WEEI>On Demand>>Minor Details Podcast: J.J. Cooper, Baseball America and Chad Epperson, Red Sox Catching Coordinator

Minor Details Podcast: J.J. Cooper, Baseball America and Chad Epperson, Red Sox Catching Coordinator

Aug 6, 2014|

J.J. Cooper joins Alex to give his thoughts on the insanely busy MLB trade deadline that just passed on Thursday and where the Red Sox are now that the smoke has cleared. Chad Epperson joins Alex to give an update on the catchers in the Sox farm system including Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez and his work with them.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

What just happened let's strip it makes sense of the trade deadline came and went to which the Red Sox were the most active seller in baseball. They did sort of fashion that wins have been against precedent in a little bit we're gonna talk about a separate matter which is the state of Red Sox catching. It's been a banner year on that front but what just happened this in the past few days with the trade deadline. Was really interesting the Red Sox added some young talent in their deals they landed left hander Eduardo Escobar. Right hander -- -- from the giants are in right hander he -- from the jet project PP they also batted lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles for Andrew Miller. But they used the premier assets that they had Jon Lester John Lackey not on high ceiling shoot the moon prospects. Who might either buster became key contributors for a decade. But instead they focused on getting big league ready talent. In returning corner outfielders UN assessment us in on Craig is laws right hander Joseph Kelly so this strange model. And it seemed prevalent in the major leagues this year why is sets out to answer that. We're going to jump in with JJ Cooper of baseball America JJ thanks so much for joining. This was a strange deadline was -- not. It was an eligibility deadline but a very strange -- -- usually goofy that prospects -- on the currency that you were looking for. This year -- to a much more cost controlled young battery it is what king that the people overlook that that is what they got back. Why then you know there I think that there's that that it's it's a fascinating phenomena and it it's all right but I think that the underlying causes of probably like there's there's a pretty good onion that you have to -- some players away on. And I think -- dark out there a couple of reasons to play in this one is. It and that -- called -- a good job. There -- only one elite prospect he truly elite like top fifteen top you know and -- -- -- by the prospect who truly good. Even though that the couple who would negate the cubs in the -- -- to deal. Well I think part of the reason that you haven't seen more -- elite prospects and it is is that frightened -- all all all the league prospects. Play for teams who are not very good. The club trapped three of the top seven prospects in the game. Between to have two of the top -- there'll really if you look at the deal league prospects beginning. The only prospects. That jump -- that are you know there -- -- that a -- a certain number of elite prospect top -- prospects. -- -- The doctors who. He looks like they were kind of active Britain and they didn't want regulate who you're right chuck Peterson that kind of and then you get to the nationals have the peculiar jokes but. Again maybe that wasn't there -- -- different here a deal that they needed so I hope one factor and I think -- the Packers is to look at the keen to promote active. Look the Red Sox. Well one the Red Sox have pretty exciting prospect at right now but -- probably more important that the Red Sox. Are looking at this has picked up there at the bit about sending a -- outlook. They'll go to 2017. They expect to continue in 2050. The -- that's pretty much the same story at the ready. Are doing this -- for David Price but they're also doing it saying okay we're not again we're not saying we will beat that for several years. They're looking at -- as we wanna win in 2015 what you're in 2015. U are much better off giving Yong. Nick leaders that you are prospect because there is a lot of content and acclamation process to the big leagues for even some of the best prospects. If you kind of you skip in the -- Do you think that that acclamation process has become more pronounced than ever in part of one of the things have been thinking about a lot recently is the fact that. It seems to me and I think that it's not even seeming to me it is everyone agrees I think that stuff in the big leagues is now better than ever scouting reports are now better than ever. The ability to -- guys up is now better than ever. And we're seeing we're seeing the run totals to suggest is much. Does that mean that the gap between AAA in the majors has -- I think we're looked like an apartment because -- that there are parts now the big league experience. That. The miners don't even come close to -- and you just -- a big part of -- which is it that. I thought the character -- you know they go triplets in the big -- It it's it's so eye opening and it becomes blown away because they go from. You know where your scouting report in -- -- potential -- a period it's like a cable that kind of like well you know with Alex fastball then you know. Stay away from that whatever. And he gets in the big leagues and it's the book. As. Were paid out there and you your right type that spreads around on rookies they've never met before because it's not. In the -- a lot of are going to double talk going on. And so I do think that that might make it a little bit -- more difficult and it really huge group. The big league level right now but there's not a lot you know