Who is Claudio Simon? Red Sox prospect has stolen 27 bases in 32 Dominican Summer League games: ‘There is no doubt that his speed is legit,’ Eddie Romero says

Red Sox infield prospect Claudio Simon stole his 27th base of the Dominican Summer League season on Tuesday afternoon.

Batting eighth and starting at third base for the Red Sox’ DSL Red affiliate, Simon went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a run scored. His stolen base came in the sixth inning of an 8-1 win over the Royals’ DSL Stewart affiliate in El Toro.

Following Tuesday’s performance, the right-handed hitting Simon is now batting .219/.310/.281 with two doubles, one triple, one home run, 10 RBIs, 21 runs scored, 11 walks, and 35 strikeouts over 32 games (129 plate appearances) this season.

While those numbers might not seem all that impressive, Simon’s 27 stolen bases rank second in the Dominican Summer League behind only the Yankees’ Fidel Montero, who has swiped 28 bags. Coming into play on Tuesday, he ranked seventh in the DSL in speed score (9.3), per FanGraphs.

Simon, 20, originally signed with the Red Sox for just $5,000 as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic back in December. In his first professional season, the La Romana native has seen playing time at second base, third base, and all three outfield positions.

Outside of his listed height and weight of 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, there is not much information out there on Simon given his relatively low profile. With that being said, I recently reached out to Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero to ask about Simon and his propensity to steal bases.

“Simon’s speed is one of his best tools,” Romero told BloggingtheRedSox.com via email earlier this month. “It rates at least as a 7 (out of 8) on the scouting scale. He’s improving as a base stealer, reading pitchers, and getting better leads and jumps. However, there is no doubt that his speed is legit. He’s a tremendous athlete.”

Simon, who turns 21 in December, will presumably spend the rest of the season in the Dominican Summer League. If the speedster remains in the organization through the winter, it seems likely he will make the jump to the United States and the Florida Complex League in 2023.

(Picture of Claudio Simon via his Instagram)

Armando Sierra, Eybersson Polanco represent Red Sox in Dominican Summer League All-Star Game

A pair of young prospects represented the Red Sox in the 2022 Dominican Summer League All-Star Game in San Cristobal on Sunday.

Armando Sierra served as the American League’s starting first baseman and went 0-for-2 with a flyout and groundout before being replaced at first base by Astros prospect Waner Luciano in the middle of the fifth inning.

Eybersson Polanco, on the other hand, retired all three batters he faced in a scoreless third inning while also striking out one. Interestingly enough, the game ultimately ended in a 6-6 tie.

Sierra, 18, originally signed with the Red Sox for $150,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Sabana Grande de Palenque in January 2021. The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder has proven capable of playing first base and both corner outfield positions thus far into his professional career.

In 35 games with Boston’s Dominican Summer League Blue affiliate this season, the right-handed hitting Sierra has batted a stout .323/.395/.489 with 13 doubles, three home runs, 36 RBIs, 31 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 14 strikeouts over 152 plate appearances.

Among qualified DSL hitters, Sierra currently ranks ninth in runs scored, second in doubles, first in RBIs, and ninth in strikeout rate (9.2%), per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

Polanco, also 18, signed with Boston approximately six months after Sierra did as an international free-agent coming out of Venezuela. The right-hander received a signing bonus of $50,000.

Listed at 6-foot and 170 pounds, Polanco made his professional debut for the DSL Red Sox Red last month and has since posted a 2.03 ERA and 3.00 FIP to go along with 29 strikeouts to 10 walks over seven starts spanning 26 2/3 innings of work.

Among DSL hurlers who have pitched at least 20 innings to this point in the season, Polanco currently ranks 60th in strikeout rate (28.7%), 26th in batting average against (.156), 31st in WHIP (0.90), 55th in ERA, 40th in FIP, and 55th in xFIP (3.51), according to FanGraphs.

(Picture of Dominican Republic flags: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Stiwar Adames making strides in Dominican Summer League

Red Sox pitching prospect Stiwar Adames was recently recognized by Minor League Baseball as the Dominican Summer League Pitcher of the Week for the week of July 11-17.

