Trevor Story stays hot with grand slam as Red Sox extend winning streak to 3 with 7-3 victory over Mariners

The Red Sox continued their winning ways on Friday night with a 7-3 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park. Boston has now won three straight games for the first time in 2022 to improve to 17-22 on the season.

Matched up against reining American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray out of the gate, the Sox did all of their damage in their half of the third inning.

There, Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk to fill the bases for Trevor Story. Coming off a historic three-homer night on Thursday, Story picked up where he left off by unloading the bases with a 378-foot grand slam over the Green Monster.

Story’s sixth home run of the season and fourth in the last 24 hours was caught by former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes in the first row of Monster Seats and gave Boston an early 4-0 lead.

To that point in the contest, Michael Wacha was already through three scoreless frames in his first start since returning from the injured list earlier in the day. All told, the veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both of those Seattle runs came in the top of the fifth, when Wacha gave up a leadoff double to Eugenio Suarez that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Abraham Toro. He then retired two of the next four batters he faced before getting the hook from manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (44 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his changeup 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday and induced six of his eight swings-and-misses with hit. He also sat between 90 and 96 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis came on with two runners on and one out to get in the fifth. The left-hander got that out by fanning J.P. Crawford on six pitches, then proceeded to retire the side in order in the sixth as well. Fellow southpaw Jake Diekman followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean seventh inning to pace the way for John Schreiber in the eighth.

Schreiber, working in yet another high-leverage situation, witnessed a scary moment when he got Crawford to lift a softly-hit, 22-foot flyball to shallow left field. While converging on the ball, a sliding Alex Verdugo took out Bogaerts, who appeared to be in serious pain as he landed on his back.

The ball popped out of Bogaerts’ glove during that sequence, allowing Crawford to reach second base safely while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error. Crawford came into score on an RBI single from Jesse Winker, but Schreiber was able to hold the Mariners to the one run. Bogaerts is now considered day-to-day with left back tightness.

After coming on as a defensive replacement for Christian Arroyo the previous inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided some late-game insurance in his lone plate appearance of the night in the bottom of the eighth. After J.D. Martinez and Franchy Cordero (pinch-hitting for Bogaerts) reached base, Bradley Jr. greeted new Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz by cranking a three-run homer 359 feet to the opposite field.

Bradley Jr.’s first big fly of the year put the Sox up 7-3. Matt Strahm then slammed the door on the Mariners in the ninth inning to secure his team’s third consecutive win.

Next up: Flexen vs. Whitlock

The Red Sox will go for their third consecutive series win in the third game of this four-game set against the Mariners on Saturday evening. Boston will turn to right-hander Garrett Whitlock while Seattle will roll with fellow righty Chris Flexen.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo homers, Rich Hill takes perfect game into fifth inning as Red Sox hold on for 3-1 win over Orioles

The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night. With the win, Boston improved to 9-12 on the season.

Matched up against Kyle Bradish, who was making the first start of his big-league career for the O’s, to begin things on Friday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the second inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the second with a single to shallow center field. After Franchy Cordero flew out, Christian Arroyo followed by clubbing a 408-foot two-run homer into Baltimore’s bullpen.

Arroyo’s first home run of the season gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. It was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox batter since Rafael Devers went deep off Corey Kluber in St. Petersburg last Friday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the rally going by reaching base on an infield single. He then scored all the way from first when Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right field that got past Trey Mancini and rolled all the way to the wall. Vazquez was easily thrown out at third, but the damage had already been done.

Rich Hill, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, took full advantage of the three-run cushion he was given. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

After retiring each of the first 12 batters he faced, Hill took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning but yielded a leadoff single to Austin Hays, which is how his night would come to an end. Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 24 curveballs, 20 four-seamers, four sliders, and two changeups while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.71.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen. Houck, fresh off being activated from the injured list, stranded the lone base runner he inherited in the fifth despite allowing one hit and one walk in the inning. The right-hander sat down the side in order in the sixth but ran into additional trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with two outs.

