The Lowell Spinners are rolling, their latest victim was their division foe the Oneonta Tigers. The first five Spinners reached base in yesterday’s game and chased Tigers starter Jose Diaz before he even recorded an out.
The Spinners scored four in the first on an RBI single by Ryan Westmoreland, an RBI double by Michael Almanzar, an RBI single by Joantoni Garcia and a sacrifice fly by Dan Butler. Almanzar addd an RBI single in the second and Drew Hedman’s RBI groundout extended the lead to 7-0.
The Tigers rough day continued in the third, as Michael Rockett and hitting coach Luis Quinones were ejected for arguing balls and strikes and Westmoreland added an RBI double to extened the Spinners lead to 9-0.
Spinners starter Jose Alvarez continued his dazzling season with another stellar performance, pitching six innings, allowing only two hits and striking out eight. He earned his seventh win of the season, tying the Spinners franchise record for wins in a season. Chez Angeloni followed with two innings in relief before Dennis Neuman pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Wilfred Pichardo was 2 for 3 as the leadoff hitter, extending his hitting streak to nine games and raising his batting average to .303. The Spinners now lead the Stedler division by two games over Oneonta and open a three game series vs. Aberdeen tonight at 7:05. Pedro Perez (1-4, 3.08), takes the mound in game one.
Welcome to our most recent Road to the Show interview with Spinners DH/OF Ryan Westmoreland. Westmoreland is one of the Red Sox top prospects, ranking sixth in the system, and putting together a solid offensive season in his first professional campaign. Westmoreland is tied for the team lead in home runs, leads the team with a .846 OPS and is second on the team with 28 RBI’s.
Westmoreland was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Portsmouth (RI) High School. He missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and just played his first game in the outfield last night after serving as the Spinners DH for the entire season. Westmoreland started his professional career by reaching base in his first 25 games and will be appearing in the NY-Penn League All Star game tomorrow in State College, PA. Ryan, growing up locally, has always had a life long dream of playing for the Red Sox. Westmoreland took some time to talk with the Spinners Blog.
How has your experience in Lowell been so far? What would you say are the best things about Lowell, the most memorable?
Everything’s been great, the fans are great here, I mean growing up in Red Sox nation is one thing, but seeing how the fans treat the players is amazing. No moment really sticks out but the most memorable experiences are the walk off wins we have, because it really brings our team together, and its obviously exciting baseball. Hopefully we can make the playoffs and get to experience all that brings along with it.
You came out of High School as a highly regarded player, you had scouts following you, what was it like to play under that spotlight? Did you ever feel the pressure?
I felt a little pressure the first few times the scouts came because it was a new experience, but after the third or fourth game, I just blocked it out. You just have to let your ability speak for itself on the field, and believing in yourself is ultimately what will help get you through any nervousness you ever experience on the field.
A lot of people have compared you to Rocco Baldelli, do you know Rocco and what do you think of the comparison to Rocco?
I’ve known Rocco since I was about twelve, I was the Rays bat boy in 2002 and I’ve known him ever since. He’s a great player and just an overall wonderful person. The comparisons to him are amazing, us both being from Rhode Island and him being where I want to eventually be, I am honored to even be talked about in the same breath as Rocco.
You also pitched in high school; did any teams show interest in drafting you as a pitcher? Do you enjoy pitching or playing the field more?
I don’t remember any professional teams looking at me as a pitcher, a lot of college teams did though. I like playing everyday, I got bored pitching every five days and not being able to get out there and play every single day.
You played in the Dominican Instructional League, what was that experience like?
It was a great experience; I got to see a whole new world, met a bunch of great guys, and picked up some Spanish. Being able to learn some Spanish, and be around a different culture was really useful now that I find myself in such a multicultural clubhouse such as ours.
You had shoulder surgery this past year, do you feel the surgery has set you back, do the Red Sox have you on their shoulder program?
I don’t really know if it set me back, I would have loved to play last year. I don’t feel like it really pushed me back from where I wanted to be though. As far as my shoulder, I am on a bunch of different strengthening programs and the Red Sox throwing program. I’m feeling good right now and look forward to being able to get time playing in the field.
Can you tell us a bit about what it was like to play in your first game here in Lowell and what it was like to collect your first homerun?
