Greenville Drive second baseman Yoan Moncada(pictured) has been named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team as well as being selected as the league's Most Outstanding MLB Prospect, the league announced Tuesday. The honors were voted on by the league's managers, coaches, general managers, media relations directors and broadcasters. Moncada is the first Drive player ever to be named the league's Most Outstanding MLB Prospect and the fifth Drive player selected to the All-Star team.
Moncada came into 2015 with sky-high expectations and, after an adjustment period, has delivered. The 20-year old Cuban signed as an international free agent in March for $31.5 million. The Red Sox took it slow at the beginning of the year with Moncada to give him time to adjust to a new country and shake off the rust of a long layoff. After struggling out of the gate for Greenville, Moncada took off after the All-Star break at the end of June. The switch-hitter batted just .200/.287/.289 during his first 101 plate appearances, but has hit .328/.432/.540 since, spanning 231 plate appearances. His overall batting line stands at .287/.388/.459 with eight home runs and a whopping 45 stolen bases in 48 attempts. There are seven games to go before the regular season ends, but Moncada is in great shape to become the first player since the franchise began its affiliation with the Red Sox in 2005 to swipe at least 45 bases while posting an OPS north of .840.
9/1 Cup of Coffee: The Gulf Coast League finals got off to a thrilling start, with the GCL Red Sox scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off with the win. After surrendering the lead in the eighth inning, Portland thundered back with five runs in the ninth for a comeback win. Pawtucket lost in a tough test against a top pitching prospect, Greenville's rally fell short, and Lowell dropped a slugfest.
It was a stiff test for the PawSox lineup, with Red Wings ace and Twins top pitching prospect Jose Berrios (MIN) on the mound. Chris Marrero reached Berrios for his second home run since joining the PawSox, part of a 2-for-4 night for Marrero. Younger brother Deven Marrero chipped in with a hit and Allen Craig notched a pair of singles.
SoxProspects.com's Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, and Ian Cundall sat down and discussed some questions to the mailbag from fans on episode 84 of the podcast. They talked about some of the best arms in the system, which players rank the best in each of the five tools, expectations from Dave Dombrowski, and the recent offensive outburst from Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Greenville Drive are making a playoff push, and are currently tied with the Asheville Tourists (COL) for a playoff spot. Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi have been leading the way for the Drive. Benintendi is hitting .341/.423/.568 in 11 games with Greenville and Moncada is hitting .352/.465/.606 in August.
The GCL Red Sox won the semi-final game on Sunday against the Cardinals and have moved on to face the Blue Jays in the finals. They have been led by a tremendous pitching staff, including Anderson Espinoza, who did not allow an earned run in August.
Ryan Hannable of WEEIwrote about Espinoza and Logan Allen in his Minor League Notebook. One of the GCL pitching coaches, Nick Green, was interviewed and said that Espinoza is very competitive and reminds him of Pedro Martinez. Espinoza said his favorite pitcher to watch is Felix Hernandez. Hannable also looked further into Allen's decision between the Red Sox and the University of South Carolina.
Julian Benbow of the Boston Globewrote about PawSox pitcherJorge Marban and his path to where he is now. Marban started 2015 in Salem and worked his way up to Pawtucket.
Eric Wilbur of Boston.comwrote a piece detailing Andrew Benintendi and the Spinners' attendance. He notes Benintendi's success with both Lowell and Greenville, and mentions how he met with Red Sox baseball operations people at the SEC tournament and again at Fenway Park, and how Dave Dombrowski coming on means that he has no personal ties or connections with Benintendi or any of the new draft picks. Lowell has been able to maintain good attendance numbers, drawing an average of 3,816 fans per game, which is fifth in the league.
Jessica Camerato of Boston.comwrote a terrific story on SoxProspects.com's 14th ranked prospect Travis Shaw. Shaw has been raking for Boston since his call-up to the tune of a .303/.352/.576 line in 108 plate appearances. The story details his life and how he grew up around the game, with his father being in the big leagues. He also loves Rihanna, hamburgers, pizza, and numbers, as he even taught Mookie Betts about on-base percentage.
Meredith Perri of MassLive.comwrote that Peter Gammons reported that Red Sox director of pro scouting, Jared Porter, is leaving and will join the Chicago Cubs. He had been the director of pro scouting for the past four years, and Dombrowski said the change was in place before his hiring.
With a majority of the attention on guys like Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers, it was Bryan Hudson (pictured, top) who stood out this past week for the Greenville Drive. The 20-year old, 2013 15th round draft pick posted a 1.200 OPS this past week, leading Greenville to a 4-2 week. Hudson spent 2013 in the GCL and 2014 in Lowell. This year, he began his season on June 19 with Lowell, and then was called up to Greenville just six days later. Hudson has yet to hit a home run this year, but he has still managed to post some very solid numbers.
