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Before they were postseason bound: Red Sox

September 25, 2017

The Red Sox are back in the postseason, a year after being swept in three games out of the American League Division Series by the eventual AL champion Cleveland Indians. Here's a head start with facts about every player representing Boston in October.Fernando Abad, LHP Born: La Romana, Dominican Republic

The Red Sox are back in the postseason, a year after being swept in three games out of the American League Division Series by the eventual AL champion Cleveland Indians. Here's a head start with facts about every player representing Boston in October.
Fernando Abad, LHP
Born: La Romana, Dominican Republic
DOB: 12/17/1985
Minors: Greeneville (R), Tri-City (A-), Lexington (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Round Rock (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA), Syracuse (AAA)
• Abad emerged as a reliable Major League reliever in 2014 with the Oakland A's, appearing in a career-high 69 games and pitching to a 1.57 ERA. He is now known as a lefty specialist who sometimes throws a 55 mph Eephus pitch.
Matt Barnes, RHP
Born: Danbury, Conn.
DOB: 6/17/1990
HS: Bethel (Conn.) High School
College: University of Connecticut
Minors: Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Barnes was taken by Boston with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 Draft and first made it to the Majors on Sept. 8, 2014. The right-hander started a baseball clinic for schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., a year after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the same town.
Andrew Benintendi, OF
Born: Cincinnati
DOB: 7/6/1994
HS: Madeira (Ohio) High School
College: University of Arkansas
Minors: Lowell (A-), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA)
• Benintendi won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best college baseball player in 2015, then was selected with the seventh overall pick in that year's Draft. The Red Sox called him up to the big leagues directly from Double-A on Aug. 2, 2016, and a little more than two months later he homered off Indians righty Trevor Bauer in his first postseason at-bat.
Mookie Betts, OF
Born: Nashville, Tenn.
DOB: 10/7/1992
HS: John Overton (Tenn.) High School
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Lowell (A-), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• The 2016 AL MVP runner-up isn't just a great baseball player. He was a basketball star in high school and also is quite accomplished at bowling. He spent a great deal of his childhood rolling at Donelson Strike and Spare lanes and has notched several 300 games. In the offseason in 2015, he participated in the World Series of Bowling and rolled an average of 196.3 in nine games.
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Born: Oranjestad, Aruba
DOB: 10/1/1992
HS: Colegio Arubano
Minors: Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Bogaerts, who played for the Netherlands in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, is the fifth native of Aruba to play in the Major Leagues (Sidney Ponson, Eugene Kingsale, Calvin Maduro and Radhames Dykhoff are the other four). He also helped the Dutch team win the 2011 Baseball World Cup and was inducted by the Governor Aruba into the Knights Order of Orange-Nassau.
Blaine Boyer, RHP
Born: Atlanta
DOB: 7/11/1981
HS: Walton (Ga.) High School
Minors: GCL Braves (R), Danville (R), Macon (A), Rome (A), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Richmond (AAA), Reno (AAA), Memphis (AAA), Indianapolis (AAA), Omaha (AAA), El Paso (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Boyer took a slight detour in the middle of his baseball journey, playing for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and also retiring outright from the game and working for a brokerage firm. That career pivot didn't last long, however. Royals general manager Dayton Moore called him and lured him back to the game on a Minor League deal.
Jackie Bradley Jr., OF
Born: Richmond, Va.
DOB: 4/19/1990
HS: Prince George (Va.) High School
College: University of South Carolina
Minors: Lowell (A-), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA) 
• Before each at-bat, Bradley carves the initials M.S. into the dirt in honor of his best friend, Matt Saye, who died in a car accident. Bradley's 29-game hitting streak during the 2016 season tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest such streak in Red Sox history.
Rajai Davis, OF
Born: Norwich, Conn.
DOB: Oct. 19, 1980
HS: New London (Conn.) High School
College: University of Connecticut at Avery Point
Minors: GCL Pirates (R), Williamsport (A-), Hickory (A), Lynchburg (A+), Altoona (AA), Indianapolis (AAA)
• Davis has four stolen bases in a single game and went from switch-hitting to solely hitting right-handed, but he will be forever known as the man who hit a game-tying two-run home run off flame-throwing Cubs closer Albertin Chapman in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series while Davis was a member of the Indians.
Rafael Devers, 3B
Born: Sanchez, Dominican Republic
DOB: 10/24/1996
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Devers was called up to the Major Leagues on July 23 of this year at the age of 20 and 274 days, making him the youngest player in the Majors at the time. Three days later, he notched his first big league hit and did it in fine style, blasting a home run to center field against the Mariners in Safeco Field in Seattle.
Doug Fister, RHP
Born: Merced, Calif.
DOB: 2/4/1984
HS: Golden Valley (Calif.) High School
College: Merced College, Fresno State
Minors: Everett (A-), West Tennessee (AA), Tacoma (AAA)
• Fister's father, Larry, played football at Doug's alma mater of Fresno State in the 1970s and became a fire captain. Fister has shown his share of toughness on the mound, too. In Game 2 of the 2012 World Series, Fister, pitching for the Detroit Tigers, took a line drive to the head in the second inning but stayed in the game, lasting six innings in all and giving up only one run.
