Results tagged ‘ Mike Hazen ’

Epstein roundtable discussion on tap for Friday

Looking for a baseball fix to tide you over before Spring Training? Theo Epstein and Peter Gammons have one on Friday night at Fenway Park’s State Street Pavillion, when they host their annual Hot Stove Cool Music Baseball Roundtable.

Though Epstein left the Red Sox for the Cubs following the 2011 season, he continues to have a charitable presence in his home city of Boston.

This year’s roundtable will feature the topic of changing a clubhouse culture. Epstein once did that in Boston, prior to the 2003 season. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is trying to do the same thing this winter by bringing in positive clubhouse influences like Shane Victorino, Johnny Gomes and Joel Hanrahan.

The roundtable will include Epstein, MLB.com’s Gammons, Cherington, Red Sox manager John Farrell, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Red Sox assistant general manager MIke Hazen. Gammons will serve as the moderator.

Tickets are $125 and on sale now at FoundationToBeNamedLater.org. Package deals are available for both HSCM Roundtable and Concert. The evening begins at 6 pm with a reception featuring complimentary Harpoon beer, Amberhill wine and a ballpark buffet.

“I am once again excited to join this year’s distinguished panel to talk about changing a clubhouse culture in baseball. The panel’s expertise and knowledge will provide fans an in-depth look behind the scenes,” said Gammons. “I’m appreciative of everyone’s continued involvement and support of Hot Stove Cool Music and The Foundation To Be Named Later. This year’s roundtable will surely lend itself to a great discussion for a very worthy cause.”

Here is the following info from a press release:

“The Roundtable is a special addition to the thriving Hot Stove Cool Music concert series which celebrates music, baseball and giving back. Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s Peter Gammons College Scholarships and nonprofit beneficiaries including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), Citizen Schools, City Year Boston, The Home for Little Wanderers, Horizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury Youthworks, Steps to Success and West End House Boys & Girls Club.

This winter’s Hot Stove Cool Music concert takes place Saturday, January 12th, and features an ensemble of musical performances by two-time Grammy nominee Tanya Donelly, the dynamic multi-instrumentalists Parkington Sisters, Boston Music Award winners Christian McNeill & Sea Monsters, Billboard Music Songwriting winners The Chad Hollister Band and the returning Hot Stove All-Stars featuring Gammons, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and indie rocker Kay Hanley with Robin Lane. Hollywood actor Mike O’Malley will again take the reins as emcee for the charity concert.

Hot Stove Cool Music events are sponsored by Ipswitch Inc., Comcast Business Class, Mintz Levin, Walmart, Hotel Commonwealth, Harpoon Brewery, Amberhill Secret Blend, Greenberg Traurig, Distrigas GDF Suez, RISO, Aramark, Abby Lane, Church, Boston Scientific, The Boston Red Sox and The Boston Foundation.

ABOUT HOT STOVE COOL MUSIC

Celebrating Music, Baseball and Giving Back

Hot Stove Cool Music is a biannual charity concert and musical variety show held in the winter and summer months. The event was created in December of 2000 by Hall of Fame Baseball journalist Peter Gammons and former Boston Herald sports writer Jeff Horrigan. Over the past 13 years, Hot Stove Cool Music has become a staple on Boston’s entertainment calendar and has raised more than $5 Million for the Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.

ABOUT FOUNDATION TO BE NAMED LATER (FTBNL)

The Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL) was founded in 2005 by then Red Sox Executive Vice President and General Manager and current Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein and his twin brother Paul, a social worker in the Brookline public school system. Inspired by Paul and Theo’s commitment to creating positive opportunities for disadvantaged children and families in the Boston area, the Foundation expands the impact of youth-focused nonprofits by raising awareness and critical resources. Over the past six years, the Foundation has invested $5 million in grants and in-kind donations to local organizations and has sent more than 4,000 children to Red Sox and Celtics games. Central to FTBNL’s work are strategic partnerships with a team of nonprofits that serve disadvantaged children and families, including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life); Citizen Schools; City Year Boston; The Home for Little Wanderers; Horizons for Homeless Children; Roxbury Youthworks; Steps to Success; and West End House Boys & Girls Club. With the generous support of RISO, FTBNL also created the “Peter Gammons College Scholarship,” named for the beloved Hall of Fame sports journalist and humanitarian, to provide 28 college scholarships to exemplary Boston area students who have overcome tremendous disadvantages but have great potential. Visit www.FoundationToBeNamedLater.org for more information.

