15 Red Sox Who Could Be Called Up in September

With August nearly half over and the Sox in the heat of the pennant race, it’s almost time to start thinking about which players could be called up in September.

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This list does not include big-league players like David Price, Blaine Boyer, and Carson Smith who have been injured, but rather a combination of minor league players and fringe system players who have yet to make a contribution this season.

Deven Marrero – INF

Marrero is pretty much a lock to get called up because he’s already spent significant time at the big league level. His infield flexibility and defensive ability are among the best in the organization.

Austin Maddox – RHP

In emergency situations, Maddox has been the one to get the call to Boston this summer. The big righty has a .190 BAA in Portland and Pawtucket this year.

Robby Scott – LHP

Like Maddox, Scott has spent time in the Sox bullpen already this season. John Farrell likes using him against lefties, especially in the absence of Robbie Ross Jr. I’d be shocked if he isn’t called up again.

Sam Travis – 1B

The Red Sox have never come out and said this, but Sam Travis seems like a guy whose spot could be on the bubble next spring, despite his good performance. Part of me wonders if the team has plans to extend Moreland or go after someone like Eric Hosmer in free agency. That all being said, Travis has hit .279 when he’s been with Boston and could be valuable off the bench this fall.

Tzu-Wei Lin – Util.

Lin has proved to be a versatile player throughout his short career. Likewise, he is a sound fundamental and very coachable player with tremendous upside. His ability to play multiple positions could also be valuable in September so I expect him to get the call.

Noe Ramirez – RHP

While Ramirez has never really spent significant time at the big league level, he’s on the 40-man roster and the team has held on to him there for quite some time now. He was added to the way back in July 2015 and has a 2.96 ERA in 31 games in Triple-A.

Blake Swihart – C/1B/OF

Assuming he’s healthy, you have to think that the Red Sox will give Swihart some action. He hasn’t sniffed the big leagues in just about a calendar year despite being a blue-chip prospect a few short years ago. While many of that is injury related, Swihart hasn’t hit well this season in Pawtucket. Never the less, he could be the backup catcher next season if Sandy Leon isn’t resigned.

Rusney Castillo – OF

Rusney has been raking with the PawSox this season, hitting .308 with 13 home runs in 81 games. The 3-year-old’s time may be ticking, so I’d like to see him get a few more cracks at the big leagues.

Ben Taylor – RHP

Taylor started the season on the active roster and has made a few stints since. Meanwhile, he has a 2.92 ERA in the minors so far in 2017.

Bryce Brentz – OF/DH

Once a can’t miss prospect, Brentz has had a renaissance in Pawtucket this year, hitting .281 with 26 home runs. In close games, he could offer some bench power for the Red Sox during the pennant race and possibly October. Tough to see what the future holds for Brentz in his eighth season in the organization.

Hector Velazquez – RHP

After making a few spot starts for the big club, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Velazquez called up again for depth purposes. He’s 7-3 with a 1.93 ERA in Pawtucket.

Justin Haley – RHP

Haley was returned to the Red Sox via the Rule 5 draft after spending most of the season in the Twins organization. He’s familiar with the organization and has a 2.70 ERA in 9 starts in the minors.

Brian Johnson – LHP

Johnson has made a few starts for the big club this year and has impressed in almost all of them, going 2-0 with a 4.33 ERA and one complete game shutout. However, considering the Red Sox already have a plethora of starters and are expecting David Price back, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll pitch.

Jalen Beeks – LHP

The college teammate of Andrew Benintendi has dominated this season when it comes to striking batters out. In 117.1 IP, Beeks has 128 K’s and an ERA of 2.76 between Portland and Pawtucket. He’s also Rule 5 Draft eligible in December, so the sooner he is added to the 40-man roster, the better. Given his stuff and delivery, he could profile as a good middle inning guy this September.

Danny Mars – OF

Like Beeks, Mars could be called up in September as well based on his roster status. He’ll become Rule 5 eligible in December too, meaning a team could claim him if he’s not on Boston’s 40-man roster. In Portland this season, Mars is hitting .311 with 19 doubles. He also possesses the capability to make plays with his speed.

Is A Todd Frazier Trade The Answer For The Red Sox?

With the Red Sox off to a disappointing start, Dave Dombrowski and his disciples are desperately scrambling for some Flex Seal to cover the holes of a sinking ship. The two major holes are on the corner infield as well as another starting pitcher. The Red Sox’s Todd Frazier traderecent trip to scout the White Sox seemed like it could cover all those problems. The result of the trip? Swirling rumors of a Todd Frazier trade.

The lack of production at third base has been no small story for the Red Sox the last few years. The problem has grown tremendously this season. Pablo Sandoval has missed the last month with a knee injury and was underachieving before his DL stint. So yeah, the Red Sox need help at third, but is Todd Frazier the answer for this issue?

Frazier’s 2017 hasn’t been stellar by any means, either. The two-time All Star is below the Mendoza line, hitting .195 with only four homers and 17 RBI. Not one to hit for average, he only hit .225 in 2016 but mashed 40 homers. He is a dead pull hitter which would obviously be extremely favorable playing at Fenway Park. His numbers this year, however, aren’t much further off than Sandoval’s and Frazier has played the whole year.

Most Red Sox fans reasonably thought the scouts were going to Chicago to see starter Jose Quintana. Quintana has been Chicago’s ace this year and the White Sox haven’t been shy about putting him on the trading block. The problem with that would be the price. The Red Sox are desperate for a starter and everyone knows it so the price will sky-rocket. With all the prospects Boston has given up over the last two seasons, that may be near impossible at this juncture.

