Spinners home for seven

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

After a successful 3-2 road trip, the Lowell Spinners return home to the friendly confines of LeLacheur Park to begin a seven-game home stand. The Spinners are 16-8 at home (29-22 overall) and play 13 of their next 19 games at LeLacheur.

Right in the thick of the playoff race, Lowell has a chance to make a statement at home. That statement: “We will fight until the end.”

The first of those home games is tonight at 7 p.m. against Stedler Division rival Vermont. The Lake Monsters are 26-28 and the two teams have split their first eight games against each other.

Teddy Stankiewicz will get the nod on the mound and he will be followed by Jamie Callahan. Stankiewicz boasts a 1.29 ERA in seven innings of work this season. Callahan is 3-1 and was named NYPL Pitcher of the Week two consecutive weeks.

If the Spinners can continue to get dominant pitching and timely hitting, Lowell fans will get a chance to see several more wins at home. And if that happens, the Spinners could hit the road in first place of either the Wild Card race (currently 0.5 games back) or the Division (1.5 games back).

Come out to LeLacheur Park and cheer on your Spinners as they make a push toward the playoffs. It’s bound to be a fun weekend at the ball park! Go Spinners!

Spinners look for sweep of Doubledays

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Welcome to August, Thread Sox Nation. This month is bound to be a fun one. The Lowell Spinners are right in the thick of a playoff race, just one game back of the Tri-City ValleyCats in the Stedler Division and one game ahead of the State College Spikes in the Wild Card.

The past two games at LeLacheur Park have been exciting ball games to be a part of. Lowell has won two straight, a 6-4 thriller over the Auburn Doubledays Tuesday night. On Wednesday, pitchers Jamie Callahan, Mike Adams and Taylor Grover combined for a two-hit 7-0 shutout. Callahan pitched six perfect innings, Adams added two more and Grover came within two outs of completing the perfect game.

Auburn’s Cody Dent, the son of former Yankee Bucky Dent – yes, that Bucky Dent – blooped a single to center field to end the perfecto. The Spinners won for the second straight night, the first time since July 11 that they had not alternated wins and losses.

The Spinners go for the sweep tonight against the Doubledays with Teddy Stankiewicz making his LeLacheur Park debut. The 2013 second round (45th overall) draft pick of the Red Sox has pitched three perfect innings in two outings this season.

After the Doubledays head out of town, the Spinners will host the Batavia Muckdogs for a three-game weekend series. Come on out to LeLacheur Park and be sure to check our promo schedule at http://www.lowellspinners.com! Go Spinners!

‘Erin go bragh’ at LeLacheur

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

If you haven’t been at LeLacheur Park the past two nights, you’ve missed two really good baseball games. In Game 1 against the Staten Island Yankees, the Lowell Spinners eeked out a 2-1 win, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning on an RBI single by Kevin Mager. Last night took a little longer to decide, as the two teams went to extra innings without scoring a run. The Spinners loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th with no outs and Aaron King blooped a soft single to center to score the walk-off victory.

A few pitchers’ duels into this six-game home-stand and the Spinners are 14-9, just one game back of the Tri-City ValleyCats (16-9) in the Stedler Division of the NYPL. They go for the sweep against the Yankees tonight in what should be another classic between the Red Sox and Yankees Single-A affiliates. It was noted by Lowell baseball historian Chaz Scoggins that the Spinners now have 26 wins against Staten Island in their history. Of those 26, half (13) have come in the final at-bat.

Corey Littrell makes his LeLacheur Park debut on the mound. Littrell is a fifth-round draft pick out of the University of Kentucky. The left-hander decided to forego his senior season and signed with the Red Sox. He pitched two innings on the road at Brooklyn, striking out one and allowing one hit with no runs or walks.

For all you Irish folk out there, tonight is the night for you. LeLacheur Park will turn Green and Orange for Irish Night and there are numerous promotions going on throughout the evening. Former Celtic star Brian Scalabrine will be in attendance for “Put Scal to Work” Night. The Spinners have taken suggestions from fans on Twitter and Facebook as to what duties to give Scalabrine. He will work the concession stands, be bat boy for an innings, announce players over the PA system for an inning and more!

Also, the Spinners will have Leprechaun Wrestling on the front promenade before the game, so be sure to arrive early and plan to stay all night because after the game, there will be a fireworks spectacular. Overall, it should be a fun night at the ballpark and fans won’t want to miss any of the action at LeLacheur Park.

We hope to see you at the park tonight! As always, GO SPINNERS!

Spinners

Time to take down the Yankees

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

One of the highlights of the young season was a grand slam by Cleuluis Rondon in the top of the ninth inning last week to top Tri-City. That comeback win helped the Spinners to a 3-3 road trip and pulled them within one game of the ValleyCats in the NYPL’s Stedler Division.

The Spinners return home for a six-game home-stand against the hated Staten Island Yankees and the Jamestown Jammers. Lowell is 7-3 at LeLacheur Park this season and has its ace, Sergio Gomez, on the hill for Game 1 against Staten Island. Gomez is 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA. He is among league-leaders in strikeouts with 24 in 20.2 innings pitched.

Called up
Infielder Reed Gragnani was moved up to Low-A Greenville today to replace another former Spinner, Mookie Betts, who was moved up to High-A Salem. To fill Gragnani’s spot on the Spinners’ roster, the Red Sox promoted infielder and 2013 24th Round draft pick Jantzen Witte from the GCL Red Sox. Witte batted .244 in 12 games with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI for the GCL Sox. He was a standout player at TCU the past four seasons, batting a career .327 with 14 home runs and 138 RBI. He is slotted fifth in the lineup tonight as the DH.

NASCAR Night
Come on out to LeLacheur Park as the Spinners host NASCAR Night with NASCAR drivers Ryan Preece and Bobby Santos in attendance. The night is in advance of the Camping World RV Sales 301 to be held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this Sunday. First pitch is at 7:05 pm.

Spinners

Grand finish

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Trailing 3-0 going into the ninth inning at Tri-City and on their way to losing two-of-three to the ValleyCats, the Lowell Spinners staged an outstanding comeback Saturday night.

Cleuluis Rondon drilled a grand slam over the right field wall to put the Spinners up for good, 4-3. Rondon’s slam gave the Spinners their fifth win in six games and brought them within one game of the ValleyCats, who lead the Stedler Division with a 13-7 record. The Spinners are even in the loss column with Tri-City and boast an 11-7 record.

Newcomer Joe Gunkel pitched two shutout innings to earn his first professional win. Gunkel was an 18th round draft pick out of West Chester. Greg Larson allowed two runners to reach in the bottom of the ninth, but got out of the jam for his fourth save of the season.

Up next, the Spinners travel to Brooklyn for a three-game set with the Cyclones. Lowell returns home Wednesday to host the Staten Island Yankees at LeLacheur Park.

We hope to see you at the park this coming week! We will have more details from the Spinners final three games of the road-trip and upcoming promotions at LeLacheur, so be sure to check back here! Go Spinners!Spinners

Wicked Wizardry on display tonight

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

A walk-off win over the Connecticut Tigers in the second game of a double-header was the perfect way to send the crowd home. And Carlos Asuaje delivered in a pinch-hit role after Manuel Margot was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. Asuaje drove the first pitch he saw over the center fielder’s head and the Spinners completed the one-day, two-game sweep.

Lowell (8-6) sits just three games back of the first-place Tri-City ValleyCats (12-4) in the Stedler Division of the NYPL. Connecticut (4-11) is in last place of the division. Tonight, the Spinners go for the complete series sweep of the Tigers and a chance to finish this six-game home-stand with a 5-1 record. It would also boost the Spinners’ home record to 7-3 for the season. Jamie Callahan (1-1, 6.43 ERA) starts on the hill for the Spinners against Jonathon Crawford (0-1, 0.00 ERA) for the Tigers.

As if the great baseball the Spinners are playing wasn’t enough, the Spinners are hosting Harry Potter Night tonight and will close out the evening with a post-game fireworks spectacular to kick-off your Fourth of July holiday in grand fashion!

Head on out to the ballpark and get in your seat as we divide the stadium into the different Houses of Hogwart’s. Take a ride on the Hogwart’s Express train and be ready for a night of wicked fun!

We’ll see you at LeLacheur Park! Go Spinners! And Happy Fourth, everybody!

Spinners

Special night ahead

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Tonight is a special night at LeLacheur Park. The Lowell Spinners will honor all current and former military personnel during Military Night and Band of Brothers Bobble Head Giveaway tonight. We have a special guest, Private Philip P. Perugini, who is an actual member of the Band of Brothers, for which the film series is based. Private Perugini served our country during World War II and we at the Spinners are honored to have him on hand tonight.

As someone who has a brother in the Army National Guard, I’d like to send a personal shout-out to all those who have served and are serving our great country so that I may have the freedoms and opportunities that I do.

On to baseball, the Spinners are an even .500 for the season (6-6) and enter the month of July after last night’s rain-out in second place in the Stedler Division of the NYPL. Lowell hosts Connecticut in a double-header tonight, first pitch at 6:05 pm, and the third game of the series will be at 7:05 pm Wednesday.

Here’s hoping the rain holds off for tonight and allows us to get both of these games in for our team and our fans. Come on out to the ballpark to see your Lowell Spinners and honor our military! As always, Go Spinners!

Spinners

Spinners never give up

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Well, we didn’t get the sweep we’d hoped for, but our Spinners never quit. It was a long, hot day at LeLacheur Park and the Vermont Lake Monsters salvaged the final game of this three-game series with a 13-4 victory. Vermont jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Lowell was down 13-2 in the ninth and scored two runs before finally being put away.

The Spinners bounce back with the final three games of this home-stand against the Connecticut Tigers. Lowell took two games from Connecticut to start the season (one in Connecticut and one in Lowell). The Tigers are in last place in the Stedler Division at 4-8 with a game starting at 5 p.m. against Tri-City today.

The Spinners probable starters are Simon Mercedes (0-0, 2.00 ERA), Jamie Callahan (1-1, 6.34 ERA) and Ty Buttrey (1-1, 3.86 ERA).

Monday’s game features Jenny Dell Bobble Head Night with Jenny Dell, herself, in person! Come see Jenny Dell throw out a first pitch and greet the fans, as well as pick up her lovely bobble head doll.

Tuesday, we honor our servicemen and women with Military Night and a Band of Brothers Bobble Head. All current and former military personnel and their families won’t want to miss this special night.

The final game of the home-stand is Harry Potter Night, a fun evening featuring everybody’s favorite wizard. We will also have fireworks post-game with Harry Potter theme music.

All game times are 7:05 pm (weather permitting), so come on out for some of the best times you’ll ever have at the ballpark! Go Spinners!

Spinners

Going for the sweep!

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Bring your brooms to the ballpark today, because your Lowell Spinners are going for the three-game sweep of the Vermont Lake Monsters! The Spinners won the first two games, 4-1 Friday and 2-1 Saturday, and have received excellent starting pitching to propel them to those wins.

Ty Buttrey bounced back in his second start of the season to pitch six shutout innings with just two hits and six strikeouts to pick up the win Friday. Sergio Gomez notched his first win of the season with another six shutout innings Saturday. He faced just one batter over the minimum for six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.15 in 15.2 innings pitched.

Today, Mario Alcantara takes the hill and goes for his third win in as many starts this season. Alcantara has yet to give up a run this season and is making his first appearance on the LeLacheur Park mound in 2013.

Here is the Spinners lineup (first pitch – 1:05 pm):

1. Lin, SS
2. Margot, CF
3. Mager, 3B
4. Moore, 1B
5. Gragnani, 2B
6. Kapstein, LF
7. Romanski, C
8. Jerez, RF
9. Rodriguez, C

Alcantara, P

Last night, the Spinners moved above .500 with a 2-1 win, courtesy of two Lake Monster errors. In the sixth, a two-out strikeout would have ended the inning, but the ball bounced past Vermont’s catcher, allowing Reed Gragnani to reach first. The catcher’s throw sailed into right field, which brought home both Spinners runs. Greg Larson closed out the game in the ninth to preserve the win.

