7/6 Cup of Coffee: The Drive saw some big performances out of members of their lineup, like Yoan Moncada (picturedright), Joseph Monge and Nick Longhi but couldn't seem to connect for the big hit, stranding nine on base and going 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position. The Spinners lost in extras on a tough day for Aneudis Peralta, and the PawSox' Henry Owens let one bad inning ruin an otherwise strong outing. Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs and Red Sox got timely hitting and took advantage of miscues to push across runs.
The PawSox managed just four hits on the afternoon, with just one, Mike Miller's one-out triple, coming as an extra-base hit. Daniel Nava, Travis Shaw and Luis Martinez had the only other hits for Pawtucket. Garin Cecchini's slump continued with an 0 for 4 day. Cecchini has hit just .140 with a .160 slugging percentage in his last 15 games.
7/5 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Portland and Salem were all handed big Independence Day losses, with Salem being blown out by 15 runs. 2015 first-round draft pick Andrew Benintendi(pictured, right) smashed his first professional home run en route to a Lowell victory, while Greenville second baseman Yoan Moncada continued to gain momentum after a slow start at the plate.
Left fielder Carlos Peguero's power surge wasn't enough to overcome 12 runs from division rival Syracuse. Peguero upped his home run total to six with a pair of blasts, and finished 2 for 4 with four RBI. The 6-foot-5 slugger has a .309/.368/.662 slash line since joining the PawSox last month. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits in his first game back with Pawtucket after a short stint with the big club, while shortstop Jemile Weeks and catcher Matt Spring each went 1 for 4 with a double.
7/4 Cup of Coffee: Andrew Benintendi made his professional debut for Lowell, helping the Spinners run to victory. Pawtucket, Portland, the GCL, and both DSL squads ended up on the wrong side of things Friday. Salem was unable to break its lengthy losing streak as part of a doubleheader split, and Greenville pulled out a close game against Hickory.
Pawtucket lost their sixth straight, as they were only able to muster five hits against RailRiders pitching. Joe Kelly made his second start since joining the PawSox, tossing six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, striking out seven. Dalier Hinojosa added three innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits and a walk.
The Red Sox made several moves before Friday night's game with the Houston Astros. The team purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Noe Ramirez from Triple-A Pawtucket, and activated outfielder Shane Victorino from the 15-day disabled list. Catcher and recently-graduated top prospect Blake Swihart was placed on the disabled list with a foot sprain, and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to the PawSox. To make room on the 40-man roster for Ramirez, pitcher Zeke Spruill was designated for assignment.
Ramirez was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Cal State-Fullerton. After spending the 2012 season with Greenville as a starter, he transitioned to the bullpen on a full-time basis the following year, where he has been a standout performer. He was named a SoxProspects.com All-Star following both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and garnered recognition as an Eastern League All-Star in 2014.
Brian Johnson (pictured) is the lone Pawtucket Red Sox player to be named to the International League All-Star team. Johnson will face all-stars from the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game to be played on July 15 in Omaha, Neb.
Johnson has had an outstanding season, and recently moved up from seventh to fifth in the rankings here at SoxProspects.com. The left-hander has put up a 2.68 ERA in 80 2/3 innings during his first season with the PawSox. He has 76 strikeouts to just 24 walks, a 1.08 WHIP, and batters are hitting a measly .214 against him. His stuff is not overpowering, but he has been very consistent by controlling the strike zone, especially with his off-speed pitches, and curveball in particular.
Johnson has moved right up the ladder in the Red Sox system after being drafted in the first round out of the University of Florida, pitching well at each level. He spent last April in Salem, where he made five starts, but was quickly called up to Double-A and dominated the rest of the way. He went 10-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 118 innings for the Sea Dogs in 2014. His efforts in Portland earned him an Eastern League All-Star selection as well.
7/3 Cup of Coffee: A mixed night on the farm included a pair of solid efforts from former first-round picks Michael Kopech (pictured) and Trey Ball, while Pawtucket and Lowell were both blown out. Daniel Nava made his return to the diamond as he begins his rehab stint with the PawSox, and the GCL Red Sox got another good pitching performance as they moved to 10-0 on the year.
Not much went right for the PawSox, as they were clobbered by the RailRiders. Making his third straight start, Zeke Spruill was lit up for 10 runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Edwin Escobar did not have any better luck, as the RailRiders got to him for four runs on five hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Dayan Diaz was able to save the rest of the bullpen with three scoreless innings to end it.
The Red Sox have signed Venezuelan prospects Albert Guaimaro (pictured) and Simon Muzziotti to $300,000 deals, each according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The international signing period opened today, and as in past years, the highly-regarded players have quickly agreed to deals.
Both Guaimaro and Muzziotti have long been linked to the Red Sox, and they were the favorites to land them despite their bonus restrictions. The Red Sox international bonus pool for the 2015-2016 signing period is $3,681,000, however, due to their excessive spending last signing period, including the signing of Yoan Moncada for $31.5 million, the Red Sox are not allowed to spend more than $300,000 on any one player during the next two signing periods. Therefore, it is no surprise that these highly-rated prospects both required the team's maximum to sign. However, it is a bit surprising that the Red Sox were able to convince these two to sign for that amount when other teams could have potentially offered much more.
7/2 Cup of Coffee: It was a rough night on the farm, with the GCL Red Sox being the only team to come away with a victory. All seven of the remaining teams lost, but saw some good offensive performances from Rafael Devers, Rusney Castillo, and Kevin Heller (pictured). Reed Reilly also continued his nice season for Greenville.
Steven Wright didn't have his best outing today as the PawSox dropped this one 8-4. Wright was knocked around for 10 hits and six runs (three earned), pushing his ERA with Pawtucket up to 3.00. Pawtucket briefly took the lead in the third inning when Travis Shaw singled in a pair of runs but the Red Wings were able to grab those runs right back, and held on for the remainder of the night. Jeff Bianchi had a nice night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a triple. Rusney Castillo also had a pair of hits, raising his batting average with Pawtucket to .310. Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 2.42 on the year.
With the calendar turning to July, Chris and Ian got on the horn and had plenty to talk about, starting with a slew of recent promotions, including those of Manuel Margot, Sam Travis, and Mauricio Dubon to new affiliates and Deven Marrero, Jonathan Aro, and Jackie Bradley to the majors, among others. Plus the Red Sox are now mostly done with draft signings - after inking Andrew Benintendi, how much money is left? And of course, new month, new rankings, including a new number one prospect and debates aplenty! We close, as usual, with your emails.
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A fan vote determines two representatives from each team in the league, with Cuevas and Witte being the fan selections for Portland, while the three others were selected by a vote of Eastern League media, managers, and officials.
Asuaje is ranked 24th here at SoxProspects.com and is batting .240/.350/.376 in 70 games for the Sea Dogs this season. He has shown great plate discipline, leading the Sea Dogs with 37 walks. He also leads the team in runs scored with 36. Although he primarily has played second base with Portland, Asuaje had a tremendous year in 2014 split between Greenville and Salem while playing all over the field, splitting his time equally between second base, third base, and left field, and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star.