solid. Catcher Christian Vasquez and Heiker Meneses were also promoted making plays in the field and at the plate. It is unfortunate to see the Portland team lose so many players, yet heartening to see the aforementioned promoted in the system.

The Salem Red Sox have been playing strong in the Carolina Division all season long. Despite their roster changes to promotion to Portland, ME, the Red Sox of Virginia were capable of clinching the Division. This is the first time in five years that Salem was in contention for the division. Players like Blake Swihart, Sean Coyle, and pitcher William Cuevas made the difference in the last few weeks of the season. They lost an amazing pitcher, Henry Owens, in August to promotion to the Portland Sea Dogs. Still, the team overcame the loss of this strong arm and won the division.

Manny Ramirez Leaves the Texas Rangers Minor’s System

manny ramirez

Manny on the move and sometimes in disguise.

I just can’t get enough Manny Ramirez news this season. Last week it was reported that the Texas Rangers minor league team released Ramirez after picking up Alex Rios on waivers from the Chicago White Sox. I would have written about this sooner, but I have been in a state of shock that this guy still thinks he can play professional baseball. Manny will just not give up. I love his perseverance (arrogance) in the face of adversity. I wish I had an ounce of whatever it is that makes Manny tick.

What will be the next move for Manny? Will he go back to Taiwan? He seemed to only serve as comic relief for the fair people of that island country. You remember the slide seen round the world. He didn’t quite make it to second. Would another U.S. team give him another shot? It seems unlikely. Clubs do not love drama. A little funny publicity and performance is one thing, but drama will not do.

I wish Manny well. He did a great job for the Red Sox in 2004. We can never take that away from him. I just think it is time to call it a career. I’m sure he could make good money through promotions. If he wants to stay around the game maybe he could sell Franklin bases? God knows, he certainly can’t tag them any longer.

As for Rios and the Rangers this appears to be a great opportunity for both parties. Rios’ name got batted about quite a bit  prior to the trade deadline, so it was clear he was on the move. The Sox took part in a three team trade with the White Sox and Detroit Tigers, so there was confusion over whether Rios would come to us, or go to the Tigers. I hope he can make a difference for the Rangers.

Futures at Fenway Game Preview

futures at fenway

Sea Dogs’ Third Baseman Garin Cecchini

The Futures at Fenway game is tomorrow, Saturday, July 27th at 12PM. I highly recommend that you attend. The Portland Sea Dogs face the Harrisburg Senators, both are Double-A teams for their respective franchises. Earlier in the season, Brandon Workman and Drake Britton were part of the Sea Dogs five-man rotation. Now they play for Boston. The future, for these guys, is now. So what will become of the current players on the Sea Dogs roster?

The current Sea Dogs roster is strong, but I may be bias because I am a pretty big fan girl. Christian Vasquez and Michael Almanzar are making a difference on the field and at the plate. Pitchers Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Keith Couch have improved their games over the course of the season. Most notably, Ranaudo, who tied a team record of 13 strikeouts on June 13th. He shares this record with Jon Lester. Right-handed pitcher Couch will start on the mound on Saturday. He is currently 7-3, winning four of his last 10 starts. Couch has a strong curveball and has made steady progress on mechanics throughout the season.

One other player to keep an eye on is infielder Garin Cecchini. He moved up from High Single-A  Red Sox (Salem, VA) in late June. He makes a massive impact offensively for this team. Cecchini holds the second highest on-base percentage in the entire minor league.

I am proud of the depth the Sox have in their system. I say we just hold off on any trades. The team does not need to go looking for other players to add to the club. We risk upsetting the chemistry of the current team. In addition to the chemistry, the Sox do not want to lose the talent they have, for someone that is just as good as a player we have down on the farm.

At the poker table that is July 31st, I encourage the club to fold. Let’s see how far these players, including those on the farm, can take us.

Portland’s Anthony Ranaudo Heating Up

anthony ranaudo

Courtesy of espn.go.com

 Anthony Ranaudo experienced a rocky road to the 2013 season. None of that matters now because he has arrived. Acquired in 2010 by the Red Sox organization, plagued by injuries in 2011 and 2012, he has finally began to impress the Portland Seadogs and garner positive attention.  Recent statistics from baseballreference.com show that he has 30 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. He has a 1.00 ERA and a .778 WHIP. This is in stark contrast to the numbers he put up last season where he pitched only 37.2 innings with a 6.69 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. He is well on his way to pitch more innings in 2013.

Expectations were high for Ranaudo from the beginning. Now he is meeting them. Most writers, scouts, and bloggers are exhaling after holding their breath for the better part of two years. Last year Ranaudo struggled with a groin pull and shoulder trouble.  Fastballs were clocking in at around 85 or 86 MPH. These speeds were nowhere near the mid-90 MPH fastballs that he threw when the Sox drafted him out of Louisiana State University. Now the fastball speed is back in the 90s and he looks better than good. He still needs to tweak his mechanics, and utilize every inch of his 6’7’’ frame to his advantage, but Ranaudo is on the move.

Since things are turning around for him, people are interested. Ranaudo is even on the Boston Globe’s radar. In the last few weeks, he got as much press as Allen Webster, and more than Rubby De La Rosa.  He may just rocket past some of the bullpen players in Pawtucket, but for now he is in good company with the Seadogs’ Brandon Workman.  The Red Sox will “wait and see” as he continues to consistently prove himself deeper into the season.

We see in Ranaudo a perfect example of the depth that the Sox have on the farm. If he stays healthy, he will most definitely be part of Boston’s starting five rotation sooner than later.

Are there any players in our farm system about which you are excited?