Come on out to the park today to see your Spinners go for the clean sweep! Kids will receive a “Color Your Own” Spinners Pennant, complete with markers, so they can color in their very own baseball pennant! See you this afternoon!

Spinners

Do you have your tickets?

What an exciting opening weekend at LeLacheur Park! Our Spinners went 2-2 over the first four games of the home season and are on the road until Friday.

We begin a six-game home-stand Friday against Stedler Division rivals Vermont Lake Monsters and Connecticut Tigers. There are exciting themes and promotions each game. There will be three Fireworks Nights, meaning half the games will end with a fireworks spectacular. Pirates Night, Harry Potter Night, a Jenny Dell bobble head and Military Night are all coming up! You don’t want to miss these! Here’s a list of everything we’ve got going on at the ballpark:

Friday, June 28 (7:05 pm) – Player Poster (TBD) Giveaway/Fireworks
Saturday, June 29 (7:05 pm) – Pirates Night/Fireworks
Sunday, June 30 (1:05 pm) – Color Your Own Spinners Pennant Giveaway/Peanut Free DayJenny Dell
Monday, July 1 (7:05 pm)- Jenny Dell Bobble Head Giveaway (Jenny Dell will be at LeLacheur Park)
Tuesday, July 2 (7:05 pm) – Military Night/Band of Brothers Bobble Head Giveaway
Wednesday, July 3 (7:05 pm) – Harry Potter Night/Fireworks

*Answer our Poll below and tell us which game you’re most excited about attending!

There are limited tickets available to each night, so be sure to call or come by our box office and get yours today!

Spinners

It’s only one loss

Ben Whitehead
Spinners Insider

Last night was a tough one to swallow. The Spinners (2-1) suffered their first loss of the young season after leading 5-0 midway through the game. The Tri-City ValleyCats (4-0) stormed back to tie the game and send it to extra innings, where they won 8-5 in 11.

Tonight, Jamie Callahan makes his Lowell debut on the mound. Callahan is a big righty, drafted out of Dillon (S.C.) High School, who is expected to do big things for the Red Sox organization. All three starting pitchers (Sergio Gomez, Mario Alcantara and Simon Merecedes) thus far have gotten off to real strong starts. None have allowed a run and they’ve combined to strike out 16 batters, walk two and allowed six hits total.

Offensively, the Spinners have seen big nights at the plate from left fielder Kendrick Perkins and designated hitter Kevin Mager. Perkins was 4-for-4 with three RBI in the home opener. Mager went 4-for-5 last night with a pair of runs batted in, boosting his batting average to a team-leading .500.

Come on out tonight as we have a Perkins poster giveaway to the first 1,000 fans and we also have post-game fireworks for the second time in three nights! Hope to see you at LeLacheur Park, if not tonight, sometime in the near future! GO SPINNERS!

Spinners

Spinners Split The First Two Of A Home-And Home

With the first half of the season opening two-game home-and home series with the Connecticut Tigers over the Spinners head to Norwich with a record of 1-1.

Opening night rolled around with excitement throughout the park, as the Spinners set a new opening day record with 5,249 tickets sold.  The game itself did not disappoint as the Spinners came out victorious 2-1.

Francisco Taveras

Francisco Taveras struck out nine batters in his Spinners debut, one shy of the franchise record set by Phil Dumatrait in 2001. Taveras along with William Cuevas and Yunior Ortega spread out four hits and a walk with the lone Tigers run coming in the third inning on a throwing error on what should have been an inning ending ground ball.

The Spinners trio held Tigers hitters hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position.Offensively, the Spinners were quiet until the seventh inning. With one out Mookie Betts got things off with a single and a stolen base. He scored the tying run on a two-out double by Oscar Perez. Perez would go on to score the go-ahead run on a single by Matt Gedman. Dreily Guererro had a 2-for-4 day after being sent down from a short stint in Greenville.

Nathan Minnich had a rough professional debut going 0-for-3 with three punch outs and a hit-by-pitch. Starting his third season with the Spinners Seth Schwindenhammer also had a disappointing day going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

The Spinners fell to the Connecticut Tigers in the second game of their young season on Tuesday by a score of 11 to 4.

Zachary Good lived up to his name for the home squad throwing five innings allowing just one run, while striking out three.  However Good’s effort was all for nothing when the Tigers put up six runs in the sixth inning the Spinners relievers.

Kendrick Perkins

In his first appearance since 2010, Leandro Marin had a dismal outing allowing all five batters he faced to reach base.

In his first professional appearance Kyle Kraus was able to clean up Marin’s mess allowing only one run and while striking out two. 

Kendrick Perkins got the crowd pumped early when he blasted the first pitch of his first at-bat over the right-center field fence.

Minnich bounced back after his first game woes, connecting for his first professional hit.  However, there wasn’t a lot off action for the Spinners until the ninth inning when they put up two runs. 

The Spinners will send Jacob Dahlstrand to the hill to attempt to get the Spinners back over the five hundred mark.  First pitch in Norwich is scheduled for 7:05.

ESPN Boston Feature: Explaining Boston’s Draft Strategy

Check out this really interesting article on how Ben Cherington and the Red Sox scouting department approached the 2012 First-Year Player Draft curtesy of ESPN Boston.

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

2012 Draft Recap: Day 2 (Rounds 8-15)

Round 8:Nathan Minnich: 1B: Sheperd University

Born: 7/21/90

Height: 6-3

Weight: 245

Hometown: Waynesboro, PA

Bats/Throws: Left/Right

The 2012 Tino Martinez Award winner (Best DII player) is the first Sheperd University player ever to be drafted. The senior hit .487 while belting 21 homeruns and driving in 149 RBI’s. Minnich was the second position player taken by the Red Sox in the draft.

Round 9: Michael Miller: SS: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Born: 9/27/89

Height: 5-9

Weight: 170

Hometown: Concord, CA

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

The Golden State native batted .354 while hitting 3 homeruns and scoring 56 runs. He played his summer ball for the Peninsula Oilers in the Alaska League. Hit .359 with nine doubles, three triples, and a homerun. Miller was also named ABL player of the year and a Perfect Game USA’s Summer Collegiate All American first teamer.

Round 10: JT Watkins: C: US Military Academy

Born: 8/30/89

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

The senior catcher is highly regarded for his ability behind the plate (has been on the Johnny Bench Award watch list for the nation’s best catcher). A four year starter for the Army Black Knights, Watkins hit .316 with 5 homeruns and 31 RBI’s in his final season of play.

Round 11: Jamal Martin: CF: Dwyer (HS)

Born: 1/15/93

Height: 5-8

Weight: 185

Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL

Bats/Throws: Right/ Right

Martin possesses great speed and instinct in the outfield as well as the ability to drive the ball to all fields. This past season at Dwyer, he hit .386 with 11 stolen bases. Jamal received 3rd team All-American and 1st team All-Region (FL) honors in 2012. He is committed to play at Florida State.

Round 12: Michael Meyers: SS: Silverado (HS)

Born: 12/28/93

Height: 6-1

Weight: 175

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

The Las Vegas High School prospect was 1st Team All-State his senior year at shortstop. He has been a run scoring machine over the course of his high school career, holding both the career (192) and single season (59) records for runs scored at Silverado High School (NV). Other career records Meyers boasts include doubles (50), triples (18), and steals (31).

Round 13: Jeffrey Wendelken: RHP: Middle Georgia College

Born: 3/24/93

Height: 6-1

Weight: 235

Hometown: Guyton, GA

Bats/Throws: Right/ Right

Wendelken was almost impossible to hit this year for the Warriors. The freshmen went 7-0 on the mound with an ERA of .20 over 46 while fanning 56 batters. He also recorded 9 saves and had a batting average against of .169.

Round 14: Dylan Chavez: RHP: Ole Miss

Born: 4/16/91

Height: 6-3

Weight: 190

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Bats/Throws: Right/ Right

The reliever made 23 appearances this season and ended with a 3-4 record. Over 36 2/3 innings, he struck out 36 batters and had an ERA of 4.66. Chavez was also drafted by the Twins in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft but elected not to sign.

Round 15: Carson Fulmer: RHP: All Saints Academy (HS)

Born: 12/13/93

Height: 6-1

Weight: 200

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

The high school right hander projects as a future closer. He has a good fastball that tops out around 96 mph and a slider with excellent bite. Fulmer has phenomenal arm strength and upside for a high school senior.

2012 Draft Recap: Day 2 (Rounds 2-7)

The Red Sox focused mainly on pitching in Day 2 of the draft, especially getting power arms.

Round 2: No. 87 Jamie Callahan: RHP, Dillon (SC) HS:

Born: 8/24/1994

Height: 6-2

Weight: 195

Hometown: Dillon, SC

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Jamie Callahan Scouting Video

Callahan was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in South Carolina as a senior this past season. He has the ability to throw three plus pitches with a fastball that reaches the low 90s with little movement. His 12-6 curveball is his best pitch and has potential to develop his changeup further into a plus pitch.  He throws a slider that is inconsistent and needs some work. Last season, Callahan had 113 strikeouts in 50 innings and posted a 0.89 ERA with a 7-1 record. He is committed to the University of South Carolina next year and the Red Sox will need to lure him away with a big signing bonus, which may be hard to do with the new draft rules. Callahan is an interesting prospect with substantial upside.

Round 3: No. 118 Austin Maddox: RHP, University of Florida:

Born: 5/13/1991

Height: 6-4

Weight: 230

Hometown: Florida, FL

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Austin Maddox Scouting Video

Maddox was a two way standout at the University of Florida, but his future will be as a reliever. He has an above average fastball and a slurvy breaking ball that is above average at times. Still playing in the College World Series, the closer has a 2.24 ERA with 12 saves and 55 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings pitched.

Round 4: No. 151 Ty Buttrey: RHP, Providence (NC) Senior HS:

Born: 3/31/1993

Height: 6-5

Weight: 205

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Bats/Throws: Left/Right

Ty Buttrey Scouting Video

Buttrey throws a fastball in the mid-90s and has an improved curveball with a long break to it. He is still raw, but shows promise with his size and arm strength. The tall, lanky righty is committed to the University of Arkansas next year, so like Callahan; a nice signing bonus will most likely have to be offered to get him to sign with the Red Sox.

Round 5: No. 181 Mike Augliera: RHP, Binghamton University

Born: 6/8/1990

Height: 6-0

Weight: 200

Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Coming out as a senior, Augliera is Binghamton’s all-time wins leader (23), complete games (13), innings (298 1/3), and starts (50). He had the second best strikeout to walk ratio in the NCAA this year, striking gout 83, while only walking seven. He has already signed with the Red Sox and will likely report to Lowell this season.

Round 6: No. 211 Justin Haley: RHP, Fresno State University

Born: 6/16/1991

Height: 6-5

Weight: 235

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Haley is an imposing figure on the mound and can throw a fastball that tops out at 95 mph. He struck out 94 in 93 1/3 innings and went 7-4 as a junior last year. He was originally drafted in the 46th round in 2010 by the Cleveland Indians, but did not sign with them. Haley like, Augliera, has already signed a contract with the Red Sox.

Round 7: No. 241 Kyle Kraus: RHP, University of Portland

Born: 1/19/90

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

Hometown: West Linn, OR

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Kraus is coming out as a senior and has been the University of Portland’s ace since he was a freshman.  In 16 starts last season, he went 7-6 with a 2.03 ERA and three complete games. Kraus played in the Cape Cod League last summer for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks pitching 20 innings with 13 strikeouts.

