WEEI>On Demand>>Minor Details Ep. 56: Midyear surprises with Mookie Betts, Chris Mellen

Minor Details Ep. 56: Midyear surprises with Mookie Betts, Chris Mellen

Jun 24, 2013|

This week's podcast examines some of the most surprising performances among Red Sox prospects in the first half of 2013. Mookie Betts, a second baseman who has seen a considerable boost in his power numbers with Single-A Greenville, discusses his year, while Chris Mellen, director of scouting for SoxProspects.com, discusses players such as Anthony Ranaudo, Blake Swihart and Michael Almanzar who have made unexpectedly large strides this year.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This week we're going to look at some of the biggest early season surprises in the Red Sox systems some of the performances that have completely altered the way. -- the industry views certain prospect in the organization. To a system that will be joined a little bit later by Chris -- of Sox prospects dot com but first we're going to check in with the player whose performance to meet has been. Easily the most unexpected of anyone in the Red Sox system a year ago second baseman -- -- had a solid pro debut in Lowell. He showed promise is the guy who could hit line drives and get on base hitting 267 with a 350 to a BP and he played a pretty good second base but. He hit for basically no power in 71 games he had nine extra base hits. He didn't clear -- -- once this year when he was assigned to single a Greenville when industry observer joked to me that they set the over under for his homers this year on one. Figuring that he had a chance of an inside the Parker well. Is destroyed that projection already in a long time ago. After getting three at last night he's heading to 94 with a 415 on base percentage -- stunning. Or 96 slugging mark that's up nearly 200 points from what he did last year and -- and he's gone -- eight times. With 29 extra base hits and -- anymore extra base it's already -- he had lol in nine fewer games so far. I checked in recently with -- year old -- to try to figure out what on earth is going on to explain to power search. Out of shape and board are. He. McCoy canary say. -- -- -- -- -- Don't -- any right under. Our. Current. -- there are. Are you surprised by the -- power numbers that you're putting up. Yeah they're. Expecting in it well and -- -- on clay. Certainly not -- I guess you know in in all -- you know. Where you were you surprised I guess on the other hand it in the -- you didn't go deep at any point. And yet that. -- -- -- there. Or. There. -- The people I talked to about about who you were in Lowell said you know does a great job of commanding the strike zone. Work deep in depth that more of a line drive hitter than someone who's you know who's looking to loft the ball. Torch and a -- driver of offenses in high school is that who you were where you line drive you know can get to get guy in high school as well. In. Depth chart based. Go back. That aren't. He would've the other things that does stand out about your game is the fact that you you aren't afraid to take a lot of walks and in fact you will you walk a lot you walk more than you strike out. -- where what what about your approach allows that to happen. I am trying to eat. Elected speaker to certain pitch -- 008. At all. -- -- -- -- -- -- Are you don't. Let it go go. Umpires. More. And more now. They won't call. It is. They've made -- their all and our corner they don't art but. Yeah. -- -- -- -- And you you take -- walker you have great rock greats you don't strike out -- meant that that Timmy says you know you're a guy who has obviously get. But also really good hand eye coordination. You're a guy who is a multi sport athlete in high school what other sports did you play. I have birdied. That the ball -- old. OK so I would get to -- doesn't our troops so hand eye coordination obviously would you play -- your point guard there yeah. -- -- what about being a point guard was suited your personality. -- you know leader. You know. Asian people on guard after thirteen that. Truck that I am. Are gonna become too you know less errant -- I've talked to everybody here. Trying to help everybody what to do well no. And how about -- let -- schism of being a basketball player do you find that you know. Do you do you feel that you're able to be the same kind of athlete on the baseball field that you were on a basketball court. Arm but it is not saying what would -- would it say. Anything and everything. But. Be -- equipment being around you know. Yeah situations. Are -- some. -- split. And good looks gets a bullet so what kind of outlook -- year old man healthy kind of like at a -- to put up on the bush in the bolt in lane. It's true that -- know it's been a little bit about all bow out -- But I. She. -- couple ignited the period in Kabul to -- -- You're where you've -- -- state champion has a book as a high school bowler. I came home I came in third and -- -- Senior year -- and outlook are there. I mean that is not the typical like you go to XP you hear about you know about baseball players getting drafted her to the core multi sport guys were football basketball. I think you're the first like prominent group prominent bowl or I've heard about what what do you what about bowling. What about pulling appealed to you -- what was it that drew you to that. I am out the bulletins -- -- -- or. Yeah its I was gonna Stanley saying. The Marmara member data. AP PT where most people -- now it. I have a lot of eligible to enter it and march up against each other. Program. Yeah this should have just been popular. This is that what they. It's interesting though because those are two very different sports right handed -- -- in some -- gets -- the question of -- aggressive approach because. Basketball it's all it's all action right rights -- moving all the time you're