Red Sox Bring Back Six Minor-League Free Agents, Including Austin Maddox and Daniel McGrath

The Red Sox brought back six minor-league free agents on minor-league deals on Saturday, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Depending on how you look at things, the most significant of the six free agents mentioned above who were brought back could either be Austin Maddox or Daniel McGrath.

Starting with Maddox, the 28-year-old right-hander is the only one of the bunch who has seen major league action, which came in five different stints with Boston over the course of the 2017 season.

In those five stints, Maddox yielded just one earned run on 13 hits, two walks, and 14 strikeouts over 13 relief outings and 17 1/3 total innings pitched, which in turn earned him a spot on the Sox’ ALDS roster, where he tossed two innings of one-run ball against the Houston Astros.

With that strong showing, the former 2012 third-round pick out of the University of Florida figured to play a key role in Boston’s bullpen plans for the 2018 campaign, but persistent right shoulder issues prevented that from happening, ultimately leading to Maddox undergoing rotator cuff surgery last September. A procedure that held him out for all of 2019.

As for McGrath, the 25-year-old left-hander was one of the better pitchers in the Eastern League this past season, posting a 1.68 ERA and .184 batting average against over 27 total outings (15 starts) and 112 1/3 innings pitched for Double-A Portland. He also had two brief stints with Triple-A Pawtucket in June and early September, where he allowed a total of six runs over 10 /13 frames of work.

McGrath is fascinating in that he signed with the Sox as a 17-year-old out of Melbourne, Australia back in January 2013. The contract the southpaw signed at that time was good for seven years, and now he figures to vie for a rotation spot with the PawSox in 2020.

These moves come just days ahead of the start of the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Az on Monday.

 

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Red Sox’ Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec Will Be Working out with Team During Homestand This Week

When major league rosters expanded this past Sunday to kick off the month of September, the Red Sox did not call up their second-ranked prospect in first baseman Bobby Dalbec.

Instead, the 24-year-old finished off the minor league season with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, where he slashed .257/.301/.478 with seven home runs and 16 RBI over 30 games after being promoted from Double-A Portland on August 3rd.

The Sox very well could have made the decision to call up Dalbec, but with Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis already on the roster, playing time for the Washington native would most likely be hard to come by.

So, instead of starting his service time clock now, Dalbec will get familiar with the big leagues in a different fashion, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe.

The same sort of thing happened in Los Angeles last season, when the Dodgers brought up then-top catching prospect Will Smith in September without actually adding him to their active roster.

Per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, Smith, “traveled with the team. He was given a locker. He watched film and attended pregame meetings as the Dodgers charged their way to a sixth straight division title. But when the games started, Smith wasn’t allowed in the dugout. He watched them in the club’s video room — at home and on the road — alongside the team’s video coordinator.”

Through 38 games with the Dodgers in 2019 the 24-year-old Smith is slashing .282/.356/.684 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI and has been worth 1.8 fWAR in that time, second-most among rookie catchers across baseball behind Carson Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It made this transition way easier for me,” Smith said back in June. “I was kind of bombarded with everything but I didn’t have to stress about playing. This year, I wasn’t bombarded. I’m used to it.”

Obviously, coming up as a catcher comes with more challenges than coming up as an infielder, but if Smith’s 2018 experience is any indication, the next few weeks could shape how Dalbec comes into big league camp next February. Definitely something worth keeping an eye on.

Red Sox’ Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec Crushes First Home Run for Triple-A Pawtucket

One day after outfield prospect Jarren Duran mashed his first home run for Double-A Portland on Thursday, Red Sox infield prospect did the same for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday as part of a 3-for-4 night in a 7-6 loss to the Toledo Mud Hens.

Hitting out of the six-hole and starting at first base, the 24-year-old’s first International League homer came in the top half of the eighth inning, when with two outs and a runner at second following a Rusney Castillo RBI double, Dalbec took right-hander Austin Adams deep to center off a 1-2 fastball right down the heart of the plate.

That two-run blast cut the PawSox’s deficit down to 7-6, but that would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Ranked as the number-two prospect in Boston’s farm system behind only Triston Casas on MLB.com, Dalbec is slashing .391/.417/.565 with that one homer and two RBI over his first six Triple-A contests since being promoted from Double-A Portland on August 3rd.

He has started at both first and third base and has only hit out of the six-hole with the PawSox to this point.

Perhaps now that Dalbec has crushed his first Triple-A big fly, the home runs will start coming in bunches for the power-hitting prospect.

The International League is using the same balls Major League Baseball is using this season, so many expected that Dalbec’s offensive production would increase once he got the call up to Pawtucket.

 

Red Sox’ Fourth-Ranked Prospect Jarren Duran Blasts First Home Run for Double-A Portland

Red Sox outfield Prospect Jarren Duran crushed his first Eastern League home run as part of a 1-for-3 afternoon in a 9-0 win for the Portland Sea Dogs over the Erie SeaWolves on Thursday.

