Sorry I have not wrote in a while, it’s been a busy week. I’ll catch you up with everything.
Red Sox: I was at Red Sox games on Monday, Wednesday, and Today. Monday they played the Tampa Bay Rays. Boof Bonser pitched, and got pretty roughed up. The minor leaguers came back, and Ray Chang hit a three run homer. I got an autograph from Terry Francona. Wednesday the Red Sox played the Pirates, and the Red Sox won. I got a ball from Jorge Jimmenez, my second of the spring, the other being from Victor Martinez. Today I saw John Lackey pitch vs the Orioles. He looked pretty sharp. I got an autograph from Dave Trembly.
Mike Lowell fowled a ball off his knee and left the game Friday. I expect this gives the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the DL. If that’s the case, expect Josh Reddick to make the roster.
Bruins: The Bruins won Tuesday night in Atlanta, a huge win. They laid an egg Thursday vs Tampa Bay, and won 5-0 vs Calgary today. Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, krejci and Recchi scored today. The Bruins hold a 4 point cushion for the playoffs and move to seventh place with the Flyers losing. The Thrashers play Carolina tonight.
Marc Savard spoke with the media today for the first time since being injured from a hit by Matt Cooke. He said that Cooke has tried to talk to him, but he does not want to talk to Cooke. I am hearing that Savard could return with a deep playoff run by the Bruins.
Vladimir Sobotka returned to game action today while Andrew Ference, just signed to a three year contract (for whatever reason) sat out with yet another injury.
Celtics: The Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday, while beating the Nuggets Wednesday and the Knigs last night to clinch the Atlantic divison. The Hawks lost to the 76ers, so the Celtics rank ahead of them by one game.
Kendrick Perkins missed last night’s game with a knee injury, and is expected to miss tomorrows vs San Antonio.
Blazers: The Boston Blazers play the last place Philadelphia Wings tonight. If Toronto loses to the Titans tonight, the Blazers with a win could move into second place all alone.
The Mailbag will be Monday. I am in Ft.Myers tomorrow. I will be in Port Charlotte Tuesday, and Sarasota again Wednesday to end my Red Sox spring schedule. I will be in Clearwater Thursday to see the Phillies and the Pirates.
Over the last three days, I have been to
three different Spring Training games in three different
ballparks. I was in Ft. Myers to see Red Sox-Twins, than at
City of Palms Park, also in Ft. Myers for Red Sox-Orioles. I
capped it off today with Red Sox-Astros. The Red Sox won the
first game, with Ryne Miller getting the start over Josh
Beckett, who was ill. Miller got rocked pretty hard. But, he
is just a single-A player. Aaron Bates, my player to watch
this spring, (Last year it was Jeff Bailey) doubled and
scored in the game. I pick a player every spring to watch,
this year it’s Bates and Josh Reddick. Reddick homered in the
home game vs the Orioles. Tim Wakefield pitched that game,
and was pretty shaky. David Ortiz also homered. Mike Lowell
made his spring debut, to an aplauding crowd. Rumor says that
Marlins scouts where in the crowd to watch the newly
converted first baseman. Today in Kissimee, the Red Sox lost
3-0 to the Astors and Roy Oswalt. Jon Lester pitched for
Boston, and looked good. The only negitive of his outing was
a run scoring on a wild pitch. Bates came up as the tying rin
in the ninth vs Wesley Wright, but grounded out to shortstop.
My next game is in Bradenton on Friday to see the Red Sox
play the Pirates.
Here is the second edition of the Total Bases Mailbag. Sorry it came so late, as I was at the Red Sox game today!
Q: When will Bill Simmons be answering questions?
I kid. I kid.
How do you feel watching your Celtics limp the playoffs?
A: Thanks for the question Shaun, and no, Bill Simmons will not be here, haha. I am concerned about the Celtics. But KG and Pierce look healthy again, along with Ray finally shooting again. I know they will get by the first round, but I’m worried for when they have to face the Hawks or Cavs.
Q: What do you think of the Cleveland Indians this year?
Do they pose a threat to the Central or not? Don’t let up on the answer either, it is your opinion.
