I caught up with Boston Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen on Saturday, and got his thoughts on the following subjects:
The fast start of 22-year-old Lars Anderson who is batting .321/.387/.642 with 4 HR through 15 games for Portland.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
“Very encouraging signs. Lars had a very good spring training – nobody really sees that because we don’t keep statistics (in minor league exhibition games) and there’s nothing publicized. But he had a really good spring and a really good off-season in which he was able to process what happened last year and some of the struggles that he went through. It’s really good to see guys get off to hot starts because then they don’t have to dig themselves out of a hole. It’s been really encouraging. He’s shown some power, he’s shown some discipline, and he’s really starting to swing the bat well and hopefully he continues to do that and takes that next step at some point.”
#1-rated prospect Casey Kelly who has a 1.08 ERA after 3 starts at Portland but is on a tight pitch count having thrown a total of 8.1 innings.
“Very restricted based on the fact that he only threw 100 innings last year and we’re anticipating this to obviously be a full 5 ½ month season when you count spring training. We didn’t want the volume of innings to jump up on him all that quickly, and we want to still be very careful with his pitch count since he’s 20-years-old. We’re trying to bring him along slowly . . . build up his stamina, build up his strength in April – especially when it’s really cold out there. The gloves will start to come off a little bit in the next month when his pitch count starts to climb and then he’ll be treated like every other pitcher. We just felt that we needed to be conservative early just to make sure that we weren’t putting him into any fatigue issues early in the season.”
22-year-old catcher/DH Ryan Lavarnway who is batting .375/.426/.732 with 5 HR and 21 RBI through 14 games with Salem.
“Very interesting guy with right-handed raw power. You don’t see that a lot within the game of baseball and we don’t have a ton of it within the minor leagues as well – we’re more left-handed dominant. He’s got a very good swing and a great idea at the plate. He’s a catcher that’s developing into a pretty good catching prospect as well from a defensive standpoint, but his bat has always been his carrying tool so far and probably will continue to be so. He’s off to a torrid start and he’s worked really hard and we’re really encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.”
The progress of Jed Lowrie who remains in Ft. Myers after being diagnosed by mononucleosis in spring training.
“He’s coming back. He’s at the 5-to-6 week point of mono and it takes 6-to-8 weeks – we’ve done some research with regard to getting that out of his system. Once that’s out of his system he’ll be full-go. He’s doing some workouts now. He’s starting to hit, he’s starting to throw in Ft. Myers, so we don’t anticipate that it’s going to be all that much longer for him to get into game activity and then we’ll see where we go from there.”
The progress of Boof Bonser who was shut down after feeling pain in his shoulder during his second start for Pawtucket.
“He’s throwing in Boston right now. He’s feeling good. I think we kind of hit a little blip with his second start where he felt a little soreness in the second inning. He feels good now. He’s starting to throw and hopefully we’ll see him in the next week or so getting ready to pitch in a game. I don’t think a determination has been made about where that will be, but hopefully it won’t be any longer than that and we’ll get to see him pitching and getting back to his progression toward the major league club.”
The progress of OF Zach Daeges who missed most of last season with a foot injury before injuring his shoulder this year in spring training.
“He needed surgery on his shoulder. He’s coming back from that and he’s going to get ready to start doing some strengthening exercises to build it back up. What he gets out of this season we don’t know. It probably won’t be until the second half or the later part of the season if not winter ball is where we’re going to see him this year.”
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