Now ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Boston’s farm system, it appears that Duran has started to figure it out at the Double-A level.

Since his promotion from High-A Salem to Portland on June 3rd, the 22-year-old is slashing .262/.320/.323 over his last 58 games.

Those numbers may not seem all that impressive when you consider how Duran tore up the Carolina League to begin 2019, but they have been on the rise in the recent weeks.

For instance, the California native came into the month of July with a .211/.279/.263 slash line to go along with three stolen bases and six RBI in his first 24 games with the Sea Dogs.

Once the calendar flipped to July though, Duran began to turn a corner at the plate. That much is evident by how he is slashing a gaudy .386/.421/.486 with that one homer, seven RBI, and nine stolen bases in his last 18 games going back to July 20th.

Given how much he has rose through the prospect rankings this year, it’s easy to forget that Duran is still in his first full season of professional baseball after being selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State.

Duran was the Sox’ lone representative at the 2019 Futures Game in Cleveland last month, where he went 1-for-2 off the bench with a seventh inning single.

 

Red Sox Promote Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec to Triple-A Pawtucket

The Red Sox have promoted third baseman Bobby Dalbec from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket, per the PawSox’ official Twitter account.

Dalbec, 24, is ranked as Boston’s number-two prospect behind Triston Casas on MLB.com, and has slashed .234/.371/.454 to go along with an Eastern League-leading 20 home runs and 57 RBI over 105 games with the Sea Dogs this season.

Selected by the Sox with the 118th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona, Dalbec made quite the impression in his first major league camp earlier in the year.

With the PawSox, Dalbec should have the chance to display even more of his power tool, since the same baseballs being used in the majors this year are also being used across the Triple-A level.

In what will be his Triple-A debut, the Washington native is set to start at third and bat sixth against the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, on Saturday night at McCoy Stadium.

 

 

Red Sox Promote Seventh-Ranked Prospect Bryan Mata to Double-A Portland

For the second time in less than two weeks, the Red Sox have promoted a top right-handed pitching prospect within their organization, this time with right-hander Bryan Mata getting the call up from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland on Monday, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Mata, 20, is currently ranked as Boston’s seventh-best overall prospect and second among right-handed pitchers on MLB.com.

Signed as an international free agent as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela, Mata began the 2019 campaign with the High-A Salem Red Sox, where he posted a dazzling 1.75 ERA and .201 batting average against over 10 starts and 51 1/3 innings of work.

Selected as the Red Sox’ lone representative in the 2018 Futures Game in Washington D.C., Mata has done a great deal to cut down on walks since then.

In 72 full frames with Salem last year, the young hurler handed out 58 free passes, or averaged 7.25 per nine innings.

This year, in those aforementioned 51 1/3 innings pitched, Mata has allowed just 18 walks total, or 3.16 per nine.

According to his SoxProspects.com profile, Mata features a four-seam fastball that hovers between 94-96 MPH and tops out at 98 MPH, a slider/cutter hybrid he added this season that hovers around 86-90 MPH, a curveball that hovers between 78-80 MPH and has an 11-5 break, and a changeup that hovers between 84-86 MPH.

Mata will join fellow right-handed prospect Kutter Crawford (No. 19), who was promoted on June 21st, in Portland’s starting rotation and will also make his Eastern League debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Trenton Thunder on Tuesday.

 

Red Sox’ Ninth-Ranked Prospect Jarren Duran Selected for 2019 MLB All-Star Futures Game

Rosters for the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game were announced on Friday, and the Red Sox will be sending just one representative to Cleveland next month in outfield prospect Jarren Duran.

Ranked as Boston’s ninth-best prospect on MLB.com, Duran will join 24 other prospects representing the American League in the Futures Game in Cleveland on July 7th.

For the last 20 years, the showcase was formatted so that the rosters were divided between U.S.-born and international-born players, but that all changes in 2019, as former Cleveland Indians great Jim Thome will be managing the American League side and long-time right-hander Dennis Martinez will be doing the same for the NL.

This honor is a first for Duran, who was promoted to Double-A Portland on June 3rd after a torrid start to the season with High-A Salem, where he led the Carolina League in hitting with a .387 batting average.

Initially, that promotion led to some struggles for the speedy 22-year-old, as he went just 6-for-38 (.158) with two doubles, one triple, and two RBI in his first 10 games with the Sea Dogs, but has since picked things up a bit over his last 11 contests, batting .250 (11-for-44) with one double and three runs driven in over that span.

Granted, Duran’s on-base percentage has fallen from .304 to .286 in that stretch, but that comes as his slugging percentage has slightly risen from .263 to .268 as well.

The call up to Portland has surely been a period of adjustment for the Sox’ 2018 seventh round draft pick out of Long Beach State, but to be named to the Futures Game in your first full season of professional baseball is pretty impressive nonetheless.