Jose Vinicio, SS
Vinicio doesn't have as much attention paid to him as some of Boston's other shortstop prospects, but there are those in the industry that prefer Vinicio to all of them, save Xander Bogaerts. He was just 18 in 2012, so you can forgive the 150 pound teenager for hitting just .277/.320/.371. You can also cut him some slack for his 25 errors at short, as he actually managed to cut back -- Vinicio made more miscues in fewer chances and games the year before, and made just two fewer errors in 142 fewer chances two years ago.
Yes, 25 errors is a lot, but for an 18-year-old at Low-A, errors are just part of the learning process. As he learns to control himself and his movements better at the position, the unforced errors that comprise much of this lofty total should disappear. If they don't, that's a different story, but given the context, the understanding is that he should.
The switch-hitter is obviously going to need to put on some muscle in order to be any kind of danger at the plate, but again, that could come with time. He'll be 19 and in his second year at Low-A, and is unlikely to be rushed given Deven Marrero is in front of him, and the roster decisions of short-season ball behind. This should be a good chance for Vinicio to show off some of what he can currently do, and let the Red Sox know he'll be ready for a promotion in his age-20 campaign.
Justin Haley, RHP
Haley's first start was... interesting. Let's go with that. He walked four batters in just 3-2/3 innings, while allowing a pair of hits, a wild pitch, and an unearned run. He also struck out six of the 17 batters he faced, however, and that ERA came out a shiny zero, so things just look all out of sorts. It's not a huge surprise to see him missing bats and missing the strike zone, however, as you could likely figure out by looking at his -- albeit brief -- career stats.
He was the sixth-round selection of the 2012 draft by the Red Sox, and at age 22, is someone you would like to see perform well -- and fast -- at Low-A Greenville. He has the stuff to do so, as he has a low-to-mid-90s fastball with downward movement on it, in part thanks to his 6-foot-5 build. He complements that pitch with a bender and change-up, both of which have potential. If he can throw all three for strikes with some consistency, he could turn out to be a more intriguing arm than the draft round he's attached to suggests. As with many of the pitchers Boston took last year, though, relief is the likely destination for Haley, though, that's all dependent on the development of his secondary stuff.
Francellis Montas, RHP
Montas spent the 2012 season in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, before finishing up with a brief stint at short-season Lowell. It was his most successful season to date, with the right-hander throwing 44 frames while striking out 45 batters against just 13 walks. He's always had the punch outs, but has been unable to keep walks from ruining his numbers in his brief career. The 2012 season primed him for his first taste of full-season ball, though, and he's started off well with his first start for Low-A Greenville.
Montas has a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s according to Sox Prospects, but the pitch is occasionally too straight. His slider, similarly, comes in a bit flat at times. Both have the potential for better movement, however, especially if Montas can refine his mechanics to be more consistent, and stop working so much against him -- extraneous movement in a motion can damage a pitcher's ability to perform.
He's currently starting, but his profile screams relief, especially with the mechanical inconsistencies. If he suddenly takes a huge step forward mechanically and his pitches move as they should, that could change, but chances are good this is going to be a guy with a devastating fastball out of the back-end of a bullpen, at least, relative to his chances of being a starter with that kind of velocity.
[Note: We're aware that the numbers for Jose Vinicio and Francellis Montas are not updated in the tables provided by Baseball Reference, but, as of this writing, they were not up-to-date yet. With just three games for Vinicio and one start for Montas, you aren't missing much yet.]
Read more Red Sox:
- On hope, the Red Sox new season, and what (little) we know
- Will Middlebrooks has some power
- Coming home and taking stock
- Red Sox would "love" to re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury
- Should a healthy Stephen Drew start over Jose Iglesias?