Sunday, June 29, 2014

Red Sox @ Yankees Sunday Night Baseball Live Chat

Join the Maineiacs for a Sunday Night Baseball live chat!
Live Blog Red Sox @ Yankees Sunday Night Baseball Live Chat

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Sox Draft Recap

With about a month to go before the signing deadline (July 18) for this year's draftees, let's take a look a some of the players taken  by the Red Sox.

The first ten picks for Boston were:

Round One        Michael Chavis, INF  Sprayberry HS Marietta, GA
Round One-A    Michael  Kopech, Mt. Pleasant HS, Texas
Round Two       Sam Travis, 1B  Indiana Univ.
Round Three     Jake Cosart, RHP Seminole State JC (FL)
Round Four       Kevin McAvoy, RHP  Bryant University
Round Five       Josh Ockimey, 1B  Neumann-Goretti HS Philadelphia
Round Six         Danny Mars, OF  Chipola JC (FL)
Round Seven     Reed Reilly, RHP  Cal Poly
Round Eight      Ben Moore, C   Univ. of Alabama
Round Nine       Kevin Steen, RHP  Oak Ridge HS (TN)

Here are some notes on these draftees, plus some info on other interesting picks made later in the draft.

Chavis-  The Georgia HS product was considered by most to be the second best high school hitter in the draft (after Alex Jackson, who went sixth overall to Seattle).  He was not expected to still be on the board at 26 for Boston.  Due to his sub six foot height and the intense way he plays the game, he is often compared to Dustin Pedroia.  Chavis has signed for the slot value at #26: $1,870,500.

Kopech-  One of the hardest throwing HS pitchers to ever come out of Texas, Kopech lights up the guns at around 97 mph.  His stock was rising rapidly in the days before the draft, and there was some speculation the Red Sox might need to take him at 26 if they really wanted him.  But he was still on the board at #33, where the Sox snagged him.  Kopech has signed for slightly under his slot value: $1.5M. He has been assigned to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

Travis- At #67 overall, Sam Travis maybe one of the best picks of this draft.  He was acknowledged to have one of the best power bats in the entire draft, but was considered to be a notch below guys like Casey Gillaspie, AJ Reed, and Derek Fisher.  He very likely will be a first baseman only, this also lowered his draft value.  But at least one scout's opinion (not a Boston scout) that I recently read compares Travis in size, approach, and power to Jeff Bagwell! Travis signed for his slot value of $848, 800 and has been assigned to Lowell.

Cosart- Jake has not yet officially signed, but several tweets on Cosart's own account imply that a deal is near. He is the brother of Astros pitcher Jared Cosart.  Cosart throws his fastball at 98, and is an interesting prospect due to low mileage on his pitching arm.  He began his college career at Duke as an outfielder, then transferred to a JUCO school and switched to pitching.

McAvoy- The New England college product has, somewhat surprisingly, not signed yet.  Despite strong numbers at Bryant, it was widely expected McAvoy was over drafted here to be a below slot signee, saving money for players down the draft.  McAvoy is still expected to sign before the deadline.

Ockimey- Another interesting pick that is an attempt to bring more power hitters into the system.  Josh was not highly rated by the draft publications, some having him out of the their top 500.  But the Red Sox had him in for a private workout in the weeks before the draft, and were very impressed and took him at #164 overall, not wanting to wait and have another club grab him.  His Philadelphia roots may have something to do with this comparison, but some scouts have likened Ockimey to a young Ryan Howard.  The Sox signed him away from a commitment to Indiana Univ. by signing him for $450,000, $161,000 over slot value.

Mars- A blazing fast outfielder, who has signed for the slot value of $211,800, should bring some speed to the system, and has the potential to be a leadoff hitter.  Mars has been assigned to Lowell.

Reilly- He has been a relief pitcher in college, and some scouts feel Reilly could move to the majors quickly in that role.  He is unsigned currently.

Moore-  An outfielder in the SEC, the Sox drafted him as and plan to play him at catcher.  He has signed for the slot value of $152,700.

Steen- The HS righty may be the least likely to sign of these first ten picks. Probably would take an over slot deal, and Boston has all ready handed out at least two of those.

Now a few other names taken down the draft that are still possible strong prospects for the Red Sox.

Round Eleven, #344 Karsten Whitson, RHP Univ. of Florida.  Whitson has the most interesting back story and could be the best pick to come out of this draft class for Boston.  The son of former big league pitcher Ed Whitson was picked out of high school by the Padres in the 2010 draft in the first round, number nine overall.  The Padres offered Karsten $2.1 million and his people held out for $2.7M.  In the end Whitson turned down the multi million dollar offer and went to the Univ. of Florida to pitch college ball.  Whitson had an outstanding freshman season at Florida and was in the midst of another strong campaign as a soph went shoulder issues cropped up. He missed the entire 2013 season after surgery, and only came back this year as a senior at Florida.  It was late this season before Whitson's velocity got back to 96. His coach at Florida right before the draft commented on how Whitson was finally rounding back into his old self, and he felt whoever picked Whitson would get " the steal of the draft".  Whitson's signing was announced on June 21.  He signed for $100,000...two million less than he turned down four years ago.

Round Fifteen, #464 Trenton Kemp, OF Buchanan HS Clovis, CA.  Kemp fell this far in the draft due to a strong commitment to play baseball and football at Fresno State.  His football position is wide receiver, in which his plus-plus speed is put to use.  This speed along with right handed power had Kemp rated at #111 on the rankings.  He was expected to be a very difficult sign, but only days after the draft, Kemp agreed to a $250,000 contract with Boston, $150,000 over the slot (all picks after round ten have a $100,000 slot value and only the amount over $100,000 counts towards a team's draft budget.)Kemp was called maybe the best athlete in the whole draft by, making Kemp the quintessential high risk high reward prospect.  It also makes Trenton Kemp a name to watch.

