Red Sox send power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut to Reds to complete Tommy Pham trade

The Red Sox have sent infield prospect Nick Northcut to the Reds to complete last month’s trade for outfielder Tommy Pham, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Boston acquired Pham from Cincinnati in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations on August 1. It turns out that player to be named is Northcut.

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft, Northcut is a Cincinnati-area native who attended William Mason High School in nearby Mason, Ohio. He forwent his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing with Boston for $565,000.

Now 23 years old, Nortchut opened the 2022 season with High-A Greenville. The right-handed hitter batted 223/.286/.530 with 13 doubles, 26 home runs, 58 RBIs, 43 runs scored, 21 walks, and 118 strikeouts in 77 games (322 plate appearances) with the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland in late July.

From there, Northcut slashed .208/.245/.376 with five doubles, four home runs, 17 RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, four walks, and 37 strikeouts over 26 games (106 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs. His 30 homers are currently the most in the organization.

Despite the impressive power numbers, Northcut was not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. That likely has to do with a .276 on-base percentage, a 35.3% strikeout rate, and a 5.8% walk rate between Greenville and Portland.

On the other side of the ball, Northcut has seen the majority of his playing time on the field this season come at either first or third base. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder has logged 518 1/3 innings at third, 276 innings at first, and six innings at shortstop.

Northcut, who does not turn 24 until next June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter. The Reds will have until late November to add him to their 40-man roster if they intend on protecting him from it.

Pham, meanwhile, has slashed .262/.321/.416 with eight doubles, five home runs, 17 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, nine walks, and 50 strikeouts in 36 games (162 plate appearances) with the Red Sox since the trade.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Northcut, 23, has batted .223/.286/.530 with 13 doubles, 26 home runs, 58 RBIs, 43 runs scored, 21 walks, and 118 strikeouts in 77 games (322 plate appearances) with the Drive this season. The right-handed hitting infielder broke Greenville’s single-season home run record earlier this month and currently leads the organization in homers.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters coming into play on Tuesday, Northcut ranks first in home runs, third in RBIs, second in slugging percentage, 14th in OPS (.816), first in isolated power (.307), and 26th in wRC+ (111), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has seen the majority of his playing time on the field this season come at either first or third base. He has logged 361 1/3 innings at the hot corner and 228 innings at first base while also making one appearance at shortstop.

Despite the impressive power numbers he has put up this year, Northcut is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top 30 or so prospects within Boston’s farm system. That lack of recognition can likely be attributed to his .286 on-base percentage, 35.4% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate.

A Cincinnati-area native, Northcut was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio. He forwent his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing with Boston for $565,000.

Since making his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League, Northcut has appeared in a total of 274 minor-league games across four different minor-league levels. He will now join the Sea Dogs, who open a six-game series against the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Tuesday night.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, it is possible that Northcut’s stay with the Sea Dogs is only temporary since Portland is currently thin on infield depth.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut sets new single-season home run record for High-A Greenville

Red Sox power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut etched his name into Greenville Drive history on Wednesday afternoon.

In the fourth inning of High-A Greenville’s 9-4 win over Hudson Valley in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., Northcut clubbed a two-run home run off Renegades starter Blas Castano to left-center field.

It was Northcut’s 25th big fly of the year, meaning he had surpassed Tyler Dearden for the most single-season home runs in Drive history. Dearden (now with Double-A Portland) needed 91 games to hit 24 home runs last year.

Northcut, on the other hand, only needed 72 games to mash 25 homers for Greenville this season. Following Wednesday’s two-hit, two-RBI performance, the right-handed hitting infielder is now batting .221/.283/.529 with 10 doubles, 25 runs driven in, 40 runs scored, 19 walks, and 108 strikeouts across his first 300 plate appearances at the High-A level.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut currently ranks first in home runs, third in RBIs, second in slugging percentage, 15th in OPS (.812), first in isolated power (.308), and first in at-bats per home run (11.04), per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

Defensively, Northcut made his 39th start of the season at third base on Wednesday. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has logged 337 1/3 innings at the hot corner as well as 228 innings at first base and six innings at shortstop.

Northcut, 23, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of William Mason High School. The Ohio native forwent his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing with the club for $565,000.

Despite the impressive power numbers he has put up this year, Northcut is not regarded by industry publications such as Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, or SoxProspects as one of the top-ranked prospects in Boston’s farm system.

That likely has to do with Northcut’s low on-base percentage, low walk rate (6.3%), and high strikeout rate (36%). If Northcut can improve upon those tendencies, perhaps he could earn garner more recognition and even earn a promotion to Portland before season’s end.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut named South Atlantic League Player of the Week

Red Sox infield prospect Nick Northcut has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of June 6-12, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In High-A Greenville’s latest series against the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field, Northcut went 7-for-22 (.318) with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs, seven runs scored, three walks, and nine strikeouts over six games. All four of those homers were hit within a two-day stretch on Friday and Saturday.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the right-handed hitter is batting .231/.286/.574 with seven doubles, a team-high 20 home runs and 46 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 12 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 50 games (210 plate appearances) for the Drive. He has put up those numbers while primarily playing both corner infield positions.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut ranks first in home runs, second in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.860), first in isolated power (.344), and 17th in wRC+ (124), per FanGraphs.

