Red Sox bring back Danny Santana on minor-league deal

The Red Sox have brought back veteran utility man Danny Santana on a minor-league deal, according to the team’s transactions log. Santana, who has not played in any capacity this season after receiving an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test, will report to Boston’s rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate in Fort Myers.

The 31-year-old Santana originally signed a minors pact with the Sox last March before having his contract selected in May. The versatile switch-hitter appeared in 38 games for Boston, batting just .181/.252/.345 with five home runs, 14 RBIs, 15 runs scored, and four stolen bases while seeing playing time at first base, left field, and center field. He was also included on the club’s ALDS and ALCS rosters.

After electing free agency in November, Santana tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Boldenone, which resulted in the aforementioned 80-game ban that was handed down to him in April.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Santana is a veteran of eight major-league seasons between the Twins, Braves, Rangers, and Red Sox. He originally broke in with Minnesota in 2014 and was named Texas’ Player of the Year in 2019.

In addition to his versatility, Santana is also known for his speed. And while he will begin his second stint with the Red Sox in Fort Myers, the expectation is that Santana will work his way up to Triple-A Worcester before long and provide the club with experienced depth at numerous positions there.

As a member of the WooSox last season, Santana slashed .300/.404/.575 to go along with five doubles, two home runs, four RBIs, eight runs scored, two stolen bases, seven walks, and nine strikeouts across 12 games spanning 47 trips to the plate.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Injured Red Sox prospect Triston Casas resumes baseball activities in Fort Myers

Injured Red Sox prospect Triston Casas started his hitting and fielding progression in Fort Myers on Monday and is ‘moving along well,’ according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt.

Casas sprained his right ankle on the basepaths at Polar Park on May 17 and has not appeared in a game since then. The 22-year-old first baseman was placed on Triple-A Worcester’s injured list on May 22 and has been rehabbing in Fort Myers since early June.

Initially, the Red Sox did not anticipate that Casas would be sidelined for too long. Due to the nature of his injury, however, the left-handed hitter could not swing a bat pain-free on account of the amount of stress he places on his landing foot.

It was only just recently that Casas was able to start swinging a bat again, Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham tells The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith adds that the 6-foot-5, 250-pound slugger has begun hitting off a Tee.

Originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), Casas is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball.

In 36 games with the WooSox this season, Casas has batted .248/.359/.457 (115 wRC+) with nine doubles, six home runs, 22 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 23 walks, and 35 strikeouts across 156 trips to the plate.

As of this moment, there is no definitive timetable for when Casas could return to Worcester’s lineup. That said, the Pembroke Pines native will likely need to complete a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League before he is cleared to suit up for the WooSox again.

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

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)

Red Sox suffer first loss of spring despite 4 scoreless innings from Nathan Eovaldi and homers from Rafael Devers, Ryan Fitzgerald

The Red Sox suffered their first loss of the spring on Wednesday afternoon when they fell to the Twins by a final score of 10-4 at JetBlue Park.

Despite dropping to 6-1 in Grapefruit League play, there were still plenty of positives to take away from Wednesday’s contest. For starters, Nathan Eovaldi looked as dominant as ever in his second start of the spring.

The veteran right-hander plunked the very first man he faced in Byron Buxton, but that was negated immediately when Christian Vazquez threw out the speedy outfielder as he attempted to steal second base. Eovaldi then retired the next 11 batters he faced in order while striking out six and walking none over four scoreless, no-hit innings.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 52, Eovaldi is in line to make three more starts this spring before Opening Day on April 7. The 32-year-old hurler has allowed a total of two runs through his first two outings of the year.

In relief of Eovaldi, Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the fifth inning. Things did not go as well for Brasier as they did for Eovaldi, as the righty reliever gave up four straight hits (including an RBI single to Ryan Jeffers and three-run home run to Trevor Larnach to put his side in a 4-0 hole.

Brasier at the very least recorded the first two outs of the inning before making way for Franklin German, who punched out the only batter he faced in Buxton to retire the side.