2012 Draft Recap: Day One

With a new General Manager and new rules in place, the 2012 Amatuer Player Draft would surely be an interesting one for the Boston Red Sox. Known to be big spenders when it comes to amateur talent the Sox are now forced to be more cautious with their money as spending over the allotted bonus pool would lead to harsh penalties from the league. With the signing deadline now pushed up to the middle of July don’t be surprised to see some of these faces in Spinners uniforms by the end of the season.

The Red Sox had three picks on day one: No. 24 and No. 31 and 37 as compensation for losing Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies.

No. 24 Deven Marrero: SS, Arizona State University

Born: August 25, 1990

Height: 6-1

Weight: 194

Hometown: Davie, Fla.

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Deven Marrero Scouting Video

Marrero was a highly touted player coming into his junior season at ASU, and was seen by scouts as the second best collegiate player on the draft board. But after hitting only .284 through 54 games (due in part to an ankle injury) his draft stock fell and the Red Sox grabbed him with the No. 24 pick. Despite having an off year at the plate, Marrero was still a master in

the field. He was named the 2011 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and was named first team Pac-12/10 All-Conference in 2011 and again in 2012. Marrero has made 145 career starts at ASU and has led the team to being the No. 1 national seed in the College World Series. He set an ASU freshman record with a team leading .397 batting average on his way to being named 2010 Freshman All-American. The Red Sox who have been known to put a lot of worth on summer baseball were impressed that Marrero was able to lead Team USA in hits (19) and RBI (14) in just 14 games last season. He was also named a Cape Cod League All-Star for Cotuit where he hit .326/.360/.413.

No. 31 Brian Johnson: LHP/1B, University of Florida

Born:

Height: 6-3

Weight: 235

Hometown: Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Bats/Throws: Left/Left

Brian Johnson Scouting Video

Johnson who has been a two-way player his whole career at Florida will most likely be asked to focus specifically on pitching with the Red Sox. This athletic lefty has a solid four-pitch mix with a fastball sitting in the 88-

92 m.p.h. range and an above-average slider to go along with a curve and changeup. Johnson is known for having good command of his pitches and having a good mound presence. So far with the Gators, who are now hosting a Super Regional, Johnson is 8-4 in 16 starts with an ERA of 3.56 (37 runs in 86 innings). He has 68 strikeouts, while only walking 15 and is holding opposing batters to a .242 average. With the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox last summer on the Cape he struck out 19 and walked four batters in 14.2 to go with an ERA of 4.30. Scouts often compare Johnson to Joe Saunders of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

No. 37 Pat Light: RHP, Monmouth University

Born: March 29,1991

Height: 6-6

Weight: 200

Hometown: Colts Neck, N.J.

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Pat Light Scouting Video

Light is your prototypical big right-handed pitcher. He has a powerful fastball, which can hit up to 96 m.p.h., to go along with a slider and changeup,

both of which he needs to continue to develop at the professional level to be an effective big league pitcher. Light was dominant for Monmouth thisseason with an ERA of 2.40 over 101.1 innings. He tallied 102 strikeouts while walking only 16.

 
 

An Early Look at the 2011 Spinners

John Gray/Lowell Spinners

After a tough season that saw the Spinners finish dead last in the New York Penn League at 24-50, they look to bounce back to form for the 2011 season. Despite the tough finish in the standings, 2010 was not without its moments, as top prospects Jose Iglesias, Kolbrin Vitek, and Chris Hernandez all donned a Lowell uniform. Jed Lowrie also returned to LeLacheur Park for six games as he worked his way back to the majors. Exciting prospects Madison Younginer, Bryce Brentz and David Renfroe all made their initial forays into professional baseball with the youngest squad in the league.

While many of the 2010 Spinners squad will be moving on to Class-A Greenville or Salem, many familiar faces are projected to return from last year’s team such as Henry Ramos, Seth Schwindenhammer, Jayson Hernandez, and Nick Robinson. Perhaps the two most intriguing players projected to be in Lowell this season are shortstop Xander Bogaerts and infielder Garin Cecchini.

Bogaerts entered last year as a relative unknown, signed out of Aruba along with his brother Jair in 2009. He made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and immediately began producing at the plate. Bogaerts ended the season hitting .314/.396/.423 with 3 home runs, 5 triples, and 42 RBI in just 69 games. His stellar performance at the plate and in the field earned him DSL All-Star honors, as well as recognition from many scouts at the age of 17.

Cecchini, unlike Bogaerts, was a well-known commodity coming into last year’s major league draft. The 19-year-old from Barbe High School in Louisiana was projected to be a can’t miss first round selection in 2010, but an ACL injury wiped out all but 15 games of the 2010 season. Selected in the fourth round by the Red Sox, Cecchini was a middle infielder in high school who projects as a third baseman professionally. An in-depth interview of Cecchini and fellow 2010 draftee Sean Coyle details the hard work Cecchini has been putting into his rehabilitation.

2011 may also be a first for Lowell, as brothers Boss and Moko Moanaroa could grace the field at LeLacheur this summer. Signed out of Australia in 2008, Boss and Moko are both left-handed hitting first baseman who have spent the past few seasons with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

Adding on to the international flair of the potential 2011 squad, Swen Huijer, a 6 foot 9 inch right-hander from the Netherlands may become a key member of the Spinners bullpen along with South African reliever Justin Erasums.

Independent league signees Matty Johnson, Chris Martin and Matt Kramer all will make for interesting story lines as the summer progresses. Kramer, who was a graduate of Harvard University, will be making the leap from catching to pitching for the first time this summer.

As always, the Spinners will experience an influx of new draftees right as the season begins in June. This year, the Red Sox have four first round selections, meaning some of the top amateur talent in the country could make their presence felt in Lowell this season.

No matter how the 2011 roster shakes out, the upcoming season promises to be an exciting one, with many interesting promotions on the docket, including the Human Home Run, an attempt at the world record for dental flossing, Star Wars night, Cowboy Rodeo, Back to School with Mr. Belding, and of course the popular bobble-head giveaways.  Make sure to get your tickets for the 2011 season by calling 978-459-1702 or by going to lowellspinners.com.

Former Spinners Trying to Impress in Arizona Fall League

 

Casey Kelly began his professional career as a Lowell Spinner and now ranks as the top prospect in the Red Sox system

 

John Gray/Lowell Spinners

Five former Spinners are taking part in the Arizona Fall League, which began play on Wednesday. Seth Garrison, Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway and Eammon Portice are all a part of the Peoria Javelinas, a team comprised of prospects from Boston, Houston, Seattle, Toronto and Cleveland.

Iglesias, who made his professional debut last year in the AFL with the Mesa Solar Sox by hitting .285 with 3 home runs and 13 RBI, played in 13 games for Lowell this season as part of a rehab assignment. During his time as a Spinner, Iglesias hit .350 with 7 RBI. He is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Boston system due to his amazing defensive ability.

Another player who is a veteran of the AFL is Casey Kelly, who was teammates with Iglesias last season with Mesa. Playing shortstop before making his conversion to a full time pitcher, Kelly hit .171 in 11 games. He was impressive on the mound in yesterday’s 7-4 win over Surprise by going 4.0 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs and striking out 3.

Lavarnway, who made his professional debut with Lowell in 2008 by hitting .211 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI in 22 games, was recently named the 2010 Red Sox minor league offensive player of the year. In 2010, Lavarnway hit .288 with 22 home runs and 102 RBI split between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

Garrison, who was impressive in his 2008 professional debut in Lowell putting up a 1.45 ERA with 9 saves in 22 games, made 2 rehab appearances this season with the Spinners before spending the majority of the season as a member of the Salem bullpen.

Portice is another player with previous AFL experience, playing in 2008 with Scottsdale where he had a 6.14 ERA in 5 games in relief. A 2007 Spinner, Portice spent 2010 with Portland where he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the first time since being in Lowell, posting a 4.65 ERA.

Stay tuned to the Spinners Blog for further updates from the Arizona Fall League and check back all off season for the latest from Lowell.

Road to the Show: Anthony Ranaudo

by John Gray, Lowell Spinners

The Red Sox third first round selection, Anthony Ranaudo begins his professional career in Lowell after a much heralded college career at LSU

Anthony Ranaudo was perhaps the most acclaimed prospect the Red Sox signed out of this year’s draft. Selected in the supplemental first round (39th overall) by Boston, Ranaudo was at one time considered the best arm in the draft and a potential #1 overall pick before having an up-and-down Junior year at LSU. An imposing figure on the mound at 6’7″, Ranaudo let LSU to a National Championship in 2009 by going 12-3 with a 3.04 ERA. One of the most heralded prospects to be selected by the Red Sox in recent years, he ends his 2010 season in Lowell. While he will not see any action on the mound, Ranaudo will be in uniform and work out with the Spinners, getting acclimated to the life of a professional player. Anthony took some time with the Spinners Blog to answer some questions for his new fans.

Can you describe how draft day was for you. Did you know that the Red Sox would be taking you? Did negotiations go right up until the deadline?

I knew the Red Sox were interested, my advisor (Scott Boras) and me talked about the possibility and leading up to draft day I had some discussions with the team. I waited out draft day, was happy to be selected by Boston and then I kind of just went about my summer and looked to go out and pitch well. I really didn’t talk much to the team until right before the signing deadline, I got my physical done and we were able to reach an agreement pretty much right at the midnight deadline. Instead of continuing to pitch they decided to have me come up here and acclimate myself to the pros, meet the guys here in Lowell and really just learn about what being a member of this organization is all about.

How hard was it to pass up your senior year at LSU?

I love LSU, it wasn’t easy and there was actually a time where I thought I might be headed back there for my senior year. When it’s all said and done, professional baseball has always been my dream and I really wanted to get started on that journey to the major leagues. A chance to win at the highest level with one of the most storied franchises in sports was not something I could turn down.

Speaking of LSU, can you tell us how you enjoyed your time there? What was it like to win the national championship?

Awesome. You battle every day with guys that you play 75 games with and create great friendships with so it’s a huge team accomplishment to win it all. Winning 12 games and pitching the final game of the National Championship was a huge personal accomplishment for me but I was also glad I was able to be a vital part to such a huge accomplishment for the school and team. I’ll never forget those moments in Omaha, hoisting that National Championship trophy and just celebrating all the hard work is one of the best parts of my life.

You missed some time this season with an elbow issue, do you feel like that hindered your performance this year and was it hard to deal with the adversity?

It was just a minor setback and I took it really slow in terms of trying to overcome the injury and come back strong because I didn’t want to hurt myself more seriously. I bounced back strong and after missing a few starts I didn’t have an ounce of pain the rest of the year. It’s a complete non issue now and I think that pitching so well on the Cape proves that I am back 100%.

This summer you pitched for the Brewster Whitecaps and were dominant in your five starts, what was your time in the Cape League like and do you feel like you had something to prove after your college season?

I loved pitching down there, this was actually my second time pitching down at the Cape, I went there after my freshman year and pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox interestingly enough. You hear a lot about Red Sox Nation and I really saw the passion the fans have for baseball both times I pitched in the Cape. I had a great team this year in Brewster and was really happy to have such a strong performance (29.2 scoreless innings) after what I felt was a bit of an up and down season for me at LSU. I met a lot of great guys, got to spend about 5 of 6 weeks of my summer doing what I love in a great location so you can’t really ask for much more.

Growing up, who were your favorite team and favorite player?

You aren’t going to like hearing this but I was always a Yankees fan growing up but once I got to college I really didn’t pull for one team over another. I really became a fan of the game as I got older and followed the game as a whole as opposed to when I was growing up and watched the Yankees all the time. Don’t worry though, that’s all changed now that I’m here in Boston, I hope to be able to take part in the proper side of the Yankees-Sox rivalry.

You were High School teammates with Spinners catcher Jayson Hernandez, did you ever think that you would end up playing together again?