In two outings for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue affiliate last week, Adames tossed six scoreless, one-hit innings in which he struck out six while only yielding two walks to the 21 batters he faced.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the left-hander has posted a 2.08 ERA and 3.27 FIP to go along with 22 strikeouts to nine walks over nine appearances spanning 21 2/3 innings of work.

Among 177 DSL pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings to this point in the season, Adames most notably ranks 39th in batting average against (.184), 47th in WHIP (1.06), 48th in ERA, 60th in FIP, 69th in swinging strike rate (36%), and 74th in groundball rate (45.3%), per FanGraphs.

Adames, who turns 20 next month, originally signed with the Red Sox for $50,000 as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in February 2020. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound southpaw made his professional debut in the DSL last July and has since pitched to a 2.22 ERA (3.86 FIP) across 44 2/3 total innings at that level.

Compared to last year, Adames has been able to cut down on his walks (13.1% to 10.5%) while also striking out more hitters (13.1% to 25.6%). Considering that he turns 20 in just a few weeks and is a bit older for his level at the DSL, one has to wonder if Adames could soon make his way to the United States by earning a promotion to the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

(Picture of Stiwar Adames via his Instagram)

Red Sox infield prospect Ahbram Liendo drives in 3 runs in Grapefruit League debut

Red Sox infield prospect Ahbram Liendo certainly made the most of his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday afternoon.

With the majority of Red Sox minor-leaguers leaving Fort Myers for the start of the 2022 season with their respective affiliate, Liendo was one of eight players Boston added to its roster ahead of Tuesday’s spring finale against the Twins at JetBlue Park.

After replacing Trevor Story at second base at the onset of the fifth inning, Liendo got his first crack at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs in the frame and runners at second and third, Liendo kept things going by ripping a line-drive, two-run single off Twins reliever Griffin Jax. He scored from third base himself later in the inning.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Liendo again came to the plate with two outs and runners on base. This time around, he drove in Jonathan Arauz on an RBI groundout to second. That gave Boston a 9-6 lead in what would turn out to be a 10-6 victory over Minnesota.

All told, Liendo went 1-for-2 off the bench with his single, one run scored, and a team-leading three RBIs in the Sox’ final exhibition game of the spring.

Liendo, 18, was originally signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela last January. The Maracay native received a signing bonus of $450,000, making him one of the more notable additions from the 2021 class.

Upon going pro last winter, Liendo had to wait a bit to make his organizational debut. In July, the Sox assigned Liendo to their Dominican Summer League Red affiliate and he debuted for the team on July 13.

Over the next two-plus months, the switch-hitting infielder slashed .251/.349/.353 (102 wRC+) with six doubles, four triples, one home run, 21 RBIs, 26 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 30 strikeouts across 46 games spanning 195 plate appearances.

Among the 90 DSL hitters who made at least 190 trips to the plate last season, Liendo ranked 45th in stolen bases, 43rd in walk percentage (12.8%), 33rd in strikeout percentage (15.4%), and 28th in speed score (7.6), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Liendo saw the majority of his playing time come at second base last year and logged 338 1/3 innings at the position. But the 5-foot-8, 170 pounder also made two appearances (17 innings) at third base and one appearance (7 innings) at shortstop while recording six errors and turning 23 total double plays.

At the time of his signing, Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that Liendo was “a baseball rat with an outstanding arm. He’s a headsy player who could move all around the field — some scouts thought about him as a catching conversion candidate — and an average runner. He’s a switch-hitter with gap power who is more advanced from the right side of the plate.”

Liendo, who just turned 18 in February, is not currently regarded by any major publication, including Baseball America, as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. That is understandable given his age and lack of experience.

With that being said, though, Liendo still has plenty of room to grow physically and developmentally on the field. He is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season in the rookie-level Florida Complex League and could be an intriguing player to watch once the FCL gets underway in June.

(Picture of Ahbram Liendo via his Instagram)

Who is Red Sox prospect Allan Castro? Get to know the organization’s 2021 Latin Program Position Player of the Year

Red Sox outfield prospect Allan Castro comes into the 2022 season fresh off being recognized as the organization’s Latin Program Position Player of the Year in 2021.

Castro, 18, was originally signed by the Sox as a middle infielder coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019. The Santo Domingo native received a signing bonus of $100,000, but has since made the move to the outfield.