The sixth inning belonged to Rafael Devers. One day after agreeing to a $11.2 million salary for the 2022 season, the All-Star third baseman guided Jay Groome through a perfect top half by robbing Miguel Sano of a potential one-out double down the left field line. He then led off the bottom half by clubbing a solo home run off Twins reliever Jake Faria.

Devers’ first big fly of the spring cut Minnesota’s lead down to three runs at 4-1. Following a 1-2-3 top of the seventh from Michael Feliz, Ryan Fitzgerald made things even more interesting by crushing a game-tying, three-run homer to right field off of Faria.

Fitzgerald’s team-leading third home run of the spring knotted things up at four runs apiece heading into the eighth inning for Connor Seabold.

Seabold, who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, struggled with his command in his 2022 debut. The 26-year-old right-hander walked the first two Twins he faced before yielding an RBI double to Dennis Ortega and a two-run single to Nick Gordon. He then walked Aaron Sabato to put runners at first and second with no outs, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to Tyler Danish.

Danish proceeded to loaded the bases before allowing three additional two runs (two inherited) to score on a sacrifice fly and two-run double. That sequence gave the Twins a commanding 10-4 lead, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

Christian Arroyo was originally slated to start at second base for the Red Sox on Wednesday but was scratched from the lineup due to a right thumb contusion. It is not believed to be a serious injury.

Coming into Wednesday, Red Sox pitchers this spring had allowed a total of 11 runs in six Grapefruit League games. They gave up 10 runs as a team on Wednesday.

All four runs the Red Sox scored on Wednesday came from the No.2 spot in the lineup. Devers got things started with his solo home run in the sixth and Fitzgerald, who came on as a defensive replacement for Devers at third base, followed suit with his three-run blast in the seventh.

Fitzgerald has appeared in all seven of Boston’s spring training games and is currently batting .364/.462/1.182 with three home runs, seven RBIs, three runs scored, one stolen base, two walks, and two strikeouts across 13 trips to the plate.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Zimmermanm

The Red Sox will travel to Sarasota on Thursday evening to take on the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Nick Pivetta is slated to make his second start of the spring for Boston after striking out five in his 2022 debut last Saturday. The right-hander will be opposed by Baltimore left-hander Bruce Zimmermann.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on MASN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox spring training: Games through March 4 cancelled due to ongoing lockout

Major League Baseball announced on Friday that spring training games through March 4 have been cancelled as a result of the ongoing lockout. This means that spring training games will start no earlier than March 5.

The Red Sox were originally scheduled to host Northeastern at JetBlue Park on February 25 and open Grapefruit League play against the Atlanta Braves in North Port the following day.

Because of the lockout, however, the earliest the Sox can begin their spring training schedule is March 5, when they are slated to host the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.

Fans who purchased tickets for spring training games that have already been cancelled are eligible for full refunds.

In a statement released earlier Friday afternoon, MLB says it is “committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side. On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”

Here is how the MLB Players Association responded:

MLB owners locked out the players when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired on December 2. The work stoppage — and ongoing feud between the league and players association — is now in its 79th day.

If neither side is able to reach an agreement by the end of February, there is a real chance regular season games will wind up getting cancelled as well.

Opening Day for the Red Sox is scheduled for March 31 at Fenway Park, where they are supposed to host the Tampa Bay Rays to kick off the 2022 season.

(Picture of JetBlue Park: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss could provide Double-A Portland with much-needed versatility in 2022

Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday. He was among 28 minor-leaguers who spent the week participating in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers.

One of nine infielders on the Sox’ minicamp roster, Koss was acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitching prospect Yoan Aybar in December 2020.

That move was primarily made so that the Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster, but it also provided the club with an intriguing, versatile infielder.

Upon acclimating himself to a new organization, Koss spent the entirety of the 2021 minor-league season with Low-A Greenville, where he batted .271/.325/.451 (106 wRC+) with 18 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 55 RBIs, 65 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 31 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 104 games spanning 468 plate appearances.

On the surface, it would appear that Koss had a solid, above-average year at the plate. However, it is worth mentioning that the right-handed hitter actually got off to a slow start before picking things up over the summer.