Houck did not falter, though, as he punched out the pinch-hitting Rougned on three straight strikes to escape the jam and hand things over to Jake Diekman in the eighth. Diekman, in turn, needed 17 pitches to toss a scoreless frame.

Hansel Robles was dispatched for the ninth and immediately served up a solo home run to Ryan Mountcastle that was followed by a line-drive single off the bat of Hays.

With the tying run at the plate, Robles issued a balk that allowed Hays to advance to second. He then got Ramon Urias to fly out and Tyler Nevin to line out to right for the first two outs.

Cora went back into the bullpen and gave Robles the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who walked Anthony Santander on five pitches to put the tying run on base with runners at first and second. The lefty, however, did not give in as he fanned the pinch-hitting Chris Owings to slam the door on Baltimore and earn the first save of his major-league career.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Watkins

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Orioles by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday night. Fellow righty Spenser Watkins will get the ball for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride strong start from Michael Wacha, 6-run eighth inning to 8-1 win over Twins

Powered by strong starting pitching and a late rally, the Red Sox won their second straight over the Twins at Fenway Park on Sunday by a final score of 8-1. Boston has now won three of its last four games to improve to 5-4 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his second start of the year for the Sox, thoroughly impressed while donning the yellow and blue City Connect uniforms for the first time. Over five scoreless innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded just one hit and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Wacha took a perfect game bid into the third inning by retiring each of the first seven Minnesota batters he faced. He then issued a one-out walk to Miguel Sano in the top of the third, but stranded Sano there before taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

To lead things off in the fifth, Gio Urshela greeted Wacha by roping a single to center field. Once more, though, Wacha did not let things escalate and instead sat down each of the final three Twins he faced to end his day on a solid note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler featured a healthy mix of changeups, four-seam fastballs, and cutters on Sunday. Those three offerings accounted for 80% of Wacha’s workload, though he also threw eight sinkers and eight curveballs while inducing a total of seven swings-and-misses altogether.

In relief of Wacha, Matt Strahm received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the top of the sixth inning. The left-hander needed all of 13 pitches to retire the side there.

To that point in the contest, the Sox themselves had been stymied by Twins starter Bailey Ober. After mustering just three singles and a walk through five innings, the Boston bats finally got something going against Ober in their half of the sixth.

Rafael Devers led the inning off by reaching on a fielding error committed by Sano. He then advanced all the way to third on a hard-hit double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 2-0.

Strahm came back out for the seventh but was pulled after yielding a one-out single to Max Kepler. Ryan Brasier was dispatched and allowed the lone runner he inherited to score on a Trevor Larnach sacrifice fly. The righty then loaded the bases with two outs, but escaped the jam by getting Kyle Garlick to fan on a 93 mph fastball that was up and in.

After Jake Diekman struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, the Sox really blew things open in their half of the inning. With reliever Caleb Thielbar on the mound for the Twins, Enrique Hernandez, Devers, and Bogaerts hit three consecutive singles. Bogaerts plated Hernandez on his 44-foot base hit, then Martinez scored Devers on an RBI double off the Green Monster.

The 300th double of Martinez’s career made it a 4-1 game in favor of Boston. Trevor Story added on to that by lacing a two-run single that scored both Bogaerts and Martinez. After Story advanced to second on a Bobby Dalbec base hit, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with an RBI single of his own. Kevin Plawecki plated the Sox’ eighth and final run (Dalbec) on a sacrifice fly.

With a sizable seven-run cushion to work with, Austin Davis got the call for the ninth and closed things out quickly to secure an 8-1 victory on Easter.

Some notes from this win:

In his last four games, Jackie Bradley Jr. has batted .385 (5-for-13) with three doubles, four RBIs, two runs scored, and two walks.

With runners in scoring position this season, J.D. Martinez is batting .333/.364/.667 with four RBIs.

