Red Sox prospect Tyreque Reed involved in benches-clearing brawl in Portland

Red Sox prospect Tyreque Reed was involved in a benches-clearing brawl between the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston’s Double-A affiliate) and Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets affiliate) at Hadlock Field on Thursday night.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, Reed was hit in the hand by a pitch from Rumble Ponies starter Marcel Renteria. It appeared as though the Sea Dogs designated hitter was prepared to take his base without any sort of confrontation.

While walking to first, though, Reed stopped in his tracks and must have heard something he did not like from Renteria, because the 6-foot-1, 250 pounder promptly charged at and punched the right-hander in the head/face area, causing him to drop to the ground.

As a result of the exchange, both dugouts quickly emptied and hurried onto the field. While Reed was involved in a larger scuffle, Renteria got back on his feet and — for whatever reason — tacked Sea Dogs second baseman David Hamilton, who had been the runner at third.

It took some time for the dust to settle, but by the time it ended Renteria was back on the ground being tended to by trainers after suffering an apparent injury. Reed, on the other hand, was ejected from the contest alongside Hamilton. The two were replaced by Elih Marrero and Cam Cannon, respectively.

Portland went on to defeat Binghamton by a final score of 12-5 on Thursday to improve to 6-6 on the season. Both the home and away team at Hadlock Field share the same clubhouse, so the Rumble Ponies stayed on the field a bit longer while Sea Dogs players and staff made their way to the exit.

Following the win, Sea Dogs manager Chad Epperson — who was coaching at third base at the time of the brawl — was asked about what happened. He could only respond by saying he did not know what Renteria said to Reed to ignite such a physical altercation.

“It’s just one of those things,” Epperson told The Portland Press Herald’s Travis Lazarczyk. “Obviously, something was going on there to set something off, but as far as what, I have no idea.”

The Sea Dogs and Rumble Ponies will continue on with their series on Friday night. Brandon Walter, one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system, is slated to start for Portland.

(Picture of Tyreque Reed: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton shines in organizational debut with Double-A Portland

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton made quite the first impression in his organizational debut for Double-A Portland on Friday night.

Batting leadoff and starting at second base in Portland’s opener against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field, Hamilton went 4-for-5 with a triple, two home runs, seven RBIs, three runs scored, and one stolen base while leading the Sea Dogs to a commanding 11-6 victory.

Matched up against Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano to begin things on Friday, Hamilton got his productive night at the plate started by ripping a leadoff triple to right field and scoring on an RBI double off the bat of Izzy Wilson.

An inning later, Hamilton followed up a leadoff double from Kole Cottam by taking Luciano deep to right field for a two-run home run and his first big fly of the young season.

In the third, Hamilton came through with runners on second and third base and greeted new Fisher cats reliever Parker Caracci by lacing a run-scoring single to right field that plated Hudson Potts and gave the Sea Dogs a 7-1 lead.

After Tyreque Reed, Potts, and Cottam loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, Hamilton took a 1-1 pitch from right-hander Joey Murray and proceeded to deposit a bases-clearing grand slam into Portland’s bullpen in right field.

Hamilton’s second homer of the contest put the Sea Dogs up 11-1. It was also the last time on the night Hamilton reached base, as he came up short of completing the cycle by flying out to right field in his final at-bat in the bottom of the sixth.

Hamilton, 24, comes into the 2022 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in the Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox acquired Hamilton, fellow prospect Alex Binelas, and Jackie Bradley Jr. from the Brewers in the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee last December.

A former eighth-round draft pick of the Brewers coming out of the University of Texas in 2019, Hamilton missed the entirety of the 2019 minor-league season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles and the entirety of the 2020 minor-league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The speedy left-handed hitter finally made his professional debut last year and impressed, slashing .258/.341/.419 (110 wRC+) with 48 extra-base hits (eight home runs), 43 RBIs, and 52 stolen bases across 101 games (459 plate appearances) between High-A Wisconsin and Double-A Biloxi. He also participated in the Arizona Fall League and posted a .916 OPS in 14 games (53 plate appearances) with the Salt River Rafters.

