Official Release from Portland Sea Dogs
Portland, Maine- The Boston Red Sox have announced the 2014 Opening Day roster for the Double-A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs. The roster is highlighted by three of the Red Sox Top 10 prospects as ranked by Baseball America; Henry Owens (#2), Blake Swihart (#5) and Mookie Betts (#7). The Sea Dogs open their 21st season on Thursday, April 3rd at 7:05 PM against the Reading Fightin Phils in Reading, Pa. The home opener is set for Thursday, April 10th at 6:00 PM against the New Britain Rock Cats.
In addition to the three top 10 prospects, the roster features six of Boston’s top 30 prospects according to Baseball America; with Deven Marrero (#15), Travis Shaw (# 26), and Sean Coyle (#30) rounding out the list.
The active roster includes 12 players who have previously played for the Sea Dogs and 17 players with previous Double-A experience.
The pitching staff is highlighted by the Red Sox top ranked pitching prospect; left-hander Henry Owens. Owens was the Red Sox 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after producing an 11-6 record with a 2.67 ERA and 169 strikeouts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. In six games with the Sea Dogs last season, Owens notched a 3-1 record with a 1.78 ERA. He tossed 19 1/3 consecutive no-hit innings with Salem in 2013. He held opponents to a .177 average last season, tops among all full-season minor league qualifiers and ranked second in the minors with 169 strikeouts.
Keith Couch (11-3, 3.47), who led the Sea Dogs in wins last season, returns to the Portland pitching staff in 2014. Three-time Carolina League Pitcher of the Week in 2013, Mike Augliera (9-6, 4.23) will make his Double-A debut with the Sea Dogs. Other notables on the pitching staff include fourth round pick Noe Ramirez and sixth round pick Mickey Pena. Michael Olmsted returns to the Red Sox organization, signing as a minor league free agent in March. In 14 games with the Sea Dogs in 2012, Olmstead did not allow an earned run. Other free agent signings on the pitching staff include lefty Nate Reed and righty Jose Valdez. Valdez has 24 games of Major League experience with the Houston Astros.
The infield features four of the Red Sox top 30 prospects including first baseman Travis Shaw, second baseman Mookie Betts, shortstop Deven Marrero, and infielder Sean Coyle. Shaw tied for the Sea Dogs team high in home runs last season with 16. Betts was the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 after hitting a combined .314 with 36 doubles, 15 home runs, and 65 RBI between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem. Baseball America rates him as the “Best Athlete” in the Red Sox farm system. Marrero returns to Portland after appearing in 19 games for the Sea Dogs to conclude the 2013 season. The 2012 first round draft pick is rated by Baseball America as being the “Best Defensive Infielder” in the Red Sox farm system and as having the “Best Infield Arm”. Coyle was named the MVP of the Carolina League Championship, hitting.417 in three games leading Salem to the Carolina League Championship. Rounding out the infield will be Derrik Gibson, who returns to Portland for his third season and free agent signings Carlos Rivero and Stefan Welch.
Behind the plate will be Blake Swihart, Matt Spring, and Michael Brenly. Swihart enters the 2014 season as Boston’s fifth ranked prospect by Baseball America and the sixth ranked catching prospect in Minor League Baseball. He was honored as the Red Sox 2013 Minor League Defensive Player of the Year and the best defensive catcher in the Carolina League. In 103 games with High-A Salem in 2013 he hit .298 with 29 doubles and 42 RBI. Spring, an Eastern League All-Star in 2013, returns for a fourth season with the Sea Dogs. Brenly, the son of former Major League player and manager Bob Brenly, signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in January.
The outfield will consist of Bo Greenwell, Henry Ramos, and Shannon Wilkerson. Wilkerson returns for his third season with Portland. Last season he led the club in stolen bases with 23. Greenwell is the son of former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell. He was signed as a minor league free agent in March, after spending the previous eight seasons in the Indians organization. Ramos will make his Double-A debut after spending the 2013 season at High-A Salem.
Three players will start the season on the disabled list; pitchers Aaron Kurcz, Pete Ruiz, and outfielderKeury De La Cruz.
The 2014 roster features 15 players originally drafted by the Red Sox.
Seven players will be making their Red Sox organization debuts; Bo Greenwell, Nate Reed, Jose Valdez, Michael Brenly, Carlos Rivero, and Stefan Welch.
