Red Sox make promotions within amateur scouting department by elevating Paul Toboni, Devin Pearson

The Red Sox have promoted Paul Toboni from director of amateur scouting to a vice president role in charge of amateur scouting and player development, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Toboni, 32, has spent the last three seasons as Boston’s amateur scouting director after being named to the position in September 2019. The native Californian oversaw the 2020, 2021, and 2022 drafts, which saw the Red Sox select (and sign) the likes of top prospects Nick Yorke, Blaze Jordan, Marcelo Mayer, Niko Kavadas, and Mikey Romero, among others.

After playing baseball and graduating from The University of California, Berkeley in 2012, Toboni went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame two years later. He got his start in professional baseball by interning with the Oakland Athletics during the 2013 season.

Before the start of the 2015 campaign, Toboni joined the Red Sox’ baseball operations department in a similar capacity. He then served as an area scout who was responsible for covering northern Texas and northern Louisiana from October 2015 until November 2016. From 2017-2019, he operated as the club’s assistant director of amateur scouting under Mike Rikard.

Rikard was named Boston’s vice president of scouting towards the end of the 2019 season, allowing Toboni to assume the role of amateur scouting director. Now a vice president himself, Toboni is slated to join Rikard and vice president of scouting development and integration Gus Quattlebaum in that regard.

With Toboni’s elevation, Speier also reports that assistant director of amateur scouting Devin Pearson has been promoted to director of amateur scouting.

Pearson, 28, was originally taken by the Blue Jays in the 30th round of the 2012 draft out of Carmel High School. Rather than go pro, though, he elected to go to college and — like Toboni — graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016.

The following February, Pearson began an internship within the Red Sox’ professional scouting department. He moved on to the amateur side of things that October before being elevated to assistant amateur scouting director in Sept. 2019.

The son of former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Dennis Pearson, Devin is set to turn 29 in January. He and Toboni will presumably play a key role in overseeing Boston’s amateur scouting efforts moving forward.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote infield prospect Matthew Lugo to Double-A Portland

In a series of minor-league transactions made on Friday, the Red Sox promoted infield prospect Matthew Lugo from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland.

Lugo, 21, will start at second base and bat sixth in his Double-A debut as the Sea Dogs go up against the Somerset Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday night.

Originally selected in the second round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, Lugo — the nephew of the former All-Star outfielder — forwent his commitment to the University of Miami by signing with the Red Sox for $1.1. million. He is now regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

In 114 games with the Drive this season, Lugo batted a stout .288/.344/.500 to go along with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 18 home runs, 78 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 35 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 512 plate appearances. He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Month in August.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, the right-handed hitting Lugo ranked 12th in strikeout rate (19.5%), sixth in batting average, 27th in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS (.844), sixth in isolated power (.212), sixth in speed score (7.4), and 10th in wRC+ (126), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Lugo will be making just his eighth start of the season at second base on Friday. In Greenville, the 6-foot-1, 187-pounder logged 58 innings at second, 216 1/3 innings at third, and 628 2/3 innings at shortstop, where he committed 20 errors.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, though, Lugo moved from short to third in early August. There, the Manati native looked “a lot more comfortable defensively” while also being “more consistent” at the plate.

Lugo, who does not turn 22 until next May, should provide the Sea Dogs with a late-season boost after fellow infielder Alex Binelas was placed on the 7-day injured list because of a hamstring issue.

Beyond Lugo, the Red Sox also promoted right-hander Wyatt Olds and left-hander Brendan Cellucci to Portland on Friday.

(Picture of Matthew Lugo: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox to promote top prospect Triston Casas, option Bobby Dalbec to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox are planning to promote top prospect Triston Casas ahead of Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers at Fenway Park, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. In a corresponding move, fellow first baseman Bobby Dalbec will be optioned to Triple-A Worcester, reports The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.

Casas, 22, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 28 prospect in all of baseball. The Red Sox originally selected the Miami-area native with the 26th overall selection in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.). They swayed him away from his commitment to the University of Miami by signing him for roughly $2.553 million.