Defensively, Hamilton is well-regarded for his skills as a middle infielder. In 2021, the 6-foot, 175 pounder logged 746 2/3 innings at shortstop and 112 2/3 innings at second base. He figures to see time at both positions with Portland in 2022.

Hamilton, who turns 25 in September, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December. The Red Sox would need to add the native Texan to their 40-man roster between now and late November if they wish to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

With that being said, the 2022 campaign should prove to be an important one for Hamilton. He certainly did not waste any time in getting things off to a hot start on Friday.

(Picture of David Hamilton: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Alex Binelas has plenty of raw power

Alex Binelas enters his first season with the Red Sox as the organization’s No. 17 prospect, according to Baseball America’s rankings.

After being selected by the Brewers in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Louisville, Binelas’ time with his hometown team came to an abrupt end when he (and fellow prospect David Hamilton) was traded to the Red Sox alongside outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for Hunter Renfroe in early December.

It was a move that evoked plenty of emotion for Binelas, a Wisconsin native who grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee and less than 20 miles away from American Family Field.

When he was taken by the Brewers last July, Binelas had just recently wrapped up his third and final season with Louisville. In 50 games with the Cardinals, the 21-year-old junior slashed .256/.348/.621 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs across 230 trips to the plate.

Regarded by Baseball America as the 77th-ranked draft-eligible prospect in the 2021 class, Binelas signed with Milwaukee for $700,000 and was assigned to the rookie-level Arizona Complex League Brewers Gold out of the gate. It took all of seven games for the left-handed hitting infielder to earn a promotion to Low-A Carolina on August 16.

Spending the rest of his debut season with the Mudcats, Binelas batted a stout .314/.379/.636 to go along with 11 doubles, nine homers, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts over 29 games spanning 132 plate appearances.

Among all Low-A East hitters who made at least 130 trips to the plate in 2021, Binelas ranked ninth in batting average, 35th in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS (1.014), third in isolated power (.322), and fifth in wRC+ (163), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Binelas saw time at both corner infield positions in his first exposure to pro ball, as was the case throughout his college career. With Carolina in particular, the 6-foot-3, 225 pounder logged a total of 42 2/3 innings at first base and 167 innings at the hot corner.

Since he was unaffected by this off-season’s lockout, Binelas was one of several Red Sox minor-leaguers who participated in the team’s Winter Warm-Up program back in January. Spring training began shortly thereafter, allowing Binelas to see some action in one Grapefruit League game thus far.

Two days before making his Grapefruit League debut this past Thursday, Binelas was identified by Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes as one of the top raw power prospects in the game since he hit the ball hard and far on a consistent basis last year.

Binelas, who turns 22 in May, is projected by SoxProspects.com to make the jump to High-A Greenville for the start of the 2022 campaign. His first full season as a professional should be one worth watching.

Red Sox add 12 non-roster invitees to spring training roster

The Red Sox have added 12 non-roster invitees to their spring training roster, the club announced earlier Saturday. The list of invitees consists of catcher Kole Cottam, infielders Triston Casas, Ryan Fitzgerald, David Hamilton, and Christian Koss, outfielder Franchy Cordero, and pitchers Chris Murphy, Durbin Feltman, Geoff Hartlieb, Brian Keller, Kaleb Ort, and John Schreiber.

Of these 12 minor-leaguers, four (Cordero, Hartlieb, Ort, and Schreiber) have already played in the majors while two (Hamilton and Keller) were acquired by Boston in some capacity this off-season.

Casas, 22, is undoubtedly the top prospect on this list. The left-handed hitting first baseman enters the 2022 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Sox’ farm system behind only Marcelo Mayer. He is coming off a year in which he played for Double-A Portland, Triple-A Worcester, Team USA in the Summer Olympics, and the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

Kottam and Koss played alongside Casas in Arizona last fall. Hamilton, meanwhile, suited up for the Salt River Rafters before he and fellow infielder Alex Binelas were traded from the Brewers to the Red Sox in December.

Among the pitching contingent, Murphy — a left-hander — and Feltman are the only two true prospects listed. That being said, Keller is certainly appealing seeing how he was scooped up from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft earlier this winter.