From July 1 on, in fact, Koss slashed a more impressive .297/.340/.529 (127 wRC+) while cutting his strikeout rate down from 25.7% to 18.6% over the final 64 games (285 plate appearances) he played in.

SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall had the chance to see Koss during this stretch, and observed that the then-23-year-old “may not have the highest ceiling, but he was solid enough at shortstop and should add positional versatility as he moves up the system. He does not have a standout tool, but has a bunch of average tools in his locker.” 

Defensively, Koss saw the majority of his playing time with the Drive come at shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 182 pounder logged 842 1/3 innings and committed 15 errors at that position while accruing 73 innings and committing no errors as a second baseman.

Following the conclusion of the regular minor-league season, Koss spent his fall in the Arizona Fall League after replacing catcher Connor Wong on the Scottsdale Scorpions’ roster.

Appearing in 14 games for Scottsdale, Koss posted a .525 OPS and swiped a pair of bags while playing every infield position besides first base.

Originally selected by the Rockies in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of University of California, Irvine, Koss’ most appealing tool is undoubtedly his speed. He was named the Red Sox’ minor-league Baserunner of the Year for 2021, after all.

A native of Riverside, Calif. who spent two summers (2017, 2018) playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League, Koss ended the 2021 season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 31 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the publication to begin the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland.

Given his ability to play multiple defensive positions, Koss could provide the Sea Dogs with a shifty, utility infielder who has the ability to play three different positions on any given night.

As is the case with many Red Sox minor-leaguers heading into the 2022 season, Koss can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career come December. Boston would need to add the 24-year-old to their 40-man roster by late November in order to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Christian Koss: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Double-A Portland development coach Katie Krall joins the show

On this week’s episode of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by new Red Sox player development coach Katie Krall.

In case you missed it, the Red Sox made history earlier this winter by becoming the first major-league franchise to employ two female coaches after they hired Krall. They previously hired minor-league coach Bianca Smith in December 2020.

Krall will be working with the Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine this coming season.

On this episode of Podding the Red Sox, Krall discusses how she first got into baseball during her childhood, working in the Commissioner’s Office upon graduating from Northwestern University, spending two years in the Cincinnati Reds’ front office, her brief time at Google as a member of their global strategy team, and what led to her accepting a coaching gig with the Red Sox.

She also delves into her previous connections to New England, meeting Red Sox prospect Triston Casas at the 2018 MLB Draft, her takeaways from the Sox’ Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers this week, the role she will undertake as a member of the Portland Sea Dogs’ coaching staff this season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other podcast platforms.

My thanks to Katie for taking some time out of her busy schedule to have an in-depth conversation with yours truly.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Katie Krall: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

What to expect from Red Sox infield prospect Brainer Bonaci in 2022

Red Sox infield prospect Brainer Bonaci is one of 28 minor-leaguers participating in the team’s Winter Warm-Up minicamp this week.

Of the 28 players on hand at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers, Fla., Bonaci is one of just three prospects the Sox acquired via international free agency.

Boston originally signed Bonaci out of Venezuela for $290,000 in July 2018, making him one of their more expensive additions from a 2018-2019 signing class that included Eduardo Lopez, Wilkelman Gonzalez, and Juan Daniel Encarnacion, among others.

After getting his first taste of pro ball in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, Bonaci had his 2020 season wiped out from under him on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the pandemic halted Minor League Baseball in 2020, Bonaci made the most of his time away from organized activities that summer and subsequently stood out at the Red Sox’ fall instructional league program.

“Bonaci looked the best of the young group of middle infielders in camp,” SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall wrote in December 2020. “He showed good athleticism and average bat speed with good bat control. He is not the fastest player, but does have the quick twitch athleticism you look for in the middle infield and a solid blend of instincts and physical ability that should allow him to stick at shortstop long-term.”

With the momentum he gained at fall instructs, Bonaci came into 2021 regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In the spring, he broke camp having been assigned to rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox.

In 36 games with the FCL Red Sox, the switch-hitting infielder batted a stout .252/.358/.403 (108 wRC+) to go along with 13 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 17 RBIs, 27 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 21 walks, and 37 strikeouts over 162 plate appearances.

