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Legends On Deck

Gulf Coast Red Sox Report

With almost a third of the Gulf Coast League’s 60 game season behind them, the Gulf Coast Red Sox are leading the South division with a 13-5 record.

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Tom Kotchman (Photo by Barbara Boxleitner)

The GCL Sox, led by longtime scout and minor league manager Tom Kotchman jumped to a 10-0 start, for only the second time in franchise history, the other being in 2005 when that streak was started by an opening day 18 inning victory over the Pirates.

Kotchman is considered by baseball insiders to be the best rookie league manager in history, according to a Sports Illustrated.com story. A one time Class A manager in the Red Sox system, he previously had success guiding the rookie league Boise and Provo teams in the Angels organization before returning to the Red Sox and winning the Gulf Coast League championship last season.

After back to back losses to the Twins over the July 4th weekend, the club has put up a 3-3 record since.

Currently the GCL Sox pitching staff is leading the league in earned run average and are led by righthander Kevin Steen. Steen, an 18 year old native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and a 2014 Boston draft pick is 3-1 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing only 2 unearned runs over 16 innings , striking out 17.

Algenis Martinez is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, and Trevor Kelley a 2015 draft choice from the University of North Carolina has noched three saves in five appearances.

International signee Anderson Espinoza has pitched 12 scoreless innings thus far, striking out 10.

Outfielder Yoan Aybar is batting .318 and infielder Rafael Olivares is hitting .319 with a home run (one of only two the Sox have hit) and 6 RBI and has pitched once in relief in an extra inning game, the contest that turned out to be the GCL Sox first defeat of the year.

Third Baseman/Catcher Roldani Baldwin has hit the other home run for the club.

Among rehab players getting time in the GCL this year are outfielders Henry Ramos and Danny Mars and pitchers Daniel McGrath and Kyle Martin who has picked up two wins in his short stint in the league.

The Gulf Coast Red Sox, after winning the league championship for the first time in their 27 year history in 2006 have been in the GCL’s championship round each year since moving their operations to jetBlue Park, Boston’s 4 year old spring training facility in Lee County, Florida.

The Sox lost to the GCL Pirates in jetBlue’s inaugural year of 2012, lost to the Nationals the following season and defeated the Yankees 1 club last season.

Judging by the team’s performance thus far it looks like the playoffs are once more on the horizon for the Gulf Coast Red Sox.

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Photo by Barbara Boxleitner

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015