7/29 Cup of Coffee: After a very rough start to his professional career, C.J. Chatham finally collected his first two hits and did it in a big way for the GCL Sox. Rafael Devers continued his red-hot July with another home run in a Salem win. Nate Freiman and Andrew Benintendi paced the Sea Dogs to a win. Jerry Downs (pictured) sent Lowell fans home happy with a walk-off homer. Both Greenville and the GCL Sox walked tightropes to escape ninth inning jams. In the DSL, Everlouis Lozada made his on-base percentage skyrocket with a staggering night at the plate.
A six-run second inning quickly put the game out of reach, as Pawtucket pitching surrendered five home runs to Rochester on Thursday. Sean O'Sullivan was roughed up over three innings of work, giving up six runs on six hits. The six runs all came with two outs in the second as O'Sullivan was singled to death and then surrendered a three-run homer. William Cuevas surrendered six runs and three home runs in mop-up duty in 5 1/3 innings of relief. Ryan LaMarre went 2 for 5 with two RBI
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Though not technically a prospect anymore by conventional standards, left-handed pitcher Henry Owens has spent most of the season with Pawtucket working through some struggles, especially with his control. In total this season, Owens has thrown 101 1/3 innings in Pawtucket, walking 65 and striking out 96 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Given the struggles the Red Sox have had with their rotation, Owens returning to peak form could be an important boost to the depth heading down the stretch run.
Over his last six starts Owens has had his issues, with a 5.97 ERA in that period, but appears to be taking steps towards getting back on track over the last few outings. The recent start scouted on July 16 was his best in that stretch when he allowed only one hit in 7 2/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. In this start, Owens looked like a different pitcher compared to the pitcher I’ve seen in the past, pitching to contact and most notably utilizing his slider far more than his curveball.
7/28 Cup of Coffee: It was a positive Wednesday for the affiliates, as Pawtucket, the GCL squad, and both DSL teams were victorious. The Sea Dogs were defeated by the Thunder, and the Salem Sox lost a close contest.
Behind the strength of their pitching, the PawSox won their third in a row. Robby Scott improved to 4-3, allowing just three hits across five scoreless innings while striking out two. Roman Mendez added three innings of relief, allowing a hit and a walk while punching out three. Heath Hembree collected his third save, notching a scoreless ninth inning. The PawSox did all of their damage offensively in the fourth. Chris Marrero (pictured, above right with cousin Deven Marrero)laced a two-run double, and Jantzen Witte added an RBI double of his own. Rusney Castillo and Marco Hernandez each had two hits for Pawtucket.
7/27 Cup of Coffee: Tuesday saw some big offensive performances as Salem, Greenville, and the GCL Red Sox all recorded double-digit hits in victories. Pawtucket walked off in extra innings, while top prospect Yoan Moncada went deep in Portland's loss. Lowell split its doubleheader, and the DSL teams also split on the day.
The two teams that once engaged in the longest game in baseball history finished Tuesday's contest in a tidy three hours, 27 minutes. Brennan Boesch ripped a game-winning, walk-off homer over the right field fence with one out in the 11th. Boesch was 2 for 5 on the night with a double. Jantzen Witte also doubled as part of a two-hit effort, and Mike Miller added a pair of singles.
Pawtucket got fantastic pitching, led by starter Henry Owens. Owens matched a season-high with nine strikeouts, and allowed a pair of runs on five hits in five innings. Most importantly, there was little sign of the control issues that have plagued Owens for much of the season. The tall lefty walked only two batters. Kyle Martin followed with three hitless innings, striking out three and walking a pair. It continues a string of excellent work for Martin, who has allowed only one run in 18 1/3 innings over his last nine outings. Noe Ramirez picked up the win in relief, striking out five in three shutout innings.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Over the course of the season, the Greenville Drive has become arguably the deepest, most interesting team in the Red Sox farm system, with several potential big leaguers both on the mound and at the plate. In early July, I was able to travel down to South Carolina and take in all four games of a weekend series between the Drive and the Asheville Tourists. Today we take one last look at Greenville hitters with two pre-season top 10 prospects.
- The top position player on the Greenville roster coming into the year, Luis Alexander Basabe, got off to a slow start, but has really come on of late, putting up a .380/.458/.662 line thus far in July in 71 at bats through the 24th. Basabe is one of the toolsiest prospects in the system, flashing four plus tools. However, the one tool that lags behind is his hit tool and as a result it also makes him a very risky prospect with a large gap between his ceiling and floor.
Basabe has a projectable, athletic frame, listed at 6-foot-0, 170 pounds. He is still only 19 years old and relatively new to the game of baseball, having only picked it up a year or so prior to signing out of Venezuela. He has room in his frame to add some size as he physically matures, especially in his upper body, without losing much present athleticism.