Round Eighteen, #554 Jordan Betts, 3B Duke.  If nothing else the Red Sox should being drafting any player available named Betts.  This Betts has signed and is playing for the Lowell Spinners, where he has hit a pair of home runs in the early going of the New York Penn League.

Rounds Nineteen and Twenty, #584 and #614  Tyler Hill, OF Delaware Military Acad. Wilmington, DE and Devon Fisher, C Western Branch HS Chesapeake, VA.  A pair of high schoolers who like Kemp fell due to expectations of being tough signs ( especially Fisher who college signing was with home state and college baseball power, Univ. of Virginia).  They have both signed with the Red Sox.  Fisher was ranked #197 by Hill is another raw, athletic, speedy outfielder.

Round 29, # 884 Josh Pennington, RHP Lower Cape May HS Cape May, NJ  Pennington had a commitment to St. John's but decided to go pro.  The reason was Pennington needs Tommy John surgery.  He has signed this past week with the Sox and had the TJ procedure the next day.  It may be 2016 before this northeast high school pitcher begins his pro career.

Round 36, #1154 Brandon Show RHP Univ. of San Diego  Show at this point is the lowest draftee in this class to sign and has been assigned to Lowell.  In round 39 the Sox took a high school SS from Washington state who has announced he is going to college and in the next to last pick of the entire draft, in round 40 the Sox selected college catcher, Joe Winterburn from UC Santa Barbara, who has not signed at this point.

As of June 22, the Red Sox have signed 24 of their 41 picks.  Several more should come aboard before the deadline of July 18.

Expect to see a name or three from these draftees on the July edition of the RSM Red Sox Top Twenty Prospects.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Make or Break Road Trip for Red Sox??

Tonight the Red Sox commence a ten game road trip that starts on the West Coast for seven games and then a three game stop at Yankee Stadium before returning home.  So far in 2014 the Red Sox are 14-19 on the road,  .424 winning percentage.

If the Sox finish the trip around 5-5, then they may come home in the same condition as today.  But if they could reel off a 8-2 trip or so ( they need a 7-3 to get back to .500, at 34-38 currently), the trip could be a "make it" trip that closes the gap in the AL East and wild card races.  But a poor trip in the vicinity of 2-8 ( or god help us, worse) might seal the deal for 2014 before July.

Let's take a look at what lies ahead for the Sox.  The trip begins without an off day in Oakland to begin a four games set.  The A's will throw Scott Kazmir, 8-2 with a ERA of 2.05, on Thursday with Jesse Chavez and his 2.93 ERA in game two.  In fact Oakland has the best ERA in the AL  at 3.03.  The second stop on the trip is Seattle for three, and the Mariners are second in the AL ERA race at 3.29. And Felix Hernandez is lined up to pitch the first game ( versus John Lackey which may be a gem). For what it is worth the Red Sox are third in AL ERA at 3.62.  This may be one weapon for the Sox to compete.  But it will be imperative for the Red Sox offense to come to life or these two top staffs could hurt the Red Sox badly.  Oakland has the best record in baseball, but on the first weekend in May at Fenway, the Red Sox nearly swept Oakland, with 7-1 and 6-3 wins followed by a tough 3-2 ten inning loss to the A's.  Boston has yet to play Seattle this season.

The offensive spark must come from the veteran heart of the order: Pedroia, Papi, and Napoli.  A renewed hot streak from Xander Bogaerts would help as would players like Drew and Victorino shaking of the rust and pitching in.

On the 26th, Boston will have a day off as they fly to New York. This off day ends a stretch from May 20 through June 25 with only one day off (June 5).  Will this fatigue also be an obstacle to overcome on this trip?  Part of the reason the Red Sox are lagging  3 or 4 games behind the Yankees and Orioles for second is the Sox record versus New York back in April: 2-5.  Masahiro Tanaka likely looms in one of the games.

While the Red Sox are on this trip the other AL East teams play a number of games within the division.   The Yanks play four with Toronto and three with Baltimore before welcoming Boston: all AL East games for NewYork. The Orioles play three with the Rays and three with the White Sox.  The front running Jays play in New York tonight, then go to Cincy for three this weekend, before heading home to play three more with the Yankees and host the Chisox for four.  In other words, if the Sox can reel off a streak versus Oakland and Seattle, they will gain on at least one team in the AL East each night.

If the needle points strongly in one direction or the other on this trip, we may not only get an answer on any hope of the Red Sox 2014 playoff appearance, but some light may very well be shed on Ben Cherington's road map for the July 31 trade deadline.  When the Red Sox finally return to play at Fenway Park( against the Cubs) it will be the last day of June, and one game over the half way mark, 80 games to play.

If the Red Sox happen to have a great trip and are coming home to a nine game home stand ( both Chicago teams and Orioles), with a  three game set in Houston that will bring the team to the All Star break and up to July 18 on the calendar, then Ben will shop the market looking for a bat or two and likely another arm ( you can never have enough).

But if the Sox have a "break it "trip, Ben can put out the for sale signs and see what he can acquire for next year and beyond for the likes of Jake Peavy, AJ Pierzynski, Jonny Gomes, and maybe even Stephen Drew or if healthy, Shane Victorino.  Also any of the Sox bullpen arms would be attractive to a contender.  Or maybe even trade a bigger name...we will wait for July to discuss that subject.

