February 2011

Scouting the Eastern League

Akron Aeros -
Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians

Drew Pomeranz, LHP – Cleveland’s top pick (#5 overall) in
the 2010 draft, Pomeranz will get his first shot in the pros in 2011.  He operates with a low 90s fastball
complemented by a 12-to-6 knuckle-curve that he can throw for strikes or swings
and misses.  Though he won’t start the
year with Akron, a productive first few weeks could lead him there by
midseason.

Nick Hagadone, LHP – One of the pieces the Red Sox sent to
the Indians in return for Victor Martinez, it’s been a slow climb for Hagadone
since his Tommy John surgery in 2008.  He
struggled after his promotion to Double-A last season, finishing with a 4.50
ERA in 48 innings.  However, he’ll get
another shot at the Eastern League, likely as a starter, in 2011.

While the Pirates MLB club has been one of the worst in
recent memory, their farm system is generally stocked with top players.  Expect more of the same this season as
Altoona contends for its second straight Eastern League title.  A couple names to keep an eye out for:

Tony Sanchez, C – Northeast fans might recognize Sanchez, a
former backstop for Boston College. 
Though his skills are much better honed on the defensive end, Sanchez
has surprised some folks by hitting for a combined .312 in his first two
professional seasons.  He doesn’t project
as a middle-of-the-order type of bat, but certainly has the capability to help
a team offensively.  His next stage in
development is as a game-caller, one that should happen as the regular starter
with Altoona.

Proud to introduce my assistant for 2011!

Since the Sea Dogs created a radio assistant position in 2006, I’ve been very fortunate to work with some tremendous people, who have moved on to continue their career in sports and radio.  I would like to introduce Ben Altsher as the new Radio Assistant for the Sea Dogs this season.  Ben is going to be a great asset to the team, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy him on the broadcast.  So to introduce Ben, here’s Ben! 

First and foremost, let me just say that my first few weeks
with the team have been terrific.  I love
working with everyone in the front office. 
I remember back to one of the first conversations I had with Mike about
the possible opening, and he told me that the vibe would be a comfortable one
that’s very relaxed and still capable of handling any task.  He couldn’t have been more right. 

With that mind, I thought I’d introduce myself as the newest
member of the Sea Dogs by giving the fans a little inside info with regards to
our latest poll question at seadogs.com. 
If you haven’t checked out the website lately (please do, lots of great
ticket deals) we’re wondering which high-level prospect fans are most excited
to see at Hadlock Field this summer.  The
options are:

Jose Iglesias – Even those whose passion doesn’t run quite
as deep in Red Sox Nation have heard about this slick-gloved shortstop.  The Cuban native turned 21 this past January
(damn, now I feel old) and depending which scouts you talk to, could be ready
by the end of this season.  From our
point of view in Portland, we’re hoping Iglesias starts the season with the Sea
Dogs after his 2010 was cut short with a hand injury.

Anthony Ranaudo – If Iglesias might make his way out of
Portland early in 2011, Ranaudo is a guy who could find his way there later on
in the season.  One of the top pitching
prospects of the 2010 draft, the tall (6-foot-7) righty saw his stock drop
after an injury during his senior season at LSU.  After struggling upon his return, he slipped
all the way down to the Red Sox as the 39th overall pick.  However, he showed his true potential in the
Cape Cod League, allowing exactly zero earned runs over 30 innings pitched,
yikes. 

Stolmy Pimentel – Another top pitching prospect, Pimentel is
another youngster (21 this past month) who has impressed at every level so
far.  He led Advanced-A Salem last year
with 102 strikeouts and appears primed for a full season in Double-A with the
Sea Dogs.  Hopes are he’ll stay on the
same path and mow down Eastern League hitters the way he’s done at the lower
levels the past few years.

Oscar Tejeda – An interesting player because second base
wouldn’t appear to be a major priority for the big club, yet Tejeda is
certainly high on the Red Sox radar as he was recently named to the team’s 40
man roster.  His offense is what stands
out to most as that’s what made him a Carolina League midseason and postseason
all-star last year, as well as the all-star game MVP.  A move to third or the outfield may be in the
cards down the line, but expect him to see some significant time at second with
the Sea Dogs this year, where hopefully he can keep up the offensive
production.

Ryan Lavarnway - The only player in the poll to have already
made a splash with the Sea Dogs, Lavarnway was recently named the “Best Power
Hitter” in the organization by Baseball
America
.  He’s likely going to share
full-time catching duties with Tim Federowicz, but expect Lavarnway’s bat to be
in the lineup almost every game, one way or another.  In just 44 games with Portland a year ago, he
blasted eight home runs and had a .395 on-base percentage.  Better bring your gloves for the seats in the
right-field pavilion.

That’s the group we’ve got for you.  Some we’ll definitely see and some we may miss.  Either way as Spring Training moves into
March, we can start to get more and more excited about the prospects for
Opening Day.

Ben Altsher

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