After making his professional debut in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Casas spent the majority of 2019 with Low-A Greenville before earning a late-season promotion to High-A Salem. With the 2020 minor-league season being wiped out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Casas was limited to working out at the Sox’ alternate training site that summer.

Last year, Casas received his first invite to major-league spring training. He later broke camp with Double-A Portland, but was limited to just 77 games with the Sea Dogs while being away on international duty and helping Team USA win a silver medal in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Upon returning from Japan, Casas closed out the 2021 campaign in Worcester and also represented the Red Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He and teammate Kole Cottam were both named AFL All-Stars. And while the lockout dominated this past off-season, Casas was able to remain in contact with the Red Sox since he is not yet on the 40-man roster.

On the heels of such a busy year, it appeared as though Casas would be able to settle in with the WooSox on a full-time basis in 2022. But he sustained a high right ankle sprain on May 17 and wound up being sidelined for nearly two months as a result.

Following a brief rehab assignment in Fort Myers, Casas returned to Worcester’s lineup on July 22. The left-handed hitter was slashing .296/.404/.504 (140 wRC+) with 11 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 16 RBIs, and 23 runs scored over his last 36 games. On the 2022 campaign as a whole, he is batting .273/.382/.481 (127 wRC+) with 20 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 38 runs driven in, 45 runs scored, 46 walks, and 60 strikeouts across 72 games (317 plate appearances) for the WooSox.

Listed at a hulking 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Casas stands out both in the batter’s box and on the field. His hard-hit rates are to be reckoned with, as is his ability to play first base since he was recently identified by Baseball America as the best defensive first baseman in the International League.

Casas is slated to become the fifth player to make his major-league debut with the Red Sox this season, joining Josh Winckowski, Zack Kelly, Jeter Downs, and Brayan Bello, who is listed right ahead of Casas in Baseball America’s Red Sox prospects rankings.

While there will be plenty of buzz surrounding Casas’ debut, the Red Sox will first need to add the infielder to their 40-man roster. They can easily accomplish this by placing closer Tanner Houck, who will undergo season-ending back surgery next week, on the 60-day injured list.

From there, Boston can simply swap Dalbec for Casas, who figures to split time at first base with the right-handed hitting Christian Arroyo while Eric Hosmer remains on the injured list because of low back inflammation.

Dalbec, on the other hand, will head to Worcester, meaning this is the first time the 27-year-old has been optioned since he made his major-league debut for Boston in August 2020.

After ending 2021 on a strong note, Dalbec has struggled mightily on both sides of the ball this year. The right-handed hitter is batting just .211/.282/.362 (78 wRC+) with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 111 games (340 plate appearances). He has also posted negative-4 defensive runs saved across 635 innings at first base.

Although it took until the beginning of September, it seems as though Chaim Bloom, Alex Cora, and the rest of the Red Sox’ key decision makers were ready to send down Dalbec and see what Casas can do over the final few weeks of the regular season.

Because he is just being called up now, Casas — who turns 23 in January — will maintain his rookie status heading into next season. That is important when you consider the fact that, under MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, the Red Sox could receive a compensatory draft pick if Casas makes the club’s 2023 Opening Day roster and finishes in the top three in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

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

Red Sox to promote top pitching prospect Bryan Mata to Triple-A Worcester, per report

The Red Sox have promoted top pitching prospect Bryan Mata to Triple-A Worcester, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. The right-hander is expected to make his first start for the WooSox in Tuesday’s series opener against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park.

Mata, 23, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks second among pitchers in the organization behind only fellow righty Brayan Bello.

Originally signed out of Venezuela for just $25,000 as an international free-agent in January 2016, Mata was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November 2020. The Maracay native seemed destined to make his major-league debut at some point during the 2021 campaign, but he wound up undergoing Tommy John surgery last April after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Thirteen months after going under the knife, Mata returned to the mound with a bang. The hard-throwing righty topped out at 100 mph with his four-seam fastball during an extended spring training start in May and was sent out on a rehab assignment shortly thereafter.