Red Sox Nation hopes the Sox will not reach June 30 all ready out of the race, but this trip can potentially decide that question.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Oh Brother" All-Stars

RSM brings you another Red Sox themed All Time All Star team.  The " Oh, Brother" All Stars roster is not populated by only Red Sox stars (although there are most certainly some Red Sox on the team). The common thread to this team is that each and every player on this team had a brother who played for the Red Sox.  The reason some Red Sox players qualify is that they AND their brother played at one time or another for Boston.  In most cases we have tried to use just one of the brothers on our team, but two pairs of brothers are included due to the high level of ability by each brother.

This team has an outstanding roster including five Hall of Famers (plus two more who are locks when eligible), the non-Hall of Famers include two former American League MVP's, a National League Rookie of the Year, an all time AL home run record holder, an entire rotation of starters who each won twenty games in at least one season( one had two 25 win seasons), a closer who had over 600 career saves, and some other surprises.  The team listed after the player's name is the team they are most known to play for, if there are multiple teams.  Their Red Sox brother is in brackets.

Here are the "Oh, Brother" All Stars:

Catcher: Bill Dickey, Yankees {George}.  Bill Dickey, one of the  Hall of Famers on our team played  only for the Yankees in his career from 1928 to 1943, and a handful of games in 1946 ( as a player-manager after Joe McCarthy was fired in mid-season).  The stellar defensive catcher had a career batting average of .313 with 202 home runs.  Dickey played in eight World Series with the Bronx Bombers, seven of which were victorious. Dickey was named to eleven AL All Star teams including the first one ever in 1933 (although Dickey did not get into the game). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954.

George Dickey was also a catcher.  At ages 19 and 20, he played for the Red Sox in 1935 and 1936. He played a total of fifteen games of the Red Sox, and batted 34 times with one hit, a double, for a lifetime Red Sox BA of .043.  George caught another 221 games in the 1940's for the White Sox.

Catcher: Rick Ferrell, Red Sox {Wes}.  When you have two Hall of Fame catchers who qualify for the team, you list them both.  Ferrell played in the American League from 1929-1947 for the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators ( he had two stops for each of these teams), and the Red Sox.  Rick had a career BA of .281 with 28 home runs.  Ferrell caught over 1800 games which was the AL record for forty years until Carlton Fisk surpassed him in 1988. Ferrell came to Boston in 1933, Tom Yawkey's first year as owner, in a trade with the Browns which largely involved a pile of Yawkey's cash going to St. Louis.  Rick Ferrell, as did Bill Dickey, made the first ever AL All Star team in his maiden Boston campaign.  Ferrell played the entire game while fellow future Hall of Fame catchers, Dickey and Mickey Cochrane sat on the bench.  In June 1937, Ferrell was traded to Washington( along with his brother, Wes) in a deal that brought to Boston outfielder Ben Chapman.  Chapman is portrayed (very accurately) in the Jackie Robinson movie, 42, as the vile, racist manager of the Phillies. Ferrell was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's committee in 1984.

Wes Ferrell is also a member of this team, and we will meet him later on.

First Baseman: Jason Giambi, A's {Jeremy} Giambi began his career with Oakland in 1995 and is still active with the Indians.  He left the A's to sign a big money free agent deal with the Yankees, and since that deal has played for the A's again and the Rockies before acting as an unofficial player-coach for Terry Francona's Cleveland squad.  Giambi earned the 2000 AL MVP trophy by producing a line of 43 homers, 137 RBI, with a .333 BA, and an incredible .476 OBP. His career numbers so far are .277 BA, .400 OBP with 439 home runs.

Jeremy Giambi played the Royals (beginning in 1998), A's, and Phillies before joining Boston as a free agent before the 2003 season.  Giambi and David Ortiz, a fellow free agent signee from the Twins, were brought in to basically compete for one job.  Fortunately for Boston, even though Giambi was considered the front runner, he struggled and Ortiz took the DH job and the rest is history (that is still being written).  In 2003, Giambi played fifty games for Boston with 156 AB's.  His line was 5-15-.197 ( although his career BA was .263).  Boston released Giambi in November 2003, and despite signing free agent deals with the Dodgers for 2004 and the White Sox in 2005, Jeremy Giambi never played in the majors again after leaving Boston.

Second Baseman: Steve Sax, Dodgers {Dave}.  Sax played from 1981-1994, mostly with the Dodgers and Yankees. He played the last three years of his career for the White Sox and Oakland.  Sax was the 1982 Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers.  He played on two World Championship teams in Los Angeles, his first and last years with them, 1981 and 1988.  After 1988, Sax signed a big ( 3.75 million, 3 year) free agent deal with the Yankees.  Despite being a five time All Star, with a career BA of .281 and amassing 1949 hits and 444 stolen bases, Sax is remembered by many as one of the few major leaguers who for an extended period of time lost the ability to make simple throws, in his case from his second base position to first.  Eventually, Sax overcame the issue and continued to play.

Dave Sax was a catcher-outfielder.  After playing a handful of games for the Dodgers in 1982-83, Sax returned to the minors until he resurfaced in Boston, playing a total of 28 games between 1985 through 1987.  Dave Sax went 16 for 57 for the Red Sox, and never played again in the majors after 1987.

Shortstop: Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks {JD}.  Of course, no one in Boston will ever think of Drew as anyone other than the starting shortstop for the 2013 World Champion  Red Sox.  But Drew played from 2006 through the last month of 2012 with Arizona.  He had 776 hits for the Snakes, with an even 300 extra base hits.  Drew, in his first year with Boston, had a similar percentage of extra base knocks for Boston, with 50 of his 112 hits for extras.  Drew is the only active player on this team, with the exception of the nearly at the end of the road, Jason Giambi.  Drew, of course, recently re-signed with Boston after sitting out as a free agent all of last winter into May.  The debate is still raging in Red Sox Nation, if this was a prudent move or should the Sox have stayed with rookie phenom, Xander Bogaerts at shortstop.

