January 2012

Sox manager Bobby Valentine visits Greenville

New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine talks with reporters on January 23, 2012, in the clubhouse at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Valentine was in town to speak at the annual Greenville Drive Hot Stove Event.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was in Greenville this week to take a tour of the mini Fenway Park before being the guests of honor at the sixth annual Greenville Hot Stove Event.

Eric Boynton writes:

Valentine’s goal is also to make it to the top with the Red Sox, his third Major League stop after stints with Texas and the New York Mets, where he managed his last MLB game in 2002. His last managerial experience of any sort ended in 2009 after a six-year stint in Japan. He’s spent the past few seasons as an ESPN analyst.

“I managed for a long time and when I got through in 2009, I needed a little break and was glad I got it,” Valentine said. “ESPN afforded me a great living while I did it and the great experience of doing games on a national basis. I was lucky when the Red Sox job opened up and I was chosen to take it.”

Eric Boynton’s article on Valentine’s visit


New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine takes a photo with his cell phone of the Tommy Lasorda plaque on January 23, 2012, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Behind Valentine is Greenville Drive General Manager Mike deMaine. Valentine was in town to speak at the annual Greenville Drive Hot Stove Event.

Top Red Sox prospects have played in Greenville

Outfielder Bryce Brentz (23) of the Salem Red Sox, Carolina League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, prior to a game against the Potomac Nationals on June 16, 2011, at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Brentz was a first-round sandwich pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Every one of the Red Sox’ Minor Leaguers listed on the new MLB Top 100 Prospects list has played in Greenville for the Drive.

They include: No. 56 Will Middlebrooks; No. 64 Bryce Brentz; No. 76 Xander Bogaerts; and No. 93 Ryan Lavarnway.

Plus, two former Greenville Drive players traded away by the Sox are also on the list: No. 37 Anthony Rizzo, now with the Cubs organization; and No. 50, Casey Kelly, now with the Padres.

The MLB Top 100 prospects list:

1. Matt Moore, SP, Rays

2. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals

3. Mike Trout, OF, Angels

4. Julio Teheran, SP, Braves

5. Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals

6. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles

7. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers

8. Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates

9. Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks

10. Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles

11. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates

12. Manny Banuelos, SP, Yankees

13. Jesus Montero, C, Mariners

14. Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds

15. Jacob Turner, SP, Tigers

16. Danny Hultzen, SP, Mariners

17. Bubba Starling, OF, Royals

18. Taijuan Walker, SP, Mariners

19. Wil Myers, OF, Royals

20. Archie Bradley, SP, Diamondbacks

21. Tyler Skaggs, SP, Diamondbacks

22. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies

23. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins

24. Drew Pomeranz, SP, Rockies

25. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Blue Jays

26. Jarrod Parker, SP, A’s

27. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals

28. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets

29. Martin Perez, SP, Rangers

30. Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals

31. Mike Montgomery, SP, Royals

32. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians

33. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs

34. Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds

35. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins

36. Arodys Vizcaino, SP, Braves

37. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs

38. Matt Harvey, SP, Mets

39. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres

40. Starling Marte, OF, Pirates

41. Dellin Betances, SP, Yankees

42. Randall Delgado, SP, Braves

43. Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers

44. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros

45. Zach Lee, SP, Dodgers

46. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Rays

47. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Royals

48. Gary Brown, OF, Giants

49. Wily Peralta, SP, Brewers

50. Casey Kelly, SP, Padres

51. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers

52. Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners

53. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees

54. Trevor May, SP, Phillies

55. Jean Segura, SS, Angels

56. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox

57. Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays

58. Jake Marisnick, OF, Blue Jays

59. Michael Choice, OF, A’s

60. Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres

61. Jarred Cosart, SP, Astros

62. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs

63. Willin Rosario, C, Rockies

64. Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox

65. Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves

66. Chad Bettis, SP, Rockies

67. Garrett Richards, SP, Angels

68. Yasmani Grandal, C, Padres

69. Josh Bell, OF, Pirates

70. Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Dodgers

71. Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres

72. Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins

73. Mason Williams, OF, Yankees

74. Chris Archer, SP, Rays

75. Brad Peacock, SP, A’s

76. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox

77. James Paxton, SP, Mariners

78. Jesse Biddle, SP, Phillies

79. Allen Webster, SP, Dodgers

80. Brody Colvin, SP, Phillies

81. Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres

82. Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers

83. Alex Meyer, SP, Nationals

84. George Springer, OF, Astros

85. Sonny Gray, SP, A’s

86. Sammy Solis, SP, Nationals

87. Matt Dominguez, 3B, Marlins

88. A.J. Cole, SP, A’s

89. Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers

90. Jeurys Familia, SP, Mets

91. Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves

92. Tim Beckham, SS, Rays

93. Ryan Lavarnway, C, Red Sox

94. Grant Green, OF, A’s

95. Noah Syndergaard, SP, Blue Jays

96. Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays

97. Jed Bradley, SP, Brewers

98. Francisco Peguero, OF, Giants

99. Taylor Guerrieri, SP, Rays

100. Addison Reed, RP, White Sox

2011 Favorites: 10. Topps liked this one, too

Infielder Sean Coyle (5) of the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, in a game against the Asheville Tourists on May 1, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Coyle was a third-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy / Four Seam Images)

It should be pretty obvious as to why this is among my favorites. Not only is it of Sean Coyle, one of my favorite subjects from 2011, but Topps made the photo into one of their Heritage cards.