Rafael Devers has recorded two or more hits in four of his last six games and is now hitting .368 with an OPS of .990 on the season.

Next up: Bundy vs. Hill

The Red and Twins will close out this four-game weekend series on Marathon Monday. Left-hander Rich Hill is slated to get the ball for Boston while right-hander Dylan Bundy is in line to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox close out road trip by holding on to defeat Tigers, 9-7

The Red Sox improved to 3-3 on the young season with a series-clinching 9-7 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Battling rainy conditions, Nathan Eovaldi made his second start of the year for Boston. The veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered on Wednesday came by way of the home run ball, as Jonathan Schoop got the scoring started with a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the first.

Two innings later, the Sox lineup responded. After going down quietly the first time through the order, Enrique Hernandez took old friend Eduardo Rodriguez deep on a solo homer of his own in the top half of the third to tie things back up at 1-1.

Rodriguez, making his first start against his former team after signing a five-year deal with the Tigers over the winter, ran into more trouble in the fourth. Following a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez and groundball single from Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo advanced both runners into scoring position on a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Alex Verdugo plated Martinez on a sacrifice fly to left field.

With two outs in the frame, Christian Vazquez grounded into what should have been the final out of the inning. Instead, Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario committed a throwing error that allowed Vazquez to reach base safely and keep the inning going.

The Boston bats took full advantage of that Detroit miscue, as Jackie Bradley Jr., Hernandez, and Rafael Devers drove in a total of four runs on back-to-back-to-back hard-hit doubles, which ultimately knocked Rodriguez out of the game. Following a Tigers pitching change, Trevor Story came through with his first RBI in a Red Sox uniform as he plated Devers on a single to cap off a six-run inning.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, worked his way around a one-out single in the fourth before yielding another solo blast to Akil Baddoo in the fifth that cut the Sox’ lead down to five runs at 7-2. He then punched out the final two batters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (72 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and averaged 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced five swings-and-misses with his curveball, a pitch he threw 24 times.

In relief of Eovaldi, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the sixth inning. The righty needed just 14 pitches to retire the side in order and he did so while hovering around 93-95 mph with his heater.

After Vazquez and Bradley Jr. provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance on a sacrifice fly and RBI single, the Tigers began to mount a rally in their half of the seventh.

With Austin Davis in the game for Boston, Harold Castro led off with a single that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Spencer Torkelson. The first home run of Torkelson’s career cut Detroit’s deficit down to five runs at 9-4.

Davis and Kutter Crawford were able to get through the rest of the seventh unscathed, but Crawford encountered some difficulties in the eighth as he issued an RBI single to Eric Haase before loading the bases with no outs.

Jake Diekman was then called upon to take over for Crawford and recorded the first two outs of the inning. But the lefty gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to Victor Reyes before plunking Austin Meadows with the bases loaded as the Tigers made things even more interesting at 9-7.

Hansel Robles was next to get the call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and he proceeded to get Schoop to pop out to Story for the final out before coming back out for the ninth and tossing a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save.

Some notes from this win:

Nathan Eovaldi has given up four home runs through his first two starts of the season. It took until June 26 to reach that point last season.

After dealing with food poisoning the last few days, Trevor Story went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday.

Enrique Hernandez began his season 0-for-17 at the plate. Over the last two days, he has gone 4-for-9 with three doubles, one homer, three RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks.

Next up: Home opener at Fenway

The Red Sox are off Thursday and head back to Boston having won three of their last four games. They will open up a four-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park to kick off Patriots’ Day weekend festivities on Friday, which is also Jackie Robinson Day.

For Friday’s home opener, it will be right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Joe Ryan doing the same for Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi strikes out 7 in final tune-up before Opening Day as Red Sox fall to Pirates, 7-2

The Red Sox fell to 9-7 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday following a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Pirates at JetBlue Park.