Lovullo, Hazen talk Lars-Reddick-Kalish

This isn’t the time of year Player Development wants to take center stage. This is when the Red Sox like to be in the thick of the postseason race. If anything, young players are sitting on the bench absorbing as they watch the veterans fight for a championship. But this year is different. The injury-marred Sox are six games out in the American League East with 16 games left. In other words, they need somewhat of a miracle to get back to the postseason.

So as an organization, the Sox are making the most of this time by letting three prospects — Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick — get regular playing time.

Two men who are are familiar with threse three 2006 draft picks as anyone were both in Seattle. They are Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo and Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen. I had a chance to talk to both of them about the trio the other day, and here is a sampling of their thoughts.

Hazen on Kalish: “He’s a really good athlete. He’s a grinder, a baseball player, a hard worker, he’s earned everything he’s gotten so far. He needs to continue to do so. He’s a really talented player and we like him a lot and he’s had a good opportunity up here to show what he can do and he’s done a pretty good job of it so good for him. He’s worked really hard at this and he’s a great kid and a good teammate. He always has been. Our scouts did a pretty good job I think of identifying the talent of this kid five years ago.”

Hazen on Reddick and the key to adjusting after several moves up and down between the Majors and Minors:  “Being able to relax and let the talent come through. Not try to do hit home runs and try to do too much with every swing on every pitch. That’s probably going to take some time, I would imagine. This is a tough level. This is the best in the world. It’s about learning and figuring it out and he’s got to continue to do that, show that consistency and take that approach, that BP approach, into the games day in and day out.  It’s not one game here or one game there or one day here or one day there. He’s aware of it and he’s working on it and hopefully that’s going to start to translate pretty soon.”

Hazen on Lars Anderson, the last of the three players to mkae it to the Majors: “He’s had a good season. A lot of people somehow forget the Double-A season that he had. If we left him in Double-a, he probably would have had a really good year. He was pushed to Triple-A and he responded to those challenges, I think. The defensive side of the game, he’s really improved this year, which is great to see. He’s worked really hard at it. It’s good to see him come up here and get some results. I know he’s had a couple of tough Major League Spring Trainings so this is even better, to have him have that confidence going into the offseason that he belongs here. He can really play here. That will be good for him.”

Lovullo was the one who managed all three for most of the season. “You know what, first of all it was my honor this year to watch them grow and turn into the players they’re becoming. They worked hard. They responded to the things they’re being taught and they took it from there. They’re all special in their own unique way. They’re all going to be really good big leaguers and I get to watch that kind of translate right now first-hand and I sit here very pridefully watching what they’re doing.”

Lovullo on Kalish’s promotion: “It happened as quick as you could possibly imagine. We’re getting off the bus coming from the airport and within a 20-minute period, we had to get him up to Boston for a day game. I didn’t really have a chance to celebrate with him, but I got a chance to watch him play and perform and he was ready for the challenge. Of the three, he was probably the most ready for me because of the things that he was doing on a consistent basis. I think when you’re that young, if you start to show the consistency, you’re going to show us that you’re ready to go. He made the decision easy for us when it was time for him to get that call. It was a no brainer.”

Lovullo on Reddick keeping his head up after an early-season slump and some struggles during brief earlier call-ups to the big leagues:  “From that standpoint, it was mostly a mental grind for him. He was a last send-down in spring training, a chance to make the team, a quick recall, sent down, another recall. His head was kind of spinning and for a young kid, that’s kind of a challenge. He feels like he belongs in the big leagues, yet taking most of his at-bats in the minor leagues. Some discussions were, let’s get off to a big start so you don’t dig yourself a big hole, which he did. It just seemed to really not fall apart, but just kind of spiral downward from there. He finally got comfortable after a couple of hundred at-bats and it was fun to watch him grow up and become a complete player. He worked on a ton of things fundamentally that have helped out and he almost hit .270 after a slow start. But mentally, it was a challenge for him and that was what I kind of talked to him about early on.”

