Sox lose prospects Fields, Pressly in Rule 5 Draft; acquire three

840311.jpg

Sox lose prospects Fields, Pressly in Rule 5 Draft; acquire three

NASHVILLE -- As an organization, the Red Sox were busy in the Rule 5 draft Thursday morning. Whether the activity will translate into anything meaningful remains to be seen.

With their own pick in the first round, seventh overall, the Sox selected second baseman Jeff Kobernus from the Washington Nationals, then dealt him to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Justin Henry.

The trade was pre-arranged before the start of the draft. Because the Sox had a high pick, but no room on their 40-man roster -- they're at 38 currently, but will soon add Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino once they take physicals and officially sign contracts -- the Sox took a player on the Tigers' behalf.

They then swapped him for Henry, who doesn't need to be placed on the 40-man roster.

In the minor league phase of the draft, Boston then selected two pitchers: righthander Jonathan Bachanov from the Chicago White Sox organization and Jack McGeary from the Nationals.

McGeary is from West Roxbury and attended Roxbury Latin. McGeary signed with the Nationals for 1.8 million and attended Stanford before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"We're hoping he bounces back,'' said director of pro scout Jared Porter. "He's a good kid, good makeup. Why not? He's a lefty with good command. His fastball gets up to 91 mph. His secondary stuff is still a work in progress, but he can spin a breaking ball. He's got a good delivery and good makeup.''

Bachanov was a supplemental pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2007, when Eddie Bane -- hired earlier this fall by the Sox -- was the scouting director of the Angels.

"Eddie likes him, so that's one of the reasons we took him,'' said Porter. "He's got a big fastball but needs to continue to improve his strike-throwing. He was up to 96 mph when we saw him, but he's got to improve his (command)."

The Sox also lost two pitchers in the first handful of picks, with righthanded reliever Josh Fields selected by Houston with the first selection overall. Not long after the Sox lost righty Ryan Pressly to the Minnesota Twins.

Fields, who was part of the deal in which the Sox obtained Erik Bedard from Seattle at the trade deadline in 2011, posted good numbers in Portland and Pawtucket, allowing just 48 hits in 75 23 innings in the last two seasons while compiling an ERA of 2.26.

At the end of last season, some in the organization thought Fields would compete for a bullpen spot in Boston next spring, but the Red Sox couldn't find a way to protect him on the 40-man roster.

Pressly, a high school pick in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, pitched at Portland last year (2.93 ERA), but opened some eyes in the Arizona Fall League two months ago.

"He's always had a good arm," said Porter. "He's got good stuff -- good fastball, good curveball -- and had a good (showing in the) Fall League."

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.