Brock Holt, OF/IF
Born: Fort Worth, Texas
DOB: 6/11/1988
HS: Stephenville (Texas) High School
College: Navarro College, Rice University
Minors: State College (R), Bradenton (A+), Altoona (AA), Indianapolis (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Holt emerged onto the scene in an eventful 2015 season. First, he made the Opening Day roster for the first time. Then he hit for the cycle against the Braves at Fenway Park on June 16, becoming the first Boston player to hit for the cycle since John Valentin in 1996. And then he made his first All-Star team.
Joe Kelly, RHP
Born: Anaheim
DOB: 6/9/1988
HS: Corona (Calif.) High School
College: University of California-Riverside
Minors: Batavia (A-), Quad Cities (A), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Kelly was an outfielder in high school until he converted to pitching and became the team's closer. Aside from a fastball that sometimes tops 100 mph and some sweet salsa dancing moves that he displayed in the outfield one day in 2013, Kelly is known for pranking the rapper Nelly during an interview in the 2013 National League Championship Series.
Craig Kimbrel, RHP
Born: Huntsville, Ala.
DOB: 5/28/1988
HS: Lee (Ala.) High School
College: Wallace State Community College  
Minors: Danville (R), Rome (A), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Gwinnett (AAA)
• Kimbrel is a six-time All-Star and the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year, and he's also the fastest pitcher (318 games) to ever get to 200 saves, a feat he accomplished in 2015 against his original team, the Atlanta Braves. Kimbrel changed his walk-out song from Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" to "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent prior to this season.
Sandy Leon, C
Born: Maracaibo, Venezuela
DOB: 3/13/1989
Minors: GCL Nationals (R), Vermont (A-), Hagerstown (A), Potomac (A+), Harrisburg (AA), Syracuse (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Leon had the unfortunate circumstance of spraining his ankle only four innings into his Major League debut on May 13, 2012, while with the Washington Nationals. Things got better, however, and Leon became an indispensable part of the Red Sox organization after being promoted to the big club in June 2016, and finishing that season with a batting average of .310.
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Born: Amory, Miss.
DOB: 9/6/1985
HS: Amory (Miss.) High School
College: Mississippi State University
Minors: Spokane (A-), Clinton (A), Bakersfield (A+), Frisco (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA), Round Rock (AAA)
Moreland singled in his first Major League at-bat while a member of the Rangers on July 29, 2010. He also hit a three-run home run in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series against the Giants. Moreland won his first Gold Glove Award in 2016.
Eduardo Nunez, IF
Born: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
DOB: 6/15/1987
HS: American Military Academy (P.R.)
Minors: Staten Island (A-), Charleston (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), New Britain (AA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Rochester (AAA)
• When Nunez was signed as a free agent by the Yankees in 2004, the club expected him to possibly become Derek Jeter's replacement at shortstop. That did not happen in New York, but Nunez became an everyday player in Minnesota and made his first All-Star Game with the Twins in 2016.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Born: Woodland, Calif.
DOB: 8/17/1983
HS: Woodland (Calif.) High School
College: Arizona State University
Minors: Augusta (A), Sarasota (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Pedroia is the only member of this current Red Sox squad that also was on the team when it won the 2007 World Series. The four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL MVP also was college teammates at Arizona State with fellow big leaguers Ian Kinsler and Andre Ethier.
Thomas Pomeranz, LHP
Born: Collierville, Tenn.
DOB: 11/22/1988
HS: Collierville (Tenn.) High School
College: University of Mississippi
Minors: Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA), Sacramento (AAA)
• Pomeranz is best-known for the 2011 blockbuster trade that sent him, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride to the Colorado Rockies for starter Ubaldo Jimenez when Pomeranz was a top prospect for the Cleveland Indians. After ending up on the Padres in 2016, Pomeranz, who had been a part-time reliever, got back into the starting rotation and made his first All-Star Game
Rick Porcello, RHP
Born: Morristown, N.J.
DOB: 12/27/1988
HS: Seton Hall Preparatory School (N.J.) 
Minors: Lakeland (A+), Toledo (AAA)
• Porcello was the youngest player in the American League in 2009, but his manager for the Tigers at the time, Jim Leyland, started him in the tiebreaker game anyway. Porcello got a no-decision in that game but pitched effectively, giving up two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings in an eventual 12-inning loss to the Twins. Everything came together for him with the Red Sox last year, when he led the Majors with 22 wins and claimed his first Cy Young Award.
David Price, LHP
Born: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
DOB: 8/26/1985
HS: Blackman (Tenn.) High School
College: Vanderbilt University
Minors: Vero Beach (A+), Montgomery (AA), Durham (AAA)
• Price was the first overall selection in the 2007 Draft, and a little more than a year later he was on the mound as a secret-weapon reliever for the Rays in their first World Series appearance. Price has gone on to start the All-Star Game (2010) and win a Cy Young Award (2012). Price also is known for a hit he gave up -- Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, a home run in Yankee Stadium on July 9, 2011.