First game here in Lowell was amazing, I never played in front of more than like 50-100 people. I came out of the dugout and there was like 5,000 people. It was overwhelming at first; I had some butterflies my first at bat, but then I settled down. The home run was one of those pitches that come at you in slow motion. Before the pitch, I was hoping it would be inside, when he released it I saw it was inside and the ball looked big and I drove it out to right.
You grew up in Rhode Island, who was your favorite player growing up?
My favorite players were definitely Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez. I idolized Nomar, it was tough seeing him leave for Chicago, but great to see him get that ovation when he came back to Fenway with the A’s.
What is something about you that most people wouldn’t know?
I do a lot of things opposite from the way you would think. I play ping pong lefty but tennis lefty. In golf, I drive righty but putt lefty. I’m a big video game guy as well. I was into Call of Duty and Halo for a while and now I am into Tiger Woods and Madden, so I will definitely challenge you to a game.
You were going to play for Vanderbilt before signing with the Red Sox, how did you feel about playing for Vanderbilt, why did you decide to sign with the Red Sox instead of playing at Vanderbilt? Do you have any plans to get a college degree in the future?
I really respected the whole program, and it wasn’t easy to turn down playing for such a great program. At the same time, after getting drafted, I realized if I signed out of High School that it gave me my best chance to make it to the pros quickly. I knew once I was picked by the Red Sox that I wanted to sign and get started. Of course, being the Red Sox who drafted me helped make my decision a lot easier.
What was the process like when you were drafted and signed with the Red Sox?
I think it was a two day draft, the first few rounds the first day, the rest the second day. I had been hearing a bunch of different things from different teams, some said first round, some third, etc. It was a long day, and I was following the draft online, then a few minutes before their pick in the fifth round, the Red Sox called me to tell me they were taking me with the pick. I was super excited that it was them calling, it was my hometown team. After I got drafted, they wanted to see me play some more in the summer. The negotiations went up right to the wire. The day before the deadline we got it done after some lengthy negotiations.
You are a local player, did you ever dream of playing for the Red Sox and in Fenway Park, and what do you think of that possibility in the future?
I’ve always been a Red Sox fan, growing up in Rhode Island I always had a dream of playing in Fenway. I can’t wait until the day comes, but for now I am focused on staying grounded and doing my best wherever I find myself playing.
What Goals do you have for this season and for the future?
The main goal is to help this team win; we will see where that takes me as well as the team. I really just want to get my feet wet professionally and show what I can do on and off the field.
If you could give young players one tip what would it be?
The biggest thing is it’s what you do during practice that makes you the player you are. If you go out and dog it during practice, you might get away with it for awhile, but down the line when everyone starts getting better, your going to be exposed for not putting in the work during practice. What you do in practice is just as, if not more important than what you do during the game.
Ryan, you’ve had a lot of success at the plate this season, you lead the team with six homeruns, OPS, and OBP, what do you attribute your success to at the plate?
I think it’s really about going out everyday and sticking to the same routine. Working with (hitting coach) Luis Lopez, and staying consistent. Luis stresses going up to the plate with the same plan, instead of changing your plan every at bat, remembering what you’re trying to accomplish and sticking with that plan.
A lot of people are interested in seeing you play the field, what is the timetable for you playing the outfield and how would you describe your play in the field?
Mid to late August I should be out in the field full time. I would characterize my play in the field as consistent. I don’t do anything too flashy; I just go out and try to make all the plays in a consistent manner.
I have to ask you about the trade rumors that circled around you near the trade deadline, how did you feel about the rumors? Did you have any contact with the Red Sox regarding the trade rumors? How would you have reacted had you actually been traded?
I didn’t really hear anything directly. I hear it initially on ESPN, and then the next day I had a ton of text messages from people asking what was going on. It’s not like I wouldn’t go to another organization, I love the Red Sox, I wouldn’t necessarily want to leave, but that’s the business of baseball. If I did get traded, it just means I’m playing for another organization; I’d go out and work hard just like I did here.
What teammate here has impressed you the most?
Derrik Gibson, he goes out every night and gives 100 percent no matter what. He’s fun to watch, unbelievably fast, a great player, a great hitter, just an all around five tool guy. He’s going to be something special. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
A number of players have told us that you are a leading force in the clubhouse, do you find yourself as a leader amongst the team and how do you go about being a leader?
I wouldn’t call myself a vocal leader. I’m not a rah-rah guy, I lead by example. I won’t get in someone’s face for something they did. I just go out and play the game right, and hope everyone follows my lead.