After the start of his professional career was pushed back on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Castro made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League last year. Upon being assigned to the DSL Red Sox Red affiliate in July, the switch-hitting outfielder proceeded to bat .232/.335/.421 (110 wRC+) to go along with eight doubles, seven triples, three home runs, 19 RBIs, 24 runs scored, three stolen bases, 21 walks, and 43 strikeouts over 46 games spanning 194 plate appearances.

Among all DSL hitters who made at least 190 trips to the plate last season, Castro ranked tied for first in triples, 28th in slugging percentage, and 13th in isolated power (.189), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Castro saw playing time at all three outfield positions in 2021. The 6-foot-1, 170 pounder logged 95 innings in left field, 32 innings in center, and 175 1/3 innings in right while recording a total of six outfield assists and turning a total of two double plays.

Back in September, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall identified Castro as “one of the Red Sox’ most promising hitters in the DSL, showing the potential to hit for average and power.”

“He has some swing-and-miss in his game, but could get to above-average raw power eventually and an average defensive profile in right field, including a potential above-average arm,” Cundall wrote. “Scouts identified Castro as having one of the best pure bats in the Red Sox’ DSL program and as one to watch when he makes the jump stateside.”  

As Cundall alluded to, Castro is slated to begin the 2022 minor-league season in the rookie-level Florida Complex League. Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero indicated as much in a recent email exchange with BloggingtheRedSox.com.

“Regarding Castro, his career was delayed by the pandemic lost season, and he was really standing out from the offensive end until he tired later in the DSL summer,” wrote Romero. “Encouraging to see a position change to the outfield not affect him, and he ended up with a good range of extra-base hits. We have a talented group of outfielders expected to play in the FCL, and he’ll be in the mix for priority at-bats within that group.”

Castro, who turns 19 in May, is not currently regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. Given that he still has room to grow and develop, though, it would not be surprising to see Castro gain some notoriety and rise up the rankings a bit this summer if he impresses in the FCL.

(Picture of Allan Castro via his Instagram)

What to expect from Red Sox infield prospect Luis Ravelo heading into 2022 season

Red Sox infield prospect Luis Ravelo could be a player to watch this year, tweets SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall.

Ravelo, 18, signed with Boston for $545,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in January 2021.

At that time, Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that Ravelo was one of the top defensive shortstops to come out of the Dominican Republic, writing that the Santo Domingo native “has excellent hands and likes to show them off with ball tricks and fielding grounders between his legs, but in games he’s also a smart, instinctive defender. He has good actions and the ability to make both the routine play and the challenging ones, along with a plus arm.”

Upon signing his first professional contract, Ravelo remained on his home island and spent the entirety of the 2021 season in the Dominican Summer League. Across 43 games for the DSL Red Sox Red affiliate, the switch-hitter batted .243/.333/.319 (91 wRC+) with four doubles, two triples, one home run, 13 RBIs, 20 runs scored, 19 walks, and 22 strikeouts over 168 plate appearances.

Obviously, a below-average 91 wRC+ is not exactly an eye-popping statistic. That being said, Ravelo did strike out in just 13.1% of his plate appearances last year, which ranked 32nd among qualified DSL hitters, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Ravelo unsurprisingly saw all his playing time in 2021 come at shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 187 pounder committed a total of nine errors and turned 24 double plays while logging 337 1/3 innings at the ever-important position.

After participating in the team’s fall performance program during the off-season, Ravelo returned to Fort Myers for the start of minor-league spring training earlier this month. He is projected by SoxProspects.com to start the 2022 campaign out in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

Ravelo, who does not turn 19 until November, is not yet regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. Given his age and lack of experience, though, it feels safe to assume that Ravelo will rise through the ranks as he continues to develop both physically and developmentally.

(GIF of Luis Ravelo via Ian Cundall)

What to expect from Red Sox outfield prospect Armando Sierra heading into 2022 season

It was exactly 14 months ago Tuesday when the Red Sox signed outfielder Armando Sierra for $150,000 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

Although he was not the headliner of Boston’s 2021 international signing class (hello, Miguel Bleis), Sierra still received some attention from evaluators within the industry.