So we move back to Frazier. The price for him should be astronomically less even though they are desperate for a third baseman as well. Frazier has almost no value to any other contender. With the White Sox about to blow things up after a 20-22 start, they’ll be looking to get Frazier off their hands and eat up most of his salary.

That being said, this might not actually be a terrible deal. Look, Frazier isn’t gonna hit .300 or even .250 probably, but he has some value. He is an every day player who can play both first and third. With Hanley Ramirez’s nagging injury, that can finally allow Mitch Moreland the occasional day off. He will also bring some power to a lineup that has absolutely none right now. With no pop coming from Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, or Dustin Pedroia right now, that could be crucial.

Next year, Rafael Devers and possibly Sam Travis will be ready to go at those positions. For now, they’re desperate. If they can get Frazier at a nice price without giving up high-end prospects, this could be alright. I’m not exactly ecstatic about this, but the Red Sox need something right now. In the end, like any of these deals, it needs to be the right price. Dave Dombrowski never overpays, right? Right?

Josh Ockimey Looking to Impress in 2015

josh ockimey

Last year in the MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox snagged two of the top power hitting first baseman available— Sam Travis and Josh Ockimey. While Travis established himself as a first baseman by playing well in the Cape Cod League and at Indiana, Ockimey was a little more unknown, drafted out of high school.
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Arguably possessing the best raw power tools in the Red Sox farm system, Boston swooped up Ockimey in the fifth round after hearing about his 420-foot home runs in high school while hitting from the left side of the plate.josh ockimey

A top recruit of Indiana University, Boston not only took away their star first baseman, but their first baseman of the future. Attending high school in Philadelphia, it makes sense why Josh Ockimey drew comparisons to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.

“I think I have always been considered a power hitter,” Ockimey told Yawkey Way Report. “Even throughout my little league and high school days.”

At 6-foot-3 230 pounds now, Ockimey has the frame of an excellent power hitter and could even stand to put on more weight over the years to build power.
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Playing high school baseball in the north, Ockimey was forced to make a huge jump to professional baseball when the Red Sox assigned him to the Gulf Coast League.

“The toughest part of the transfer from high school to professional baseball was realizing that it’s an ‘everyday job,'” Ockimey said reflecting on the season. “I mean that as that it is my profession I chose to ‘live it’. Also consistency— in order to move higher in the minor leagues you have to be more consistent in your game.”

Making the transition to the pros was challenging for Ockimey, like it is for many young talents who struggle at first. Hitting .188 this past summer, he did manage to draw 14 walks, showing the potential for plate discipline.
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The first year of professional ball is never easy for young prospects. For example, Bryce Brentz hit .198 in the Lowell Spinners back in 2010 and the next season, he hit 30 home runs. Typically, pro players fare much better in their second pro seasons. Putting in extra work in the off season allows them to compete at such an elite level.

“What I worked on most this off season was overall body strength and conditioning. Also, I worked on consistency in my swing.”
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For Ockimey, it is his bat that will carry him through the ranks of the Red Sox farm system. Possibly slated to begin the 2015 season in short-season Lowell, he will have a chance to prove himself there and Boston is confident that he could develop into an excellent big league power hitter down the road— if all goes according to plan.

“My goals this season are to improve my game offensively, defensively and mentally. Offensively by being more consistent with the bat, defensively by making more plays and being quicker around the bat and mentally by having a more experienced professional approach to the game.”

Sam Travis: Red Sox First Baseman Of The Future?

sam travisIn the second round of the 2014 MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox made a great move going after an established college bat, and one of the best first baseman in the draft. They picked Sam Travis, a first baseman from Indiana University Bloomington. He and Cubs draft pick, Kyle Schwarber, made up a powerful one-two punch for the Hoosiers.

Travis, 20, dominated throughout his entire college tenure, smacking 31 career home runs for the Hoosiers with his lowest OBP in any given season being an impressive .397. In the summer, Travis also experienced plenty of success.  A Cape Cod League All-Star in 2012 and a member of Team USA’s collegiate team in 2013, it is fair to say Sam Travis was a highly successful college athlete. He signed with the Boston Red Sox on June 17th and headed to Lowell for his pro debut. He then began his journey toward becoming the Boston Red Sox everyday first baseman.
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So far this year for the Lowell Spinners, Travis looks comfortable at the plate. At first he struggled a bit, but now he is tearing the cover off the ball, raising his average to .284, smacking a pair of home runs in 17 games. He is 15 for his last 41, putting him at a .366 average in his last 10 games, making it clear that he has a bright future in the game. In the field, Travis is playing first base for the Spinners without seeing time elsewhere. His secondary position is third base, but at this point it seems unlikely that he will be playing it any time soon.

In a draft where Boston took many high ceiling players over high floor players, Sam Travis offers a high floor to the Red Sox. He is a well polished young player who possess some serious power which is much more developed than most players from the draft. His bat is something special and people will not have to wait and see his power develop because it is already there.
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Of course power is not the only thing a player needs to be successful at the Major League level, but Travis has those as well. Granted with his impressive plate discipline, superb contact hitting, and his high quality defense at first base, all Boston needs to do is sit back and let Travis play. He is mature enough that he should be able to handle any challenge Boston throws at him, but the club should not give any prospect too many challenges. It would be surprising to see him end the year in Lowell and not start his 2014 campaign in at least high-A Salem.

Beyond then, the sky is the limit for Sam Travis. As the best first base prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, and with Mike Napoli set to be a free agent after the 2015 season, if he develops nicely, Travis is likely to get a shot at being the Boston Red Sox everyday first baseman by 2017. He still has a long ways to go, but if he keeps up what he has been doing for the past few years, the future is bright for him.