And how do you think the Red Sox will fair this year?
A: Hey Ted! Honestly, I don’t see the Indians going anywhere for a while. I like their outfield a lot, and their offense, but they need more pitching to make noise. I can see a team like the Royals surprising a lot in the Central.
I like the Red Sox more than a lot of people. I love the rotation, offense, and defense, plus their minor league depth. They have guys like Bates and Reddick who can step in if needed. It’ll be a fun year.
Thanks to everyone who submitted questions, the mailbag will return again next Sunday. Submit your questions here or at the Best Boston Sports .com message boards. Remember, anything Red Sox, Celtics, Pats, Bruins or their leagues. Any Minor League questions as well.
Red Sox Top 40 Prospects
This is the top 40 Red Sox Prospects List from Total Bases and BestBostonSports.com. It will cover who I think are the top prospects in the organization, as well as full scouting reports and information. If you think of someone not here, feel free to comment about that and I will see if I can put him on the list. I will start with the top 10.
1. Casey Kelly: Kelly was the Red Sox first pick in the 2008 draft. He started out the 2009 season in Greenville but moved on to Salem. He is expected to start the season in Portland. He has a fastball with good motion and is normally in the 89-93 area. Has a plus curveball and changeup. Has nice smooth mechanics with exellent control. He projects to possibly be ready to be in the MLB after next season, or even a September call-up this year. Outstanding athlete, commited to be a full time pitcher after playing shortstop half of last season and in the Arizona Fall League. Was also offered a scholership to play quaterback at Tennasee.
HS: Sarasota High School
2. Jose Iglesias: Being compared to Ozzie Smith with the glove, Iglesias is obviously great defensivly. Has the makings of a Gold Glove shortstop, and can also play third base and second base. Pull hitter without much power. Has trouble hitting it opposite field. Not much of a line drive hitter, has a lot of seeing-eye type groundball hits.
Free Agent signing
3. Ryan Westmoreland: Kalish was the eighth round pick of the 2008 draft for the Red Sox. A five tool player. Smooth, quick swing. Hits to all fields with tremendous power. Strong arm in the outfield. He was also a high school pitcher, and itched a perfect game.
4. Ryan Kalish: Kalish was the Red Sox ninth round pick in 2006. Has the potential to be a leadoff hitter with a lot of speed and quickness. Groundball hitter with not much pop. Decent paitence at the plate. Good intelegence on the basepaths, has a lot of stolen bases, and was named Red Sox baserunner of the year. If he where to be an MLB starter, he would probally be a corner outfielder. Good range, average arm.
HS: Red Bank Cathlic High School
5. Reymond Fuentes: The Red Sox 1st round draft pick of the 2009 season. Compared to Jacoby Ellsbury, he may even have more speed. Is the cousin of New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Also has nice power that has develeped nicley for his age, but is mostly a line drive hitter. He could use a better eye at the plate. Will start the season at Lowell.
HS: Fernando Callejo High School(DR)
6. Stolmy Piemetel: Piementel signed as an international free agent in 2006. Is known mostly for his fastball that sits around 90-95 mph. Also has a good curveball and great changeup with terrific downward motion. He often hangs his curveball too often, though it has potential to be a plus pitch if he adjusts to that problem. Will project to start 2010 in Lowell.
Free Agent signing
7. Alex Wilson: Missed the 2008 season due to Tommy John surgery, but the Red Sox took a chance on him. Hard fastball that has slowed since surgery, but is still 94-95 mph and could get back up to 97-98 soon. Played for the Lowell Spinners last season, could jump to Salem or even Portland this season. Good, hard moving slider that misses a lot of bats with terrific downward motion. Average control, struggles with slider control. Mediocre changup that could improve, and tends to hang down the middle of the plate. If he develeps secondary pitches, he could be a starter.
College: Texas A&M
8. Josh Reddick: Reddick is a good contact hitter with very good power to all fields. An agressive hitter at the plate, he tends to strike out often. Obviously without much discipline, the Red Sox have worked with him on seeing more pitches per at-bat and to walk more. Has a terrific arm in the field and looks as if he will be a right or center fielder. Has been compared to some big MLB bats such as Matt Holliday in the power department.