JD Drew, an outfielder played in the National League from 1998 to 2006.  JD joined the Red Sox as a free agent before the 2007 and played in Boston through 2011.  JD was never a fan favorite, due largely to his outwardly indifferent manner.  But JD was a member of  the 2007 World Series winning Sox team, with his grand slam in the playoffs versus Cleveland a key blow.  JD was also the 2008 All Star Game MVP.  He quietly retired after his free agent deal expired with Boston, with a career BA of .278 (.264 in Boson with 80 home runs).

Third Baseman: George Brett, Royals {Ken}.  Brett is in the running for the very best player on this team.  After being drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 1971, two years later, Brett was in the big leagues and played his entire career with the Royals until 1993.  Brett, who was the 1980 AL MVP, finished his career with 3,154 hits. 317 home runs, and a BA of .305 and an OBP of .369.  In his 1980 MVP season, Brett hit .390, the closest any American Leaguer has come to .400 since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941(National Leaguer, Tony Gwynn hit .394 in 1994, a strike shortened season). Brett appeared in seven post seasons with the Royals including the 1980 (loss to Phillies) and 1985(seven game win over cross state Cardinals) World Series.  Brett, a thirteen time All Star, was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 98.2% of the vote in 1999.

Ken Brett was drafted by the Red Sox as a pitcher with the fourth overall pick in the 1966 draft.  One year later, after he turned 19 on September 18, 1967, Ken Brett appeared in the 1967 World Series for the Impossible Dream Red Sox.  He pitched in two games for  1 1/3 innings in the Series, after being added to the World Series roster to replace injured, fellow rookie, Sparky Lyle.  Brett is still the youngest pitcher to ever appear in a World Series game.

After the cameo in 1967, Brett next pitched for Boston in 1969, and started a total of 24 games and relieved in 54 more through the 1971 season.  That winter Brett was traded to Milwaukee, which began a journey that lead him to pitch for nine different teams.  Ken Brett had a lifetime batting average of .262 with ten home runs.  Many people, including his brother George, insisted Ken was the best hitter in the Brett clan.  Ken Brett (nicknamed Kemer) died in 2003 at age 55 of brain cancer.

Left Fielder: Indian Bob Johnson, Philadelphia A's {Roy} Even though his older brother Roy played more years for the Red Sox, Bob Johnson played the last two years of his career in Boston in 1944-45. His career began in 1933 with Connie Mack's A's where  he played until joining the Senators in 1942.  If you put together a team of baseball's great players who are largely (totally??) forgotten today, Johnson would be on it.  He played 1,863 big league games and he had 288 home runs, 1283 RBI, .296 BA, and .393 OBP.  Of course, no one knew what the hell OBP was in the 1930's and 40's, and furthermore did not give a damn about it.  If they had, Johnson would have been held in much higher regard.  In addition to his other impressive numbers, Indian Bob (so named because he and his brother were born in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma) had 396 doubles and 96 triples in his career.  Johnson hit between 21 to 34 homers in each of his first nine seasons.  Despite his strong overall statistics, Bob Johnson never lead the AL in any single season offensive category (except for OBP and OPS in 1944, which as we mentioned no one knew).

Roy Johnson, two years older than Bob, played for Boston for 3 1/2 seasons from mid-1932 through 1935.  He played all three outfield spots during his Red Sox years, and hit .313 with 31 home runs for the Sox.  His entire career spanned from 1929-1938.

Center Fielder: Joe DiMaggio, Yankees {Dom}The other non-pitcher to compete with George Brett as best player on this roster, and the fourth Hall Of Fame member.  Joe D is of course known for his famous 1941 56 game hitting streak, which ended on July 17th versus Cleveland.  Indians third baseman, Ken Keltner made diving stops on drives down the line in the first and seventh innings just nipping DiMaggio at first each time. DiMaggio did walk in the game, and went on to extend his on base streak to 74 games.  Amazingly the 56 gamer was not the longest of his pro baseball career.  In 1933, while playing for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, DiMaggio hit in 61 consecutive games.  The closest anyone has come to 56 since 1941 is Pete Rose who made it to 44 in 1978.

In the first couple of decades Hall of Fame voting eligibility varied from the first class in 1933.  But a little known and amazing fact is Joe DiMaggio was not elected to the Hall of Fame until his third year on the ballot, in 1955.  In 1953 his first year, Joe actually got only 44.32% of the vote.

Dom DiMaggio, "who's better than his brother Joe....Dominic DiMaggio" when a Boston ditty in the 1940's.  Dom played centerfield for the Sox from 1940 to 1942, and again after World War II, from 1946 until his retirement in 1953. Dom, who has been immortalized by David Halberstam in his book  The Teammates (Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom) never played for any other major league team.

Dom has a hitting streak record of his own.  Dom holds the Red Sox team record with a 34 game hitting streak in 1949.  Only two other Red Sox hitters have ever made it to 30, Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 and Tris Speaker in 1912 each had an even 30.  Dom is also tied for the sixth longest Sox streak at 27 in 1951.   He is tied with Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.  Johnny Damon at 29 and Wade Boggs at 28 are the other top eight all time Sox streaks.

