Scouting Report: Danny Mars

In June 2014, a 20-year old junior college outfielder named Danny Mars was drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

Mars was nothing short of spectacular while playing at Chipola College. During his 2014 season, he hit .380 with 35 RBI in 48 games. Upon being drafted in the 6th round, Danny Mars played the rest of the year in Lowell. He batted .311 while with Lowell.

danny mars

By 2015, Mars became a mainstay in Greenville, where he hit .283 in 41 games. Last season, he hit .293 with High-A Salem with 54 RBI in 108 games. In the fall, he joined the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League in order to get more at-bats.

It paid off, as Mars was promoted to Double-A Portland for 2017, where he normally bats in the lead-off position. As of May 23, Mars was slashing .314/.364/.449 with an OPS of .813 in 31 games.

If he continues to produce, Mars could see Pawtucket by year’s end. But because the system is crowded with talented outfielders, this remains to be seen.

Danny Mars in the Future

Overall, Mars has an athletic, average sized frame with room for added strength. His speed is one of his best tools and he has the ability to be a threat on the bases. His injury in early 2015 stunted some of his development, but he has since eased into a career .287 hitter.

According to SoxProspects.com, Mars has the potential to be a solid outfielder.

Saying: “Versatile and athletic enough to play all three outfield spots, but other tools profile best in center field. Takes good routes and gets good reads on balls.”

It’s hard to know for sure how he will develop and when he could end up in the big leagues. Especially considering the minor depth chart has the likes of Rusney Castillo and Aneury Tavarez on it. Let alone the Killer B’s up in Boston.

But one thing is for certain, Danny Mars can play. And if the Portland Sea Dogs love having him hot lead off, I don’t blame them.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Hitting Well in Pawtucket

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Although it is only seven games into the season, something seems a little bit different about PawSox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. this season— he is hitting well.
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Starting off this season in the Minors for the first time since 2012, the outfielder is swinging a hot bat, regardless of the sample size. To date, he has 35 at-bats on the year and has collected 13 hits (.371 average) with four doubles and a jackie bradley jr.walk. He leads the team in total bases with 17.

Sure, this is based off of a small sampling, but any signs of life from Bradley at the plate could pay off in a huge manner for the Red Sox this season. Defensively, he probably should have won the Gold Glove last year, but at the plate he had quite the slump in the summer months.
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With Rusney Castillo day to day, the right-handed Bradley—who hits lefty—could find himself with a huge advantage granted that the only thing Castillo has yet to do is play on an every day basis. If Bradley is able to keep stringing hits together like his early scouting reports indicated, he could leave the Boston Red Sox with some tough decisions to make.

The Red Sox will need to see more than eight games from Bradley before they call him up given that he is a lifetime .196 hitter in 164 big league games. If he continues to do what he is doing, or close to it for a month or so, and Castillo cannot keep up, then Bradley might just force his way up to Boston.
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Of course injuries could help Bradley’s case as a call-up as well, but it seems unlikely that they will call him up to do anything less than play on an everyday basis. After all, he still has a few more days before he turns 25.

Hanley Ramirez Adjusting to Left Field

HANLEY RAMIREZ

Back in 2005, the Boston Red Sox gave their top prospect, a 21-year-old shortstop named Hanley Ramirez, a double promotion sending him from AA up to the big leagues. A September call-up Ramirez was, after hitting hitting well late in the year. He made just two big league appearances that year, striking out in both of his at-bats. That off-season, he was dealt alongside Anibal Sanchez in the Josh Beckett trade.
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Ten years later, Ramirez is a career .300 hitter in his big league career and has established himself as one of the top shortstops in the league. Reuniting this off season were Ramirez and the Sox—only this time Ramirez will be playing a completely new position.

hanley ramirezOnly ever playing third base and shortstop in his big league career with 11 appearances at second base in the minors, he will be taking on an entirely different task now as the Boston Red Sox starting left fielder.
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Already down in Fort Myers, Ramirez is working closely with first base coach Arnie Beyeler who is helping him learn the position that he is giving his best efforts to conquer.