We never really thought of it until this year, we both talked about how this was our draft year and we both knew we were going to get drafted. We both became familiar with the some of the scouts and really thought there was a slight chance it could happen going into the draft. I was taken early on and I followed the draft tracker online afterwards and saw him get taken by Boston as well and got pretty excited. We are both pretty happy to be on the same team right now in the same organization on our way to what hopefully amounts to successful major league careers. He’s showing me the ropes down here and it would really be cool if we get to be battery mates again soon.

You were originally drafted by Texas out of High School in 2007, did you ever consider signing back then?

I did but I realized that I really wanted to go college and it really was the best decision of my life to go to LSU for those three years and be a part of a great program and mature. I came out of LSU a better pitcher and am more ready for the challenges of professional ball.

Finally, a question we ask everyone, tell us something about Anthony Ranaudo that most fans would not know.

I am really big into nutrition and its impact on the human body. I take my diet and work outs very seriously and I feel like it gets me ready to be my best on the mound.

Westmoreland’s Inspirational Journey Hits Lowell

For the first time since his season ended due to a broken collarbone in 2009, Ryan Westmoreland returned to LeLacheur Park on the road back from a much more serious malady. Westmoreland underwent surgery for a cavernous brain malformation in the spring and has been slowly working his way back to try and get on the field once again. The life threatening condition was first discovered during spring training and has slowed the 20 year old’s dreams of reaching Fenway Park. While the main concern for Westmoreland is living a normal lifestyle, the gifted athlete envisions a return to the baseball diamond and an eventual place on his home town Boston Red Sox.

Last night was a special night here in Lowell as Westmoreland was in uniform and took in the game from the dugout with is family and friends in attendance. Watch what he had to say about the progress he has made thus far.

Road to the Show: Brandon Workman

by John Gray, Lowell Spinners

Brandon Workman created a lot of pre-draft buzz due to his stellar pitching in Texas. Now he turns his focus to working his way to the majors

Brandon Workman was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of this years amateur draft. Considered one of the top college arms in the country, Workman fell in the draft due to his bonus expectations. A vital cog in the Texas Longhorns rotation, Workman is a physical presence on the mound, standing 6-5, 225. An impressive 2009 season which included a no-hitter of Penn State and a trip to the College World Series put Workman on the radar screen as one of the top college pitchers in the country. No stranger to New England thanks to his two stints with the Cape Cod League Wareham Gateman, Workman will begin his professional career next season but for the time being sat down with me to answer a few questions.

Can you describe to us how draft day went for you? Did you know that the Red Sox were going to take you? The signing process was reportedly down to the wire, were you ever worried about not signing?

I really had no indication the Red Sox were going to take me. I was sitting around watching the draft on television with no idea where I was going to end up, so when I got the call from them it was really exciting to be taken by such a historic franchise. I never worried about signing, I figured it would work it’s way out in the end even if negotiations went down to the wire. I ended up being where I wanted to be so it worked out for the best.

You were originally drafted in 2007 by the Phillies, did you ever consider signing back then?

I kicked around the idea of signing, I’ve always wanted to play professional baseball but it really came down to them not being able to offer me what I was looking for in order to pass up going to Texas.

Can you give us a bit of a self scouting report, what pitches do you feature?

Nothing too out of the ordinary, I have a fastball, changeup, curveball and cutter. I suppose you could say I throw with a 3/4th’s delivery and that I’m at my best when I have solid control of all four of my pitches.

There’s been talk that you might profile as a reliever down the line, do you prefer starting or relieving?

I absolutely envision myself as a starter, all my preparation has been to get out there on the mound and go deep into ball games. I am not opposed to relieving by any means, especially if that is what will get me to the majors faster.

How hard was it to pass up your senior year at Texas? Can you describe what it was like playing for the Longhorns?

Definitely not an easy choice, we had a great team down there every year I was there and they are going to have a really good squad again this year. With them being in the mix for a national championship it made the decision that much harder, ultimately I am very happy to be a part of the Red Sox organization.

If you had to pick a favorite baseball moment during your career what would it be and why?

Going to Omaha for the College World Series in my sophomore year. We came in second to LSU, Ranaudo’s team, but it was the most exciting baseball experience I have ever been a part of.  Coming that close and not being able to finish it off was frustrating but we had a great year and it was awesome to being able to play in that type of playoff atmosphere.

You pitched for the Wareham Gateman of the Cape Cod League in 2008 and 2009, pitching in the Cape League All Star game both years. What was it like pitching in the Cape?

It’s a different baseball experience than down in Texas for sure but I had a ton of fun. I met a lot of great people, plenty who I am still friends with, and enjoyed living with my host families. An all around great experience both years and being selected for the All-Star game was an honor because there are so many great players that go to the Cape. It gave me a taste of the passion that New England fans have for the game so I’m looking forward to seeing that on a larger scale.

You played football during high school, with Texas being such a huge football state did you ever consider playing football during college?

Not really, it was an easy decision (baseball over football) because I was always better at baseball. Pitching was always really where I stood out so it was what I wanted to end up doing. The Longhorns have a great football team, not sure I could have cracked it even if I wanted to.

When you were growing up did you have a favorite team and player?

I grew up in North Texas so I was always a Texas Rangers fan. I couldn’t really tell you a favorite player, I just followed the Rangers since they were my home team.

Lastly, has the team told you what your plans are for the immediate future?

I really don’t think you will see me on the mound this year. I am really just here to get acclimated to pro ball and start preparing myself for the fall and spring.

I’m Back!

by John Gray, Lowell Spinners

Fret not Spinners fans, the creative mind behind your Lowell Spinners blog has returned and do I have some interesting things in store for you!

First, lets begin with our squad who had an impressive 5-3 victory over the Hudson Valley Renegades yesterday afternoon. Player of the Game Nick Robinson went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI including a bases loaded walk and a double. If you haven’t come out to a game lately tonight is the night to join us at LeLacheur Park! Tonight is John Kerry Bobblehead Night as well as Electronics Giveaway Night. Despite rain in the area, we are on for our 7:05 start.

Still wondering what I have in store for you? How about interviews with some of our top prospects? That’s right, after a short hiatus the Road to the Show series returns with an interview from recent draftee Brandon Workman. Look for that interview this afternoon right here on the Spinners Blog!

Heidi Watney Bobblehead Giveaway

Heidi Watney Bobblehead

By: Colby Garrapy

Sunday, August 1, 2010 was a big day here at LeLacheur Park. As fans began to line up at the gates as early as 9:00 am, they were looking to get their hands on a piece of Spinners history. Our Spinnertainment for the afternoon was centered around someone all of New England is familiar with and many fans are in awe over, NESN’s reporter, Heidi Watney.

For the first 1,000 Spinners fans, they received a Heidi Watney Bobblehead, the first ever lady bobblehead made as a giveaway at LeLacheur Park. This marked the first of the many exciting events, as Ms. Watney was involved in lots of the Spinnertainment featured on this sunny afternoon. Ms. Watney signed autographs on the concourse, threw t-shirts out of the mystery machine, and had fans answer questions for Heidi Watney Trivia Inning.

Heidi Watney Bobblehead Giveaway was a great success, here at LeLacheur Park on Sunday. The weather was great, the Spinnertainment was exciting as usual, and Heidi Watney made an appearance brightening up everyone’s day. Sunday summed up their two game home series and the Spinners will return to Lowell on August 10th against the State College. For more information or tickets visit lowellspinners.com or call 978-459-2255.

Enjoy our tribute to Heidi Watney:

Advanced Stats: Pitching & Defense

Advanced Stats – Pitching/Defense

By: Colby Garrapy

Current as of: 7/28/10

While offense is one of the keys to success in baseball, there are still two factors that are typically not regarded as important: Pitching and defense. These are the prevention of offense for the opponent. If a team can prevent their opponents from scoring runs while they in turn are capable of scoring them, they have the best shot at winning.

This is where pitching and defense statistics can say a lot about a player. Just because someone is capable of winning 15 games doesn’t make them a great pitcher. What it means is that the pitcher prevented their opponents from scoring more runs than them in said game. Yes, this is what a pitcher should do, but it doesn’t account for those statistics a pitcher can control.

Out of all the statistics that relate to pitchers, there are four that a pitcher can control: home runs walks, hit by pitch, and strikeouts. While other stats are important to consider, if one wants to look at those that the pitcher can control, these are those stats.

Why only these select statistics?

The answer is because all other stats require the fielders behind the pitcher; all of which vary from team to team and have a vast difference in skill level. In order to generalize and judge a player solely on his ability, these stats must be weighed.

On a defensive scale there are many stats that can quantify a player’s ability to make the out. Organizations watch tape after tape of previous games in order to determine how an out was made and where it was made on the field. While this information isn’t accessible to myself, there are a few defensive stats that I can compute in order to give a better look at a player’s ability to turn outs rather than just comparing errors to others.

I want to start by analyzing those stats pitchers can control. This statistic is called Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). This statistic analyzes a pitcher’s homeruns allowed, hit by pitches, walks allowed, and strikeouts. The formula looks something like this:

FIP= (HR*13 +BB+HBP-IBB) *3 – K *2 / IP

After we compute this formula an average league factor must be added to put it into an ERA format. Typically the league average FIP – league average ERA is added, but to make life simple, we will use the average league factor of 3.2 that is commonly used. Here are the Spinners top five pitchers in FIP:

FIP (min. 20 IP)

Keith Couch                              2.64

Hunter Cervenka                     3.65

Garrett Rau                               3.66

Tyler Wilson                            3.67

Ramon Mendez                       3.81

All five of these pitchers have a relatively good FIP. In other words, fielding aside, these pitchers have performed well. Their homerun, walks, and hit by pitch totals are relatively low and they strikeout a good amount of the batters they face. Cervenka is the one pitcher the posted a negative number before adding the league average factor.

Another statistic I will take a look at now is batting average on balls in play (BABIP). What this stat does is measure a player’s average on balls hit in play (excluding homeruns). It can be used for hitters and pitchers and is effective in weighing flawed seasons. It is difficult to maintain low or high BABIP, so typically if a player has a high BABIP one season it is realistic that a player will improve the following season. Vise versa for a player with a low BABIP, it is likely that player will regress the following season. An average BABIP is around .300, but can depend a lot on the team’s defense. Here is a look at the Spinners top pitchers in BABIP and the bottom pitchers in BABIP:

Top BABIP:

Hunter Cervenka            .278

Stephen Fox                     .286

Ramon Mendez               .295

Madison Younginer       .315

Garrett Rau                       .326

Bottom BABIP:

Tyler Wilson                   .370

Cesare Angeloni            .352

Charle Rosario               .333

Keith Couch                     .330

As you can see, only three pitchers fall below a .300 BABIP, while the rest are above. This can translate into a couple different things. One could be the three pitchers below .300 do a better job at preventing the ball from being batted, they are having a lucky season, or the defense plays better when they are pitching. For the pitchers above .300, it could mean the exact opposite. What we can take from this is how batters bat on balls in play against certain pitchers. Some of these like, like Wilson and Angeloni, should see a slight decrease while pitchers like, Cervenka and Fox, may see a rise in the future.

Now that I have covered a couple pitching statistics I want to take a look at one defensive stat that is clearer than your basic fielding percentage. All fielding percentage does is calculates the number of times a player cleanly handles a batted ball or thrown ball. Range factor calculates the number of outs a player participates in. How calculating range factor works is you divide a player’s putouts and assists by the number of innings or games he has played. Dividing by the number of games gives you his range factor per game. Dividing by innings and multiplying by 9 gives a player’s RF/9, which is what is commonly looked at.