You appeared in a Futures at Fenway commercial, talk a bit about that whole experience.
I haven’t seen the commercial yet. I’ve gotten a lot of messages, people laughing, and making fun of me. I went to Framingham, and there was a birthday party going on, they had the whole scene set up where I had to go bash a piñata, with a bunch of young kids. It was fun for sure. It was weird wearing a Sea Dogs jersey, but very interesting seeing how long it took to shoot what eventually turns out to be a 15 second commercial. I loved doing it for sure.
Check back later this week for our Road to the Show feature with Alex Wilson
The NY-Penn League All Star teams have been announced and the Spinners will be well represented with five players heading to State College.
Once again congratulations to all of our all stars, we can’t wait to see you represent the Spinners down in State College!
Derrik Gibson was the Red Sox fourth pick (2nd round, 77th overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Gibson started last season with the GCL Red Sox before making a cameo in Lowell. He was twice named the Delaware High School Player of the Year and three times the All-State performer at Seaford Senior High School. Gibson was also named a 2008 Baseball America First-Team High School All-American after hitting .636 with five homers and 29 RBIs.
In addition to being a star at the plate, Gibson also won fifteen games as a pitcher over his last two high school seasons. Gibson is known for his speed, being deemed the fastest base runner in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America. In Lowell this season, Gibson got off to a hot start, hitting .471 in June; he slumped in July, but has hit .381 so far in August and leads the Spinners with 20 stolen bases. Derrik took some time to talk with the Spinners Blog.
You got off to a great start, hitting .471 in June, what would you attribute your early success to?
I would have to say my success came from just working with some coaches to refine my swing and just my approach. I told myself to stay middle of the field, go gap to gap. If you stay in the middle of the field it’s the biggest part of the field, you’ll have success with balls over the plate, you won’t pull off of the ball. That’s what I try to tell my self, stay middle of the field, go gap to gap, and I’ll be alright.
After your hot start, you’ve had some struggles, is there anything you can attribute this to?
Going off of what I said before, I got away from my approach that I used in the beginning of the season. I was trying to pull balls over the plate, its one of those things being younger you get away from things that have made you successful and you feel invincible. You start thinking to yourself, I’ve been doing great, and I’ll be able to do this. That’s how it happened with me, I thought I could just rip the ball and I found out real quick I couldn’t do that. Once I figured it out, I’ve gotten back to the approach that made me successful and I can see a difference. The results may not be there all the time, but I can be happy with my at bats and the counts that I am able to work. I think I am getting back to where I was in June with my at bats recently.
This is your second go around here in Lowell, what are your goals for this season? What part of your game are you working on the most?
Compared to last year, things have slowed down for me. Last year everything seemed like it was a thousand miles an hour, I didn’t focus and slow it down. Now I feel comfortable with the setting and playing in front of people. The thing that Coach Disarcina preaches the most is slowing things down and I think I’ve done a good job of that so far. In terms of goals we all just want to win this division and play consistent baseball and success will take care of itself.
Which teammate has impressed you the most this season?
Ryan Westmoreland has definitely impressed me a ton. He’s just been unbelievable; he’s super consistent I haven’t seen him throw too many at bats away. He drives the ball gap to gap with as much power as I’ve seen or played with. You name it he’s doing it right now. The best part is he’s a good clubhouse guy too he keeps it loose and fun and everybody loves him.
You currently are leading the team in steals, is speed a big part of your game? Do you see yourself as a top of the order table setter?
Getting on base is always my goal, just being able to disrupt what the pitcher is doing and set the tone of the game. Speed is definitely a big part of my game; if I don’t take bases then I’m just limiting myself. The one or two spot in the order is where I am comfortable. I think leading off the game you set the tone. In that first inning if you get on and score it takes a lot of pressure off your pitcher and your defense. I like being that guy that just tries to disrupt things for the opposing pitcher. I take it as a challenge.
You were a pitcher in High School and put up some impressive numbers, did you ever see yourself playing professionally as a pitcher?
I don’t know if I would call myself a pitcher or a thrower, I didn’t really see myself continuing with pitching in the pros. I wanted to play everyday and teams saw that as well. There were pros and cons to pitching. You set the tone for the game; you have the ball in your hand every pitch. You basically are the director of the game out on the mound. It’s great if you have a good game, not so great if you have a bad game. I really just had that itch to play everyday. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I enjoy playing short or second more, even though I think there are more pros than cons to pitching.