“I’m here to work on some little things and get better every day. I’m happy to be here early,” Ramirez told the Boston Globe. He also said that this was the earliest he had ever arrived to Spring Training.
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Known for his bat, Ramirez is consistently among the top hitters in the big leagues. Last year he hit .283 with a .369 OBP and 13 home runs in 128 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also managed to hit 35 doubles and steal 14 bases, posting a 3.5 WAR in a highly productive season.

Getting Ramirez’ bat into the lineup will be important for the Red Sox and from the looks of it, his defense should be sufficient enough in order for that to happen.
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“He knows the footwork and he knows the game. We’ll need to work on throws and just get repetition,” Red Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler told the Globe. “It will happen over time. I’m happy with how everything is going.”

What To Do With Allen Craig

allen craigAn All-Star in 2013, acquired in the John Lackey deal, expectations were high for former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Allen Craig. So far, his tenure with Boston has been less than impressive to put it simply. Going 2-for-32 in his last 10 games and 1-for-17 in the month of September, while already spending time on the DL, his time in Boston has been far from impressive.

The Red Sox outfield is crowded as it is, and will only get more crowded as time goes on. Based off of his performance lately, the chances of Boston holding onto Allen Craig for 2015 are bleak. Sure he slashed .315/.373/.457 last year with an .830 OPS, but he has done nothing so far to warrant a spot with the Boston Red Sox in the future.
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Of course, trading Allen Craig sounds like an appealing option — mainly because it is. Craig is an appealing option for many teams given his versatility and past success. Next year, the outfield looks crowded with Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts all in line for starting jobs. As Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr. may be out of luck, there is no reason to keep Craig when a former All-Star, on-base machine, and the best defensive center fielder in the league cannot even get a starting job themselves.

The return on Craig may not be as high as it has ever been, but Boston would open a spot on the 40-man roster, save millions of dollars in cap room, and potentially receive some talented prospects in return. If Boston can get Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar for Jake Peavy, it seems certain they can make out like bandits in an Allen Craig deal as well.
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At this point it does not really matter though because even without Craig, they have a number of outfielders who can play the game.

Boston Red Sox Outfield Surplus

red sox outfield 2014With the recent addition of Rusney Castillo, that gives the  Red Sox eight legitimate candidates to compete for outfield jobs in the spring of 2015. Other than Castillo, the Sox have Yoenis Cespedes, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Brock Holt, Allen Craig and Daniel Nava. I didn’t even include minor league prospects such as Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan in that mix.

To be realistic, the Sox will probably only carry four outfielders. Advantages to carrying Brock Holt is that he can play anywhere on the diamond except pitcher or catcher and Allen Craig who can also play first base. Some folks will need to go in order for the numbers to work. Rusney Castillo will be given every shot to win the center field job. You can probably lock in Yoenis Cespedes in left field,unless another major trade happens, and possibly Shane Victorino if he is healthy. Victorino went on record as saying he is planning on being the right fielder next year. That leaves room for one back up among the others.

If Victorino isn’t healthy, Jackie Bradley Jr. would then move into that spot as the Sox have said they like employing two center fielders in the outfield. Mookie Betts would likely start the year at AAA Pawtucket as would Bradley Jr. if Victorino is healthy and can regain his productivity. You would think that Allen Craig came here to start and play everyday and not just be a fourth outfielder. Another scenario could be moving him to first base and possibly trading Mike Napoli.

A case could also be made to keep Daniel Nava as he is the only left-handed bat among that group. I expect him to get traded though as early as now or September to a contender  that could use him as a push into the playoffs. He is playoff tested, after last season, and could draw interest from teams. The last guy in this equation is Brock Holt. He has done everything the Sox could ask for this season and then some.

Brock Holt has really bailed the Sox out with providing a legitimate lead off hitter to fill the void left by Jacoby Ellsbury. That was a spot that Grady Sizemore couldn’t handle nor could Jackie Bradley Jr. He is also a nice guy who plays hard and is a sort of throwback on all of the positions he could play. If not in the Red Sox outfield, he could be the back up utility infielder.

It should be an interesting final month of the year to keep an eye on how all these guys will fit in to the Red Sox outfield for the remainder of the season and in 2015.