In his final tune-up before Opening Day, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed five runs — three of which were earned — on six hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

The veteran right-hander began his afternoon on a solid note, retiring 11 of the first 12 Pirates he faced before serving up a two-out solo shot to former teammate Michael Chavis with two outs in the fourth inning.

After getting through the fourth and once again sitting down the side in order in the fifth, Eovaldi ran into more trouble in the sixth when he yielded a leadoff double to Hoy Park that was followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Diego Castillo that was just out of reach for a sprawling Jackie Bradley Jr.

That sequence made it a 3-0 contest in favor of Pittsburgh, though the Pirates tacked on more when Bligh Madris reached second base on a fielding error committed by Travis Shaw and scored on an RBI single from Hunter Owen.

Owen would be the last batter Eovaldi would face as the 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 94 and made way for Robert Kwiatkowski out of the Boston bullpen.

Kwiatkowski, in turn, allowed the lone runner he inherited in Owen to score before ending things in the top of the sixth. A half-inning later, the Red Sox responded by plating their first run of the day on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.D. Martinez that scored Alex Verdugo from third to make it a 5-1 game.

Former Pirates reliever Austin Davis gave that run right back on back-to-back doubles to lead off the seventh, but Bradley Jr. came through with his second home run of the spring in the bottom half of the frame to keep the deficit at four.

Matt Barnes surrendered one run on two hits and a walk in the eighth, while Matt Strahm stranded two base runners and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning. Boston then went down quietly in their half of the ninth, as 7-2 would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Wright

The Red Sox will make one final trip to North Port on Sunday to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park. Nick Pivetta is slated to start for Boston and fellow righty Kyle Wright is in line to do the same for Atlanta.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/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.

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox snap skid with 5-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox put an end to a three-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 win over the Rays at JetBlue Park. Boston improved to 7-3 in Grapefruit League play on the back of four home runs from a trio of expected regulars.

Matched up against Corey Kluber to begin things on Saturday, the Sox got to the Rays starter right away in the first inning. With no outs and the bases empty, Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a solo shot over the right field wall and into the Boston bullpen.

An inning later, Bobby Dalbec reached base via a one-out single and came into score when Jackie Bradley Jr. clubbed a towering two-run homer off Kluber to give his side an early 3-0 advantage.

Those two home runs provided Red Sox starter Michael Wacha with a bit of a cushion out of the gate. Making his second start of the spring, the veteran right-hander retired six of the first even Rays batters he faced before running into some trouble in the third.

There, Wacha yielded a single and double in consecutive order to lead off the frame. Randy Arozarena then drove in Tampa Bay’s first run of the day on an RBI groundout before young phenom Wander Franco plated another on a line-drive single that Christian Arroyo could not come up with at second base.

As a result, Boston’s lead was cut down to just one run at 3-2. The Sox quickly got one of those runs back, though, as Devers came through and led off the bottom of the third with his second big fly of the afternoon and third of the spring.

Wacha, in turn, came back out for the fourth and finished his outing on a positive note with a 1-2-3 frame. The 30-year-old hurler wound up allowing two earned runs on four hits, no walks, and one strikeout.

In relief of Wacha, Ryan Brasier got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen beginning in the fifth. After a rough spring debut on Wednesday, the righty issued a leadoff walk to Brett Phillips, who proceeded to steal second base and score on an RBI double off the bat of Ford Proctor.

That again, trimmed the Sox’ lead down to one run at 4-3, but the Boston bats responded immediately when Enrique Hernandez led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo blast over the Fenway South Green Monster off of newly-inserted reliever Matt Wisler.

Hernandez’s second homer of the Grapefruit League campaign gave the Red Sox another two-run lead at 5-3. From there, the Sox bullpen held the Rays at bay as Zack Kelly tossed a scoreless sixth and Phillips Valdez closed things out with a good, old-fashioned three-inning save.