miners considering it but. Particularly well at this point is truly insane. Because we -- You know -- and now. It's that the big league level if you if it's somebody got a cult like -- what you do out there. And and that wasn't true even 510 years. Talking to JJ Cooper baseball America about the trade deadline and it's -- fascinating and distinctive dynamics that does it seem somewhat unprecedented. Given that this was a departure from that model of you know of the kind of prospect based return. How difficult is it to evaluate. To evaluate how trades you know kind of equality of the return of trades just given that. You know it doesn't followed that for for one template. Well it also that should suffer from the implantable lower you go -- prospect -- the more disagreement. When you're talking about. If you say it's a plot that thing -- and seeing as ruffle. I'm probably get -- pretty good confirmed that from eight or nine of them because. Again he's one of the best prospects in the day when you talk to prosecute the -- about -- water reached at or keep ember or -- would ask -- There's more disagreement we we read -- we get a top. Fifteen prospect street at that. That we ran out putrid Atlantic team record by simple beginning and we got comparing. Pretty significantly varying opinion about how he would -- because. Again in your pocket for almost all of not -- -- -- There's a lot more there's a lot more experience in -- have a guy who really -- -- -- got. It -- -- -- a very good at all. On and so there's a lot more experience and you feel that great that the guy that directs a trigger for. Are more into the standpoint of I think like that they picked up three -- And three guys who he. If we -- -- around the clock a year all reasonable would probably more rebellion and have now. Just to clarify did you re talking about the prospects name about the prior pitching prospects here as opposed to as opposed to the violence and Allen Craig. We're talking about it Martin Escobar Barbara Rodriguez and and Ethan -- Exactly -- other three pitchers and in all three cases. You could say they're not looking as good right now. Although Rodriguez is what is that a little bit more open now for you in flash in the this year but also -- on. You could say are not looking at good right now they've looked in the past. Now. That's what you -- say okay. If they're you know they can higher levels that are you know there -- regular stop stacked up. It's your optimist you could argue from the standpoint of well is you know -- -- Escobar if we were a year ago I would ask were strong as right. Okay it. The emperor pick up or is that a kind of a long term problem beat you trauma got -- the future you know not a good look at -- it mean. He -- too well because. You scalpel or talk about a fat farm and -- the real quick that you know that work -- -- You beyond the doubt that it did not you know it was not a bad start that did not work you listen -- -- you do not want to features game. It's it's one -- that you will not a couple of and but. He should know that penalty shot look you know better a lot shorter quicker around the net. It it didn't just you know a short term pickup pulled in. The Red Sox follower like -- could be a very solid you know packet starter who has three -- Eduardo Rodriguez. If you're on the right night UC. You know 9394. Touching 96 and and we talked to guys who think -- -- plot and story and everything come together right. UT guys who seem a -- night -- like. And he had more probably more bad night in could actually hear that you you know and -- say. No I'm saying. You know useful reliever who may be back in starter. Again that a lot more variants on these guys. That's what I think that's what they're available in the country you know and as a lesser prospect ball in the. So you it does so so that kind of pecking order of of these prospects and granting -- -- prospect status represented a snapshot in time rather than. Rather than a need a proper a a complete production of their future worth. In the big leagues would be Eduardo Rodriguez ahead of Eduardo Escobar followed by a -- by Ethan -- given that he's the reliever. Yeah I don't say it's Rodriguez. Decent gap. That's the law are significant -- to Embry. I you know -- aren't in Rodriguez made our our our top fifteen. Correctly memory did not embryo was kind of battling for the last spot on the -- and in every case. Really hoping that you can be you know a useful seventh eighth inning guy probably you can -- and you know that yeah well I do a better. I'm gonna have a Boston isn't that there are a whole lot of armed we're going to be competing for spots right over the next a year two and you talk about how long before he if he can make in pretty quick impression -- controller allow competent with the -- in -- -- Because there's so much doubt that the global. I'll I'll I'll finish up with one last question JJ as well as we kind of take stock of the dynamics you know -- of the things that did play into -- expert was certainly scarcity of available talent right in terms of addressing missiles so they tried to get in front of a limited free agent market but. And they acquired that's that's why they acquired assets -- -- that's why they acquired a and Allan -- Is that the better move or would you have what you have -- the prospect route and then sign someone like he Resnick has DO. Who is at least in theory just about Major League ready. In but still represented doesn't have a -- big -- performance track record. The way they did it because again. The big thing come back to on the phone -- I don't think that the prospects were out there if you wanted to go he you know you talk about the prospect is going to be equivalent of a