College: Middle Gerogia
9. Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo is probally the best first base prospect in the Red Sox organization. Has a terrific eye at the plate with a very quick bat. Exelent defensive first baseman, who moves with pretty good flexability for his size. Very big frame with a high power ceiling.
High School: Stoneman Douglas High School
10. Lars Anderson: Power hitter with unlimited potential in that catagory. Very good eye at the plate, gets on base a lot. Good opposite field hitter, oddly has trouble pulling the ball for power. Very streaky hitter at times. Good first baseman, though he does not have much range. Not a stolen base threat. Had a disapointing season last year, and is likley to start at Portland and move up to Pawtuckett.
High School: Jesult(Calafornia)
Next week: 11-20. Will feture players sych as Tazawa, Bates, Bowden, and more.
This is a full evaluation of the 2010 Red Sox roster as it stands now. I will look at the lineup, defense, pitching, bench, bullpen, and minor leagues, and try to prove to you complainers that this is a good team.
Lineup: I really like the lineup. I’m not trying to be an optimist, I really like the lineup. I love the combination of speed and power. The bottom of the lineup impresses me with Drew-Cameron-Scutaro. I feel speed is going to come from Jacoby Ellsbury (duh) and Scutaro. Cameron can steal a few as can Pedroia. Don’t even say Drew, I believe he was 2-for-8 in the SB catagory.
On the power side, you got Ortiz, Youk, Beltre, Cameron, Drew, and Victor. Each one of them will hit from 15-30 HRs, maybe more for Beltre or Cameron at Fenway. I feel a big year coming from Youk, I really do.He was hurt a lot of last year, and I think it really affected him. The suspension did not help either.
I also liked the way the lineup is built. I thought last year Pedroia struggled leadoff beacuse he missed the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since he is a base stealer, pitchers are going to throw more fastballs to the next batter in an attempt to pick him off. A fastball gets to the plate fatser, and the catcher can gun it down to second faster. I hope Francona keeps Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, that is where he is supposed to be.
More about the lineup, I would like to see JD Drew bat eighth and Cameron bat seventh. Mostly beacuse it strenghens the bottom of the lineup. Here is the lineup I would like to see:
Pitching: No one can deny this staff. Even if I am wrong and the lineup does suck, the pitching will keep you in games. Defense wins(Look how far the Jets got!). Offense is nice, but defense and pitching is more important(Unless you have Teixeira. And A-rod. And Jeter. And Granderson…..). This is no doubt about it the best staff in the game. You can say Seattle with Cliff Lee and King Felix, and I’ll give you that as the top 1-2 punch in baseball. But Lester. Beckett. Lackey. Dice-k. Buchholz. Wake. They have so much depth! I know this happened last year, and everyone got hurt to the point we needed Paul Byrd, and at least two or three of those guys are going to have to stay healthy. Ok, Lackey, out a month. Fine, Lester and Beckett. Lester out a few weeks? That’s ok, Dice-k/Wake/Buchholz might be pitching good, and Lackey might be back soon. Just theories here.
And either way, I expect some sort of reclamation/Theo Epstein projects like an Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets coming.(John Smoltz!)
Every game we are going to get a six-to-seven inning perfomrance or a quality start. Yes, Lackey has had injury problems. So has Beckett, and Dice-k, and every other pitcher in baseball. You learn to deal with it.
Defense: Joe Maddon called Adrain Beltre the best defensive player he has ever seen, and Maddon knows a damn lot about baseball. He took that team to the world series, and I think we all know who that team is. I don’t get to watch Beltre often, as he played for Seattle, but I’ll take Joe’s word for it. So on the right side of your infeild you got “The best defensive player ever” (I thought that was Darrelle Revis?) and Marco Scutaro, who should have gotten the AL gold glove for shortstop. Then on the left side you have two gold glove winners in Pedroia and Youk. In the outfield is Ellsbury, Cameron, and Drew. Pretty sick. Tell me a better defensive outfield? I think the only team that is in the same class is KC(Gasp!) with Ankeil, Posednik, and DeJesus. Fast outfield. Anyways, we have a good defense basicly beacuse Theo could not find another excuse to have a lackluster offense.