By early summer, Mata had gotten his feet between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville, prompting a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 28. In 10 appearances (nine starts) for the Sea Dogs since then, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound hurler has posted a 1.85 ERA and 3.57 FIP with 58 strikeouts to 23 walks over 48 2/3 innings of work. That includes an ongoing stretch of 18 consecutive scoreless frames dating back to August 12.

Among Eastern League pitchers who — as of Sunday morning — have thrown at least 40 innings to this point in the year, Mata ranks 22nd in strikeout rate (29.4%), ninth in groundball rate (52.2%), 27th in batting average against (.202), second in ERA, 20th in FIP, and 13th in xFIP (3.57), per FanGraphs.

In addition to his high-octane four-seamer, Mata operates with a two-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. The curveball and slider are considered to be his two best secondary pitches.

Mata, who does not turn 24 until next May, could soon join Bello in making his major-league debut for the Red Sox. In the meantime, he becomes just the latest Boston pitching prospect to make the jump from Portland to Worcester this season joining the likes of Bello, Chris Murphy, Brandon Walter, and Victor Santos, among others.

(Picture of Bryan Mata: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote pitching prospect Luis Perales to Low-A Salem

With Wikelman Gonzalez and Luis Guerrero making the jump to High-A Greenville, the Red Sox have promoted pitching prospect Luis Perales from the Florida Complex League to Low-A Salem, according to SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Perales, 19, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 24 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks ninth among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox originally signed the Venezuelan-born right-hander for $75,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Guacara in July 2019.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the 2020 minor-league season, Perales did not make his professional debut until last July. But he was limited to just two innings in his first and only start in the Dominican Summer League because of a minor arm injury.

Despite being shut down for the remainder of the 2021 campaign, Perales began the 2022 season in the rookie-level Florida Complex League. From there, the righty posted a miniscule 1.08 ERA and 2.34 FIP to go along with 34 strikeouts to nine walks over nine appearances (seven starts) spanning 25 innings of work for Boston’s Fort Myers-based affiliate.

Among FCL pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings to this point in the year, Perales (as of Thursday morning) ranks 19th in strikeouts per nine innings (12.24), fifth in strikeout rate (36.2%), 16th in swinging strike rate (35.9%), third in batting average against (.119), fourth in WHIP (0.76), sixth in ERA, fifth in FIP, and 18th in xFIP (3.13), per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Perales throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 96-98 mph, an advanced curveball that sits in the mid-70s, and a developing changeup.

On top of all that, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall recently tweeted that, according to some scouts, Perales has been the best pitcher in the FCL this year.

Perales, who does not turn 20 until next April, still has plenty of room to grow physically and developmentally. With that, if all goes well to close out this season, he will likely return to Salem next spring if he remains in the organization through the winter.

(Picture of Luis Perales: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox promote pitching prospects Wikelman Gonzalez, Luis Guerrero to High-A Greenville

The Red Sox have promoted top pitching prospect Wikelman Gonzalez from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville, as was first reported by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

In addition to Gonzalez, fellow right-hander Luis Guerrero has also been promoted to Greenville.

Gonzalez, 20, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 14 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization. Fresh off being named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week on Monday, the Venezuelan-born righty has posted a 4.54 ERA and 3.85 FIP with 98 strikeouts to 48 walks over 21 starts (81 1/3 innings) for Salem this season. That includes a 1.69 ERA (2.76 FIP) in the month of August.

Among Carolina League pitchers who have accrued at least 80 innings, Gonzalez ranks third in strikeouts per nine innings (10.84), fourth in strikeout rate (27.4%), second in batting average against (.209), and seventh in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Boston originally signed Gonzalez for $250,000 as an international free-agent coming out Maracay in July 18. The 6-foot, 170-pound hurler now “features an easy, compact delivery” and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 93-94 mph fastball that tops out at 97 mph, an 87-89 mph changeup, and a 78-80 mph curveball, according to his Baseball America scouting report.

