Have we found happiness at second? (2003 Minor League 2B)

Second base, which Todd Walker held last year, is now open, to be filled by an expected tandem of Pokey Reese, defensive whiz, and Mark Bellhorn, enigma. Terry Shumpert and Tony Womack have both been brought in on minor-league contracts as insurance and competition for the bench. One noticeable trend that keeps being seen is the On-Base Percentage trend as one progresses down to the lower levels of the minor leagues. The new owners are showing signs of influence. Meanwhile, at the upper level, the owners have also shown an understanding that walks are not everything. The addition of Pokey Reese, who can run and who can field brilliantly, proves that. Reese is not a great hitter, and not a great walker. He, however, shows enough capability in both that he should be able to hold down the number nine spot in the Boston order.
Boston Red Sox (ML) Terry Shumpert || Tony Womack || Mark Bellhorn || Pokey Reese
Terry Shumpert, a former Red Sox player (47 AB in 1995 as a 28 year old), returns for one last hurrah after spending time with Tampa Bay last year. The former Colorado super-utility player has never been able to hit outside of Coors Field, but has a decent set of wheels (85:29 Stolen Base : Caught Stealing ratio) and has played every position possible save for pitcher and catcher. He sports serviceable fielding range, and will be a good utility man should the Red Sox need him. Barring injury, he’ll stay in Pawtucket.
Tony Womack is more likely to make the Red Sox than is Shumpert. Womack was a postseason hero for the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamonbacks, and a former All-Star. He has, however, slipped into obscurity the past year. Splitting time between Arizona, Chicago (Cubs) and Colorado proved be a magnanimous disaster. He, however, has a better SB:CS ratio (309:63) and is serviceable in the field. He has not played more positions then Shumpert. However, his history makes him a more attractive option than Shumpert and should don Red Sox whites at one point during the season.
The only thing you know you will get from Mark Bellhorn is walks. Other than that, he’s a mystery. His best season was with Chicago (NL) two years ago, when he hit 27 homers with a .258 average. Save for that season, he is an enigma. He broke in with Oakland showing the swagger he would not display again until 2002. A trade to Colorado mid-way through the 2003 campaign did little to help him – he had a lower Slugging Percentage with Colorado than with Chicago. The Red Sox hope he reclaims the 2002 stroke and provides a good alternative to Pokey Reese. A platoon is in the works. However, if Bellhorn fails, he could lose his platoon job and fill in all across the diamond.
Is the Hokey Pokey really what it’s all about? Sporting a lifetime .984 Fielding Percentange and 5.16 Range Factor (astounding – RF calculates how many outs per game a person contributes at that position). His hitting varies from year to year. Either he turns in an below-average season (by today’s standards) or an abysmal one. His career batting average is .251 with a .310 OBP. He should have a higher RBI total than normal this year, but pitchers will start pitching around the seven and eight hitters to get to Reese. Reese will be pitched harder, so his statistics may suffer. As long as he makes the highlight reel and delivers every once in a while, this will have been a good pickup.
Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) Coquillette, Trace
Pawtucket’s current second baseman is Trace Coquillette who was impressive in 233 at-bats for Pawtucket – for a 29 year old. If Shumpert and Womack go down, Coquillette (.305 AVG / .459 OBP / .376 SLG with a solid glove) should prove able to hold down a utility spot for a couple games, if not the season.
Portland Sea Dogs (AA) Leon, Carlos
The Portland 24 year old, if his 2003 season is any indication, is a future utility player and could end up as a starter at some point. Even Sox Prospects is enamored with his potential. Leon never developed until 2002, but then came on the scene and put himself a possible future in the majors. To be considered for a long career in the majors, however, he would need to cut down on his 13 errors that he committed in 2003.
Sarasota Red Sox (A) Blasi, Blake || Dorta, Melvin
Blake Blasi had a cup of coffee with Portland but spent most of his time with Sarasota, where the only thing he had going for him was his .345 OBP considering he had a .215 AVG. Dorta is never going to make it to Triple-A, mayne not even Portland.
Augusta GreenJackets (A) Curtis, Lee || Lowell Spinners (A) Reyes, Melvin
Lee Curtis and Melvin Reyes are two similar players. They both had batting averages in the .250s in about 200 at-bats with similiar On-Base Percentages and fielding prowess. Curtis and Reyes are nothing to get excited about.
Gulf Coast Red Sox (GCL) Ciofrone, Peter
Ciofrone had a promising 2003 debut in 123 at bats, being able to hit the ball well (.276 Average) with a good eye and doubles pop. He attempted six stolen bases, and was caught in all of them, but has two triples. As he hones his base-stealing abilities, he should have a much better stealing ratio. Ciofrone also played all infield positions save for pitcher, catcher, and third base, amassing 8 errors.
Boston East (DSL) Obispo, Juan A. || Rodriguez, Yaugel ||
Boston North (DSL) Cotui, David || Cotuy, Juan Carlos
Not too much can be said about Boston East and Boston North players right now, because they have small sample sizes (smaller than the GCL), but Obispo seems as if he is a Bellhorn clone minus the slugging, Rodriguez could develop into a major league star, Cotui could develop into a well-served utility man, and Cotuy won’t make it to AA.
The final evaluation of the Red Sox will be their starting pitchers, which will be out shortly. Some bad news was delivered today as Adrian Brown signed with the Kansas City Royals in hopes of making them as a fifth outfielder even though the Royals have a Rule 5 pick that will probably use that role. Justin Kaye, who split time between a very good Portland season and a very bad Pawtucket season signed a minor league deal with the Padres. He shows promise, but just can’t get over the hill into the majors.

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