Northcut, who is celebrating his 23rd birthday on Monday, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 60th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Ohio native was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School.

While power has been his standout tool this season, Northcut is working to become more selective at the plate. His 37.6% strikeout rate and 5.7% walk rate are among the worst marks in the Sally League, but the Red Sox have otherwise been pleased with what they have seen from the young slugger.

As he inches closer towards setting a new single-season home run record in Greenville, Northcut becomes the first member of the Drive to earn South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors since Ceddanne Rafaela did so on April 18.

Rafaela has since been promoted to Double-A Portland. Perhaps Northcut is not too far behind him.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut has homered 4 times in last 2 games as he approaches High-A Greenville’s single-season record

Nick Northcut became the first Red Sox minor-leaguer to reach the 20 home run plateau this season in High-A Greenville’s 3-2 win over the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field on Saturday night.

After going deep three times on Friday, Northcut went 1-for-3 on Saturday with two RBIs, one scored, and one strikeout while batting third and starting at first base for the Drive.

His latest homer came with one out and one runner on in the sixth inning. Matched up against Tourists starter Rhett Kouba, Northcut took the right-hander deep over everything in left field to give the Drive a 3-2 lead.

Prior to Friday’s outburst, Northcut was in the midst of a 12-for-77 (.156) slump over his last 20 games dating back to May 15. Following Saturday’s performance, the right-handed-hitting slugger is now batting .229/.278/.573 with six doubles, those 20 home runs, 45 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 10 walks, and 77 strikeouts across 49 games (205 plate appearances) this season.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut ranks first in home runs, tied for first in RBIs, second in slugging percentage, eighth in OPS (.851), first in isolated power (.344), and first in at-bats per home run (9.6), per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

Defensively, the 6-foot-1, 205 pound infielder has logged 190 innings at first base (9 of which came on Saturday), 200 1/3 innings at third base, and six innings at shortstop for the first time in his professional career.

Northcut, who turns 23 on Monday, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 60th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the Ohio native in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School and swayed him away from his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing him for $565,000.

In addition to the power he possesses from the right side of the plate, there is a fair amount of swing-and-miss in Northcut’s game as indicated by his 38.1% strikeout rate (fifth-highest in the Sally League) and 4.9% walk rate (third-lowest in the Sally League).

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, however, the Red Sox are not too concerned about Northcut’s strikeout tendencies since he is generally doing a quality job of swinging at the right pitches and staying away from the ones out of the zone.

“He’s missing some pitches that we think he can hit, but he’s doing a fantastic job not chasing,” hitting coordinator Reed Gragnani told Speier last month. “We can coach that. … If he gets better at making contact in the zone, even at an average rate in MLB or even at this level, then you’re talking about a premium power hitter that can hit .270 with the damage.”

With 20 home runs already under his belt, Northcut is fast-approaching Greenville’s single-season home run record of 24, which was set by outfield prospect Tyler Dearden, who is now with Double-A Portland, just last year.

It took Dearden 91 games and until September 12 to accomplish that feat. At the pace he is currently on, it will not take Northcut nearly as long to etch his name into Drive history.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut has hit 6 home runs in first 13 games for High-A Greenville

Alongside fellow Greenville Drive teammates Alex Binelas and Ceddanne Rafaela, Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut currently leads the South Atlantic League in home runs with six of them on the young season.

Northcut hit two solo homers as part of a 2-for-4 day at the plate in High-A Greenville’s 10-6 loss to the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers affiliate) at L.P. Frans Stadium on Tuesday night.

Nearly three weeks into the 2022 minor-league season, the right-handed hitter finds himself batting .264/.328/.642 with two doubles, those six homers, 12 RBIs, seven runs scored, three walks, and 17 strikeouts over 13 games spanning 58 plate appearances.

Among qualified hitters in the South Atlantic League, Northcut ranks fourth in slugging percentage, 15th in OPS (.969), second in isolated power (.377), and 17th in wRC+ (148), per FanGraphs. Power is clearly a big part of the 22-year-old’s game, though his 5.2% walk rate and 29.3% strikeout rate are not nearly as encouraging.

Defensively, Northcut has seen playing time at both corner infield positions for the Drive so far this year. The 6-foot-1, 205 pounder has logged 70 innings at first base and 44 innings at the hot corner while committing a total of two errors.

A native of Mason, Ohio, Northcut was a highly-touted prospect coming out of William Mason High School when the Red Sox selected him in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft. He was committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University, but signed with Boston for an over-slot deal of $565,000. Since then, he has clubbed 26 home runs in 210 professional games and his raw power is probably his top carrying tool.

Northcut, who turns 23 in June, is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in the Red Sox’ farm system. He can, however, become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter and is certainly making an early case for a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster come late November.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

Nick Pivetta allows two homers in second start of spring as Red Sox fall to Orioles, 8-5

The Red Sox fell to 6-2 in Grapefruit League on Thursday night following an 8-5 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Their six-game winning streak has been met with a two-game losing streak.