Guerrero, meanwhile, was selected by the Red Sox in the 17th round of last year’s amateur draft out of Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. The native Dominican signed with Boston for $122,500 last August.

Now 22 years old, Guerrero made his pro debut in the Florida Complex League earlier this summer before making the jump to Low-A in June. He has since pitched to a 4.18 ERA (3.54 FIP) to go along with 37 strikeouts to 14 walks across 18 relief outings spanning 23 2/3 innings of work with the Salem Sox.

Unlike Gonzalez, Guerrero is not regarded by any major publications as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. The 6-foot, 215-pounder does, however, work with a 92-94 mph fastball that tops out at 96 mph, an 80-83 mph changeup, an 81-83 mph slider, and a 75-79 mph curveball, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

(Picture of Wikelman Gonzalez: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox promote Michael Gettys to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted converted reliever Michael Gettys from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Gettys, 26, has posted a 3.34 ERA and 4.37 FIP to go along with 23 strikeouts to seven walks over 22 relief appearances (29 2/3 innings pitched) for the Drive this season. The right-hander last gave up an earned run on June 12.

Among South Atlantic League pitchers who have accrued at least 20 innings on the mound, Gettys currently ranks 19th in walks per nine innings (2.12), 14th in walk rate (5.4%), and 53rd in ERA, per FanGraphs.

An outfielder by trade, Gettys was originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft out of Gainesville (Ga.) High School. The Georgia native was once regarded as a highly-touted prospect and spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with San Diego before becoming a minor-league free-agent at the conclusion of the 2020 campaign.

That November, Gettys inked a minors pact with the Red Sox and broke camp with Triple-A Worcester the following spring. The right-handed hitter saw playing time at all three outfield positions for the WooSox but could never really get it going at the plate as he sputtered along to a .201/.271/.349 slash line in 46 games.

After spending a good portion of last August on the development list, Gettys made his professional debut as a pitcher in the Florida Complex League on Aug. 31. The 6-foot-1, 217-pound hurler made five appearances for Boston’s rookie-level affiliate and really has not looked back since.

Gettys became a minor-league free-agent again in November but only spent 10 days on the open market before officially re-signing with the Red Sox on Nov. 17.

He now becomes the latest pitcher within the organization to make the jump from Greenville to Portland this season, joining fellow righties Ryan Fernandez and Brian Van Belle. It seems as though Gettys is taking the roster spot of left-hander Jay Groome, who was promoted to Triple-A Worcester on Thursday.

(Picture of Michael Gettys: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox promote prospects Alex Binelas, Stephen Scott to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted infielder Alex Binelas and catcher Stephen Scott from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.

Binelas, 22, was one of three players the Sox acquired from the Brewers in the trade that sent outfielder Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee last December. The Wisconsin native was originally selected by the Brewers in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Louisville and is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

In 58 games with the Drive this season, the right-handed hitting Binelas batted .245/.355/.495 (127 wRC+) with 10 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 43 RBIs, 41 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 38 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 259 plate appearances.

Defensively, the 6-foot-3, 225 pounder saw playing time at both corner infield spots for the Drive this year. He logged 253 2/3 innings at first base and 196 innings at third.

Scott, on the other hand, was originally taken by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of Vanderbilt University. Drafted and signed as an outfielder, the North Carolina native has since become a full-time catcher.

With the Drive this season, the left-handed hitting Scott slashed just .188/.305/.336 to go along with eight doubles, one triple, three homers, 14 RBIs, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 23 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 37 games spanning 154 trips to the plate.

On the other side of the ball, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound 25-year-old logged 286 2/3 innings behind the plate in Greenville and threw out 12 of a possible 42 base stealers. He will join a catching group in Portland that includes Kole Cottam and Elih Marrero.

(Picture of Alex Binelas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox to promote top prospect Triston Casas, 2 others to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox are promoting top prospect Triston Casas to Triple-A Worcester for the final two weeks of the minor-league season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, right-handed pitching prospect Josh Wincowski and catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez will join Casas in Worcester, as all three had spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland, whose season concluded on Sunday.