Lovullo on how Reddick looks far more comfortable in this visit to the “show”: “You can see it. The at-bats that I saw were on TV. I saw the rushed approach. I saw a lot of early count outs. Now he’s just very in-tuned with what the pitcher is doing, he’s balanced. He’s working counts. It’s all translating into him being more productive here. It’s fun for us to watch, it’s fun for me to see it first-hand.”

Lovullo on the rare personality and persevearance of Lars Anderson: “He was the only guy that ever said to me, ‘I love you’ as he’s walking out to go to the big leagues. ‘Hey, I love you, man. I love you guys. Thank you, I’ll see you later.’ We kind of rejoiced and celebrated and that’s the best part of my job. So many people in player development have such a blueprint on who Lars Anderson is. I was the one guy who got a chance to tell him the good news. Lars, for me, grew up right before my eyes. He came and struggled from Double-A. He was hitting in the .190s, he raised his average 65, 70 points to have a very respectable Triple-A season, which is unusual for a guy that age and the struggles that he had. He worked hard to pick himself up. It was a good moment for me to watch these three kids grow up. It’s even a better moment for me to sit here and watch them at the big league level.”

Pimentel soaking in Futures Game

There have been some years when prospects from the Red Sox who arrived at the Futures Games were players you had been hearing about for a while. For instance, when Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury played in the 2007 game at San Francisco, Ellsbury had already been called up to the Majors once and Buchholz was less than two months from his no-hitter against the Orioles. Last year, Casey Kelly and Junichi Tazawa represented the Sox in St. Louis, the latter player having made his debut for the Sox in ’09 and the former on the fast track, perhaps the top pitching prospect in the organization.

But this year, there is a far less heralded prospect named Stolmy Pimentel who is the lone Sox rep playing today in Anaheim. The righty was signed out of the Dominican Republic by Craig Shipley and his stafff on July 2, 2006.

“It felt really good,” Pimentel said of being selected to pitch in the Futures Game. “I was very excited to be here competing with the other guys. You are represending your team and your country.”

Pimentel, at the age of 20, is obviously still a work in progress. Pitching for Salem in the Carolina League (Class-A), Pimentel is 5-7 with a 4.61 ERA in 18 starts this season. His overall ERA is a little skewed by a June 26 start when he was shelled for 10 hits and eight earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. But he took that in stride and feels good about where he is right now.

“I don’t think about that,” said Pimentel. “I just prepared for my next outing and did a good job. I know that’s going to happen so  just keep on working hard. I feel pretty good. The thing is, I keep working on all my pitches all the time. If I feel they are great, I’ll keep working.”

Pimentel wears No. 45 for a reason. He thinks very highly of former Red Sox icon Pedro Martinez. Ervin Santana of the Angels, who wears No. 54, is another Dominican player Pimentel has tried to emulate.

It was a thrill for Pimentel to meet Martinez in the Dominican Republic during a recent winter.

What did Pedro tell Pimentel?

“He told me to keep working hard every time you get the ball. No matter how you’ve been pitching, be aggressive and positive,” Pimentel said of his conversation with Martinez.

The Red Sox are confident that Pimentel will one day find his way to Fenway Park.

What was the scouting and signing process like with Pimentel?

“Once we identify a player we have interest in the scouting process is basically the same for all,” said Shipley, the senior vice president/internaltional scouting for the Sox. “We see the player as much as possible in an environment that allows us to complete the evaluation, in most cases this is very difficult in Latin America. In Stolmy’s case our access was very good, we were able to see him multiple times at our academy over an extended period.”

Shipley’s impressions thiese days?

“To date Stolmy has showed multiple attributes of a future Major League starter including impressive maturity and work ethic while pitching at an advanced level for his age. We are very happy with Stolmy’s development to date and envision him as future Major League starting pitcher for us,” said Shipley.

“Stolmy did a tremendous job preparing himself for the season and worked hard to continuously improve upon his fastball quality and curveball,” said Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen. “He is very mature and poised for someone so young and this is much deserved recognition for his season.”

Pimentel’s next step will be to get to Double-A Portland.

“You know, I can’t tell you about that decision. All I can do is keep working and when they see that you’re ready, I know they’re going to give you the ball,” Pimentel said. “I keep working, but I hope to finish in Double-A. That’s my goal for this year. If that doesn’t happen, I have to prepare for next year, maybe I can get there then. My arm feels good and my body feels good. I work hard every day to prepare for whatever decision they want to make.”

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.

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