Former Sea Dogs’ player Billy McMillon (1995) will begin his first season as Sea Dogs manager. He will be joined by pitching coach Bob Kipper who is back for his seventh season and Rich Gedman, the former Red Sox catcher, returns for his second season as the Sea Dogs hitting coach.
Tickets are available for Opening Day and all 2014 home games. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or online at http://www.seadogs.com. Book your nine inning vacation today!
One of the biggest stories the past two days was the moving truck department from JetBlue Park. I happened to see it leave as the minor league games finished up.
Speaking of the games, the Sea Dogs had a tough day, falling to New Britain 8-1 at JetBlue Park. Portland’s lone run was courtesy of a Henry Ramos – delivering an RBI single in the seventh, scoring Blake Swihart (1-for-4). Sean Coyle and Stefan Welch each doubled. Mickey Pena, Miguel Celestino, Noe Ramirez and Nate Reed all pitched for Portland. Reed was signed as a minor league free-agent this off-season after spending last year with Lancaster of the Atlantic League.
Interesting on the New Britain side, as they featured three former Sea Dogs. Tony Thomas went 1-for-3, playing third base. Reynaldo Rodriguez added an RBI double and Daniel Turpen pitched an inning. Daniel Ortiz had three hits and 2 RBI for the Rock Cats, but prospect Kennys Vargas launched a two-run homer to centerfield. Vargas hit 19 homer for High-A Ft. Myers in 2013.
Triple-A Game: Rochester 4, PawSox 2. Carlos Rivero (Sac fly in 1st) and Brock Holt (groundout in 7th) with the RBI. Chris Hernandez takes the loss. Courtesy of the @pawsox…Shane Victorino went 3-for-6 and Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless frame.
What a cool day for me personally. Two friends from my hometown of Ashland, Massachusetts own a restaurant in Ft. Myers. I spent the morning having breakfast and catching up on old times. This trip has been amazing, I’m very lucky the Sea Dogs send me down here every year – never gets old.
After two days without getting a full game in, the Sea Dogs traveled to Minnesota’s complex on Wednesday afternoon to play New Britain. The Rock Cats used a two-run seventh to beat Portland 5-4. Former Sea Dog Reynaldo Rodriguez had the game-winning hit, delivering a run-scoring infield single.
Portland had nine hits in the contest, but most of the starters in today’s game could be somewhere else once the dust finally settles. Shannon Wilkerson had a sensational day, going 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. Wilkerson made a great diving catcher in centerfield in the first inning. Keury De La Cruz, Bo Greenwell, Jonathan Roof and Aneury Taverez had run-scoring hits.
Wilfredo Boscan started for Portland and featured a sharp curveball. Robby Scott and Matty Ott closed out the game in relief.
Nice to see former Sea Dog Tony Thomas play for New Britain. He went 0-for-2 and struck out to end the game. During minor league exhibition games, the home team will still bat in the ninth if they’re leading.
Faces in the Crowd
- Had a long conversation with former Sea Dog Ryan Pressly. He was a MLB Rule 5 pick by the Twins in 2013. He was just sent to Triple-A Rochester, but he’ll be back in the Majors. Great perspective and a great person.
- Daniel Nava played in the Triple-A game and batted almost every inning…Alex Hassan and Bryce Brentz homered in Pawtucket’s 10-1 win over Rochester.
- The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo was at the minor league games.
- Spent the day watching the games with new PawSox broadcaster Josh Mauer and Rochester’s voice Josh Whetzel.
- Weird to see Miguel Gonzalez beat Allen Webster at the Major League game – both are former Sea Dogs.
- David Ortiz was holding court in the dugout during batting practice this morning.
- Tony LaRussa was at the Twins Complex today, explaining the new replay rules to Ron Gardenhire.
- Most of the fans at the Twins Complex was asking me if Greenwell was Mike’s son – yes he is.
- My interview with Jackie Bradley Jr. from this morning.
Before today’s Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles, I had a chance to catch up with former Sea Dog Jackie Bradley Jr.
Good Morning from Ft. Myers! I’ve heard the northeast is getting some snow, but things aren’t too bad in Portland. Down here, most of Floridians will be in sweatshirts today, due to temps in the 60s.
Portland and Pawtucket travel to Minnesota’s Minor-League Complex to play the Twins affiliates. The complex is a 10-minute drive from JetBlue Park. Both games today start at 1 PM. Follow @JoshMauerRadio on Twitter for Pawtucket updates.