With the addition of these 12 players, the Red Sox now have 23 non-roster invitees on their spring training roster.

BOSTON RED SOX NON-ROSTER INVITEES (23)

PITCHERS (12): Silvino Bracho, Taylor Cole, Tyler Danish, Michael Feliz, Durbin Feltman, Darin Gillies, Geoff Hartlieb, Brian Keller, Zack Kelly, Chris Murphy, Kaleb Ort, John Schreiber

CATCHERS (2): Roldani Baldwin, Kole Cottam

INFIELDERS (6): Triston Casas, Ryan Fitzgerald, David Hamilton, Christian Koss, Roberto Ramos, Yolmer Sánchez

OUTFIELDERS (3): Franchy Cordero, Rob Refsnyder, Christin Stewart

According to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Boston will officially open big-league camp in Fort Myers on Sunday, though their first official workout is not expected until Monday or Tuesday.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

What do the Red Sox have in infield prospect David Hamilton?

Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton returned to his alma mater and played in the University of Texas’ alumni game over the weekend. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored on Saturday while propelling the Texas Exes to an 8-6 victory in Austin.

Hamilton, 24, was one of two prospects the Red Sox acquired from the Brewers in the shocking trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee and Jackie Bradley Jr. back to Boston in December.

Along with fellow infielder Alex Binelas, Hamilton led the Sox to believe that they were adding a pair of intriguing minor-leaguers who had plenty to offer to their new organization.

“David Hamilton has premium speed and he’s a really good middle infielder,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said said at the time the trade was made. “Plays a good shortstop. Interesting trajectory. High-touted high school player who went to the University of Texas. Had a tough injury and recovered from it, and kept his speed. He has great speed and athleticism and is a very exciting player to add to our system.”

Originally selected by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Texas, Hamilton entered the professional ranks having missed the entirety of his junior season due to a ruptured Achilles suffered in a scooter accident earlier that year.

The former Longhorn missed the remainder of the 2019 season while recovering from that Achilles injury, then fell victim to the fact that the 2020 minor-league season was ultimately cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Hamilton was unable to play affiliated ball in 2020, he did spend time with a team in the independent Constellation Energy League that was coached by Roger Clemens. He was able to use his experience there to impress at the Brewers’ fall instructional league and gain momentum heading into 2021.

After breaking minor-league camp with the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the spring, Hamilton made his long-awaited pro debut on May 4. From there, the left-handed hitter batted .263/.351/.422 (114 wRC+) with 14 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 31 RBIs, 50 runs scored, 41 stolen bases, 35 walks, and 58 strikeouts over 68 games (309 plate appearances) for the Timber Rattlers.

On August 3, the Brewers promoted Hamilton to Double-A Biloxi. With the Shuckers, the speedy middle infielder slashed .248/.322/.414 (104 wRC+) to go along with five doubles, four triples, three homers, 12 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 32 strikeouts across 33 games spanning 150 trips to the plate.

Among all qualified minor-league hitters last season, Hamilton ranked fifth in total triples (11), sixth in total stolen bases (52), 25th in speed score (8.9), and seventh in weighted stolen base runs (5.8), per FanGraphs.

Upon completing the conventional minor-league season with Biloxi, Hamilton headed out west to suit up for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, where he hit an impressive .293/.453/.463 in 14 games while swiping four additional bags.

Defensively, Hamilton was drafted and signed out of Texas as a shortstop. Last year, however, the 5-foot-10, 175 pounder saw time at both shortstop and second base. He logged 112 2/3 innings at second and a much more substantial 746 2/3 innings at short between High-A and Double-A before logging 59 innings at second and 38 innings at short in Arizona.

A native of San Marcos, Hamilton was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system at the time the Red Sox acquired him from the Brewers. He, like Binelas, was one of 28 minor-leaguers who participated in the Sox’ Winter Warm-Up program in Fort Myers last month.

The weeklong minicamp gave Red Sox brass an opportunity to see Binelas and Hamilton in-person for the first time, and it is safe to say they liked what they saw from both prospects and are excited about what is to come.