You were drafted by the Red Sox in the second round in 2008, were you expecting to go to the Red Sox? What are your impressions of the organization so far?
It was honestly one of those things where you go into it just hoping for the best. I had no idea what team was going to take me. I just woke up draft day with an open mind and watched the draft with my family. When I did get that call it was an unbelievable experience it took me awhile to get off of cloud nine. I think one of the biggest things for me on draft day was seeing some of the guys that I played with get taken like Casey Kelly, who got taken before me in the first round.
Playing with Casey was special, we actually played together at USA baseball tryouts, he played short and I played second. It’s ironic that we ended up in the same organization and played together down here in Lowell.
Do the Red Sox have any specific goals for you this season and this offseason?
They didn’t give me anything specific, but their big thing was having a full season under my belt. Fielding wise my goals are to learn both second and short to the point where I am comfortable. Hitting wise I would have to say just staying with my approach and not getting away from what I do best. Overall, I think the Red Sox just want me to be athletic and do what I’ve been doing so far this year. I try to go at the game 110 percent and give it my all.
You’ve mainly played short during your time here in Lowell, do you see yourself as a shortstop or can you see yourself moving to a different position?
Right now I would say short is where I am most comfortable. Everything feels natural to me there. You throw to first base and you’re moving that way, on double plays you’re throwing that way, it’s just all natural movement. Second base feels a little awkward to me right now because it’s not like short, you don’t have that natural movement toward first. Short is not the easiest position to play, but its where I see myself eventually settling down.
Growing up who were your favorite team and player?
Being from Delaware, it would have to be the Orioles. I was probably the biggest Cal Ripken fan. Ever since I was little my parents would tell me Cal Ripken does this, Cal does that, and if he did it I did it. I loved watching him on a daily basis, the consecutive game streak was awesome, but just the way he played the game, he gave it his all. I definitely have a new found appreciation for Cal now that I play every day. When we’re about 40 games in, during a long road stretch, and your body aches or you are just fatigued, it takes a lot to give it your all. Cal went out there and did that for his entire career. It’s amazing how he played that many games in a row and played as hard as he did.
You had a commitment to UNC before signing with the Red Sox, was it a hard decision to make to pass up UNC?
Coach Fox and the whole program were very good to me. It’s hard when you build that relationship for about six months and then you have to tell them your going to sign and that you have to walk away from everything that you’ve built up over time. It’s such a great program and with them making the college world series, having a great staff, a new stadium, all that tradition, it was really hard. I really am happy with the decision I made though, I couldn’t envision a better organization to play for than Boston.
What is your most memorable moment in baseball and why?
Playing in front of these fans here is the best thing I can think of. The appreciation they have for us, it’s amazing that the Spinners have such a long sell out streak. They don’t call this Red Sox Nation for nothing; these fans love baseball and root for you no matter what. The players really appreciate it when you can play in front of fans that are so passionate and really pull hard for you.
Check back Thursday for our next installment with rookie sensation Alex Hassan
Ryan Westmoreland is featured in an article today by the Lowell Sun in which he talks about the pressure and the high expectations for him. Ryan seems unfazed by the attention he has recieved in recent trade talks and during his stellar first season.
Westmoreland is currently hitting .288 with 6 HR’s, 25 RBI’s and is 12-12 in stolen bases. His .884 OPS is first on the team and places his amongst the NY-Penn League leaders.
Westmoreland’s focus on the game has led to his success, something that he will not change. “Every time I step into the box I try to get to that point to where the pitcher will be worried about facing me and where he’s going to throw his pitches.”
“It helps my confidence but at the same time I try not to pay attention to that outside stuff just because I try not to let little stuff affect me,” said Westmoreland. “What happens on the outside is, people can say whatever they want. If it’s good, that’s great, but at the same time I really try just to focus on the game. That’s really all that I can control.”
Westmoreland’s story can be found in today’s Lowell Sun. The article is labeled as “The Can’t Miss Kid” by Matt Spencer.
Congratulations to Ryan Westmoreland, who was recently named SoxProspects.com player of the month for July. SoxProspects.com picks the player who they believe performed the best in the entire Red Sox minor league system when they name their player of the month.
Ryan had a hot month of July, hitting .306 with 6 HR’s, 18 RBI’s and 8 SB’s. Westmoreland also posted a .395 OBP and a .966 OPS for the month.
