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Boston Red Sox Select Tanner Houck With Their First Round Pick



Boston Red Sox Select University Of Missouri Pitcher Tanner Houck With Their First Round Pick

Boston Red Sox roll the dice and select a pitcher from the University of Missouri with their No.24 pick in the 2017 MLB draft on Tuesday night.

Tanner Houck was a junior this past season and had a 4-7 record with a 3.33 ERA, while totaling 95 strikeouts and a .220 opponent batting average over 14 starts. Houck notably threw eight shutout innings on May 6 at Vanderbilt and tossed a nine-inning complete game on May 13 against South Carolina, striking out 19 batters and walking only two in those two outings combined.

The selection of the right-hander Houck is the first college pitcher selection for Boston since Ben Cherington in 2012 drafted left-handed starter Brian Johnson. Houck is rearing to go and is “honored” to be a member of the Boston Red Sox organization.

“Super excited,” Houck said on a conference call Monday night after being drafted. “Team with great history. Obviously they’re one of the top teams in the entire league right now. they’ve been great through numerous years. I’m honored to be a Boston Red Sox and super excited to get started.”

One pitcher Houck looks up too? Red Sox ace Chris Sale who Houck says has a similar arm angle to his own.

“There was a lot of people growing up that I looked up to,” he said. “Being a St. Louis area guy, I grew up watching Wainwright. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned and watched other pitchers. Max Scherzer being one of them, a Mizzou alum there. Watching him throw and really compete has been a big influence on me. Honestly Chris Sale. He’s a low arm-slot kind of guy who throws across his body kind of like I do. Watching him pitch especially with the slider and two-seam fastball, everything like that, it’s fun watching him pitch. He’s a lefty, I’m a righty, but it’s still in my mind a little bit comparable watching him throw because he does throw a different way than most people do.”

According to Boston Red Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard, Houck has been on Boston’s radar the entire time and they have even talked to get to a more personal level.

“Getting to know him as well has been a big part of it,” Rikard said on the conference call. “We did a Facetime phone call the other day just to kind of enhance our relationship. We’ve been very impressed by obviously Tanner as a pitcher but maybe even more so as a kid and as a person. Someone who we strongly believe is going to do everything he can to maximize his potential through the years. If you get to see him pitch, he’s a warrior on the mound, and we feel confident he’s going to be a very hard worker once he puts that uniform on.”

The righties biggest strength is his mid-90s fastball that like Joe Kelly, could translate to the bullpen. But Boston seems committed to making him a starter and Rickard says his scouts are convinced that is what he will be at the major league level.

“We plan to develop him as a starter,” he said. “That’s the plan. We see him as a starter. The scouts on our staff have tremendous conviction that he’s going to end up as a starter. As he alluded, there are some areas for a college guy that’s been this successful  at a very high level, we feel there are some areas where he can improve. He’s kind of the rare college successful guy that there’s still some good room for growth.”

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Rumor: Jackie Bradley Jr. Being Shopped For Trade



Red Sox

With the Boston Red Sox looking to acquire a power bat this offseason to keep up with the Yankees they are reportedly shopping a core member of their current team.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today the player Boston is shopping is center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. One potential destination for Bradley is the Chicago Cubs. Chicago has been connected to Boston with slugger Kyle Schwarber potentially being available.

Schwarber has mashing power but has had issues at the plate having a .211 average last season that caused the Cubs to send the home run hitter back to the minors last June.

Bradley who hit 26 home runs two seasons ago fell back to 17 home runs this past season with a .245 batting average. His fielding ability though makes up for any shortcomings he has at the plate and his contract status could be very appealing in the trade market. Bradley Jr. has three years of arbitration remaining on his contract.

If Boston moves on from Bradley the likely scenario of outfield positioning would be moving Andrew Benintendi over to center field keeping Mookie Betts out in right field.

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Stanton in Pinstripes Edition



MLB Home Run Derby

The snow is now cascading down upon us with indifferent wrath. Today, Boston saw the first real Winter Storm of the impending season. And while you were outside futilely efforting to resist nature, with your shovels and snowblowers, the World of Baseball fractured entirely.

If you haven’t heard by now, you live under the most obscure rock in existence. The New York Yankees have purportedly acquired Giancarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. 

Stanton is currently going through the formality of physicals and medical checkups – as if there’s going to be anything physically wrong with this inhuman behemoth.

The Winter Meetings commence tomorrow. It is expected that the trade will be officially announced soon after.

Reports suggest that the Yankees have agreed to eat $265 million of Stanton’s contract, while sending Starlin Castro to Miami along with a couple of low-level pitching prospects.

This was our White Whale, Boston – this one got away and we still ended up dying in the end.

Dave Dombrowski looks like an absolute fool for having let this chiseled new-school Bambino slip through his hands. He immolated the entire pitching crop, down on the farm. So it’s inconceivable that Dombrowski didn’t offer the kitchen sink, in his pursuit of Stanton.

Conversely, underneath the surface, Giancarlo’s mind might have been irrevocably made up, before talks even started. He’s a city-slicker. Miami nightlife translates better to Big Apple nightlife than it does to the half-revelry of the Boston Commonwealth.

The Yankees obtain Giancarlo Stanton, presupposing the implications for the Red Sox and fans alike. It’s with a heavy heart that I unfortunately welcome you to a familiar and antique era of Red Sox Baseball. It’s the late 90’s all over again…

But, you know what? Let’s try to make light of this nonplussing news! Yeah, we don’t need Giancarlo Stanton and those Damn Yankees still won’t win the World Series! It’s time for another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Do Not Need To Get A Big Bat



Red Sox

Many have stated their wishes that the Boston Red Sox will go out and get a big-time bat for the heart of their order. A bat that they seemingly need to help protect the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. One of the bigger names connected to the team is Giancarlo Stanton, but reports show that idea as a longshot with Stanton not looking at Boston as a possibility.

Another name, Jose Abreu, is also reportedly out of the running with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the White Sox will not trade their slugger before the start of the season. With the potential list shortening with JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer leading the running, maybe Boston should sit still this offseason.

That is sort of a controversial take, but the notion of Hosmer or Martinez doesn’t get the juices flowing, and ultimately will cost the Red Sox more then they are worth.

So what is the answer, Boston still needs a first basemen for next season. A position that could be filled with Sam Travis and Hanley Ramirez given the idea that Dustin Pedroia will find some time at the DH spot next season with Eduardo Nunez getting some quality time at second base. Another possibility is Rafael Devers not panning out at third base and needing to move to first base or DH at times.

Also in the cards is prospect Michael Chavis who should find himself in AAA Pawtucket at some point next season and maybe in Boston at third base or first. Then comes the possibility of Blake Swihart or my favorite, Bryce Brentz. Both were getting trained at first base with Pawtucket last season and could see reps at first base if Dave Dombrowski opts to not sign a big-time bat.

Of course, these solutions are not as flashy and will not present an immediate threat for Boston in the heart of their order. But betting on the current roster to bounce back at the plate and see an emergence of another young player might be a route to take.

Worse case scenario they get the same amount of production and end up right around 90 wins like they were this past season. But the upside of keeping the financial flexibility going forward while trying out prospects might be the best thing for Boston to do instead of overreacting to fan pressure.

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