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Born: Samana, Dominican Republic
DOB: 12/23/1983
HS: Adbentista (D.R.)
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Lowell (A-), Augusta (A), Sarasota (A+), Portland (AA)
• Ramirez, who started his career in the Red Sox system but was traded to the Marlins in the deal that brought Josh Beckett to Boston, hit 46 doubles as a rookie with the Marlins in 2006, which is the National League record for two-base hits by a shortstop aged 22 or younger. Ramirez joined the Red Sox in 2015 and hit two home runs in his first game on Opening Day.
Addison Reed, RHP
Born: Montclair, Calif.
DOB: 12/27/1988
HS: Los Osos (Calif.) High School
College: San Diego State University
Minors: Great Falls (R), Kannapolis (A), Winston-Salem (A+), Birmingham (AA), Charlotte (AAA)
• Reed was born on the same day in the same year as teammate Rick Porcello. In 2013 as the closer for the White Sox, Reed notched saves in six consecutive games, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat since Eric Gagne of the Dodgers did it 10 years earlier. In 2015 with the Mets, Reed pitched in his first World Series.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Born: Valencia, Venezuela
DOB: 4/7/1993
Minors: GCL Orioles (R), Aberdeen (A-), Delmarva (A), Frederick (A+), Bowie (AA), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Rodriguez has the chance in this postseason to end up playing against the player he was traded for -- Cleveland's Andrew Miller, who was swapped for Rodriguez in 2014 when the Venezuelan southpaw went to Boston from Baltimore. Rodriguez's Major League debut on May 28, 2015, was a memorable one. He beat the Rangers in Texas after shutting them out for 7 2/3 innings.
Chris Sale, LHP
Born: Lakeland, Fla.
DOB: 3/30/1989
HS: Lakeland (Fla.) Senior High School
College: Florida Gulf Coast University
Minors: Winston-Salem (A+), Charlotte (AAA)
• Sale is a six-time All-Star who topped the 300-strikeout mark for the first time in 2017, his first season with the Red Sox after the blockbuster deal that sent him to Boston from the White Sox. Sale started his Major League career as a relief pitcher, appearing in 58 games for the White Sox in 2011 before becoming a full-time starter in 2012.
Robby Scott, LHP
Born: Miam 
DOB: 8/29/1989
HS: St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High School
College: Florida State University
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Lowell (A-), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Scott has the distinction of being one of the only players in this year's postseason to be an alumnus of an independent league. Scott found himself in the outpost of Yuma, Ariz., pitching for the Scorpions in 2011 after going undrafted. The Red Sox saw enough of the left-hander to sign him, and he made the big league club in 2016.
Carson Smith, RHP
Born: Midland, Texas
DOB: 10/19/1989
HS: Midland (Texas) Christian High School
College: Texas State University
Minors: High Desert (A+), Jackson (AA), Tacoma (AAA)
• Smith had a relatively meteoric rise through the Mariners' system, being drafted in the eighth round in 2011, making it to the Major Leagues in 2014, and becoming the team's closer in June 2015. Seattle traded him to Boston in December 2015 and Smith missed all of 2016 because of Tommy John elbow surgery.
Sam Travis, 1B
Born: Chicago
DOB: 8/27/1993
HS: Providence Catholic (Ill.) High School
College: Indiana University
Minors: Lowell (A-), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Travis was a second-round Draft pick for the Red Sox in 2014 and shot up the organizational hierarchy, hitting four Minor League levels in one year. He made it to the Major Leagues on May 23 of this year and got his first hit the next day against the Rangers.
Christian Vazquez, C
Born: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
DOB: 8/21/1990
HS: Puerto Rico Baseball Academy  
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Lowell (A-), Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Vazquez is a catcher who grew up in Puerto Rico, so naturally he looked up to the three Molina brothers (Bengie, Jose and Yadier), all Puerto Rican natives who made it to the Major Leagues. Vazquez's signature moment of this season came on Aug. 1, when his three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning helped beat the Indians.
Brandon Workman, RHP
Born: Arlington
DOB: 8/13/1988
HS: Bowie (Texas) High School
College: University of Texas
Minors: Greenville (A), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Workman arrived on the Major League scene in 2013 and made his presence known, appearing in seven postseason games and not allowing any earned runs. He pitched a clean eighth inning in Game 6 of that year's World Series as his team won the title over the Cardinals in Fenway Park.
Chris Young, OF
Born: Houston
DOB: 9/5/1983
HS: Bellaire (Texas) High School
Minors: ARIZ White Sox (R), Bristol (R), Great Falls (R), Kannapolis (A), Team (A+), Birmingham (AA), Tucson (AAA)
Young stormed onto the Major League scene in 2007, becoming the first rookie to hit 30 home runs and steal 25 bases in the same season in MLB history. Young is a veteran of the 2010 Home Run Derby and made the All-Star team that year.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.