SoxProspects News

April 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Blake Swihart's hot start; Rusney Castillo on the mend


This week's minor league notes:
 
  • SoxProspects.com's Matt Huegel chatted with top prospect Blake Swihart (pictured, left) and Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles on learning to catch Steven Wright's knuckleball. While the results were mixed at times, he held his own in Thursday's home opener, Huegel wrote.
  • SoxProspects.com Senior Staff Writer James Dunne took an in-depth look at the pitchers at lower levels in the Sox system. He wrote that 2014 third-round draft pick Jake Cosart is the top prospect to watch in those levels as he is projected to start the year in Lowell. He also noted that the stock of GCL Red Sox righty Gerson Bautista is rising coming off a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol.
  • Dunne also broke down the mid-minors pitchers to keep an eye on, highlighting Michael Kopech and Trey Ball. He wrote that Kopech comes with a lot of risk, but still has a very high ceiling. Ball, meanwhile, will require patience in developing.
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at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Cuevas struggles with command, Barnes bounces back


4/20 Cup of Coffee: A couple of rainouts in the South left only two teams playing on Sunday. The PawSox struggled with the bats but took advantage of errors to win their fourth straight game, while the Sea Dogs were unable to generate any offense behind a shaky performance from their starter.

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A late rally boosted the PawSox over Rochester, completing the four-game sweep of the Red Wings. The PawSox took advantage of some costly errors made by Rochester, including three errors and a couple of wild pitches. But no one player stood out at the plate; no PawSox had more than one hit, and all of their six hits were singles. They stranded eight men on base and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
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April 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Swihart leads PawSox hit parade, Rodriguez earns first win


Cup of Coffee (4/19): Explosive offensive showings from the PawSox and Sea Dogs made up for a handful of forgettable performances from the lower-level affiliates. Top prospect Blake Swihart (pictured) continued to swing a hot bat for Pawtucket, which moved into first place in the International League North standings after its sweep of Rochester.

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Blake Swihart had a day to remember at the plate, finishing 4 for 5 with two doubles, two RBI and one run scored to lead the PawSox' offensive barrage. Pawtucket combined for 17 hits on the afternoon and finished off the series sweep. Swihart’s four hits tied a career high, and improved his batting average to .406 on the year. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and second baseman Sean Coyle each finished with two hits, while left fielder Bryce Brentz added an RBI double and went 1 for 4 in the blowout. Coyle also scored three of the PawSox' 13 runs.

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April 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ball stymies Mudcats, Brentz leads Pawtucket past Rochester


4/18 Cup of Coffee: Bryce Brentz (pictured, left) continued to wield a hot bat as he once again led Pawtucket to a come-from-behind victory over Rochester. Portland was blanked by Trenton and superb pitching helped to carry Salem over Carolina. 

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Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 4
An offensive charge in the later innings helped the PawSox secure their second straight over the Red Wings. Henry Owens tossed just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on three hits and six walks, striking out four. The left-hander was cruising until the fifth inning, when he walked three straight hitters before giving up a grand slam. Zeke Spruill added 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Dalier Hinojosa picked up the victory for his two innings of scoreless work out of the bullpen. Tommy Layne, in his first appearance since being optioned from Boston, pitched the ninth inning to pick up the save.
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April 17, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Swihart learning to catch the knuckler in Pawtucket


PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Blake Swihart has risen to the highest level in the minor leagues, and conquered all the numerous challenges that a developing catcher must face along the way. But now in Triple-A, Swihart faces a new challenge that has flummoxed even the best defensive catchers in the majors: catching a knuckleball.

For the first time in regular season action, Swihart caught Steven Wright's knuckler in Pawtucket's home opener Thursday night. While the results were mixed at times, he held his own and did not make it a distraction in the game.

"I think it was dancing pretty good early-on and it gave him fits, but he was able to relax," said PawSox manager Kevin Boles.
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at 4:48 PM

System Restart 2015, Pt. 7: Low Minors Pitchers


Position at a Glance: Every year at this time, the Lowell and GCL pitching staffs look thin prior to being stocked with June’s crew of draft picks. That holds true for the 2015 edition, but there is still a great deal of intriguing talent. The organization’s strong international presence, particularly its scouting focus in Venezuela, has supplied a great deal of interesting arms with some upside.

