The Wave of the future
The next batch of Red Sox prospects is in town for the team’s annual Rookie Development program, a group that includes Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Kalish, Junichi Tazawa and Luis Exposito.
We had some media availability in the bubbled practice facility at Boston College on Wednesday. Here are some snippets we gleaned.
Casey Kelly is now just a pitcher and happy about that. It makes training for the season a little more straightforward.
“It’s a lot easier than last year trying to train for two positions, but this year has been great. Knowing what position I’m going to be playing throughout the season has helped my training. Been training hard, started throwing program a couple of weeks ago. So I’m ready to get the season going,” Kelly said
Where is Kelly in his development?
“He’s going to compete for a spot in the Portland rotation. The criteria that we hold in terms of progressing players through the system, especially a starting pitcher, which is repeating your delivery, throwing your fastball to both sides of the plate and throwing your secondary pitches for strikes, Casey demonstrates a lot of those things already,” said director of player development Mike Hazen. “We feel pretty good that, if everything continues to progress, he could move pretty quickly. It wasn’t so much of a sell as a decision that we sat down and talked about. We didn’t feel like we had to sell him on this. We just felt like we needed to sit down at the end of the year and talk about what we felt like was going to be in the best interests of Casey moving forward, then hear what he had to say about what would be in the best interests of Casey moving forward, then putting it all together and coming to a joint decision. If Casey wouldn’t have bought into pitching, this wouldn’t work. It was very much how we hope all of our relationships with players is – it’s a partnership.”
Hazen had one very noteworthy quote on Exposito, the big catcher.
“He’s got tremendous raw power. He might have the best right-handed raw power in the system,” Hazen said.
As for Iglesias, he is learning the culture as much as he is trying to figure out what it takes to get to the highest level of baseball. He is working hard to learn English, even taking in American movies. His favorite thus far? “Avatar”.
There you have it.