“I think somewhat different dynamic between Hamilton — more of a speed guy, more of a middle infield threat — “whereas Binelas is more of a power-orientated corner bat,” said director of player development Brian Abraham. “But I think from the short time we’ve seen them, the physicality we’ve seen even out of both them has been exciting to see. They seem like great kids and very excited about coming here to camp.”

As for Hamilton, who does not turn 25 until September, he is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 minor-league season with Double-A Portland.

With the Sea Dogs, it seems likely that Hamilton will be used in a variety of ways around the infield since the Red Sox view him as a versatile player. That being said, the speedster can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career later this year, so he would need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by the November deadline if the club wants to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of David Hamilton via his Instagram)

Red Sox add intriguing infield prospects Alex Binelas, David Hamilton in trade with Brewers: ‘We’re excited about the minor-league players that we got,’ Chaim Bloom says

The Red Sox may have traded Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. on Wednesday night, but they did so while also acquiring two intriguing prospects from the Brewers.

As highlighted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox basically dealt Renfroe and took on Bradley Jr.’s $9.5 million salary for 2022 (plus an $8 million buyout in 2023) in order to add infield prospects Alex Binelas and David Hamilton.

“Having two premium defensive center fielders is a huge boost to our roster,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Wednesday. “And we’re also excited about the minor-league players that we got. So we felt like this was something that made sense for us right now and also had a chance to pay dividends down the road.”

Binelas was recently selected by the Brewers in the third round of the 2021 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville, where he belted 19 home runs and posted a .968 OPS in his final season with the Cardinals.

Going into this summer’s draft, Binelas was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 76 draft-eligible prospect and was assigned to Milwaukee’s Arizona Complex League affiliate upon signing with the organization for $700,000.

After just seven games in the rookie-level complex league, Binelas was promoted to Low-A Carolina on August 16. In 29 games with the Mudcats to close out the year, the left-handed hitter slashed .314/.379/.636 (163 wRC+) with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts over 132 plate appearances.

Among hitters who accrued at least 130 plate appearances in the Low-A East this season, Binelas ranked fifth in OPS (1.014), third in isolated power (.322), and fifth in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, the 21-year-old is capable of playing both corner infield positions. At the midway point of the 2021 season, he was regarded by Baseball America as the 20th-ranked prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system.

“A left-handed hitter with power,” Bloom said of Binelas. “He plays both infield corners. But the bat is really his calling card. A good hitter with really special power. Obviously it’s just early in his professional journey but he had a tremendous debut and really showed a lot in his acclimation to pro ball. A really nice power left-handed bat to bring into the system.”

Hamilton, on the other hand, was selected by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Austin despite suffering a ruptured Achilles in a scooter accident that resulted in him missing the entirety of the 2019 season at both the college and pro levels.

With the 2020 minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton did not make his professional debut as a member of the Brewers organization until this spring.

The 24-year-old, who is also a left-handed hitter split the 2021 season between High-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. He batted .258/.341/.419 (110 wRC+) with 19 doubles, 11 triples, eight homers, 43 RBIs, 66 runs, 52 stolen bases, 50 walks, and 90 strikeouts in 101 games spanning 459 total plate appearances.

Formerly regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system, Hamilton just wrapped up a solid campaign in the Arizona Fall League by slashing .293/.453/.463 with three doubles, two triples, five RBIs, five runs scored, four stolen bases, 12 walks, and six strikeouts over 14 games (53 plate appearances) for Salt River.

Listed at 5-f00t-10 and 175 pounds, Hamilton is obviously well-regarded for his speed and athleticism, which were his carrying tools coming out of college. The middle infielder’s 52 stolen bases were the sixth-most in the minor-leagues this season.

“David Hamilton has premium speed and he’s a really good middle infielder,” Bloom said. “Plays a good shortstop. Interesting trajectory. Highly-touted high school player who went to the University of Texas. Had a tough injury and recovered from it, and kept his speed. He has great speed and athleticism and is a very exciting player to add to our system.”

Unlike Binelas, Hamilton can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career in 2022. The Red Sox will need to add the speedster to their 40-man roster by next November if they want to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Alex Binelas: Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)