(PO + A * 9)/IN = RF/9

Here is a look at the Spinners top players at each position:

Current as of 8/1/10

RF/9 (min. 75 innings)

C:              Chia-Chu Chen                          8.81

1B:             Miles Head                                 9.90

2B:             James Kang                               4.88

3B:             David Renfroe                           2.79

SS:             JT Garcia                                    5.43

LF:            Seth Schwindenhammer         1.86

CF:            Bryce Brentz                                2.67

RF:            Brandon Jacobs                        2.14

These are the players who participate in the most outs at their given positions with a minimum of 75 innings of work. One of the most surprising positions was centerfield where Brentz had a RF/9 of 2.67 while the speedy Felix Sanchez had 2.07. While .60 doesn’t seem huge, it is over half a play more a game Brentz participated in than Sanchez.

As we can see, stats say a lot about players. Even I was surprised by some of the range factors of the Spinners. As for the pitching statistics it was a clear indication as to who has performed well this season, and who has not. Mendez ranked as one of the top pitchers on the staff, but with his departure we will see a slight change in the way the Spinners play. These three stats I covered are only a select few of the hundreds that can be calculated.

This is an eye opener to what baseball stats can offer. It changes the way a player’s basic numbers are looked at and allows followers to examine another side of their performance. Winning is important, but if the team can’t perform well in hitting, pitching, and defense they will have a tough time doing so. That is where these types of stats can come into play and allow you to put aside typical stats that are reflected in the team’s performance and be able to examine a player solely on his performance. While these are only three different stats to quantify a player’s performance, it allows one to put typical defense and pitching statistics aside and exemplifies how each player can perform.

Upcoming Spinnertainment

August 10 – Robotics Night

August 11 – Chaotic Wrestling Preforms

August 14 – Twilight Night

August 20 – Irish Step Dancing

August 21 – Scout Night Sleepover

August 22 – Win a Royal Caribbean Cruise!

August 23 – Monkey Man and his buddy DJango

August 24 – Boston Celtics Night with Glen “Big Baby” Davis

August 28 – Harry Potter Night

August 29 – Boston Bruins Night with Shawn Thornton & Terry O’Reilly

August 30 – Senator Scott Brown

Click here to get your tickets !

Star Wars Night!

Star Wars Night!

By: Colby Garrapy

In a galaxy far, far away at a little place called LeLacheur Park, the Lowell Spinners hosted their second annual Star Wars Night. Wearing their custom blue and purple Star Wars jerseys in recognition for this special night, the Spinners made sure this night would end with a big win. Scoring three runs in the third inning, the Spinners held on to win 4-3 over the Vermont Lake Monsters.

Throughout the night the Spinnertainment featured Star Wars characters taking photos and getting involved with the fans through on field promotions. First pitches, t-shirt tosses, dizzy light saber, and more exemplify just some of what the Spinners Star Wards Night featured here at LeLacheur Park on July 31st.

As we enter the final full month of the season, the Spinners have plenty of Spinnertainment left. Heidi Watney Bobble head, Twilight Night, Harry Potter Night, Celtic Night, and more are all upcoming events the Spinners have on tap for this month. Check out lowellspinners.com, or call 978-459-2255 to find out more!

Enjoy this tribute to July 31, 2010 Star Wars Night here at LeLacheur Park!

Vote For The Hammer

>>> VOTE HERE !!! <<<

The Lowell Spinners, Class-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, are throwing their weight behind a “Vote for Hammer” campaign for outfielder Seth Schwindenhammer to a win in MiLB.com’s fourth annual “Minors Moniker Madness” to find the best name in Minor League Baseball.
Schwindenhammer, known as “Hammer” around the Spinners clubhouse, would have the longest last name (15 letters) in Major League history should he reach the big leagues, edging out Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Ironically enough, Schwindenhammer and his 15 letter last name are seeded 15th in the “Natty Nattress” Bracket where he faces off against Skyler Stromsmoe of the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the field of 64.

LeLacheur Grounds Crew

LeLacheur Grounds Crew

Colby Garrapy

LOWELL, MA: As the sun rises here in Lowell, the grounds crew at LeLacheur Park find their way to the stadium to prepare for another game. To many, the hours they work would seem crazy, but to them it is just another day at the park. The grounds crew for a baseball field requires many hours and lots of hard work, both of which our crew here at LeLacheur put in day after day.

People that come to a game don’t realize what goes into the field due to the overshadowing factor of the team playing there every night. Fans come, they see the team play, they eat the concessions, buy tickets, and merchandise, but don’t experience the effort and dedication the crew on the field must put in every day to maintain the upkeep. As the sun sets in Lowell, this crew is finishing enjoying the Spinners game before they get back on the field and clean up after another day. This video exemplifies their commitment to the team and to the field here at LeLacheur

Bubble Wrap Record Holder

From MiLB News:

Lowell, MA — The Lowell Spinners made history Saturday evening, setting the world record for most people popping Bubble Wrap simultaneously during the third inning of their as part of the celebration of 50 years of Bubble Wrap.

As they entered the park, every fan received a one-square-foot sheet of Bubble Wrap with instructions to not pop it until the middle of the third inning.

“We’re sure it was very difficult for many fans to resist the urge to pop the Bubble Wrap immediately upon receipt,” said Spinners vice president of communications Jon Goode. “I heard sporadic popping during the first few innings, but I believe most fans wanted to be a part of history.”

In the middle of the third, the Spinners promotional team took the field and led a countdown as fans popped for 30 seconds. Players, staff and media members alike joined in the process as history was made to the sounds of popping. Following the popping, fans were asked to pass their used sheet to the end of the row where they were collected by staff to be counted.

After the tedious process of counting was completed, the Spinners came to a final tally of 3,692 popped sheets.

“We’re sure there were instances of sheets that may not have been passed over or others that were popped prior to the record attempt, but we believe this is just about accurate,” Goode said.

Advanced Statistics: Offense

Advanced Statistics – Offense

Colby Garrapy

Baseball statistics say many things about players. People view those with a high batting average as being the best hitters and the pitchers with the most wins as being the best pitchers. While these stats say something about a player, they don’t show you everything. What if a batter goes 0-2 with three walks and another goes 2-4? While the second batter has a .500 average, the first player managed to get on one more time during the game. If a pitcher goes five innings and gives up four earned runs and records the win, while the other goes seven giving up three earned, five runs total and takes the loss, which is better?

The information I have provided doesn’t give us enough to quantify someone as being the better player, but it puts stats in a different perspective as to how they are viewed. I’m going to take a different look at baseball statistics and apply some theories and formulas to your current Lowell Spinners. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of common baseball stats, just explore different angles that are offered. At the conclusion, the view of normal statistics will be shadowed by what lies behind their current stat lines.

I’ll start simply with BA (Batting Average) and OBP (On-Base Percentage). A player’s BA shows us how well they have got a hit over the course of their at-bats. OBP shows us how often the player reaches base (hits, walks, hit by pitch, sacrifice flies). While a player’s BA only accounts for their hits, OBP accounts for the player’s ability to get on base and contribute.

OBP is a much more effective statistic to evaluate a players performance offensively. For instance, if a player bats .300 and has an OBP of .330, while another player bats .275 and has an OBP of .375, it is an indication that the second player reaches base .045 better than the first, which is a significant amount when discussing the two stats. Here is a list of the top five Spinners in each category.

BA (min. 30 AB) OBP (min.30 AB)

Jose Garcia                         .355                                      Jose Garcia                         .420

James Kang                        .324                                      Kolbrin Vitek                      .411

Felix Sanchez                     .321                                      Felix Sanchez                      .384

Kolbrin Vitek                       .297                                       Miles Head                         .381

Brandon Jacobs                .276                                       James Kang                        .378

Now that we have cleared up how OBP is more important than BA, how do you distinguish those like Ichiro who hit lots of singles from those like Adam Dunn who hits homeruns? Another stat that is commonly referred is called is Slugging Percentage, or SLG. How slugging percentage works is you take the player’s total bases (single is one, double is two, etc) and divide it by his at-bats. This number gives you their SLG and quantifies how they batter “slugs.” Someone like Ichiro typically has a high BA and a low SLG. On the other hand Adam Dunn typically carries a low BA and a high SLG because of the amount of homeruns he hits.

To make life a little easier for baseball gurus like myself, a simple stat that quantified a player’s ability to get on base and ability to hit for power was developed called OPS, or On-Base plus SLG. All this does is take a player’s OBP and adds it to their SLG to give you one number to evaluate their hitting ability. We’ll take a look at how your Spinners stack up with these statistics.

SLG OPS

Sean Killeen                        .533                                      Jose Garcia                        .888

Jose Garcia                         .468                                     Sean Killeen                       .854

James Kang                        .442                                     James Kang                        .820

Kolbrin Vitek                        .407                                     Kolbrin Vitek                      .817

Brandon Jacobs                 .402                                      Miles Head                        .758

Now that I have covered some fundamentals to look for in offense statistics, I’ll take it a step further and examine some more in depth stats that allow us to see how productive some players actually are. ISO, or Isolated Power, is a statistic that shows us how much “power” a player has or produces. What this stat does is eliminate singles because they don’t determine a player’s power. There are two formulas that allow us to get their ISO. The simplest is:

SLG – BA = ISO

This can get you a player’s ISO quickly, another way that will get you the same ISO is:

TB (Total Bases) – H / AB = ISO

For the sake of this article we will use the second formula as it allows us to take a look at how many hits the player currently has. Here are the Spinners top ISO producers thus far this season:

ISO

Sean Killeen                        .333

Brandon Jacobs                 .126

James Kang                        .118

Jose Garcia                         .113

Kolbrin Vitek                       .110

Other than Sean Killeen the Spinners have not produced much power this season. None of the players listed above have more than one homerun other than Killeen (5). A lot of the players with over 30 at-bats had less than .100 for their ISO. This is an indication that the Spinners have had troubles with their power production.

We’ll now take a look at a statistic called Runs Created, RC. Red Sox Advisor, Bill James, developed this stat and what it does is measure the number of runs a particular player has contributed to his team. Throughout the years a number of different formulas has been developed to get the number of runs created by each player. The most basic of formulas looks like this:

(H + BB) x TB = RC

AB + BB

Since then, new formulas were developed that took into account factors like hit by pitch, grounded into DP, sacrifice hits and more. One formula was created that took into account a player’s contributions on the base path with stolen bases. This is the formula I will be using today to come up with the RC for the Spinners.

(H + BB – CS) x (TB + (.55 x SB)) = RC

AB + BB

This formula expands on the basic formula and accounts for their base running abilities and failures (CS). Here is a look at the Spinners top five run creators.

RC

Kolbrin Vitek                        16

Felix Sanchez                      13

Brandon Jacobs                 12

Jose Garcia                          11

Miles Head                          10

These are the Spinners top five players for runs created. If you have been paying close attention throughout the article, you can see these names are starting to appear over and over again. This is an indication of who the Spinners top offensive players are.

I will now take a look at one last stat. With this stat we will be leaving one piece of information out due to the fact I have limited resources in acquiring my statistics. Because it is left out for everyone we will still get a good idea of who performs well for the stat. What I want to look at is wOBA, or weighted on-base average. This is where it can get a little confusing.

What wOBA does is account for a player’s contributions in the correct value. OPS is a good number to look at quickly when it comes to a player’s ability to get on base and their slugging. But it weighs it together when OBP is much more valuable than slugging. In SLG a double is weighed as twice as much as a single, and a triple as three times. But is a triple really 3x as valuable as a single? wOBA weighs each situation according to their correct value. In the end you end up with a number that looks like a BA. Typically someone with a .330 wOBA is average, but varies every year. Here is the formula to get wOBA:

wOBA=((0.72*NIBB)+(0.75*HBP)+(0.9*1B)+(0.92*RBOE)+(1.24*2B)+(1.56*3B)+(1.95*HR))/PA

It looks confusing, but for the two stats that you may not be familiar with, NIBB is Non-Intentional walks and RBOE is reached base on error. With the data I have available I do not have RBOE, so we will be leaving that stat out when coming up with wOBA. Here are your Spinners top contributors with wOBA:

wOBA

Jose Garcia                        .396

Kolbrin Vitek                      .370

Sean Killeen                       .361

James Kang                       .344

Miles Head                        .343

These are the top players on the Spinners for wOBA, all of which are above the average mark. These numbers show these players have the ability to get on and get the extra base hits.