going going going. Polling you have to wait for your turn you have to like you have to be patient yet to think about every role. And how are those -- those two things elected an aggressive fit naturally for you. Home. -- I guarantee by a bat ball and shoot. And it. Well -- Down late in the big yeah. The other debate -- we come back. Part of the reason I ask is because it seemed like at the beginning of this year you're making it in an interest in place right you're. You're as I said drawing a ton of walks you had a great on base percentage but you're hitting a buck fifty -- I think you're hitting a -- with a 3050 -- base percentage. How do you do wrapping your head around that stretched. Well. You know. Everything. One begin taking -- -- UGU law. Giving up. Just Mike -- -- so you don't -- it. You know -- in. The eight ball very well. A little step yeah couldn't get it at least you know based turn -- to -- you -- You got out of you got out of the part where you're just getting on base mostly through rock you've had I think it was like in nineteen game hitting streak. Had you ever had a run like that your life. -- there -- -- -- know what yet but are we -- keep up that they. Are younger. Yeah a fair fair when you're younger you try to expect to get the -- every game rather than having you know -- tell the number of Dave's which you've done it. Back to serve your professional career if I can backtrack for a second. In 2011 you're taking in the fifth round by the Red Sox you went down pretty close the wire in terms of whether or not you're going to sign. Did you think you are actually going to end up turning pro coming out of that draft. Yeah now. We're expecting we do. In the -- -- -- -- -- -- Yeah -- -- -- It and it. Outlook our secure. Remotely ready forward. A little bit more. Q did here. How did how did things change in in the last because my understanding that it was really just. Ten of the last day that things really kind of happened quickly in terms of the signing press -- We are losers. Out -- my family's. All I'll bet. Only other thing about Larry vault that they knew about. Our our our area well. Are -- In -- -- went through it. It -- Yeah. But. The pitched it they say you know you end. -- are you are retrieved it. At that large did it and fit it. So I guess -- and a -- of the last question. In terms of that decision to turn pro how has how has the spirit of Minor League Baseball in compared to what your expectations were for a and how both on and off the field. Com. On the film it's better to. -- -- -- Yeah I'm up by -- -- Whoa what are -- -- -- a lot. -- -- you lose them out of bag. 88. Trial that the -- video above. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Well that's a fair point but I mentioned that done I imagine that the challenges of traveling around traveling around the south -- an Atlantic feet by bus become a little bit easier when you're ranking though. Yeah. It all right Rickie thank you so much for joining you're really appreciate the efforts and to talk with you. It. Let's continue talking about some of the major surprises in the Red Sox system in order to help out in that endeavor we bring on Chris Mellon director of scouting for Sox prospects soc column. -- -- -- Great things things are waking up this morning appreciated I think that you -- I wasn't sure if you're going to be recovered from the Bruins game in time for this but. Very grateful that you are. And it may never have a 100% recovered yet they're ready to go you. OK okay thanks I hope to give you an emotional recharge cell we're just like we're murky -- you saw him I'm sure last year lol have you seen him in Greenville this year. Yes -- what were your impressions is does he look like the same guy who you know who does does he look like the same hitter or. -- is that disparity in numbers just just that without there being a difference in these type of player he has. Well you know the first and foremost you looked a lot more confident in the batter's box I think that the big. You know you could tell when he came up with a late that he was comfortable he was competent and you could see it. With more -- validity of that any vicious. The way he carried himself vs the way you look at all last year you know regular some -- he looked like he knew that he belonged to. Kennedy knew what was going on and accurate lol I don't see it kind of look like he was trying to catch up with Kirk that he was like run around you know when he came out and -- -- things -- he's definitely. You know. With experience them last year he decline according -- -- this year. Which I guess isn't that much of a surprise for the guy who is a multi sport athlete in in high school who perhaps. You know doesn't have the whole year round commitment to the showcase circuit that sort of thing. Right yet -- was with that that focused on baseball. He's able to kind of you know go to extended spring training last year and -- -- -- -- and come back -- spring training getting a lot of -- -- these bodies in different. You guys who -- baseball sloppy he demonstrated -- pointed it. You know start the court a little bit with a neat looking at is looking pretty comfortable play it and now is that -- symptoms start to really show on the baseball field. Who else who got who else stands out for you is as some of the early seed -- really not where we're beyond the early season part of it so. It's enough to actually pay attention to these guys who were or perhaps outperforming or underperforming expectations who else really stands out for you. You know it out over and he's not a surprise because he's a very count declared he had and it had pedigree but if it were not out. And coming into the even more crucial -- you're gonna get a look and you know he was injured last year -- support formatting you really couldn't -- You know whether it would be injury Japanese aren't aware that there was some production and -- pit stop so. -- -- see him come out and really be a look at the scene you know what is being done over about 73. And exciting now on the eastern. Is that correct its product but that's encouraging and in Connecticut didn't really know you can give -- -- sustain it that's sort of a knock on hasn't -- -- stamina. And that would be how it goes into the second half whether he can all the stuff but activities separate. The top guy in terms that the -- year you know being. Go above and beyond you know meeting my expectations. 