Casas, 21, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally selected by the Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.).

After participating at the club’s alternate training site and fall instructional league last year, Casas opened the 2021 season with Portland and held his own there.

In 77 games with the Sea Dogs, the left-handed hitting first baseman slashed .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) to go along with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 329 trips to the plate.

Back in July, Casas temporarily left the Sea Dogs to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he helped the United States win a silver medal while being named the tournament’s best first baseman.

While with Portland, Casas — who does not turn 22 until January — was the second-youngest qualifying regular in the Double-A Northeast, per Speier. The 6-foot-4, 252 pounder will undoubtedly become one of the youngest players at the Triple-A level as well.

In addition to Casas, the WooSox will also be adding a pitcher in the form of Winckowski, who the Red Sox acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February.

The 23-year-old, in his debut season with a new organization, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.02 FIP with 88 strikeouts to 30 walks over 21 appearances (20 starts) spanning exactly 100 innings of work for the Sea Dogs. He was named Portland’s Pitcher of the Year earlier this month for his efforts.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Winckowski — the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system — “has shown a potential starter’s mix, with a major league-quality fastball (usually 94-96 mph), a slider and a changeup that has the potential to emerge as a solid third pitch.”

Winckowski, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, will once again be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so the Sox would need to add the righty to their 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to protect him from that.

Finally, we arrive at Hernandez, who the Red Sox acquired from the Rays alongside infield prospect Nick Sogard in exchange for right-hander Chris Mazza, left-hander Jeffrey Springs, and cash considerations in mid-February.

Hernandez, who turns 24 in November, is already on Boston’s 40-man roster and is primarily viewed as the No. 2 catching prospect in the organization behind only Connor Wong.

With the Sea Dogs this season, the 23-year-old backstop out of Colombia batted an impressive .280/.319/.506 (121 wRC+) with 26 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 53 RBI, 44 runs scored, 11 walks, and 70 strikeouts over 92 games and 357 plate appearances. He also threw out 28% of the runners who attempted to steal against him.

Following Monday’s series of moves, the WooSox’ roster just got a bit more crowded for the final stretch of their season, which is slated to end on October 3.

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

Red Sox promote power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan to Low-A Salem

The Red Sox have promoted infield prospect Blaze Jordan to Low-A Salem, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Jordan, 18, began the 2021 minor-league season with the rookie-level Red Sox of the Florida Gulf Coast League and got off to a sizzling start, slashing an impressive .362/.408/.667 (169 wRC+) to go along with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 19 RBI, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 13 strikeouts over 19 games and 76 plate appearances.

In his final seven games with the FCL Red Sox, Jordan posted an absurd 2.000 OPS, so it appears he was ready for a new challenge.

Boston originally selected the right-handed hitting infielder with its third-round pick (89th overall) in last year’s amateur draft out of DeSoto Central High School (Miss.)

At that time, Jordan — a native of Southaven, Miss. who reclassified in order to graduate a year early — was committed to play college baseball at nearby Mississippi State University, but the Red Sox were able to sign him for $1.75 million.

Known for his raw power going back to his high school days, Jordan was unable to showcase his skills out of the gate with the 2020 minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though he did participate in the Sox’ fall instructional league and has since carried that over thus far in 2021.

Jordan, who does not turn 19 until late December, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system. Per his Baseball America scouting report, the young infielder ” generates his tremendous power with size and a well-synced kinetic chain that seems to transfer every drop of his frame into contact.”

In the 19 games he played with the FCL Red Sox, Jordan — listed at 6-foot-2 and 215 pound — saw the majority of his playing time come at third base with a little bit of first base mixed in there as well.

It’s unclear at the moment which position Jordan will occupy more while with Salem, but he will undoubtedly become teammates and share the same infield with fellow 2020 draftee Nick Yorke, whom the Sox selected in the first round.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Jason Miller/Getty Images