- Who will bat first in Boston? Jackie Bradley Jr. or Grady Sizemore. Both played in the Eastern League.
- Two ways to tune into Sea Dogs baseball at Hadlock Field this year – on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network or MILB.TV.
- I have three days left on my trip. Had to throw that in there.
- For the 4th straight year, Portland will have a New England Patriot visit Hadlock Field – Shane Vereen on May 8th.
- Anthony Ranaudo pitched 5.2 innings on Tuesday for Pawtucket. The game was played on the Major League field.
- Six days until the Sox open up in Baltimore.
- San Francisco has the 7th highest payroll in MLB at 154,185,878, according to the AP.
- Sea Dogs at Reading in 8 days from First Energy Stadium.
- Ted Williams has still worn #9 more than an Major League player.
Due to rain this morning, the Sea Dogs played a different kind of game today on fields 3 & 4 at JetBlue Park. The host team was Tampa Bay’s Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits. On both fields, just the pitcher, catcher and batter were on the field. The grounds crew didn’t want anyone on the infield, and there’s no bases put down. Portland’s hitters were on field 3 and the pitchers on field 4.
Notes from today
- Andrew Miller pitched an inning for Portland and was scoreless
- Aaron Kurcz, recovering from Tommy John surgery, looked sharp…(VIDEO) of Kurcz throwing.
- Michael Olmsted pitched a scoreless inning…he was released by the Brewers earlier in Spring Training and signed by Boston.
- Hitters on field 4: Sean Coyle, Ryan Dent, Keury De La Cruz, Peter Hissey and Shannon Wilkerson.
Pawtucket played Durham on the Major League field today, due to the wet grounds on the minor league fields. Durham won 4-0, but Anthony Ranaudo was sharp over 5.2 IP on one run.
Had a great conversation with Kevin Boles, who will now be the skipper at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Portland and Pawtucket are playing the Rays affiliates today. The Triple-A team is suing the big-league field. Anthony Ranaudo told me he was staring the game, really nice catching up with him.
Good morning from Ft. Myers, where it’s still raining today, and could throughout the day. Still, it’s amazing down here and not 10 degrees like it is in my town of Old Orchard Beach.
The Portland Sea Dogs and Pawtucket Red Sox are expected to play Tampa Bay’s AA and AAA teams this morning at JetBlue Park. There’s a good chance with the rain arriving this morning and into the afternoon, both of these games could get cancelled. Yesterday, Portland and Pawtucket had their games cancelled in Sarasota, so they played intra-squad games at JetBlue Park.
My links for today
- Indians Broadcaster Tom Hamilton in a tear-jerker
- Mike McCarthy’s column for the Bakersfield Californian
- Lowell’s Jon Goode is an author
- Lester contract situation
Due to the rain this morning, the Red Sox Double-A and Triple-A players played an intra-squad game on the back fields at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Pretty cool to see Christian Vazquez batting with Dan Butler catching. Rich Hill pitched the final inning, but the game came to a halt due to the rain.
(VIDEO) Ruby De La Rosa to Mookie Betts
Boston left for Sarasota at 8:30 AM and there game with Baltimore is slated to start after 2 PM. The starters that stayed behind, took batting practice on the Major League field early this morning.
Jet Blue Park literally has tours all day. I bumped into a few people from New England, including a couple that frequently vacations in Bar Harbor
- Craig Breslow made his spring debut in the Single-A game against Baltimore minor leaguers: IP, H, 0 BB, K, 18 pitches/11 strikes
- Former Sea Dogs I saw in camp: Bryce Brentz, Butler, Garin Cecchini, Keith Couch, Jeremy Kehrt, J.C. Linares, Heiker Meneses, Henry Owens,Pete Ruiz, Vazquez and many more.
- Aaron Kurcz is doing well after missing all of last season with Tommy John Surgery.
- Michael Olmsted pitched with Portland in 2012. He was in Milwaukee’s system last year, but released this Spring Training, and signed back with Boston. Nice catching up with Mike.
- Kevin Boles, Bob Kipper, Dave Joppie and current Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon were in the dugouts for today’s game.
The rain has arrived in Ft. Myers, but the temps should near 80 by mid-day. Portland’s exhibition game in Sarasota against Bowie was cancelled due to rain. The entire minor league system will play intra-squad games beginning at 12:30 at JetBlue Park.
Morning Batting Practice at the Big League Field featured: Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia and David Ross. Former Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles is out on the field with Assistant Hitting Coach Victor Rodriguez.