Baseball stats say a lot about a particular player. While they may hide in the shadows of those who are getting the high averages, it doesn’t mean they are going unnoticed. These stats are just the beginning and there is much more out there that can be done to critique a player and his abilities. My next segment will cover pitching and how the Spinners match up against each other on the mound.

Futures at Fenway

Futures at Fenway

Colby Garrapy

Saturday July 10, 2010 marked the Spinners fourth Futures at Fenway game. These up and coming ball players got the opportunity to play on the field of their futures, the field of the team that has faith in their potential to one day help the organization at the highest of levels.

Coming into the game the Spinners had gone undefeated in their past three outings at Fenway, but this year saw a change as the Spinners were defeated 2-7 against the Jamestown Jammers. While it went down as a loss for the Spinners, the players and coaches see it as a memorable experience that could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for some.

The Futures at Fenway 2010 will be an experience to remember for all. What was once a childhood dream for some, came true for a select few on July 10th. Hopefully one day these players can return to play at Fenway Park, in uniforms past Spinners like Youkilis, Buchholtz, Ellsbury, and more are wearing today.

Enjoy the Spinners tribute to Futures at Fenway 2010:

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Click “Spinner Videos” at the top of the page.

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A Lot to Look Forward To!

As Thursday June 8th approaches us, the Spinners will be holding a fun filled home stand.  Three games of summer fun, capped off by a Saturday afternoon affair at the famous Fenway Park for the Futures at Fenway game.  Parents and kids alike can watch in enjoyment as the Spinners will be hosting the Jamestown Jammers from Thursday-Saturday for three action packed days.  The Spinners will be looking to rebound this weekend after being swept at home last weekend by the Vermont Lake Monsters.  The resilient Spinners are ready to get back on top and they want you to come cheer them on as they battle this tough opponent.

The fun begins on Thursday night here at LeLacheur Park. It is Al Kaprielian bobble head give away night.  Al is a meteorologist in New Hampshire best known for his 26 years with Channel 50 in Derry, NH.  Kaprielian currently does weather forecasts for radio station WCAP-AM (980) here in Lowell.  Come celebrate Al’s birthday with us as he will be in attendance.  Make sure you get your ticket soon and arrive early however, because only the first 1000 fans in attendance will receive one of these collectable bobble heads.

The excitement continues on Friday night where fans will be given the chance at some free cash.  Make sure you bring your running shoes to the ballpark on this night, because after the game a helicopter will drop 1000 dollars on the field, and fans will be given a chance to dash for some cash.  If free money is not enough, Patriots legend Steve Grogan will be on hand Friday night.  A quarterback for the Patriots from 1975-1990 Grogan holds the single season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season with 12.  Have a once and a lifetime chance on Friday night to catch a pass from this all time Patriot great.

The Spinners close off their three game series with the Jamestown Jammers at historic Fenway Park.  This is the fifth year of the Futures at Fenway game, and previous years have been a real treat for fans. The Spinners have yet to lose a game during this event, and hopefully this year is no different.  The Spinners will be playing in the first game of an exciting double header, which will be a great way to spend one’s Saturday. So come down to Lowell, and then to Boston for a fun filled few days with your friends down at the Spinners.

Road to the Show: Miles Head

Road to the Show – Miles Head

Colby Garrapy

Miles Head, 26th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2009, began his 2010 season withthe Lowell Spinners. Playing third base last season, Miles will be making the transition first base.Playing in 10 games for the GCL Sox last season, Miles batted .103. This will be Miles 2nd season in professional baseball.

You were drafted in the 26th round of the 2009 draft by the Red Sox. What was going through your head during the draft?

I was just excited for the opportunity to play professional baseball, especially for the Red Sox organization. Throughout the entire draft I was nervous. I had to wait 26 rounds. But even if I had failed to get selected I had a scholarship to play at the University of Georgia, so either way I was going to have a good opportunity.

Walk us through the process of signing with the Sox?

Well, I didn’t sign immediately with the Red Sox. It took about one and a half months for me to officially sign. The Sox wanted me to play some more and be able to watch me before making things official in August.

Your senior year of high school you batted .528, had 14 HR, and 48 RBI. Following your signing you reported to Florida where you joined the GCL Sox. What was the transition like for you going form high school ball to the professional level?

It was a completely new experience for me. I mean, you go from playing in high school and not traveling all the time, and being able to go home every night, to now consistently traveling with a bunch of new guys. I was nervous. But as soon as I got the hang of things I got comfortable and everything ran smoothly. Just takes time to adapt.

You’ve played some third base for the Sox, but you also caught in high school. Now in Lowell, you’re playing first. What position do you prefer, and where do you feel more comfortable playing?

I’m most comfortable at third base. I played third last year in GCL, and right before opening day in Lowell I was informed they wanted me to play first this season. It was a bit of a surprise to me because I’ve never played first base, but over time I will become more and more comfortable there.

Before signing with the Sox, what were planning on doing after graduation?

I had a scholarship to play at the University of Georgia where I was going to study Business Management.

What goals do you have for yourself this season? What areas of your game have you been working on the most to improve?

I’m focusing on batting over .300 for the season and just accomplishing the goals and expectations the Sox have for me during my time here in Lowell. The other big part of my game I’m focusing a lot of my attention on is my defense. With a new position, I really want to be able to become successful at the transition from third to first.

What are your impressions of the organization so far?

They treat us great. I mean, the overall image they represent and present to us is amazing. The coaches show all the players so much respect and it allows me to trust them with everything and anything. To go along with that, they do a great job teaching us and making our game fundamentally sound.

Growing up what player did you look up to the most?

Chipper Jones. Growing up in Georgia and being a Braves fan it only comes naturally.

Tell us something no one would know about you?

I play the guitar and I’m a huge 90’s rock music fan with Nirvana and such.

$1,000 Hot Dog Night

$1,000 Hot Dog Night

By: Colby Garrapy

$1,000 Hot Dog was a GREAT SUCCESS! Thursday, June 24th marked $1,000 Hot Dog Night at LeLacheur Park. Fans swarmed the concession stands buying multiple hot dogs at a time in hopes of breaking even or even leaving the park with a few extra bucks in their pockets.

$1,000 Hot Dog Night, for those who may not know, consisted of money filled hot dog wrappers. Yes, money. Scattered throughout the hot dog wrappers were 1,5, and 10 dollar bills that fans had a chance at getting when they purchased a hot dog. While this may seem crazy and fun, this is what the Lowell Spinners are all about. Promotions are one of the, if not the most exciting part of minor league baseball, and the Spinners do it the right way. Stay tuned to check out some more of the Spinners exciting promotions, or check out lowellspinners.com to find out what is coming next to LeLacheur Park!

Media Day, Media Day. Read all about it!

Yesterday, June 17th was Media Day for the Lowell Spinners. Here are some of the articles from the papers and news outlets that were in attendance.

From the Eagle Tribune

Sox first round pick Vitek opens career with Lowell

By David Willisdwillis@eagletribune.com

LOWELL — Kolbrin Vitek isn’t a household name to Red Sox fans just yet. In fact, he believes his parents made up his unique first name when he was born, and it is partially due to religious significance he isn’t clear on. But that original moniker, not listed among 1,000 boys names on babynames.org, may be very familiar to Red Sox faithful in the very near future.

Vitek, Boston’s first round pick last week in the 2010 Major League Draft and newest million dollar bonus baby, will kick off his professional career when the Lowell Spinners open their season tonight at the Vermont Lake Monsters…. (read the rest of the article here)

From Over The Monster

Red Sox’ Stockpiled Talent Ready to Emerge in Lowell

by Ben Buchanan

The talent at Lowell starts on the left side of the field. While Reymond Fuentes has been disappointing so far, to many, it was the Sox’ third round pick (who signed for the exact same amount as Fuentes, for the record) David Renfroe, that was truly the cream of the crop. Above average with the potential to be more both offensively and defensively, Renfroe is likely the most promising third base prospect in the system.

Playing behind him in left,Brandon Jacobs was grabbed in the tenth round, but had to be lured away from a college commitment to Auburn with high-round money. Jacobs and his big righty power bat got a few at bats in the GCL last year, but not anything significant. Jacobs will likely be splitting time between left field and DH with Seth Schwindenhammer, who is very similar in his makeup to Jacobs from the left side of the plate….(read the rest of the article here)

We Got You Covered

The Spinners open up their 2010 season this weekend on the road before the home opener on Monday June, 21st. Stay up to date on everything Spinners with our web of information (twitter, facebook, blog, and youtube). You’ll be glad you did – there is plenty going on all summer.

Holman Stadium Fan Fest

Holman Fan Fest

Colby Garrapy

LOWELL, MA – Family activities, Spinners autographs, and World Series trophies. Professional baseball is back in Nashua, NH for one night only, June 16th. Join the entire 2010 Lowell Spinners team and front office at Holman Stadium in Nashua, NH for our first Fan Fest. Partnering up with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the Spinners are bringing it all on June 16, 2010 for the people of Nashua and surrounding areas. The Holman Stadium Fan Fest will feature the entire Spinners team, giving autographs and photos, the Canaligator family, the 2004 World Series trophy, family activities, and more!

The night kicks off with the “Business After Hours” event. Nashua Chamber members have the opportunity to check out Holman Stadium and win prices in the luxury suites. As the clock turns 6:30 the gates open to all fans for free. Take pictures with the Mystery Machine or our newest additions to the Spinnertainment collection! Throughout the night on-field components will be taking place that all fans have access to.

Holman dates back to 1937 when it was constructed as a multipurpose stadium for the city of Nashua. The Angels, Pirates, and Brooklyn Dodgers have all had minor league teams featured here. Hall of Famers, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe began their careers here, part of the Nashua Dodgers. Baseball has been a huge part of the city of Nashua, and the Spinners are looking to keep the tradition alive, even if it is for one night.

The Lowell Spinners Holman Stadium Fan Fest is a preceding event leading up to the kick off of the 2010 season that starts June 18th when the Spinners take on the Vermont Lake Monsters in Burlington, VT. June 21st the Spinners open at home, LeLacheur Park, to take on the Tri-City Valley Cats. For tickets call 978-459-1702 or visit lowellspinners.com.

League of Tomorrow

The chance to play in the major leagues is a dream that only becomes a reality for few. From the early days of smacking inside the infield home runs off a tee to the moments that make heroes in those late inning high school games – these players have encountered it all. Yet there is one stop on the road to the majors that most players don’t have the honor of experiencing – playing ball at legendary Fenway Park.

On Saturday July 10th, 2010 the Lowell Spinners will play a home game away from home at 4 Yawkey Way in Boston MA (aka Fenway Park). Be apart of this great opportunity to watch the players of tomorrow play “today” at Fenway.

Tickets and information

Minor League Doubleheader:

Game 1 — 12:05 p.m. ET
• Single-A Short Season affiliates
•

Lowell Spinners (BOS) vs. Jamestown Jammers (FLA)

Click here for tickets

Game 2 — After end of Game 1
• Single-A Advanced affiliates
•

Salem Sox (BOS) vs. Potomac Nationals (WAS)

12 Days

The countdown to opening day is officially on. Only a mere 12 days separate us from the start of another amazing season of Spinners baseball. The draft earlier in the week yielded some great players that will put their skills on display all summer here at LeLacheur Park.

It’s not to late to get your tickets as there are plenty of games with tickets still available. Opening day is June 21st, 2010. The Spinners first home stand will feature some fantastic promotional give-aways as usual.