Burning questions:
Who coming stateside from the Latin program bears watching? 
The two most intriguing arms are Dominican right-hander Gerson Bautista and Venezuelan lefty Enmanuel De Jesus. Both are tall with the lanky, projectable frames the Red Sox favor. Bautista was dominant in the DSL last year after being suspended for nearly all of the 2013 season. De Jesus showed advanced command considering his understandable lack of polish against older hitters at Fall Instructs. Both are likely to be assigned to the Gulf Coast League.
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at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Brentz walks off for PawSox home opener


4/17 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket got back in the win column with a clutch, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth from Bryce Brentz (pictured, left) on Opening Night at McCoy Stadium. Salem, meanwhile, pounded out 13 runs on 16 hits in a runaway victory paced by Manuel Margot, and Oscar Tejeda. Portland and Greenville were each on the losing end of walk-offs after blowing late leads in their games.

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Pawtucket Red Sox 8, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 7
The PawSox scored five unanswered runs in the final four innings, capped off by a Bryce Brentz walk-off solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth that he crushed over everything in left. The win was much needed, coming a day after failing to score a run against Buffalo in a doubleheader. Brentz went 3 for 4 with three runs scored on the game out of the cleanup spot. Blake Swihart had a big night at the plate, including the game-tying, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh. He went 3 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. Deven Marrero and Sean Coyle started the comeback with back-to-back home runs in the sixth.
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April 16, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Jackie Bradley Jr. continues hot start, Pawtucket falls in doubleheader


4/16 Cup of Coffee: After consecutive 9-6 victories over the Buffalo Bisons, the PawSox dropped consecutive 2-0 games, both seven-inning affairs, in a doubleheader Wednesday. Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured) and Brian Johnson highlighted action in Buffalo. The Sea Dogs and Drive made a bit more noise with the bats and both came away with victories. The Salem Red Sox were rained out for the second time in four days.

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In game one of the doubleheader, the PawSox managed just two hits and two walks on the offensive side. A sloppy bottom of the second led to two runs for the Bisons, which proved to be enough for the win. Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle committed miscues in the inning, and the Rock Cats took advantage by scoring two runs.

Brian Johnson started for Pawtucket and took the loss, but pitched well. He surrendered four hits and two walks in four innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and punching out seven. He now has an ERA of 1.00 in two starts this year. Dalier Hinojosa rebounded from a rough outing in Lehigh Valley by throwing two perfect innings in relief, inducing five groundouts and striking out one. Blake Swihart and Garin Cecchini both went 1 for 3 at the plate.
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April 15, 2015 at 3:00 PM

System Restart 2015, Pt. 6: Mid-Minors Pitchers


Position at a glance: A change in focus away from polished college arms and toward high school athletes gives the Red Sox a far different look at Salem and Greenville than they have had in recent years. The approach may yield less on-field success in terms of wins and losses, but has a better chance to generate the frontline starter it has been searching for. 

Burning questions:
Will Trey Ball begin to live up to being the seventh overall pick?

As Jon Meoli wrote last week, Greenville pitching coach Paul Abbott believes so. After a very difficult first half in 2014, Ball (pictured, right) really began to straighten things out as the summer wore on. An improved changeup becae a legitimate second pitch to complement his fastball, and mechanical adjustments in how he threw his curveball showed promise as well. The results of those tweaks were visible in Ball’s stat line: After posting a 7.27 ERA through the end of June, he had just a 2.70 mark in his last 11 starts, along with improved strikeout and groundball rates. 
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at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Margot, Longhi, and Cecchini provide the power


4/15 Cup of Coffee: The strange start to the year for the PawSox continued last night, as they won a game that started on Monday, but could not play their regularly scheduled game after the lights went out. Manuel Margot, Wendell Rijo, and Forrestt Allday (pictured) each had solid performances for Salem, while Ty Buttrey and Nick Longhi continued their strong starts to the 2015 season.

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The PawSox prevailed in the continuation of the suspended game from Monday, hanging on for the three-run win. Pawtucket was up 8-3 in the top of the fourth when the day started, having already erupted for an eight-run third inning the night before. One interesting move to note was that Jeff Bianchi replaced Deven Marrero at shortstop when the game resumed on Tuesday, presumably due to the injury to Xander Bogaerts and the possibility of Marrero being needed in Boston. With the news on Bogaerts sounding positive, it is unlikely a move will be made. 
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