A switch-hitter, Basabe has a vertical, slightly open stance. He holds his hands high and uses a small leg lift as his timing device. Basabe has solid bat speed and quick hands, and when he makes contact it tends to be loud. Basabe’s approach is still on the rough side as he struggles picking up spin on pitches, though he was tracking the ball better than he did last year in Lowell and looked to have a firmer grasp of the strike zone. He will always have swing-and-miss in his game, but he has the quick hands and bat speed to handle velocity. At times during the series it was noticeable that he was almost too quick with his trigger and was getting his bat out ahead of some mediocre fastballs in the 88-91 mph range from fringy right-handers. Basabe, however, has shown the propensity to use all fields already, especially from the left side of the plate where he looks more comfortable. Given he has only been playing baseball for about five years and the strides he has already made over the last year, Basabe could continue to improve at the plate and develop a fringe-average or, if you want to dream, an average hit tool. Given what else he brings to the table, however, even if he only develops a below-average hit tool, he still could be a valuable player.
7/26 Cup of Coffee: The rain was a big asset to the affiliates on Monday, as two rain-shortened games ended in victories. Christian Vazquez broke out of a mini slump to lead the PawSox, and Andrew Benintendi hit another triple for the Sea Dogs. Led by Jordan Procyshen (pictured), Salem came back to beat the Nationals, and Lorenzo Cedrola continued his hot streak in the GCL.
A 12-hit attack led the PawSox past the Red Wings. Justin Haley got the start and went the first six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out five. Chandler Shepherd tossed two scoreless innings before allowing one run on two hits in the ninth, and Pat Light came on to strikeout the final two batters to end the game.
In this week’s episode, we have new first-hand updates on Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Michael Kopech! Plus, we hit a ton of listener emails: Why can’t the Red Sox develop starting pitching? Which Travis - Sam or Shaw - is more likely to be the club’s first baseman in two years? How might the Red Sox break in Benintendi when he gets called up? All this and more await, so hit the download button!
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The Red Sox appear to have placed Andrew Benintendi (pictured) on the fast track as the 2015 first-rounder made his first start in left field on July 22nd. Benintendi had played exclusively center field in his minor league career but, with Jackie Bradley Jr. manning center field and Mookie Betts in right for the foreseeable future, left field looks to be Benintendi's eventual home in Boston. Ryan Hannable of WEEI wonders what could be the next step for SoxProspects.com's second-ranked prospect.
There was plenty of action on the 102nd episode of the SoxProspects.com podcast as Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, Managing Editor Matt Huegel, and Director of Scouting Ian Cundall broke down the Anderson Espinoza trade and the recent draft signings, including first-rounder Jason Groome.
7/25 Cup of Coffee: Offense was tough to come by throughout the system on Sunday, with the exception of the Greenville Drive. Trent Kemp (pictured) had a huge day with two home runs. Mauricio Dubon stayed hot with a 4-for-4 performance. Tate Matheny also recorded a four-hit day. Lowell won in 12 innings, with some clutch hits and a huge day from the bullpen.
Brian Johnson made his first start with Pawtucket since May 14, and it did not go as planned. The lefty lasted just three innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He walked four batters, which is as many walks as he had in his previous four starts combined. Keith Couch came on and allowed six base runners in 3 1/3 innings on five hits and a walk, but was able to limit the damage to one run. Casey Janssen finished the game for the PawSox with 1 2/3 perfect innings with one strikeout.
The offense didn't do much, as a two-run fifth was the only time they were able to score. Ryan LaMarre and Henry Ramos each went 2 for 4 and Dan Butler roped a two-run double.
Cup of Coffee 7/24: It was a night of lackluster performances throughout the Red Sox organization as Salem, the GCL Red Sox, and the DSL Red Sox2 were the only affiliates to emerge victorious. Rafael Devers powered Salem to the win column despite an unremarkable start by Michael Kopech. Chris Marrero and Luis Alexander Basabe turned in strong games for Pawtucket and Greenville, while Bobby Dalbec made an impression in his Spinners debut.
It was a rough night for PawSox starter William Cuevas in a blowout loss in Columbus. Cuevas allowed ten runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Noe Ramirez followed him with a dominant relief appearance, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless frames and fanning six while allowing only a hit and a walk. Pat Light allowed two hits in a shutout inning.
Chris Marrero got the PawSox off to a quick start, homering in the first inning as part of a 2-for-5 game which also featured a double. The PawSox actually took a 5-4 lead with a three-run fourth inning which included RBI singles by Ryan LaMarre and Marco Hernandez. However, the bats then fell silent until Mike Miller scored Jantzen Witte with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Witte was 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and three runs scored.