Westmoreland has yet to play the outfield after his surgery this past offseason and has been acting as the Spinners DH. Westmoreland was drafted by the Red Sox in the 5th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Portsmouth (RI) High School. Westmoreland is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system and has been showing why he is generally thought of as a five tool prospect. Congraulations Ryan on the award and your continued success.
Congratulations to Ryan Westmoreland, who was recently named the SoxProspects.com player of the week for the week of July 20-26. Westmoreland’s week saw him hit .303 in 33 AB’s with 4 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, and 4 SB’s. Westmoreland has been heating up as of late, for July he is hitting .294 with a team leading six home runs, 14 RBI’s and has a .972 OPS.
The Spinners swept away the Lake Monsters in a quick two game series by having an offensive clinic Sunday, putting up 16 runs on 15 hits. Every Spinners starter reached base at least once, as the top three hitters in the Spinners line-up combined to go 8-for-16 with two walks, driving in seven runs and scoring eight. Derrik Gibson and Shannon Wilkerson recorded three-hit games, while Ronald Bermudez, Ryan Westmoreland and Michael Almanzar added two hit games. Bermudez led the Spinners with four RBI while Wilkerson added three RBI. Gibson, Westmoreland, Willie Holmes and Almanzar also each recorded two RBI games. For Westmoreland, he hit his team leading sixth home run, and his fourth home run in his last seven games.
The Spinners are now tied with Vermont in second place at 19-17, just two games back of 1st place Oneonta and a half game back in the Wild Card race behind Hudson Valley and Williamsport.
The Spinners look to continue their winning ways when they start the first part of a home and home series vs. Tri City. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 with Kason Gabbard getting his third rehab start, he will be followed by Jose Alvarez.
The Vermont Lake Monsters downed the Spinners 5-2, Thursday night during a damp and frustrating night for the Spinners. Starter Cesar Cabral pitched the first inning and came out of the game due to an injury sustained on Adam Amar’s shot off his leg. Once again the Spinners defense plagued them as they committed four errors on the night. These errors all either directly or indirectly led to the five Lake Monster runs.
The Spinners got on the board in the 4th as Derrik Gibson walked, and streaking Ryan Westmoreland singled, to move Gibson to 2nd. With Michael Almanzar batting, a double steal was pulled off by Gibson and Westmoreland, with Gibson scoring on an errant throw by Vermont catcher Sandy Leon. The Spinners would conclude their scoring when Westmoreland cracked his 5th home run of the season deep over the right field fence in the sixth inning. For Westmoreland, he has now hit three homeruns in his last four games, and has an OPS of 1.018 for July.
Justin Masterson took in the game on his bobblehead night, throwing out the first pitch. We would like to thank Justin for always remembering his friends here in Lowell.
The Spinners look to split this short two game series with the Lake Monsters tommorow at 7:05 as Ryan Pressly looks to bounce back from two rough starts in a row and pick up his fourth win on the year.
A day after getting nipped by State College 1-0, The Spinners managed to win 5-1 Wednesday afternoon to take two out of three from the Spikes. Rehabbing Kason Gabbard, pitched the first three innings allowing one run on five hits. Jose Alvarez followed Gabbard and picked up his fourth win, going six shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.35, good for 6th in the NY Penn League. The Spinners took an early 2-0 advantage in the top of the second inning when Chris McGuiness lead off with his 9th double of the season. McGuiness, with his double, set a Spinners club record for most consecutive games with an extra base hit, six. Ronald Bermudez knocked in McGuiness with a two out single, and would eventually come into score on an error by Spikes shortstop Andy Vazquez.
State College responded quickly in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double by Butch Biela, part of three consecutive Spike hits. The rally was short lived, however, due to Shannon Wilkerson gunning out Miguel Mendez at second, trying to advance on Andy Vazquez’s RBI single. The Spikes were done in by their inability to capitalize with runners on base, hitting into four double plays.
In the 6th, the Spinners widened their lead 4-1 on four consecutive hits by Michael Almanzar, Wilkerson, Bermudez and Sean Killeen. The scoring was capped off by Ryan Westmoreland, who hit his fourth homerun of the season, his second of the series, in the top of the 7th. The Spinners return home for a brief two-game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters beginning Thursday Night at LeLacheur Park. It is Justin Masterson Bobble Head Night, sponsored by Collins Dentistry for Children, and Masterson will be in attendance. LHP Cesar Cabral (0-4, 3.99) gets the start for a 7:05 first pitch.