couple that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Again they're looking to try to win in 2000 port so you deprive those that -- with that being the case. I think it's a pretty. It's a pretty useful approach what that would direct it and it the other thing I think it's what that a lot that this is why essentially turning over the rotation. What it does also give them that give them a month and a half two months. To kind of see what the ethnic or not in -- kind of guys can do which gives them a chance. I have a much better idea when 2015. Starts. Of which of these again -- we -- I mean this massive number I would not be shocked at all and real. In you know a couple of weeks. YouTube gives you that I could be a deeper. I know I would've been too but I kicker rumbled through that it would not be spun it we saw -- real and not that you know it's September. And I do think you get the chance they have a chance now to kind of sort through some of these pitchers and heat again not that you're gonna take for 56 starts. That you're absolutely positively sure the -- to contribute that that's not. But it doesn't get much better fuel that it would. If they hadn't had a -- to bring somebody got a picture. JJ Cooper baseball America thinks so much for bringing in some insight to be out to the trade deadline really appreciate the perspective. Thank outlaw it and do in the all right that is DJ Cooper coming up we're going to have Chad Epperson the Red Sox pitching coordinator examining. The year of the catcher in the Red Sox system where back gunned down on the farm and Chad Epperson has been the Red Sox catching coordinator since 2010. Helping to shape the current wave of Red Sox catching prospects. Suffice to say that this is the very exciting time for him as the Red Sox make the transition to a homegrown wave of -- after having veteran guys coming in after the last few years. You've now seen what Christian Vasquez can do by the plate Blake's -- heart is emerging -- the consensus best prospect in the game. And yesterday and unheralded favorite of the Red Sox player development system. Got to cement his unlikely path with the column to the big leagues joined now by Chad Epperson. Red Sox pitching coordinator coordinator. Chad when you have a guy like Dan Butler who was undrafted out of college make it to the big leagues what does that moment like for you as as the guy who's been working with them. For almost the entirety of his professional career. Well it's great you know obviously for him you know that guy. You know we on the road bike rally comes Brandon. It's and it worked at the certain non. Passion for the game and you know we edition really went about it Britons and professional way and know when you don't have that sets and other guys that you mention. -- -- -- I shut it down with a -- it is true. Person beer and you know reduce. Really -- being able to say you know I'm in the -- Went. Was the first time that he emerged on your radar as being a potential big leader of when he kind of moved beyond that OK I -- I signed for five grand not for five million. I you know I was a guy who was a backup catcher in college when did he nonetheless assert himself to you as being a guy who. Holy smokes this this may be a big leaguer. Arctic -- step in the more than Eric. I don't know the -- bigger over here but I don't expect. You know partners. You know solid defender on the players just being dependable and that's what this guy -- you know Bernard on the board what would call them and just goes by there government should be her porch back there were Sergio and run game you know do what. You -- all you know receive the ball very well so it just became -- -- Where I met Kyra I'm here you're here in the play. Don't we start off about this you know when an the organization. An outstanding job -- -- -- I'd just look in -- you know top priority guys you know these these guys that step and put her you know a lot Earl Red Sox and you know we're not been treated by their related you know your reds suck -- Morgenstern. You know about them and blow out. Talking to Chad -- Red Sox pitching coordinator Dan Butler has now has now arrived in the big leagues which is that which is a bit of a landmark and you know he's not be on the unheralded guy. Coming up who is now on the Red Sox who's now Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez was in ninth -- when he was taken as a seventeen year old. Out of high school in Puerto Rico you started working with him in 2010 which was his first year in Greeneville. When did you first look at Vazquez as a guy you said this guy could be not just not just a big leaguer but maybe an elite defender. Look and feel Christian -- you know similar to what city was brilliant on the -- that it it to process we get squared now and you know he just needed to get reps that understand the position in the demand that position and you know that. That takes time you know at seventy years -- we don't let anybody would be able to. Do that so you know the more -- cheek obviously we shall be ability and so my actions that you wanted to seat so he's obviously got a lot of -- while I'm Lori. And then you don't hear -- -- you know crushing kind of figured out what it took. There and know every time you know we. Well like we challenging -- -- to another level or. Two all season something -- are strictly can't force one you don't expect continued to rise to the occasion then and almost like kick it into another gear and so you'll look all that. Kind of put together I think that organizations -- so like this I was ready to go. You know he's very comfortable out there right now. Yeah -- that's an interesting player development path when it's like the guy looks