Right Fielder: Tony Conigliaro, Red Sox {Billy}.  Perhaps the most colorful, yet tragic figure in Red Sox history.  In 1964, Tony C a local Boston kid, started in right field for the Red Sox on Opening Day at age 19.  He completed his initial campaign with 24 home runs while batting .290. He lost out on Rookie of the Year to another Tony, Oliva of the Twins who was the AL batting average leader. In 1965 as a twenty year old Tony C lead the American League in home runs with 32.  By 1967, at age 22,  Conig became the youngest AL batter to reach 100 home runs. It is often erroneously reported Conigliaro was the youngest major leaguer to reach 100, however Hall of Famer, Mel Ott, of the New York Giants reached 100 in the 1930's at age 22 Years 132 days.  Conigliaro was 22 Years 197 days old when he did it.

In August 1967, during the Impossible Dream Red Sox pennant winning season, Tony C took a Jack Hamilton pitch directly in his face, discoloring and shutting his left eye.  His season was over and he missed all of 1968 as well. By 1969, his vision had improved enough (although not as much as he claimed) to rejoin the Sox and he hit 20 home runs in his comeback. In 1970 Conigliaro had his best offensive year ever--36 homers, 116 RBI, but  stunningly( although perhaps the Sox knew of Tony's real eye situation), Boston traded its still young star to the Angels on October 11, 1970.  The Sox traded Tony C, pitcher Ray Jarvis, and catcher Gerry Moses for second baseman Doug Griffin, closer Ken Tatum, and outfielder Jarvis Tatum (amazingly not only the  trade of the beloved Tony C, but the two teams managed to include every MLB player named either Jarvis or Tatum--or both-- in one deal.)

Again, his career took a careening turn, Tony C only played 74 games in 1971 for the Angels, before his eyesight issues fully returned and ending his ability to hit.  Tony C retired, but in 1975 he made one last comeback attempt, this time back in Boston.  He went to spring training in 1975 on a try out basis, and after a strong camp, he made the team.  On Opening Day, Tony C was the starting DH for Boston. Incidentally, the opposing DH on Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers, in his first American League game was home run champion, Hank Aaron.  But the comeback was not to be, in 21 games Tony C hit only .123 with two home runs.  This time he retired for good.

After his playing days, Tony C became a sportscaster first in Rhode Island, then San Francisco. On January 3, 1982, Conigliaro flew back to Boston for an interview with Channel 38 for a Red Sox telecast job. While his brother Billy was driving him to Logan Airport, Tony suffered a massive heart attack.  When they arrived at the hospital, Tony had lapsed into a coma and suffered permanent brain damage.  For eight years, Tony remained in a comatose state, until February 1990,  at age 45, he died.

Billy Conigliaro, also an outfielder, was the first player ever drafted by the Red Sox in 1965, when baseball's amateur draft began.  In 1969, at age 21, Billy C joined the Red Sox and played with them through 1971. In 247 games, Billy C hit .269 with 33 home runs for Boston. After the 1971 season, Billy C was dealt to Milwaukee in a ten player trade. In 1973, Billy was sold to Oakland, and played for the A's in the 1973 World Series (something Tony C was never able to do despite being a member of the only two Boston teams to win a pennant from 1947 to 1985).  Billy C was 0 for 3 in the 1973 Fall Classic.  Oakland released Billy at the end of the 1974 spring training and he retired at age 25 and never played again.

Designated Hitter; George Bell, Blue Jays {Juan} A fearsome hitter and personality, Bell played from 1981 to 1993 with the Toronto Blue Jays and both Chicago teams.  The Jays grabbed Bell From Philadelphia in the Rule Five draft, one of the best players ever acquired in the draft of unprotected minor leaguers.  Bell's best season was 1987 when he hit 47 home runs with 134 RBI and had a BA of .308.  He was selected as the AL MVP that year.  He left the Jays after the 1990 season to join the Cubs as a free agent, leaving the Jays before their back to back World Series titles of 1992-93.  After just one season at Wrigley, the Cubs traded Bell cross town to the White Sox for a couple of kids, one of which was Sammy Sosa.  Bell retired with a career line of 265 HR-1002 RBI-.278 BA.

Juan Bell was one of a raft of free agents brought in to Boston before or during the 1995 season by GM Dan Duquette.  Juan had played for Orioles, Phillies, Brewers, and Expos before 1995. For the Red Sox, Juan Bell hit .154 in 17 games and 29 plate appearances.  He played second, third, and shortstop.
1995 with Boston was the end of Juan Bell's big league career.  His last pro baseball experience was in 1997 when he played in the Taiwanese League.

Starting Pitcher: Pedro Martinez, Red Sox {Ramon} The greatest pitcher in Boston Red Sox history, with only Cy Young and Roger Clemens even in the conversation.  His career spanned from 1992 as a twenty year old with the Dodgers until 2008 at age 37 with Philadelphia (where he ended his career by starting two World Series games versus the Yankees).  But despite the fact he also pitched for the Expos (where he won the 1997 Cy Young Award) and the Mets (leaving Boston after the magical 2004 season as a free agent), Pedro will always be remembered for the Boston years.  The seasons of 1999 and 2000 could be the best back to back years ever compiled for any pitcher when compared to his own peers.  In 1999 Pedro was 23-4 in 29 games started( 213 Innings Pitched) with 313 strikeouts.  Pedro's ERA was 2.07 the AL average ERA that year was 4.86(4.70 for all of MLB).  In 2000 Pedro came back with 29 more games started( 217 IP) and a W-L record of 18-6 with 284 K's. The 2000 AL ERA average was 4.91, Pedro's ERA ( in the middle of the Steroid Era) was 1.74!

