Enjoying October Baseball While Pondering Possibility
Nearly four weeks after the Salem Sox delivered an amazing championship, and less than one week after the 2014 schedule was unveiled, the blog is back for a batch of retrospectives, commentaries, and thank yous.
While the Carolina League title was won on September 10, baseball season is still remarkably relevant for Salem Red Sox fans who are basking in Mills Cup Glory. Many members of Boston’s superior season journeyed through the Roanoke Valley on their way to the Show, and others across the big league landscape owe stints in Salem to their developmental peaks.
Overall, since 2009, 24 players who’ve played in Salem have made their major league debuts!
- Jose Alvarez (Three hitless innings for Detroit in today’s playoff game)
- Xander Bogaerts (On Boston’s postseason roster)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. (Staying ready in Fort Myers in case he’s needed)
- Drake Britton (Same as Bradley)
- Cesar Cabral (Made eight appearances for the Yankees in 2013; 2.45 ERA)
- Robert Coello (Made 16 appearances for the Angels in 2013, 3.71 ERA)
- Luis Exposito (Spent 2013 w/ Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles organization)
- Tim Federowicz (On LA Dodgers’ postseason roster)
- Stephen Fife (Made 12 appearances, 10 starts for LA Dodgers in 2013, 3.86 ERA, not on playoff roster)
- Miguel Gonzalez (Made 30 appearances, 28 starts for Orioles in 2013, 3.78 ERA)
- Ryan Kalish (Missed all of 2013 w/ injury)
- Casey Kelly (Missed all of 2013 w/ injury, member of Padres organization)
- Ryan Lavarnway (Not on Boston’s postseason roster, but remained with team for playoffs)
- Che-Hsuan Lin (Spent 2013 w/ Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization)
- Will Middlebrooks (On Boston’s postseason roster)
- Daniel Nava (On Boston’s postseason roster)
- Yamaico Navarro (Played eight games with Baltimore Orioles in 2013; spent rest of year in Triple-A)
- Kris Negron (Spent 2013 w/ Triple-A Louisville in the Reds organization)
- Stolmy Pimentel (Made five appearances for the Pirates in 2013, 1.93 ERA)
- Ryan Pressly (Made 49 appearances for the Twins in 2013, 3.87 ERA)
- Anthony Rizzo (Played 160 games for the Cubs in 2013, t-16th in NL with 23 home runs)
- Kyle Weiland (Missed all of 2013 w/ injury, member of Astros organization)
- Alex Wilson (Made 26 appearances for Red Sox in 2013, 4.88 ERA, currently injured)
- Brandon Workman (On Boston’s postseason roster)
One more guy would give us a full 25-man roster of big league alums, and that is only a matter of time. We’d also have a pretty good squad. It’s hard to imagine a more complete ballclub constituted of players from a minor league A-ball squad in the past five years.
If you tried to craft a game plan with the above list, here’s what a potential lineup might look like:
- Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
- Daniel Nava LF
- Anthony Rizzo 1B
- Xander Bogaerts SS
- Will Middlebrooks 3B
- Tim Federowicz C
- Ryan Lavarnway DH
- Yamaico Navarro 2B
- Ryan Kalish RF (Hope this guy gets healthy again–People forget how large his potential was/is)
A five man rotation would look something like: RHP Stephen Fife, RHP Casey Kelly, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, LHP Jose Alvarez, and RHP Brandon Workman.
That would leave a bullpen of LHP Drake Britton, LHP Cesar Cabral, RHP Robert Coello, RHP Stolmy, Pimentel, RHP Ryan Pressly, RHP Kyle Weiland, and RHP Alex Wilson, with a solid crew of bench position players: catcher Luis Exposito, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, and infielder Kris Negron.
This fictional squad may not be a pennant winner yet, but when some of the 2013 Salem studs like Mookie Betts, Garin Cecchini, Blake Swihart, and Henry Owens join the crew, you’re well on your way to a stellar 40-man roster of former Salem Sox that could certainly compete at the highest level.
(This list did not include major league rehabbers; if it did, certainly guys like Rich Hill, Junichi Tazawa, and even Daisuke Matsuzaka could bolster the 2009-13 Salem Red Sox pitching staff.)
This blog is a labor of love throughout the season, and it is beyond gratifying to discover that more than just the proud parents of the author care to read it. In fact, “Salem Sox Talk” was the most-read MiLB team-specific blog in the month of September! Thanks to you for reading, and thanks to all of the Salem Sox players for providing a historic narrative to chronicle! It was an incredible ride!
Overall, Salem Sox Talk compiled over 30,000 hits during the season. Probably still a couple fewer than Cecchini, but he’s in an on-base percentage league of his own!
Best of luck to Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, Nava, Workman, and the rest of the Boston Red Sox as they strive for a sweep in Tampa tonight!