Last April, Baseball America’s Ben Badler identified Sierra as a potential sleeper prospect within the Sox’ international ranks, noting that the then-17-year-old had “an advanced approach to hitting for his age” as well as the ability to hit for power.

As a follow-up to that, Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero all but confirmed Badler’s observations in an email exchange with BloggingtheRedSox.com.

“Armando was a player we scouted later on in his signing year. After scouting him a few times, he stood out for his strong frame and his power,” Romero said at the time. “As we continued to see him, it became apparent that not only did he have above average power for his signing class, but he also was developing a stronger approach.”

In the months following his signing, Sierra continued to work out at the Sox’ Dominican academy in El Toro before making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League last July.

Across 53 games for the club’s DSL Blue affiliate, the young right-handed hitter batted a respectable .284/.373/.379 (117 wRC+) to go along with 10 doubles, two home runs, 35 RBIs, 24 runs scored, 21 walks, and 41 strikeouts over 193 plate appearances.

Against left-handed pitching, Sierra slashed .296/.424/.370. Against right-handed pitching, he slashed .284/.365/.383 with both of his home runs and 33 of his 35 runs driven in.

Among all Dominican Summer League hitters who made at least 190 trips to the plate last year, Sierra ranked 27th in batting average, 48th in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, 51st in OPS (.752), and 54th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Sierra was labeled as a corner infielder even before signing with Boston. In his introductory course to pro ball, the 6-foot-2, 189 pounder logged 95 innings in left field and 115 innings in right while recording a total of two outfield assists. He also appeared in eight games (seven starts) as a first baseman.

Shortly before the 2021 DSL summer came to a close last fall, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall wrote in September that Sierra’s “power potential is impressive. He is a below-average athlete and does not project to add much defensive value, but he has big-time raw power. He gets his whole body into his swing, but there are significant questions with his hit tool that could limit his power utility against more advanced pitching.” 

Sierra, who turned 18 in January, is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. Given his age, the Sabana Grande de Palenque presumably still has room to grow physically and as a baseball player.

SoxProspects.com projects that Sierra will return to the Dominican Summer League for the start of the 2022 minor-league season. That being said, a promotion to the Florida Complex League later in the year certainly seems plausible.

(Picture of Red Sox cap: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Who is Jedixson Paez? Red Sox prospect was named team’s Latin Program Pitcher of the Year in 2021

Last season, the Red Sox had 39 minor-league pitchers who threw at least 50 innings at their respective levels. One of those 39 was young pitching prospect Jedixson Paez.

Paez, who turned 18 in January, spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign in the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old. In 13 starts for the DSL Red Sox Blue affiliate, the right-hander posted a 2.86 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 49 strikeouts to just nine walks over 50 1/3 innings of work.

Among all qualified hurlers in the DSL last year, Paez ranked 11th in walks per nine innings (1.61), ninth in walk rate (4.4%), 22nd in WHIP (1.03),31st in swinging strike rate (36.7%), and 26th in xFIP (3.12), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally signed Paez as an international free agent out of Venezuela for $450,000 last January, making the Tinaquillo native one of the more notable additions from Boston’s 2021 signing class.

With 2021 marking his first exposure to pro ball, it is noteworthy that Paez was named the Sox’ Latin Program Pitcher of the Year back in September. Around that same time, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall wrote that the righty “has the potential to be an interesting long-term prospect” if he can continue “to add strength and improve the velocity on his pitches.”

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Paez clearly still has plenty of room to grow both physically and developmentally. According to his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Paez throws from a three-quarters arm slot and works with a fastball that hovers around 84-86 mph and a curveball that sits at 69-71 mph.

Coming into the 2022 season, Paez is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. He did, however, receive a shoutout from FanGraphs’ Kevin Goldstein and Tess Taruskin last week for being projectable, having advanced command, and “promising” secondary stuff.

On that note, Paez is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin his age-18 season in the rookie-level Florida Complex League later this summer. It should be fascinating to see how he handles the transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States.

(Picture of Jedixson Paez via his Instagram)

Don’t forget about Red Sox outfield prospect Juan Chacon

After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor-league season, the Red Sox did not get their first official look at outfield prospect Juan Chacon until fall instructs began that October.

Boston originally signed Chacon, then a 16-year-old outfielder, out of Venezuela for $900,000 in July 2019 to make him the highest-paid player in their 2019-2020 international signing class.