All told, four different Red Sox pitchers (Wacha, Brasier, Kelly, and Valdez) limited the Rays to just three runs on seven hits, four walks, and nine strikeouts over nine combined innings of work.

Next up: Whitlock vs. Ryan

The Red Sox will make the crosstown trek to take on the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Boston currently leads the race for the 2022 Chairman’s Cup at two-games-to-one.

In an intriguing twist, Garrett Whitlock will make his first start and second overall appearance of the spring for the Sox. He will be opposed by fellow right-hander Joe Ryan for the Twins.

First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Seiya Suzuki rumors: Several teams believe Red Sox ‘are lined up to make a move on Japanese outfielder’ when lockout ends (report)

Even in the midst of an ongoing lockout, the Red Sox still appear to be interested in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

The Sox have been linked to Suzuki since he was posted by the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in November and remain locked in on the star free-agent nearly three months later, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

“Several teams believe the Sox are lined up to make a move on Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki when the lockout finally ends,” Abraham wrote on Saturday. “Suzuki is committed to playing in the majors, having decided not to remain with the Hiroshima Carp.”

Suzuki, 27, has spent the last nine seasons with Hiroshima. Most recently, the right-handed hitter batted .317/.433/.636 with 26 doubles, 38 home runs, 88 RBIs, 77 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 87 walks, and 88 walks over 132 games (533 plate appearances) for the Carp in 2021.

The Carp officially posted Suzuki on Nov. 22, giving MLB teams a little more than a week to negotiate with the four-time NPB All-Star before the lockout began on December 2. Since that time, Suzuki’s posting window has been paused, but it will pick up once the work stoppage ends, meaning clubs will have roughly three weeks to continue negotiating with his camp.

Despite the lengthy lockout, Suzuki — as Abraham mentioned — remains committed to playing in the major-leagues even though he could return to Japan for the 2022 season and test the free-agency waters again next winter.

Last month, Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported that Suzuki was planning to travel to the United States once the lockout is lifted to negotiate with interested teams in-person. That same report suggested that Suzuki was preparing to narrow down his list of suitors to three or four, noting that clubs with spring training facilities in Arizona may hold a geographical advantage over clubs with complexes in Florida (like the Red Sox).

A few weeks before that report came out, Suzuki himself told The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly that he has heard recruiting pitches from 10 to 12 teams and the Sox are among that group. He would not reveal his personal short list, though he did indicate that he had no preference for which league or coast he played on.

“I can’t stop thinking about which team to pick,” Suzuki said. “I’m going to be honest with you: I’m still very confused. I can’t sleep every night because a lot of the teams hit my heart. I still have to give it a lot of thought.”

Shortly before the lockout began, the Red Sox put themselves in a position where they could benefit from Suzuki’s services when they traded Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for fellow outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects.

By effectively swapping Renfroe for Bradley Jr., Boston shook up their outfield mix significantly in that they traded offensive production for defensive production. That being said, they also traded away a right-handed hitting outfielder for another left-handed hitting outfielder to join the likes of Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo on the 40-man roster.

Since he possesses pop from the right side of the plate, Suzuki could in theory fill the void left behind by Renfroe and emerge as the Sox’ everyday right fielder. Going back to what chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said earlier this winter, the 27-year-old does fit the profile of a right-handed hitter the club might prefer to sign over a left-handed hitter.

Suzuki, who does not turn 28 until August, is about 2 1/2 years younger than Renfroe, who turned 30 last month. The former has drawn comparisons to the latter and may have an even stronger defensive profile seeing how he is a five-time recipient of the Mitsui Golden Glove Award.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, Suzuki is “expected to command a contract in the range of five years and $60 million,” per Baggarly. This does not take into account the compensation Suzuki’s new team would owe Hiroshima in the form of a release fee.

As things stand now, it appears as though the Red Sox have as good a chance as any club to land Suzuki once the lockout eventually ends. With some help from former Boston closer Koji Uehara, it just might happen.

(Picture of Seiya Suzuki: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

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)