Red Sox Prospects Report To Fall Instructional League

by Mark Gallant | Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2015
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dave dombrowski

The Boston Red Sox begin a three game series against the hard-hitting Blue Jays tonight, but a group of their minor league counterparts have begun the fall instructional league in Fort Myers. This group of lower-level prospects will play 15 games over the next few weeks, with their first game against the Rays on the 22nd.

Somewhat of a “fall training”, if you will, the instructional league allows a select group of younger players in the system to work on fundamentals while also getting in some more game action. This year’s group is headlined by the 17-year-old Venezuelan hurler Anderson Espinoza, who had an easy time in the DSL and GCL this season. Other big names include Andrew Benintendi, Michael Chavis, and Michael Kopech— all first round picks from the past two drafts.

Espinoza, who has reportedly touched 101 mph this year, was promoted to Greenville at the end of the season for one start after dominating opposing hitters in the Dominican and Gulf Coast leagues. Although his only start with the Drive wasn’t great on paper ( 3.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 earned runs, 4 Ks), that can be expected of a kid who would normally be starting his senior year of high school this month. He certainly impressed FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel.

Benintendi, the seventh selection in this year’s draft, began the year in Lowell and did not slow down when called up to Greenville on August 17th. In fact, he increased his line of .290/.408/.540 in Lowell to .351/.430/.581 in Greenville. He also walked more times than he struck out at both levels.

Chavis had an intriguing season with the Greenville Drive. Originally drafted as a shortstop out of high school, he spent the majority of the season at third base and DH while struggling in the field. At the plate, he was tied for 5th in the South Atlantic League with 16 home runs along with teammate Javier Guerra, but his approach was lackluster. Chavis struck out 144 times in 435 at bats while walking just 29 times.

Kopech, of course, made headlines for the wrong reasons after being suspended for 50 games in July for testing positive for a banned amphetamine. Also drafted out of high school, Kopech is a raw power pitcher that needs help with his mechanics and command.

Another name that Red Sox fans are more familiar with is Christian Vazquez, who won’t be catching yet, but will see at-bats as a DH.

Though there is still plenty to assess at the major league level, the big squad plays its final game on October 4th. With Dave Dombrowski still a new member of the organization, he will probably find his way down to the instructional league to look at these prospects, and others, to get a better idea of who he likes and who he doesn’t. With such a deep farm system, it’s highly likely that some prospects will be moved in the offseason. The instructional league, as well as the Arizona Fall League and various winter leagues, will allow Dombrowski and other high ranking front office members to receive input from coaches and evaluators on how players have progressed. It will be up to Dombrowski to decide who he thinks will contribute at the major league level and who will be a bust.

His track record shows that he is pretty good at that.

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Mark Gallant
About the Author

Mark has contributed to isportsweb, the Yawkey Way Report, Fansided's Chowder and Champions, and The Hockey Writers. He is also the host of the weekly radio show Top Shelf Sports on Bryant University's WJMF radio. Follow him on Twitter @TopShelfSports5

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