2.3 four ERA for more than ten strikeouts per nine innings while in Portland and a whip fits under one so he's been doing pretty well but. I guess for me that's the thing that I -- I kind of throw last year out for him. In view it as an injury year. How does this stuff now compared to what it was in 2011 for instance when you also some when he split the year between Greenville and Salem. Right yeah that is stuck back on now level. You know what when I saw him last year early in the day it stuck. EE cat the first couple innings to help us stock follow up the face of the earth partly it was like. EB nine in the low nineties -- an alternate shot or beat out low in the high eighties as Karbala circuit floppy. Security holdings stuck in that way you back in now. 92 to 93 mile per hour race consistently can -- up to 9596. And it's curve ball -- you know sharp all the written without it so it and -- easy it would wrote about all better for strikes couldn't get a 2000 allotment courts. A little bit late 2000 -- any kind of worked out a little bit special electorate will start leaving the ball up that's when you saw it around a little bit more Salem this year. -- -- The ball out and get going in the city you know and I popped the ball -- any even at current volatile -- pitched. Yeah that increase stamina he talked a lot about how important was that he had it on a lot of course during both in the offseason and in the and even through spring training in. Really made it seems to -- that that seems to be true. Any anyone else who stands out for you in terms of early season surprises people who have outperformed your expectations. Com. You know -- third baseman Michael armored car yeah. -- separate Oprah I can not thank you would be you know sustaining what he's been able to do. Importing any looks and he looks a lot better than -- Whatever -- bottom in his career with the organization. Especially starting spring training he was at a much I noticed -- would have a much better that I had never seen him really. Where the conflict he was I think it was. In the politics and it's about what they want one at -- spring training and you'd be staying back the ball -- the different hitter is even when he was even though last year. In Salem and I saw him. He still showed a lot of the kind of the same flaws that he but he showed before it in in what he was running into some pictures and this year. He's been Japanese they're different -- and stand back and all able to get breaking ball is seen. You know curve ball better than it did before. He knows how -- start to come through I don't know. You know we continue to watch owner Fiat goes and continue to get -- -- Point in starting a buddy -- definitely am putting himself back on the prospect. Yeah I just offer some context back in 2011 between two levels of a ball he hit 199. With a 517 OPS -- about a about a season as you can imagine for a corner infielder. And then last year in Salem he had that progress -- hit 300. Up to an 8120 PS with twelve homers and now he's almost matched that homer total in seven games of Portland -- he's up to eleven so. Yes certainly an interesting trajectory it's been. I did -- -- -- out of the norm with what happened between 2008 and 2011 form. -- yeah -- great catch just speed it totally locked. -- to see guys such -- the court those numbers look pretty bad even an and a strikeout to where we're really pretty. And you know -- -- I don't know. It was more maturity. Or is that just experience -- he's definitely a different -- Well I wouldn't what a guy who's surprising for me that we don't think I've been beacon in the traditional sense for this conversation but. You know Jose Iglesias had seen the guy for every year of his professional career and quite frankly. My mind is blown I you know active equality it was a at -- and his approach. Is distinct from anything that I never thought that he was capable of sustaining -- in the course of a month plus in the major leagues how about you. Yeah that's what surprised that -- written up around. He knows it'll basically for our equity 400 or something -- -- -- Goof ball Nintendo stuff yeah. Wreck he'd never I don't think he ever abstract but that the miners really -- did it. It okay with Portland and its first year but he was a little bit and it occurred there -- -- in terms -- -- sustained stretch and really what it is he hit the ball hard. You know if -- were hit the ball I know that yet but he's got some of the -- and -- that they need to inflict some balls and there's been a little bit of people you know. I think about it it is batting order a ball in play is really really high but he -- for me. He's hit the ball hard and I haven't seen him hit the ball art mrs. -- is there any point is minor league career. You know last year was -- up with a -- -- didn't start to have better that in terms of being able to work stop you there to count the pages but. He was never able to sustain any type of consistent part contact settled at a bit it. The thing with the great is that you know with breaking ball eat bailout of -- -- and out. Our remarks -- many economists were knocked out all the and then he went covered the other third -- if you look you look at all the ball almost like. He got the big leagues and if you look like