The First Annual GCL Red Sox Recap

The Boston Red Sox farm system is filled with talent, but that does not guarantee success for the minor league affiliates. In Brandon Magee‘s GCL Red Sox recap, he details the ups and downs of the rookie league team’s 2015 season.

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Overall Regular Season Record: 41-17

Home Record: 21-8 Away Record: 20-9

Placement – 1st – 7 1/2 GA

Playoffs: Semifinals – 1-0 over Cardinals Finals – 2-0 over Blue Jays

GCL Post-Season All-Stars: None[/box]

The Gulf Coast League has a strange structure. Although there are 16 teams, the league is divided into four divisions and there is no interdivision play. While the structure likely keeps costs down, it makes for difficulty in evaluating teams across divisions. With the quick playoff format – a one game semifinal followed by a best of three finals – there can be doubt about who the best team in the league actually is.

However, the GCL Red Sox left no doubt that they were the best team in the league this year. Winning a league-high 41 regular season games gave them a good claim; sweeping through the playoffs cemented it.

A Quick Start

[box]Opening Day Lineup

Luis Alejandro Basabe 2B

Rafael Oliveras 3B

Henry Ramos DH

Devon Fisher C

Trent Kemp LF

Tyler Hill RF

Darwin Pena 1B

Yoan Aybar CF

Carlos Tovar SS

Opening Rotation

Javier Rodriguez

Gerson Bautista

Anderson Espinoza

Josh Pennington

Daniel McGrath[/box]

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As was the Red Sox tradition this season, the GCL Red Sox won their opening game 10-4. The team would continue to win, entering July with a perfect record of 8-0. They would continue their winning streak to ten, before losing their first game of the season 4-3. They would lose the next game as well, 11-1, the first time all season the pitching staff allowed more than four runs in a game.

While the Sox would struggle over the next 10-game stretch (going 5-5), the pitching continued to be stout, allowing more than four runs in only two games. The offense would explode during a four-game winning streak, scoring seven or more in all four (with the pitching continuing to give up three or fewer) before a 6-2 loss ended the streak. And then, the Florida rains washed away a week of the schedule, five consecutive games being postponed.

The Race to the Playoffs

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Once the games resumed, the team struggled, going 2-4 in the first six games. The offense, in particular was weak, scoring more than four runs only once. But as the calendar changed to August, so did the fortunes of the offense. The team won 11 of their first 13 games in the month with the offense scoring four or more in nine of the contests. Of course, the pitching continued to dominate, allowing more than three runs on three occasions.

A rare set of losses bookended a shutout win before the team resumed their winning ways, closing the season with eight wins in nine games. A 20-5 August record was a product of fantastic pitching – allowing four or more runs in only six games – and an opportunistic offense, allowing the team to go 7-1 in one run contests.

The Playoffs

With 41 regular season wins, the year was already a success for the GCL Sox. However, a second consecutive GCL championship would be the cherry on top. Facing the Cardinals in the one-game semifinal, Anderson Espinoza would give up an unearned run in the third inning, putting the Sox behind. But the opportunistic Sox would pick up a pair of runs in the third and the fourth, and win 4-1.

In the finals, they would meet the Blue Jays, who put up 39 wins in their division. Unsurprisingly, the first game would be a tight one. The Red Sox would score a run in the first, the Blue Jays would score a pair in the fourth, and the teams would put up zeroes the rest of the way. The Sox would enter the bottom of the 9th down 2-1, but would get two successive RBI singles with two outs to walk away with an improbable 3-2 victory.

After a rain-out, a doubleheader was scheduled to complete the series. The Red Sox would put up a run in the first and the pitching kept the Blue Jays off the board for the seven scheduled innings. A 1-0 victory gave the GCL Sox the win and the championship.

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Final Lineup

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Andy Perez DH

Rafael Oliveras 2B

Jerry Downs 1B

Roldani Baldwin 3B

Tyler Hill RF

Carlos Tovar SS

Yoan Aybar CF

Andrew Noviello C

Nicholos Hamilton LF

Playoff Rotation

Anderson Espinoza

Logan Allen

Roniel Raudes[/box]

*Click here for all of Brandon’s Boston Red Sox minor league recaps.

Brandon Magee is our resident minor league expert, but has also written about, Ben Cherington’s departure, the mishandling of injuries by the Red Sox, interim bench coach Dana LeVangieBROCK HOLT!, undrafted free agents, the home run king Mike Hessman, the Misadventures of Media Magee, and an interview with Trenton Kemp.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @cuzittt.

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