Bench: Solid bench. You got Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, V-Tek, and either a guy like Josh Reddick, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, or Aaron Bates. That is, unless another Nick Green type magicaly appears again. Hermida is a decent offensive player. He has some wheels and could be a good pinch running guy. He has a little pop. He was a Marlins top prospect for a while but has not really panned ouy yet. Theo was just taking a chance on some player with potential. Hall is what he is. Good defensivly(Shocker) with no bat. You all know about V-Tek. Can’t hit in the second half. look for V-Tek to have a somewhat of a bounce-back year in a limited role. He has hit well in the first half the last two years. And he may have to be Beckett’s personal catcher.
Bullpen: Who is in this bullpen? Papelbon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz, the other Rameriz, Shouse, Atchison, Dustin Richardson, Fernando Cabrera, Boof. Meh. I like the top three. That’s about it. I wanted to see the Sox go out and sign either Darren Oliver or Mike Gonzalez, but that never happened. I kinda like Richardson. He dominated the AFL this season. Strikeout lefty. Casey Kelly could be up this year, but I doubt he would be ready to contribute. Shouse is no good. I have no clue who Atchison is. Rameriz is what he is. Delcarmen sucks. I never thought Boof was anything. So yeah, maybe improve the pen a bit. And when I say improve I do not mean Mike Timlin, who is looking for a major league job still.
Triple A: The Pawsox may have better players than last year, where they where awful. The Pawsox finished in fourth in their divison and offered no real MLB ready players. That should change this year, as a lot of prospects shoukd be ready for triple A. Here are some: Micheal Bowdon, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, Josh Reddick, Travis Denker, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Aaron Bates, Ramon A. Rameriz, Bubba Bell, Darnelle MacDonald, Jeff Natle, Mark Wagner, Zach Daeges, Randor Beird, TJ Large, Kason Gabbard. Decent triple A roster. Bowdon has seen the big leagues, I honestly don’t think he is anything special. Sanchez is a terrific defensive player. Velezquez is the last minute, desprate, there is absolutly no one else in the world who can help, utility player. I like Reddick, but he’s not major league ready. Denker is a career minor leaguer. Lars is the second most overrated prospect in the system to Bowdon. I have a stupid man-crush on Aaron Bates although he hit around the medoza line in triple A last year. I don’t know anything about the other Rameriz, Bubba Bell did well in triple A last year. MacDonald can run, but that’s it. Natle is a 1B-DH type. Wagner is a catcher who should be on the MLB roster beacuse he can throw out base runners. The only thing I know about Daeges is he killed the ball in Spring Training and I never heard of him again. We got Beird for David Pauly, enough said there. TJ Large had an ERA over 6.00 last year, and Gabbard saved us from trading Lester to Texas for Eric Gagne.
Lower-leval prospects: You probally know most of the names. Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Reymond Fuentes, Ryan Westmorland, Ryan Kalish, and Dustin Richardson. Some of these guys may be September callups, the most likley being Kalish. I feel these are the players to watch in the minor leagues next year. Alex Wilson is not really known like Kelly or Kalish, but I feel he has a bright future in the majors. He is a righty, and was the Red sox second round pick last year. He is often compared to AL rookie of the eyar Andrew Bailey. His one down swing, he had tommy John surgery two years ago. Has a hard fastball and his out-pitch is his slider. He spent last year with Lowell and I would be surprised to see him with Salem or Greenville next year.
Reddick was drafted in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. He’s a good contact hitter with a quick bat and good power.
Has a nice upper-cut swing. Creates good lift on the ball with contact.
Aggresive hitter, needs to improve plate discpline.
In the field he has good range, a good arm and outstanding accurucy. Great hustle. Can play all three outfields, but most scouts see him as a CF.
Other Notes: Has 65 days of MLB service time.
Next prospect in series: Ryan Kalish