like it when the guy is that emerges is kind of a better and better prospect. When his performance level increases even as he's moving up the latter. Is -- is that kind of a product of of him having had having started at a very young age and so maybe kind of getting on to the other side of learning curve. You know that I'm sure that has something to do -- -- I think they're you know he's he has the opportunity to. Spend a couple of years in Berkeley campus obviously probably a little bit more than that and spring training that sports. You don't really -- -- guy actually was not a ruptured go over and help out so I refute bill's real pump blog -- guys -- That have been around them vote with the Red Sox and no -- camps I think he got a -- and I bill. He's got the news is that when they're going to be scared to. Go out there and play it and you know and that's all we try to color guys don't change anything when you get out there. There's going to be enough you know adrenaline and then and the emotions that you're gonna have at them from the actually -- and backward. We don't -- Tuesday and I think what bet he did not only does not change saying. Because that emotional and a little bit more and -- able part of that. You know that effort level impaired reproductive Whitaker well. He does a remarkable job of taking charge of the game from behind the plate I think that he's. As much as anyone you'll see you can kind of get a sense for him as a field general. That -- so I don't mean to obscure the overall. Body of what he's able to do behind the plate that said the things it's always going to stand -- is watching this guy throw. We I was I was there and you're there in spring training. When he had that had turner a couple of years ago about the one point 77 home the second time. Which is way above average is that the best time you've clocked -- met at this point. I'm in the issue and that could -- all that you don't sure you have the -- at the right time and I ego really that opened the main. You know he's capable of doing that you know I don't wanna say that you know -- wanted to give an -- don't have you don't want to Canada I'm sure they don't -- -- -- -- -- you know look -- good rhythm and tempo but it it's nice though and he's got them back popular Beverly. He loves picking guys off is is that have you do you do you encourage that trait of you know of really being aggressive trying to -- guys off. On the base is not just you know not just controlling the running game from the -- in perspective but really trying to trying to get guys were already on base. I -- you identify the guys that you know maybe you don't try to. Be a little bit more aggressive secondary and and weaken or try to do encryption that really good job that we keep a guy on that. And put it in the back in mind that you know the structure will back picked in the first base coach -- though Matt. I think Internet slowed him down just Eric that we've done a good job regardless of what could be dire. Even if we you don't throw over there really stood there are some quarter awareness on the opposition. And it that this will back there so it kind of slow down and we get a lecture out by a look at second base or third -- whatever so it is up oil weapon. Talking to Red Sox pitching coordinator Chad Epperson Blake's -- hard is now hitting 300 he's getting on base he has a dozen homers. He's throwing out over half of the guys have tried to steal on him it is catching a pitching staff that's been ridiculously good this year in Portland. Have you ever seen a catcher with the overall tools that he. You'll Glick special -- amenities Barea let it. You know the guy and he he came in to. You know our Red Sox organization and I've always said the source Gupta right -- -- in the perspective connection. -- handle the workload and you'll look like you sort out who this guy you know you don't stop there and he -- Mubarak and an excellent and he is cute so what was it fun to watch a you know you be built slump and every single night -- that they know how did you do that whether walk ball right handed batter but what they have better luck. You know make it grow up back there you know -- A church. On a pop up that had no business in the result is able to do that and it's been special. But he -- you know he's a point now that you know he started to understand you know he's got a you know been fortunate that at tech in the organization that only a lawyer. -- them and -- but it great tool or our organization you're stated that what do states. And -- -- that the body and the Latin. -- You know talent in their own way and special and you know. Bigger it's bigger -- -- and they're gonna get -- -- -- I'm gonna finish by putting you on the spot Blake's Lara looks like he's going to be pretty good. Vazquez looks like he's pretty good back -- -- backed by the played so an awkward spot you can't have two pitchers on the field at the same time as much as you'd probably like to. What do you do what you have both investors and slash -- system. The court ventured back at the very clever child very clever thank you so much for joining appreciated Krajicek union as always. -- it. All right we'll fix this -- so much to Chet Epperson for joining as well as JJ Cooper baseball America for breaking down. Some of the an usual activity the trade deadline this year if you like to hear the complete interviews of both of them. Or for past episodes of this show check him at W -- dot com slash podcast and thanks to producer -- Matt looper who saved me today. As well as to as most of Saturday and -- Castelli who -- in most other weeks. Thanks all of you for listening look for detention next week.

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