In addition to his 23 win season in 1999, Pedro won 20 games in 2002.  Martinez won three Cy Young  Awards (97 NL, 99&00 AL), he lead his league in ERA five times and strikeouts three times. His final career ERA was 2.93.  His will be an absolute lock to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame next year in his first year of eligibility.

Pedro's brother Ramon is also on this team and we will hear his story further down the rotation.

Starting Pitcher: Greg Maddux, Braves {Mike}. The pitching on this team is so strong it is possible that Pedro is only the second best pitcher on it.  Greg Maddux is a member  of this year's Hall of Fame class that will be inducted next month.  His career spanned from 1986 to 2008, from a 20 year old with the Cubs to an ending as a 42 year old with the Dodgers.  Maddux compiled 355 wins, the eighth highest total of all time.  The only pitcher ahead of Maddux who pitched after World War II ( in most cases after World War I) was Warren Spahn who retired in 1965 with 363.  The most amazing thing about his 355 wins is in 1992 Maddux won 20 games for the Cubs (while winning the first of four consecutive NL Cy Youngs)...he never had another 20 win season again! But since 20 is an arbitrary number it must be pointed out Maddux had five 19 win seasons. Maddux won four ERA titles and retired after starting 740 big league games( and four relief stints) with a career ERA of 3.16.

Mike Maddux unlike his younger brother was a journeyman big league pitcher.  From 1986 to 2000 Mike pitched for nine teams.  His stint in Boston was in 1995-96, which began when the Pirates released him in May 1995, and Dan Duquette scooped him up.  He appeared in 59 games, making eleven starts, and went 7-3.  He appeared in the 1995 ALDS versus Cleveland.  In his post-playing days Maddux has made a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches in the game.

Starting Pitcher: Wes Ferrell, Red Sox {Rick}. Wes Ferrell pitched from 1927 to 1937 for six different teams( including the Boston Braves as his last stop--the only starting player on this team to play for the "other" Boston team) , but his starring years were from 1927 to 1933 with Cleveland and 1934 to 1937 for Boston, after Tom Yawkey acquired Wes to form a battery with his brother Rick.  Ferrell won 20 games in six different seasons, and twice he had 25 win years: for the 1930 Indians and in 1935 he went 25-14 for the Sox. Despite a career ERA of 4.04, Wes won 193 games.

Wes Ferrell was known for one other thing he was considered to be the greatest hitting pitcher of all time ( not counting guys who switched to hitting full time, hello Babe Ruth). Ferrell finished his career with a batting average of .280 and an OBP of .351.  Wes hit 38 home runs, 57 doubles, and a dozen triples.

Starting Pitcher: Ramon Martinez, Dodgers  {Pedro}.  Ramon had a much more brief Boston stay than younger brother Pedro.  Ramon spent the 1999 and 2000 campaigns with Boston, and is it a coincidence that those same two years were Pedro's greatest years?  Ramon was not healthy in '99, but in 2000 he started 27 games.  His combined Boston stats were 12-9 with a 5.70 ERA.  Ramon's entire pre-Boston career was spent in LA from 1988 to 1998 with the Dodgers.  In 1990 at age 22, Ramon was 20-6 with a 2.92 ERA, that was his only 20 win season( and his only All Star selection), but Ramon had two more 17 win seasons for LA and a 15. After leaving the Red Sox, Ramon ended his career by starting four games for the 2001 Pirates.

Closer: Trevor Hoffman, Padres  {Glenn} Other than Mariano Rivera, Hoffman is widely considered the best closer in MLB history( OK, maybe the Eck is in the discussion).  But until Mo broke his mark, Hoffman's 601 saves was the highest total of all time.  The Reds originally drafted Hoffman as a shortstop from the University of Arizona.  After failing as a minor league hitter, the Reds converted Hoffman to relief pitcher.  The Marlins took him in the 1992 expansion draft, and he made his MLB debut with the Fish in 1993. After one year, Hoffman was traded in a big deal to San Diego which sent Gary Sheffield to Florida. Trevor settled in as Padre closer all the way through 2008.  He then finished his career with two years in Milwaukee.  His best season was 1998 with 53 saves which led him to a second place finish in the NL Cy Young balloting.  Hoffman is another sure Hall of Famer when his eligibility arrives.

Glenn Hoffman was a shortstop drafted in the second round of the 1976 draft by Boston.  By 1980 Glenn was playing for the Red Sox and was a big time prospect intended to replace Rick Burleson. Although Glenn played for the Sox until 1987, he never fulfilled his promise.  He finished his playing career with the Dodgers and Angels through 1989.  He has stayed in the game as a coach and minor league manager, and in 1998 was the interim manager of the Dodgers, but was not hired as the full time skipper.  In November 2003, Hoffman was one of the finalist for the Red Sox manager's job that went to Terry Francona.

Trevor and Glenn's dad, Ed Hoffman, was a long time usher at Anaheim Stadium for Angles games, and he often sang the national anthem before games.

Defensive back: Cornell Green, Dallas Cowboys { Pumpsie}  Cornell Green was a basketball All-American at Utah State in 1960-61.  He never played a single down of college football.  But the Cowboys, acting on a tip from his Utah State hoops coach, gave him a tryout at cornerback.  Green went on to play every single Cowboys game from 1962 through 1974.  In the last year or so of his career he moved to safety but did not miss a game.  Green was a five time Pro Bowler and played in two Super Bows for Dallas.  Green stayed in the game for many years as a scout first for Dallas and thn mostly for the Denver Broncos.