Though the pandemic forced Chacon to miss what would have been his first taste of pro ball, he clearly did enough while at home to earn an invite to fall instructs and impress the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

With Minor League Baseball returning in full last year, Chacon — now 18 — was assigned to the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue affiliate in early June and spent the entirety of the 2021 season there. Across 47 games, the right-handed hitter batted .311/.426/.384 to go along with five doubles, two triples, one home run, eight RBIs, 45 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 26 strikeouts over 197 plate appearances. He also went 37-for-127 (.291) against right-handed pitchers and 14-for-36 (.389) against lefties.

Among all DSL hitters who made at least 190 trips to the plate in 2021, Chacon ranked fourth in runs scored, 22nd in strikeout rate (13.2%), 14th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, 30th in OPS (.811), and 24th in wRC+ (136), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Chacon saw action in both center and right field while splitting time at each position with fellow Venezuelan Jhostynxon Garcia. All told, the 6-foot-2, 171 pounder logged 216 2/3 innings in center and 119 1/3 in right in the process of registering four outfield assists and turning a pair of double plays.

As far as how evaluators feel about his game, SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall wrote in September that “scout feedback on Chacon has been tepid, with scouts praising the looseness in his swing but worried about a lack of physical projection and power potential.”

On the other side of the ball, Cundall notes that Chacon profiles best as a corner outfielder due to his average speed and arm strength as well as a need to improve in the route-running department.

Chacon, who turned 19 in December, still has plenty of room to grow physically and developmentally. The Valera native is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 60 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the site to begin the 2022 season with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox and is already in Fort Myers for the start of minor-league spring training.

(Picture of Juan Chacon via his Instagram)

Could Red Sox catching prospect Diego Viloria surprise people in the Florida Complex League in 2022?

Red Sox catching prospect Diego Viloria celebrated his 19th birthday on Wednesday. The Venezuelan-born backstop originally signed with Boston for $25,000 as an international free agent in July 2019.

Since he was still a ways away from turning 17 at that time, Viloria spent the rest of the 2019 season playing in the unofficial Tricky League down on the Dominican Republic.

The Tricky League is considered unofficial since there are no league standings or playoffs. Statistics are tracked by teams but are not made available to the public, meaning the true purpose of the league — as Baseball America’s Ben Badler put it — is “for teams to get their (latest) signings playing in games as soon as possible.”

Because the Trickly League is not official, Viloria had his first true taste of pro ball taken away from him when the 2020 minor-league season was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than getting to play in the Dominican that summer, Viloria — like many minor-leaguers — returned to his home country to wait out the pandemic. After that lengthy shutdown period, Viloria flew back to the DR last July and was finally on the cusp of his making his professional debut.

Upon arriving at the Red Sox’ academy outside of Santo Domingo, Viloria was assigned to the club’s Dominican Summer League Blue affiliate and debuted for the team on July 15. He picked up his first hit as a pro four days later.

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, Viloria appeared in a total of 25 games — all at catcher. Over the course of those 25 contests, the right-handed hitter batted a stout .278/.358/.361 (109 wRC+) to go along with two doubles, two triples, eight RBIs, 12 runs scored, two stolen bases, four walks, and 13 strikeouts across 81 plate appearances.

Defensively, Viloria mainly split time behind the plate with fellow Venezuelan and 2019 signee Rivaldo Avila for the DSL Red Sox Blue. When he was back there, though, the 5-foot-10, 165 pounder logged 176 2/3 innings and threw out 10 of the 26 (or 38%) of the base runners who attempted to steal against him.

On the scouting front, there does not appear to be too much information available on Viloria, though it seems like arm strength could understandably be one of his standout tools.

At present, Viloria in not regarded by any major publication as one of the top catching prospects in Boston’s farm system on account of the fact he is currently sitting behind the likes of Connor Wong, Ronaldo Hernandez, Kole Cottam, Jaxx Groshans, and Enderso Lira in the organizational depth chart.

That being said, Viloria is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox. The Caracas native is already in Fort Myers for minor-league spring training, so it should be interesting to see if he can continue to develop and make his impact felt in the United States.

(Picture of Diego Viloria via his Instagram)