he's there -- values just. Doing this thing whereas before it was like he was just trying to target the basically said he was it out of this act -- not a what you need to do development medical it. Any surprises -- you've by the you've encountered in Salem thus far this year. Com. And noble heated -- promoted that Garrett. Teaching. -- term. His mom told me that it's -- -- I'd always I'd always on the pronunciation to be a mess but I had -- runner for the Mother's Day show and she insisted that it's like chick. You need so tricky. -- -- Well he economically it pretty it in the first -- and you get promoted to. Two all of the what I saw and down in film it was that aren't eager for the look like Hewitt's. He belonged to the level and that you attracting the apple level in control and at bat. Walk or contagious in in an article that. Chris -- and our executive better -- me it was like for fifteen an elevator down and down. -- eat anything any ballpark but it was just like you could see that the proper was there that he was going through and looking pretty good in terms of the process. -- another player that's simply why are. You look like a much different. Haters -- get master degree angle that has. Jumped -- to me that you look again -- that you look a lot on the shore but the lady looked a lot more received more comfortable. And you can help that they they feel like it belongs now where where they're not trying to catch up -- -- you know the competition. Two things stand out about that one is that you probably saw guarantee Cheney's only bad series of the season in Salem before it got promoted to Portland. That's why -- the second is that why -- I do find really interesting because. You know on the surface you look at the numbers of this guy who is a first rounder in 2011 sign for huge bonus two and a half million bucks that your. He's heading to 83360. On base percentage -- 44 slugging mark it's not like jump off the page stuff from someone who doesn't get to actually see him. In terms of approach how do you project him as a as a hitter I've heard that he's made great defensive strides as a catcher by the way what do you see from him. What what you see from him as a hitter down -- As the eight I think he can be it carpet at a car you know I -- that -- In need to put on some posturing in that -- you know at twenty a lot of and I think from that between now winning -- point five I think that you could appeal the constant pitch right. That'll help and drive the ball more. For -- a key guy you can BS QEU. In the into the ninety's maybe media that he's an actuary thing he can hit the congress and then hold on life. Anywhere and sixteen you know an hour range I think he -- -- it began at the -- of the home ballpark right with the weight secondly it is it is pretty deep right field he would continue to play with the Red Sox organization. You might not hit many home runs. Last candidate as he would inaudible are like you know kind of a range that I think -- India. You know media. -- -- And as an absolute pure -- into second place hitter. In -- picket line up in the 8080 he would end up getting a little deeper a lot of babies down around six slot it. If he struggled but what are what from he looks like the guy -- could hit proper order you know that second spot. Be able to move people not hit like hit the ball hard catalyst will draw it didn't eat at a second direct a little bit of polish. That gap power. And the you know just carry you guys set the table at all -- contracted -- I'll ask you about what the last guy Chris before we before you jump out what was last time you saw ruby teller so what are you seeing from him because it looks to me. From afar like he's a guy who's kind of in the process of breaking through. Yeah it was what Taylor wrote deliberately I saw early in the economic -- -- that -- command was cut off of control especially that he was trying to Olmert throws fastball that may be eclipsed. Trying to impress because he didn't get the -- last year with the organization and. That was his first spring training and first girl you know and -- -- either he was. Trying to justify any of that bet that bug that we heard about in spring training you know it is and now it seems like he's. He's been able to settle himself then. Candidates stay within himself now the start to act cute and well and can't try to and -- what he would go out there I think I. I think you let this -- China crack the organization and now. You know he's sitting back and just being himself and you know it stopped talking it up to a hundred mile per hour you know typically you didn't ninety and changeup that. A very good changeup you know it's this state -- able Mikey pretty flat mile an hour considerable -- -- -- and. You get a slider that he had been. China's current sharpen up about the not a desperate to -- -- -- what -- certain -- unarmed Iraq and what -- we'll let you know immediately wrote. A guy could be back then and in Haiti is still the back into the bullpen and actually for the rest -- they wanted to go down that is especially with. Police seem to struggle with daily and an on the DL now -- Ottawa. Lee are the as the -- -- potentially maybe they give a look -- advocate group that position. Well it'll be interesting to see whether or not that happens or whether he ends up actually stepping in as a as a starter for the Red Sox next Saturday with buckles is stand the deal longer than expected but Chris -- and Sox prospects dot com thanks so much for joining. You all right well thanks so much for listening once again my thanks to a -- -- it to producers patted as well as Dan Giles who's been awesome today. If you wanna hear complete interviews with thought with both -- bats and with Chris none of Sox prospects dot com check out WEEI dot com slash podcast.

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