Pumpsie Green, of course is one of the most famous names in Red Sox history.  This of course has nothing to do with the infielder's play, but it is because he was the first African-American player for the Red Sox in 1959.  To their shame, the Red Sox were the last of the sixteen teams at that time to integrate. What is really lost in history is that only one week after Green joined the Sox another African-Amerian, pitcher Earl Wilson was added as well.  Unlike Green, whose real first name is Elijah, Wilson had an outstanding career throughout the 1960's with Boston and Detroit.
Green played with Boston through 1962 hitting .244 with playing second base and shortstop.  Boston traded Pumpsie to New York, where he ended his career under Casey Stengel's Amazin' Mets.

Running Back: Craig James, New England Patriots  {Chris}. James first hit the national scene while in college at SMU where he teamed in the backfield with Eric Dickerson.  Before the NFL draft occurred in 1983, James (whose real first name is Jesse) signed withe upstart USFL's Washington Federals.  The Patriots took James in the NFL draft anyway in the seventh round.  As the USFL crumbled, James joined New England in 1984.  The Patriots were the only NFL team James played for  from 1984-88.  He made the 1985 Pro Bowl and played in Super Bowl XX for the Pats versus the Bears.  His post playing days have been centered around a broadcasting career which has included controversy sparked by James' conservative and outspoken political views.

Chris James was a third baseman and outfielder who played for eight different MLB teams.  The Red Sox acquired James on August 14, 1995 in a deal with Kansas City which sent Wes Chamberlain to the Royals.  James had only 27 plate appearances in sixteen games, hitting .167.  1995 was the end of his MLB career.

Manager: Dick Sisler, Reds {Dave}. Dick Sisler was a decent hitting NL first baseman/outfielder from 1946-1953 with the Cards, Phillies, and Reds.  He managed the Reds for part of 1964 and all of 1965.  He was 121-94 overall, and 89-73 in fourth place in his only full season.

Dave Sisler pitched in the big leagues from 1956 to 1962, and for Boston from 1956 to early 1959.  His Red Sox won-lost record was 38-44 with a 4.79 ERA.

But the real name is the Sisler family was Dave and Dick's dad George.  George Sisler is considered  one of the greatest batters of all time.  He played from 1915 to 1930  for the St. Louis Browns.  His lifetime batting average was .340. Sisler batted over .400 in two different seasons .407 in 1920 and .420 in 1922.  George Sisler of course is in the Hall of Fame.

Bench: Marty Barrett, Red Sox  {Tommy}
             Bob Aspromonte, Houston {Ken}
             Frank Bolling, Braves    {Milt}
             Vince DiMaggio, Braves {Dom}

Marty Barrett was the starting second baseman on the near World Champs 1986 Red Sox. The .278 career hitter played his entire career with the Sox except for 17 games with the Padres in his last year.

Tommy Barrett played 54 MLB games at second base with the Phillies and four games for Boston in 1992.

Bob Aspromonte was a third baseman in the NL  from 1956 to 1971 with his best years in the 1960's starting for the Houston Colt 45s, and then the re-named Astros.

Ken Aspromonte played for six teams and played second base for Boston in 1957-58 for thirty games.

Frank Bolling was a second baseman from 1954-1966, first with the Tigers as starting second sacker until he was traded to the Braves in 1961. He played with the Braves through their first year in Atlanta in 1966.

Milt Bolling was an American League infielder from 1952-58.  He played 400 MLB games, 285 for Boston.  In Red Sox Nation he is better known for being a long time scout and executive, which he did for 30 years.

Vince DiMaggio was the oldest of the three DiMaggio outfielders.  Vince played for five NL teams from 1937-1946, including the Boston Braves in 1937 and 1938. His lifetime BA was .249 with 125 home runs.  Unlike his brothers who were known for rarely striking out, Vince led the NL in whiffing six different seasons.

We hope you enjoyed the latest All Star team offering, check back in a month or so for another Red Sox themed team.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Red Sox Bus Trip Opportunity

If anyone is looking for an inexpensive trip to Fenway to see the Red Sox  here is an upcoming opportunity.

Grace United Methodist Church is sponsoring a bus trip to Fenway to see the Red Sox take on the Minnesota Twins next Wednesday June 18.  The cost is only $135, this price includes a round trip on a Cyr Bus and your ticket to the afternoon game at Fenway.  The bus will leave Dysarts Truck Stop in Hermon at 7 am Wednesday and is scheduled to return around 10 pm.  There are also pick stops in Augusta and South Portland.

For more information and to buy your tickets call 942-8320 or 862-2779.  The seats are in Grandstand 11, rows 13-17.

Time is short so do not wait, tickets are first come basis, so call right away, and enjoy a great weekday game at Fenway park, America's most beloved ballpark.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Red Sox @ Detroit Sunday Night Baseball Live Chat

Come join us for a live chat during tonight's Sunday Night Baseball game in Detroit

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

RSM Red Sox Top 20 Prospects- June Edition (AKA Mookie Goes to #1 and to Pawtucket)

It is time again to rank the top prospects in the Red Sox system.  The same ten players are in our top ten, but as the sub-title hints at there are some changes in order.

As always the number behind the player is their last month's ranking, and the slash line for hitters are HR/RBI/BA/OBP/OPS and for pitchers it is W-L/ERA/K-BB/WHIP.  Let's dive right in.