Still need tickets to the game? We’ve made it easy for you – scroll down, see at a glance which team is in town and the promotion for that day. If you want tickets simply just click the “Date vs. Team” link and you will be directed right to ticket sales.

June 21 – 25 Home games

June 21 vs. Tri-City Valley Cats

Promotion (First 5,000 Fans) Presented by Courtyard by Marriott/Lowell Sun/Precision Tune/Pepsi/Sal’s Pizza

Opening Night / Magnetic Schedule Giveaway Magnetic Schedule


June 22 vs. Tri-City Valley Cats

Promotion (First 1,000 Fans) Presented by Senior Whole Health

Cooler Bag Giveaway / KRAFT Singles Tuesday Night Tickets Spinners Cooler Bag, fit for 12 cans!

Buy 1 Ticket, Get 1 Free from KRAFT Singles with purchase.

Bring your package wrapper to a Spinners’ game on Tuesdays for a steal of a deal!

Visit kraftsingles.com for more info! Exclusions apply.

June 23 vs. Connecticut Tigers

Promotion Presented by Kayem / Pepsi

NASCAR Night

The Spinners will welcome some of NASCAR’s up-and-coming young drivers and

their cars to be on display in the team’s annual pre-Loudon celebration of the sport!

June 24 vs. Connecticut Tigers

Promotion Presented by Segue

$1,000 Hot Dog Night

Purchase your hot dogs at the Spinners Concession Stands…

Wrapped with the hot dogs will be $1,000 in cash spread across the night’s hot dogs!

June 25 vs. Connecticut Tigers

Promotion Presented by Carvel

Thomas the Tank Engine’s 65th Birthday!

From North Carolina, Chicken Man USA (www.chickenmanusa.com)

and his Poultry Posse will perform throughout the night!

I go to LeLacheur Park with a little help from my friends…

The infamous sumo wrestlers of LeLacheur Park have returned for another season of baseball and aggressive Rocky Balboa-inspired workouts. Despite their warrior instincts these two buddies, like anyone else, enjoy watching Spinner games in each others company. Good thing they’re both Spinner fans or else things could get heated….or flattened.

Who needs tickets!?

Tickets for the 2010 season on sale now!

Call, get them online, or visit the box office.

2010 Red Sox Draft Preview

2010 Sox Draft Preview

By: Colby Garrapy

LOWELL, MASS. – June 7th here we come.

As the morning of June 7th rolls around, most people will be going through their daily routine, preparing for the upcoming workweek and trying to make it through a case of the Mondays. For Amiel Sawdaye and the Red Sox it starts three days that can make or break the future of the organization.

Amiel Sawdaye, a 1999 graduate of the University of Maryland, started his career with General Electric. Looking to change career paths Sawdaye sent resumes and contacted teams in pursuit of anything in baseball. Luckily for him, with the sale of the team in 2002 to John Henry, Sawdaye got an interview with the Sox where he was hired as an intern in the baseball operations department.

Long hours, low pay, but great networking paid off for Sawdaye as he became a scouting assistant in 2004 and the Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting the next year. Because of him, systems were developed in helping the Sox prepare for drafts. Now, with the departure of Jason McLeod, architect of the last several Red Sox drafts, the Red Sox saw it as a clear move in promoting Sawdaye as the Director of Amateur Scouting.

This will be the first year for Sawdaye since his promotion and it looks as though the future is bright for him and the organization. While the Red Sox maintain the second highest payroll in the MLB, it doesn’t take away the success the draft has brought for them. Of the Red Sox current 25-man roster, seven have come from the Sox draft in previous years.

Daniel Bard (2006), Clay Buchholz (2005, played for Lowell), Manny Delcarmen (2000), Jon Lester (2002), Jonathan Papelbon (2003, played for Lowell), Dustin Pedroia (2004), and Kevin Youkilis (2001, played for Lowell). This isn’t even including players like Jacoby Ellsbury (DL), Ryan Westmoreland, Casey Kelley, and more.

While the Sox have maintained success in the draft in the past years, it will be exciting to see what approach they take this coming week with Sawdaye now in charge. The Sox hold four of the first 57 picks in the draft, thanks to compensatory draft picks for losing Jason Bay. Every pick is crucial and will play a huge role in the future success of the team.

At SoxProspects.com they broke down some reports of the players linked to the Red Sox for the upcoming event. I took the time to list some of these players and provide some scouting reports for what I have learned thus far.

Linked Top Round Players

Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU. Regarded as one of the top pitchers in 2010 class. Poor 2010 for Ranaudo, as an injury and command set him back early. Fastball can sit around 93 MPH that he keeps down in the zone. Sharp curveball as a secondary, along with a changeup, but it doesn’t compare with his other two pitches. Biggest challenge could be his agent Boras, but good relationship between Epstein and him is an added bonus.

Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State. Vitek has continued to produce excellent numbers all year due to his ability to hit with consistency and his amazing bat speed. Speed ranks above average giving him the ability to take bases. Currently residing at second base, it isn’t regarded as his best position. This could change in the future to potentially third base or even corner outfield.

Kaleb Cowart, RHP/3B, Cook County HS. This Georgia native could be taken for his skills on the mound or skills at the plate. From the mound Cowart’s fastball is above average. He compliments it well with his slider, along with a slight feel for his change. At the plate he is a powerful switch hitter from both sides of the plate. Has drawn comparisons to Chipper Jones.

Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle TN State. Brentz is a corner outfielder with pure talent. He possesses above average raw power to all fields with an above average arm. He is a good fielder and aggressive at the plate. With his short compact stroke and potential power output Brentz will be taken as one of the hottest college bats in the draft.

Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, Citadel. A starter in college many think he has the makeup of a future closer or setup man. His fastball hits 94 MPH that he compliments with an improved slider, and a changeup he rarely throws. His command is what worries some, but with a switch into the pen he could make it through the system quickly and increase velocity on his pitches.

Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M.  Many have taken a lot of notice of Loux this year. His fastball touches 94 and he has a great change. His curve and slider could use some development in the minors, but his mound presence and durability complimented with his command has established himself as an early pick.

Robbie Aviles, RHP, Suffern HS (NY). Lean athletic build with three good pitches. Hits 93 MPH with his fastball that he matches with a decent curveball and good changeup that isn’t used to its potential.

Ty Linton, OF, Charlotte Christian HS (NC). Linton has a strong athletic body that feature above average raw power. He can have issues making consistent contact and his long swing that worries some. He has below average running ability and arm strength, along with average fielding.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Stanek (Blue Valley HS), Sean Coyle (Germantown Academy), Brian Fletcher (Auburn), Blake Dean (LSU), Ryan O’Rourke (Merrimack College), Chris Kirsch (Marple Newtown HS), Maverick Miles (South Rowan HS).

Starting June 7th at 7 pm look for these names as the Sox make their selections for the 2010 First Year Player Draft. These could be the next big stars to begin their professional careers here in Lowell and some day follow in the shoes of the Papelbons and Ellsburys of the world at Fenway.

Ready for some baseball?

 

It’s that time of year again when the smell of baseball returns to the air – and yes, it is possible to smell baseball. It’s that time of year when the New England weather finally starts to get it right and temperature readings start to look more like basketball scores rather than a golf tournament leader board.  After the long cold winter – Edward A. LeLacheur Park has returned to its pristine field-of-dreams-esq appearance here at 450 Aiken Street in Lowell.  

Mark your calendars, score your tickets, and grab your glove because come June 21st the summer officially starts with the first Spinners home game.

We’re looking forward to a great summer full of fun and Spinners baseball!

Road to the Show: Drew Dominguez

Drew Dominguez was one of the more unheralded players to take the field for the Spinners this season, coming out of division three Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Dominguez quickly became a fan favorite, not only because he grew up in nearby Braintree, Massachusetts, but also because of his passion for the game and his cheerful interactions with Spinner fans. Drew was the first Wesleyan baseball player to appear in a professional game in 44 years. Drew sat down to talk with the Spinners Blog before the end of the season to discuss his time in Lowell this far, his long-term goals, and share some interesting facts.

You were signed as a non-drafted free agent, was there any teams that showed interest during the draft and can you walk us through how you ended up signing with the Red Sox?

The Sox were the only team that I had any contact with, they were actually at a Trinity game scouting (Jeremiah) Bayer and I had a great game against them so Ray Fagnant got in touch with me. I had agreed to go to Europe to play ball, I was really interested in it for the ability to travel and see all of Europe since they only play 3-4 games a week. I was scheduled to go over to Europe on a Monday and the call from the Sox came the Friday before, so I cancelled my plans with Europe and they were excited for me, and were really supportive.

What was your most memorable college experience?

Drew Dominguez set records at Wesleyan University and became a fan favorite this season in Lowell

Making the playoffs this past season, recently the program hasn’t been that good. I hadn’t been in the playoffs since I started playing at Wesleyan, and I think this year was the first year we had made it since 1999. We just snuck in, we needed a win and another team to lose and it happened to work out for us.

I hear you played some other sports during college, tell us about your non-baseball career?

Sure, I was senior captain of the football team, I played free safety and returned kicks. I was actually recruited by Wesleyan for football. I loved playing both sports, made a ton of friends on both teams.

You have a passion for the law, do you have any plans to study law in the future?

I majored in government with the assumption that I would be going to law school. I still intend on going to law school and will be taking the LSAT’s before the end of 2009. Once I am done with my baseball career, I’ll apply to law schools and see what happens. I want to stay around the game, so this experience here is great for me. I really have visions on becoming an agent or a front office executive one day. Being here in Lowell is only going to help me reach that dream, of course I’d love to make it as a player but I am realistic.

Growing up so close to Boston, how was is it playing for the organization that you grew up following so closely?

It’s unbelievable, absolutely a dream come true to step out on the field for the Red Sox franchise. I have family at almost every game pulling for me, I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that it would have been possible, but here I am and I just love every day I get to be a part of what goes on here in Lowell.

Who was your favorite player growing up?

I admired a lot of players growing up, and I am a huge fan of the game. A current player that I really thing goes out and plays the game right is Dustin Pedroia. Back in the day, I was a huge Nomar fan, I know he got a tough rap towards the end of his stay here, but he was such a dynamic force earlier in his career.

What is something about Drew Dominguez most people don’t know?

I played basketball in high school, I was a two-guard in high school and I didn’t play in college. I love basketball just didn’t have the height to go anywhere with it.

Road to the Show: Chez Angeloni

Chez Angeloni was an unheralded un-drafted free agent who signed with the Red Sox immediately following the 2009 draft. Working as a starter for division III Johns Hopkins University, he compiled an 18-7 career record while winning the Most Outstanding Player award for the 2008 Division III College World Series. In the first game of the series, Angeloni threw a complete game eight strikeout performance to hand Trinity its lone loss of the season. Chez split his 2009 professional season between the GCL Red Sox and the Lowell Spinners, becoming a key member of the Lowell bullpen during their playoff run. Angeloni took some to answer some questions with the Spinners Blog.

You were signed as an un-drafted free agent, can you tell us what the process was like in signing with the Red Sox, and was there any interest in you by any teams during the draft?

ChezAngeloni

Chez Angeloni continued his college success in a new role in Lowell this past season

It was pretty sweet, I got a phone call one day that they had a spot open in Fort Myers. I was like seriously, I’m going to play for the Red Sox? I just flew down there, got my stuff together and got started. In terms of interest before the draft, there wasn’t a whole lot, a few times took some looks, I didn’t know what to expect. In the end, this is a dream come true, it’s better than I could have imagined.

You were a starter at John’s Hopkins, but this season you have come out of the Spinners bullpen, which role do you prefer?

I prefer starting because I have done it my entire baseball career before getting here. However, I just want to do whatever it is that helps the team win and gets me innings. If that means that I am in the bullpen, then that’s where I will be and work my hardest at.