Those numbers may not exactly stand out on paper, but scouts were still impressed with what they saw from Bonaci during his time in Southwest Florida.

“He has shown advanced pitch recognition skills for his age, but has the tendency to be passive at the plate,” Cundall wrote of Bonaci back in August. “A switch-hitter, he has shown strong feel for hit and contact ability for his age.”

Roughly three weeks before the minor-league season ended, Bonaci received a promotion to Low-A Salem on September 3. In his first exposure to full-season ball, the 19-year-old slashed .224/.269/.327 (63 wRC+) with three doubles, one triple, eight RBIs, five runs scored, three walks, and eight strikeouts across 13 games (52 plate appearances) with Salem to close out the year.

Defensively, Bonaci logged 113 innings at second base and 269 1/3 innings at shortstop between the FCL and Low-A last year. While patrolling second base, he committed just two errors but committed a total of five (all in the FCL) at shortstop.

Despite those miscues, Cundall did note over the summer that Bonaci ” has a strong arm and shows the defensive ability to stick at shortstop” as opposed to moving over to second base.

Bonaci, who turns 20 in July, is currently listed at 5-foot-10 and 164 pounds. The Catia La Mar native is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season where he left off in 2021: Salem.

On that note, the 2022 campaign could prove to be somewhat of a pivotal one for Bonaci, who can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Brainer Bonaci: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Triston Casas on fellow top prospect Nick Yorke: ‘I know we’ll be teammates soon. He’ll catch up to me soon’

Despite being born and raised on opposite sides of the country, Triston Casas and Nick Yorke share something in common in that they are both former first-round draft picks of the Red Sox.

Casas, a Florida native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft while Yorke, a California native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 amateur draft.

Both highly-touted prospects coming out of their respective high schools, the pair of young infielders first got to know each other at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket during the final weeks of the compressed 2020 season.

Last year, each of Casas and Yorke received an invite to major-league spring training and the two became roommates in Fort Myers as a result.

While the duo went their separate ways and were assigned to different affiliates once minor-league camp broke in May, they both enjoyed great success on an individual level in 2021.

Casas, in what his his third professional season, split the year between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, though he needed to step away from affiliated ball for a few weeks over the summer to help Team USA win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Across 86 games with the Sea Dogs and WooSox, Casas batted a respectable .279/.394/.484 to go along with 15 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, 63 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 57 walks, and 71 strikeouts over 371 total plate appearances. The left-handed hitting first baseman also posted a .982 OPS in 21 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

Yorke, getting his first true taste of pro ball, initially got off to a slow start with Low-A Salem, but performed exceptionally enough there to earn a promotion to High-A Greenville in late August. Between the two Class-A levels, the right-handed hitting second baseman slashed an astounding .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 62 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 52 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 97 total games spanning 442 trips to the plate.

While receiving plenty of attention for what they did on the field over the course of the 2021 campaign, Casas and Yorke were both recently recognized by Baseball America as two of the top-40 prospects in the game heading into the 2022 season.

Subsequently, the Red Sox kicked off a weeklong minicamp at their Fenway South complex on Monday. This “Winter Warm-Up” program was implemented with the idea of getting a larger group of prospects and minor-leaguers into a warmer climate.

Of the 28 players who were invited to participate in this minicamp, Casas and Yorke obviously stick out as the headliners given their standing as two of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system.

With the opportunity to further their development, though, also comes the opportunity to build upon previously established relationships. Casas and Yorke are clearly close already, but are once again rooming up down in Southwest Florida.

Casas was among those who spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He seems to like playing with Yorke, noting that the two have “gravitated toward each other.”

There is a chance that Casas and Yorke are among those who stick around in Fort Myers until minor-league camp begins in full around mid-March.

While Casas, who turned 22 this month, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Worcester and Yorke, who turns 20 in April, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Greenville, the former is hopeful that he will be sharing the same infield with the latter before long.

“I know we’ll be teammates soon,” Casas said of Yorke. “He’ll catch up to me soon.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)