1. Mookie Betts, 2B-CF, Pawtucket {2}.  Three changes in Mookie's intro line from May.  First, he has moved into the top spot in our list.  Who else could it be?  His line in Portland through May was an incredible 6/34/.362/.448/1.009.  His much heralded on base streak ended in May at 71 games (counting the 5 games in the 2013 Carolina League playoffs).  Mookie's performance in the game that ended the streak actually illustrates his value almost as much as the streak.  He had two RBI on a pair of groundouts. Then in the top of the ninth with the Dogs clinging to a one run lead with the bases loaded, Mookie snagged a line drive with a dive and doubled a runner off second to end the game and effectively end his own streak. The second change in Betts' intro is an additional position.  The day after the streak ended, Betts was moved to center field.  He has played all but three games there since. Obviously, second base in Boston is spoken for by Dustin Pedroia, so this move could be a way to get Mookie to Boston sooner rather than later.  The final change in the intro came today (June 3) when Betts was promoted to AAA.  Betts will make his AAA debut tonight for Pawtucket at Durham.  He is moving back to second base at least for his first games at AAA, likely in an effort to put him in a comfort zone.  By this time next month, we may have a very big clue as to Mookie's ability to play for Boston in 2014.

2. Henry Owens, LHP, Portland {1}  Owens ceded the top spot to Betts but not without a fight to the end.  After a pair of mediocre mid-May starts in which Owens only last four innings in each (although in one Owens allowed no hits) due to wildness which resulted in 11 walks in those two starts.  But Owens turned it around in his final two starts in May. In the next to last start, Owens pitched seven shutout innings allowing four hits and more importantly only one base on balls.  The next time out, Henry basically repeated the performance.  The last May start yielded seven more shutout innings, with only three hits and two walks.  After that game Owens ( 6-3/2.52/68-30/1.10) told the press he was concentrating on pitching more to contact and to keep his pitch count down.  This will be something to watch in Owens and likely his key to a passport to Pawtucket.

3. Blake Swihart, C, Portland {3} Swihart continues to blossom at AA, one key number for Blake is that he has hit five home runs through May.  In his previous three pro seasons, Swihart had nine total, only two in Salem last season.  Many observers feel Swihart is the Red Sox catcher of the future, even with Christian Vazquez ahead of him at AAA.

4. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Pawtucket {4} In late May, Cecchini had slumped some, dropping his BA to .278 with a still strong .354 OBP.  The highlight for Garin since our last ranking came on June 1st.  He was recalled to Boston (in what turned out to be for a single day, before returning to Pawtucket to make  room for Stephen Drew) and garnered his first big league hit, a double off the Green Monster.  Fellow rookie, Alex Hassan, also got his first big league hit in his debut in the same game.  Cecchini and Hassan were to first pair of Sox rookies to debut in the same game since outfielders Jeff McNeely and Greg Blosser in September 1993.  The last pair of Red Sox rookies to both get their first hit in the same game were infielder Steve Dillard and catcher Andy Merchant on September 28, 1975.  I wonder and as of yet have been unable to find out if any pair of Sox rookies have ever got their first hits in the same game excluding games in September( call up month) or April ( new season with possible debuts).  We may have seen a first.

5. Brandon Workman, RHP, Boston {5} As expected Workman was the first Paw Sox starter to be recalled when a Sox starter got hurt ( Doubront).  In no time Workman found himself in the middle of the Rays-Red Sox wars ( yes, David Price I am calling it a war.....didn't they teach you about figures of speech at Vanderbilt?).  Over 2013 and this year, Workman has gone 5+ innings while allowing three or less runs in each of his five starts.  It has been since 1978 when a Sox rookie has done that, Jim Wright in 1978.

6. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP, Boston {9} Rubby jumps up three spots on the list, not only because of his first start for Boston versus those Rays, but that game surely helped. De La Rosa was absolutely dominant, toying with the anemic Ray offense, shutting them out over seven innings, while striking out eight.  I mentioned last month that many scouts felt De La rosa's future was in the pen.  But in a recent ESPN chat, when asked about Rubby, Keith Law responded that he had the stuff to be a number one or two starter, if he could command the strike zone.  With no walks versus Tampa Bay, he certainly showed the needed command.  Can he take the spot in the  Red Sox rotation and run with it??

7. Allen Webster, RHP, Pawtucket {7}  Webster has certainly put up solid numbers at Pawtucket, through May 3-2/2.93/50-26/1.26.  The question now is, can Webster continue at this pace after being bypassed twice for promotion? A hint of how much the Red Sox think of Webster is AFTER De La Rosa's gem, John Farrell told the media it had been a very, very close decision to bring up Rubby instead of Allen Webster.

8. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Pawtucket {8} His line is 5-3/2.90/53-32/1.37 ( the lowest ERA and the most strikeouts of any of the five Paw Sox starters).  But there is no doubt Anthony is number four on the Red Sox pecking order of AAA starters.  In his last 19.1 May innings, Ranaudo allowed only one run.  All he can do is keep putting up those numbers, and force his way to the big leagues.  If not in Boston, he could become a very big trade chip.

9. Matt Barnes, RHP, Pawtucket {6}  Despite Barnes' ability and pedigree when two of your fellow starters are currently in Boston and other two have put up sub 3.00 ERAs you have to rate behind them....for now.

10. Christian Vazquez, C, Pawtucket {10} Vazquez ( if you could somehow play his entire last name on a Scrabble board, you would score a ton!!), continues to show off his cannon-like arm, but the power at the plate, that Christian flashed in big league camp this March, has not materialized.  Vaz has no home runs and only ten RBI.

11. Deven Marrero, SS, Portland {13}  Marrero moves up two spots with his almost nightly highlight reel defensive gem.  His line at the plate of 2/28/.256/.340/.721 would be acceptable if it would translate to the show.  He could be the next Sea Dog to trek to McCoy Stadium.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Red Sox @ Indians Live Chat 6-2-14

Welcome to another Red Sox Maineiacs Live Chat!