Winter League Baseball Update
When the minor league season concludes in early September, the work is not done for many of the Red Sox top young prospects, including many former Spinners. With the end of the Red Sox instructional league, many of your favorite Spinners hit the road, traveling to Arizona, Hawaii and various locales throughout the Caribbean and South America to continue their journey to the big leagues.
In the Zone
The Arizona Fall League has become known as a launching pad for big league prospects to make the leap to Major League stars. As Spinners alumni Freddy Sanchez and Jacoby Ellsbury have done in the past, Jed Lowrie is out to make a name for himself after a breakout 2007 season. Lowrie, a 2005 Spinners teammate of Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz, seems poised to be the next prospect to join the Red Sox. Playing for the Mesa Solar Sox, Lowrie has been playing both shortstop and second base, batting .157 with one home run. While Lowrie has struggled thus far with the Solar Sox, 2002 Spinner catcher Dusty Brown has seen his stock rise substantially. Added to the Red Sox 40-man roster following the World Series, Brown is batting .294 and was selected to the AFL’s Rising Star All-Star game. Other former Spinners playing in Arizona include: Hunter Jones (’05), Jose Vaquedano (’03/’04) and Randy Newsom (’04). Not to be forgotten, 2006 Spinners’ intern Ben Baroody is making a name for himself as the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ operations manager.
Jimmy James (’07) dominated the New York Penn League competition during his brief time in Lowell to start the 2007 season, earning him a quick promotion to Greenville. James has been equally impressive in Hawaii, compiling a 2-2 record with a 3.69 ERA, with 37 strikeouts and just 10 walks, pitching for the Honolulu Sharks. James is making a strong case to be considered for a quick jump to Portland, should he get off to a fast start in Lancaster in 2008.
2006-07 Spinners table-setter Ryan Kalish was scheduled to join Jimmy in Hawaii, but suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken hamate bone and was forced to skip the league to be ready for the start of the 2008 season.
Spicing it up
While the prospects playing in Hawaii and Arizona are assigned to the leagues by the Red Sox, several players have taken it upon themselves to head to foreign countries further their baseball goals. Leading the way is 2007 World Series Champion and 2003 Lowell Spinner, Brandon Moss, learning how to play first base with Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League. Moss is batting .326 with four RBI in 11 games.
Another former Spinner off to a fast start this winter is Carlos Fernandez-Oliva (’07), who is 8-for-22 in 12 games playing with the Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League. Additionally, 2005 Spinners teammates Christian Lara and Harvey Garcia are together again for the Leones del Caracas in the VWL with potential 2008 Spinner Luis Sumoza.