That makes it easy to place as No. 10, and the final one of my year’s favorites. Thanks for watching.

2011 Favorites: 9. A moment frozen in time

Starting pitcher Junichi Tazawa (13) of the Salem Red Sox waits out a rain delay by tossing a ball in the dugout prior to a game against the Potomac Nationals on June 16, 2011, at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Tazawa was on a Major League rehab assignment from the Boston Red Sox. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Major Leaguer Junichi Tazawa was on a rehab assignment in Class A, and here he was waiting out a rain delay before a start. He was tossing a ball back and forth, listening to his music, and looked like he just wanted to get things going.

It just seemed to be an interesting Minor League moment frozen in time. Almost like a painting.


2011 Favorites: 8. Kyle Parker back at Fluor Field

Right fielder Kyle Parker (8) of the Asheville Tourists makes a sliding catch in foul territory in a game against the Greenville Drive on May 1, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. A former quarterback and outfielder for the Clemson Tigers, Parker was the No. 1 pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy / Four Seam Images)

I was paying special attention to Kyle Parker on his first pro visit to Fluor Field, after playing there with the Clemson Tigers. So it was especially nice to get an action shot like this of him catching a fly in the right-field warning track.

Red Sox’ farmhand Bogaerts among top shortstops

Infielder Xander Bogaerts (23) of the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, prior to a game against the Hickory Crawdads on July 1, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

The recognition keeps coming for Greenville Drive shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Today MLB named him in its list of Top 10 shortstops.

Jonathan Mayo writes in his report on Bogaerts: “Any thoughts of Bogaerts coming along slowly were thrown out the window when he played his way to the South Atlantic League in June and seemed more than comfortable there as a teenager.”

He was on MLB’s list at No. 10. Earlier this month he was ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 2 prospect.

Bogaerts played for his native Netherlands in the 2011 World Cup in Panamaand was named a 2011 post-season No. 10 prospect in the South Atlantic League by Baseball America.


Saltalamacchia will get a big payday in 2012

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the Mississippi Braves, the Atlanta Braves’ Class AA affiliate of the Southern League, in a game against the Birmingham Barons on April 23, 2007, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.

The Red Sox have signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a one-year deal which the Boston Globe says is worth $2.5 million.

According to the Globe, “The 26-year-old Saltalamacchia will arrive in spring training as the team’s primary catcher after splitting the duties for much of last season with Jason Varitek.”

I photographed Salty at several stops in the minors, including one day in Class A when he asked me not to include his glove in any of my photos. He sheepishly said he had forgotten his gear and had to borrow a glove that he wasn’t under contract to use.

This image was taken one year when I was shooting the Mississippi Braves’ card set, and I was disappointed they didn’t use it for Salty’s card.

He’s always been one of my favorite players. I even learned how to spell his name by memory.

Top prospect Montero traded to the Mariners

Catcher Jesus Montero (21) of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, International League affiliate of the New York Yankees, in a game against the Norfolk Tides on June 20, 2011, at PNC Park in Moosic, Pa. Montero is ranked the No. 1 New York Yankees’ prospect for 2011 by Baseball America. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Catcher Jesus Montero found himself the New York Yankees’ top prospect for 2012 one day, and then woke up the following day as a Seattle Mariner. It’s enough to boggle the mind.

But the Yanks seemed deep in catchers, and wanted to make a trade, so there you have it.

Seattle sent righty Michael Pineda and Minor League pitcher Jose Campos to the Yankees in exchange for Montero.

Braves sign Prado, Wilson to one-year deals

Martin Prado of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A Carolina League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, taken May 13, 2005, at Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, Va. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

The Atlanta Braves have signed veteran utility man Martin Prado to a one-year contract.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “The deal, which will pay Prado between $4.5 and $5 million, has no real bearing on the whether the Braves end up trading him because any conversations have come with the understanding that Prado would draw this kind of salary for 2012.”

The Braves also signed infielder Jack Wilson to a one-year deal.


Nick Hagadone No. 3 Indians prospect for 2012

LHP Nick Hagadone of the Greenville Drive, Sally League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, pitches in his first Class A game against the Kannapolis Intimidators April 5, 2008, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Former Greenville Drive pitcher Nick Hagadone is listed as the Cleveland Indians’ No. 3 prospect for 2012 by Baseball America.

Hagadone pitched in Greenville during the 2008 season

Former Gamecock Lonnie Chisenhall has dropped off the Top 10, but is still projected by the magazine’s writers as the Indians’ third baseman of the future.