Enrique Hernandez was one of the few regulars who made the trek to Sarasota for Thursday’s contest, and he made his impact felt right away by crushing a leadoff home run off Orioles starter Bruce Zimmermann to begin things in the first inning.

Hernandez’s first homer of the spring provided Sox starter Nick Pivetta with an early 1-0 lead. A red-hot Ryan Fitzgerald added on to that by clubbing a two-run shot off Zimmermann an inning later.

Fitzgerald’s team-leading fourth big fly of the spring gave Pivetta an even bigger lead to work with, but the right-hander ran into some trouble in the bottom of the second.

After retiring the side in order in the first, Pivetta — to no fault of his own — allowed the first batter he faced in the second in Anthony Santander to reach base via a throwing error committed by Fitzgerald. Pivetta then issued a one-out walk to Ramon Urias before surrendering two runs on a pair of RBI knocks off the bats of Jorge Mateo and Kelvin Gutierrez.

An inning later, Baltimore knotted things back up at three runs apiece when Ryan Mountcastle took Pivetta deep to right-center field for a solo homer. Urias did the very same in the fourth to give the O’s their first lead of the evening at 4-3.

Pivetta, in turn, recorded the first two outs of the fourth before making way for fellow righty Joan Martinez. The 29-year-old finished his day having given up four runs (two earned) on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.

In relief of Pivetta, Martinez came on and got the final out of the fourth. Moments later, Alex Binelas (one of two prospects acquired in the Jackie Bradley Jr. trade) led off the top of the fifth with a ground-ball single and was pinch ran for by the speedy Ceddanne Rafaela, who proceeded to steal second base and score on an RBI single from Kevin Plawecki.

That sequence allowed the Red Sox to tie things back up at 4-4, and it also prompted manager Alex Cora to have Jake Diekman make his spring debut out of the bullpen in the fifth inning.

Diekman, however, was not at his sharpest. The veteran lefty yielded a one-out single and walk before serving up a three-run blast to New Hampshire native Ryan McKenna that made it a 7-4 game in favor of Baltimore.

Fellow newcomer Matt Strahm was deployed for the sixth inning. The southpaw plunked one batter and walked another, but got through the frame unscathed.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura tossed a scoreless seventh inning. Power-hitting infield prospect Nick Northcut then mashed a booming home run to dead center field off old friend Travis Lakins with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth.

The Orioles got that run back off Kutter Crawford in their half of the eighth, though, and Marcos Diplan closed things out by retiring the likes of Nick Yorke, Rafaela, and Marcelo Mayer in order in the ninth.

Some notes from this loss:

Mayer, arguably Boston’s top prospect, came off the bench as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and went 0-for-1 with a walk and strikeout.

Yorke, on the other hand, went 0-for-2 with a punchout after pinch-hitting for Fitzgerald in the sixth inning as well.

Next up: Houck vs. Anderson

The Red Sox will travel to North Port to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park on Friday afternoon. Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston and fellow right-hander Ian Anderson is lined up to the same for Atlanta.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on Bally Sports South.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut quietly put together powerful 2021 season with Low-A Salem

When thinking of the more highly-touted infield prospects in the Red Sox farm system, Nick Northcut may not be the first name you come up with since he is not ranked by any major publications.

That being said, Northcut was actually one of the better hitting minor-leaguers in the organization last year, and he may have put together a productive 2021 season while flying under the radar a bit.

Coming out of minor-league spring training, Northcut began the year with Low-A Salem and remained there throughout what was his just his second full professional season.

Across 96 games for the Salem Red Sox, the 22-year-old slashed a sturdy .261/.352/.513 to go along with 32 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, 68 runs scored, 46 walks, and 91 strikeouts over 402 plate appearances en route to being named a Low-A East Postseason All-Star.

Among qualified hitters in the Low-A East, Northcut ranked first in doubles, third in home runs, second in RBIs, ninth in runs scored, 16th in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (.865), first in isolated power (.252), and sixth in wRC+ (129), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the right-handed hitting corner infielder appeared in a total of 38 games at first base and 47 games at third base with Salem. He committed three errors in 329 innings at first base and 11 errors in 383 innings at the hot corner.

Well before the 2021 season began, the Red Sox selected Northcut in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School. At that time, the Ohio native was a well-regarded two-way prep prospect (ranked 69th overall by Baseball America) and was committed to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University.

With the help of then-area scout John Pyle, however, Boston was able to land Northcut by signing him to an over-slot deal of $565,000 in June 2018. He made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League (now the Florida Complex League) shortly thereafter.

After spending the entirety of the 2019 campaign in Lowell, Northcut suffered the same fate as many minor-leaguers when the 2020 season was wiped out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not receive an invite to the Sox’ alternate training site that summer, but seemingly took advantage of his time at fall instructs later in the year in Fort Myers.

On the heels of such an impressive year at the plate in 2021, the 6-foot-1, 206 pounder is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the upcoming season at High-A Greenville, though he will likely face plenty of competition for playing time there.

Northcut, who turns 23 in June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter. In other words, he could be added to Boston’s 40-man roster by November depending on the type of year he has and/or how the team feels about him.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)