Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to go through and preview the 12 Eastern League teams in reverse order of last season’s record. Rosters won’t be finalized until the week before Opening Day, so my Players to Watch is pure speculation at this point.
Up first, we have the Portland Sea Dogs…
2015 record: 53-89
Affiliation: Boston Red Sox
Manager: Carlos Febles
Hitting coach: Jon Nunnally
Pitching coach: Kevin Walker
Five Players to Watch
LHP Williams Jerez – The converted outfielder turned reliever features a mid-90s fastball and a quality slider that saw him shine at three levels last year including the second half in Portland.
2B Wendell Rijo – The 20-year-old infielder is an offense first prospect with a quick bat and solid approach at the plate when he’s staying within himself.
LHP Trey Ball – The former number seven overall pick in 2013 finished strong last season as the southpaw pitched to a 2.70 ERA in his last 11 outings.
RHP Teddy Stankiewicz – Despite a low strikeout rate, the right-hander possesses strong enough command of all his pitches to prove a formidable foe on the mound.
RHP Ty Buttrey – Besides a power fastball, the 6’6” North Carolinian throws a knuckle-curve that has developed into a true swing-and-miss offering.
The Red Sox’ top prospects were either sent to San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade or are slated to start the season at High-A Salem. While high-ceiling guys like Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers may earn a mid-season promotion to Portland, it maybe a little too late for the fortunes of the Sea Dogs who are looking at another sub-.500 season.