Can you tell us a bit about the pitches you feature?

I throw a sinker, a cut fastball, a slider, a changeup and a four-seam fastball.

Your team at John’s Hopkins had a lot of success, including making it to the college world series, what was your most memorable moment in college?

Two years ago in the CWS we faced Trinity, which is interesting because I am played with a few of those guys here in Lowell (DiBenedetto, Killeen, Bayer). Unfortunately, we ended up losing to Trinity but it was a great experience that I am sure will help me down the line in similar playoff type of situations.

Even though you spent a short time in Lowell this season, what stood out to you most about playing here?

This is a great place to play, everybody is happy to be here, the fans are just amazing. The personnel that works with us here on a day to day basis is just world class, they really put us in the best position to be better each and every day.

If you could attribute your success to one thing what would it be?

My success comes when I throw strike one. Getting ahead of the hitter is probably the most important way to be successful as a pitcher. Another thing that makes me successful is getting my sinker down in the zone and inducing ground balls. When I can do both things, I am going to have a good day.

You were named most outstanding player of the college world series in 2008, how did you feel about that honor?

At first I didn’t want to think about it since we had lost the World Series, winning as a team is much better than any award I could be given. I was disappointed, but after some time I realized what a great honor it was and I was very happy to have received it. I think it really served as a motivational tool for me to make it back to the CWS this year.

What is something about Chez Angeloni that most people don’t know?

I’ve got some serious hops, I can dunk a basketball no problem.

Gibson, Former Spinners Honored by Red Sox End of Season Awards

The Boston Red Sox released their end of season Minor League Awards and Derrik Gibson and a trio of former Spinners were honored for their great 2009 seasons.

Spinners shortstop Derrik Gibson picked up the first honor, earning the Baserunner of the Year title for his great season on the basepaths. Gibson, who made a cameo with the Spinners at the conclusion of the 2008 season, was phenomenal for the Spinners in 2009 stealing 28 bases in 33 attempts, ranking second on the Spinners behind Wilfred Pichardo’s organizational leading and franchise record 32 stolen bases. One of the fastest players in the organization, Gibson utilized his speed, often taking extra bases turning groundouts into close plays or infield hits, singles into doubles and what would be a double for most into one of his four triples.

Gibson's 28 stolen bases ranked second on the Spinners in 2009 as well as second in Spinners franchise history.

Gibson's 28 stolen bases ranked second on the Spinners in 2009 as well as second in Spinners franchise history.

In addition to Gibson, three recent Spinners were also honored for their strong play in 2009, led by 2008 Lowell Spinners shortstop Casey Kelly, who was selected as the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Kelly, who did not pitch after being drafted in the first round of the 2008 Draft, playing solely at short, split the season pitching at Low-A Greenville and Hi-A Salem compiling a 7-5 record and 2.08 ERA in 95 innings pitched. His strong season on the mound concluded with a scoreless inning in the All-Star Futures Game, where he retired the side of Double-A hitters in order.

Defensively, a third member of the 2008 Lowell Spinners was honored, as Ryan Dent was selected as the Defender of the Year. In 112 games, split between Greenville and Salem, Dent made 15 errors, two more errors than he made in 58 games in Lowell in 2008. Dent earned a late season promotion to Salem after batting .252 with six home runs and 48 RBI in 99 games with the Drive.

A 2008 Lowell Spinner, Dent was the Red Sox Defender of the Year in 2009.

A 2008 Lowell Spinner, Dent was the Red Sox Defender of the Year in 2009.

A special player with the Spinners in 2006 before suffering a broken hammate bone, Ryan Kalish was finally at full strength in 2009 and it showed as he was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year after a strong showing that saw the 21-year-old advance to Double-A Portland after batting .304 with five home runs and 21 RBI to start the season in Salem. After a slow-start in Portland Kalish came on strong to finish the year with a .271 average with 13 home runs and 56 RBI, adding 14 steals in 17 attempts.

Kalish's smooth swing has the Red Sox 2009 Minor League Player of the Year on the path to Fenway!

Kalish's smooth swing has the Red Sox 2009 Minor League Player of the Year on the path to Fenway!

Keury De La Cruz and Juan Rodriguez were selected as the Latin America Player and Pitcher of the Year respectively, two names to keep an eye on toward the 2010 as potential Spinners.

All of the above will be honored at Fenway Park in the coming weeks prior to a Red Sox home game. Congratulations to all!

Road to the Show: Wilfred Pichardo

Welcome to our latest installment of Road to the Show with Spinners outfielder Wilfred Pichardo. Pichardo has had a breakout season in 2009, hitting .302 and setting the Spinners single season record for stolen bases with 32. Pichardo was named the NY-Penn League Player of the Week for the week August 17-24, 2009. Wilfred has served primarily as the Spinners leadoff hitter this season, after playing briefly in Lowell last season before a hamstring injury ended his season.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a sixteen year old in 2006, Pichardo showed prowess in all parts of his game, including his defense, as he continues the transition from second base to centerfield. Wilfred took some time to answer a few questions for the Spinners blog with the assistance of Hitting Coach Luis Lopez to translate.

You originally played second base, now you have transitioned to center field, how has the transition gone for you and what position do you feel more natural at?

I feel more comfortable playing the outfield. It hasn’t been easy to transition from playing second base to playing centerfield there are a lot of differences between the two positions. I have really dedicated myself to working hard to learn the outfield the best I can.

You’ve had a lot of success here in Lowell in 2009, what if anything would you attribute this success to?

I have been very happy with my success this season; a big part of it is separating from a lot of things that had distracted me in the past. I feel I have matured and broken away from some things that were holding me back, it really gives me a new perspective. I always want to get better and even though this season has been successful for me, I feel like I have a long road ahead of me and I know that I have to work hard every day to become the player I know I can be.  The use of my speed has been something that has helped me not only in taking bases, but legging out base hits and being able to play quality defense.

Speaking of base stealing, you have had a lot of success stealing bases this season, what approach do you take when you are looking to steal a base?

The most important thing is to read the pitcher, I like to study the pitcher’s motion toward the plate and get a feel for when is the best time to take off.  I find the key to stealing bases is getting a good jump; this comes from reading the pitcher and figuring out the best moment to take off. When you are trying to steal bases you have to be confident, have no fear. If you believe in your speed and you put in the work reading pitchers, you can steal bases pretty naturally.

Wilfred Pichardo has been a big part of the Spinners success this season, setting the team record for steals in a season and hitting .343 since the All Star Break

Wilfred Pichardo has been a big part of the Spinners success this season, setting the team record for steals in a season and hitting .343 since the All Star Break

You were named NY-Penn League player of the week for the week of August 17-24th, how did you feel about this honor?

I was excited when I first heard about it, I’m not a guy who goes out seeking awards, I just like to go out and play hard. The award is really a testament to my teammates and my coaches helping me become a better player. I am surrounded by so many great guys here and this is their award just as much as it is mine. The award means a lot to me because it means that my hard work is paying off and that I am making a statement with my play on the field.

What was the signing process like with the Red Sox?

I spent a little over ten days back in 2006 working out for the Red Sox in their Dominican Academy. I played in front of a bunch of scouts and it was really just “lights-out”, they told me the loved what I could do and wanted to get me signed. It was a fairly smooth process after that and I have just moved through the system ever since, just working hard wherever I go.

How has the transition been from the D.R. to America?

I am still adjusting and it’s a constant work in progress. The biggest things are the language barrier and the difference in cultures. I haven’t been here in America that long and already I feel like I am doing well in acclimating myself as much as I can to the culture and also learning English the best that I can. Just like I work to improve my game, I have to work to learn English and the culture of America.

What moment during this season has been the most memorable and why?

There was a game this season where we played Oneonta on August 23rd.  We scored a lot of runs and I feel like I really acted to set the pace for that game by getting on base and distracting the pitcher on the base paths (Pichardo went 2-3 with 2 BB’s and a stolen base). I did what I needed to do to help the team, I scored quite a few runs that day and that’s a big part of my game, getting on base, scoring runs, that’s what helps the team win.

What are your goals for the rest of this season and the future?

Just keep working hard, finish this season strong and work hard every day. I really don’t want to look to far ahead because I know there’s a lot of work that has to be done to bring my game to the next level. Anything I can do to help the team I find myself on win and anything I can do to improve myself are goals that I constantly have.

Stay tuned for further Road to the Show interviews coming soon!

Playoff Baseball Returns to LeLacheur

Today is the day! Playoff baseball returns to LeLacheur Park and it’s Red Sox vs. Yankees as the Spinners (45-30) take on Staten Island (47-29). This season the teams split six games against each other with each team sweeping the other in it’s respective home stadium.

This season has been an exciting one for the Spinners, as they have really come together lately, having a torrid month of August to charge into the playoffs and win their second straight Stedler Division title.

The buntings are out, the weather is perfect and it’s playoff time here in New England, come out and support the Spinners as we look to beat down the Yankees and prove that Boston always beats New York.

Game one of the series will be here in Lowell tonight as Jose Alvarez (8-3, 1.52), the Spinners franchise leader for wins in a season (8) and the winner of the NY-Penn League ERA title (1.52) will face Adam Warren (4-2, 1.42). Games two and three will be in Staten Island in the best of three series.

Your 2009 Stedler Division Champion Lowell Spinners

Your 2009 Stedler Division Champion Lowell Spinners

The Players Behind The Spinner’s Pitching Dominance

By now you may have heard, last night’s 7-0 shellacking of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers gave the Spinners their eighth shutout of the season, a club record.  With 23 games to go, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Spinners will add to that figure before the season is done.  Also on pace to break the franchise’s ERA record, this years pitching staff is clearly the biggest reason why the Spinners find themselves on top of the NYPL Stedler division.

Although the traditional “starting five” of the major leagues doesn’t neatly translate to single-A ball (Jonathon Aro, for instance, routinely pitches large chunks of games while actually starting just once this year), it’s not hard to find the main culprits while watching the Spinners brutalize and bewilder opposing batters.  There are six Sipnners who have pitched upwards of 37 innings this year, while no one else has pitched as many as 20, and four of those six have been downright dominant.

The staff is unofficially led by Columbian-native Sergio Gomez, who turns just 20 in a few weeks.  After pitching six shutout innings last night, Gomez now leads the team in innings pitched (50.2), ERA (1.60) and strikeouts (55).  The lanky righty spent three years in the Gulf Coast League before being called up at the end of last year and is still considered raw.  However it’s hard to imagine him starting next year in Lowell the way he’s dominated his single-A competition.

Simon Mercedes has also impressed this season, although as of late he has come back down to earth.  In 42.1 innings this season, Mercedes is 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA.  With a 1.37 WHIP, Mercedes has managed to keep his ERA sub-3 by holding opposing batters to hitting just .265 with runners on base.  In his first full season with the Red Sox organization Mercedes has masterfully complimented his fastball with a curveball and change up.

Next on the list is the aforementioned Dominican righty Jonathon Aro.  This season Aro has seldom pitched more than four innings per appearance but has dominated in his role as long reliever.  With excellent command and an above average fastball, Aro is third on the team in strikeouts (31) while having walked just eight.  Although he pitched well in his two previous seasons in the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast leagues, Aro never dominated as he has this year, currently sporting a 2.39 ERA.

Ty Buttrey is the team’s most traditional starting pitcher, having started all eight games he has appeared in.  After getting smacked around in his first start on June 22nd (the start doubles as the shortest stint (3.1 IP) and most runs he has allowed (4) this season), Buttrey has become remarkably consistent.  At 6’3, 230 pounds the big North Carolina native holds a 2.65 ERA and is currently listed as the seventh-best pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization, per soxprospects.com.  If he continues to pitch as well as he has in his first full season with the Red Sox, look for the 20 year old to climb the organization fast.

By Zach Winn

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