In a loss on Tuesday, Kraus (pictured) was terrific out of the bullpen. He managed to log 5 1/3 innings in that outing, relieving Trey Ball, and allowed just four hits, one walk, and no runs to go along with five strikeouts. It's rare to see a relief pitcher go five or more innings, but Kraus was certainly up to the task. Yesterday, Kraus made a start and went six innings. The Red Sox lost the game, but it wasn't Kraus' fault. He allowed just one earned run on three hits and a walk in that outing. The 2012 seventh round selection has had an interesting season, bouncing around three different levels, including one relief appearance in Pawtucket.
Season Stats (Salem, Portland, and Pawtucket): 29 G, 3 GS, 1-3, 95 1/3 IP, 2.93 ERA, 31 ER, 89 H, 20 BB, 58 K
Photo Credit: Bryan Hudson and Kyle Kraus by Kelly O'Connor
8/31 Cup of Coffee: Of the six Red Sox affiliates still playing, only one was able to pick up a win on Sunday. However, it was in the most important game, as the GCL Red Sox won their semi-final contest and will advance to the league finals to defend their championship. Elsewhere, Portland dropped a marathon contest in the New Britain Rock Cats' final home game. Lowell fell in an extra-innings slugfest, while Greenville's loss dropped them into a tie in its race for a playoff spot.
When the 2015 PawSox commemorative DVD is released, this game won't be on it. Pawtucket managed only five hits, none for extra bases. The only time a player advanced past second base was in the sixth, when Matt Spring was thrown out at home by former Sox farmhand Reynaldo Rodriguez (MIN). Shawn Haviland took the loss for the PawSox, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits in five innings.
8/30 Cup of Coffee: With the exception of Greenville's 10-run, 13-hit night led by designated hitter Andrew Benintendi(pictured), it was a weak night at the plate for the majority of the minor league affiliates. Pawtucket managed one run in a loss to Rochester, the Sea Dogs went 2 for 28 in a defeat against New Britain and Salem lost 5-1 after going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position against Potomac. The Spinners battled to a 4-3 extra innings win over rival Connecticut, scoring three runs in the top of the 10th inning to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The PawSox outhit Rochester 7-6 but managed only one run, struggling mightily against Red Wings starter Logan Darnell (MIN). Darnell stymied Pawtucket for the lion's share of his eight-inning start, fanning eight batters and allowing just five hits. Third baseman Carlos Rivero did the bulk of the legwork at the dish, going 2 for 4 with an RBI double, knocking in shortstop Deven Marrero (1 for 4) in the top of the sixth. Second baseman Marco Hernandez also turned in a multi-hit night, finishing 2 for 4. Catcher Sandy Leon went 1 for 4 with a double.
8/29 Cup of Coffee: It was a strong night on the farm, as five out of six affiliates in action took home victories. Greenville's victory propelled them forward in the wild card race while Lowell's loss further dimmed their chances of playoff dreams. Pawtucket remained hot and Salem's offense came alive in their win over Potomac.
A late Buffalo rally could not overcome a strong offensive performance from the PawSox. William Cuevas moved to 2-2 as he allowed two runs on five hits and three walks, punching out six, in 5 2/3 innings. Robby Scott allowed four runs on five hits in just 2 1/3 innings of relief. Noe Ramirez picked up his third save, tossing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Every member of the Pawtucket starting lineup, with the exception of Allen Craig, had at least one hit. Sandy Leon, Chris Marrero, Marco Hernandez, and Jonathan Roof each had two hits in the 12-hit attack. The PawSox have now won five in a row, matching their season's best stretch.
We've got a backlog of listener emails to get to, so what better time than the present to talk about what you want to hear? You guys had some outstanding questions that gave us plenty to talk about. What are the odds of a top prospect becoming a good major leaguer? Which pitchers have the highest ceilings in the system? What players rank as the best in each of the five tools? And of course there's current events: What can we expect from Dave Dombrowski as President of Baseball Ops, and is Jackie Bradley's rebound for real? All of this and more awaits!
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8/28 Cup of Coffee: The Greenville offense erupted on Thursday, powered by a pair of home runs from Nick Longhi(pictured) and J.T. Watkins to pull within a half-game of Asheville in the South Atlantic League Wild Card race. The PawSox came out on the winning end of a pitchers duel, getting a stellar outing from the recently re-signed Rich Hill. The Spinners suffered one of their toughest losses of the year in extra innings, hurting their playoff chances.
----- Pawtucket Red Sox 1, Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 0 Rich Hill was absolutely dominant in the third start of his second stint with the Red Sox organization. Hill scattered four hits over six shutout innings while striking out eight and walking three. Primarily a reliever for most of his career, this is the most starts Hill has made since he made six starts across three levels in the Red Sox system in 2012. Jonathan Aro pitched two innings of shutout relief and Ryan Cook picked up the save. Allen Craig went 2 for 4 and Marco Hernandez drove in the game's lone run.
8/27 Cup of Coffee: The GCL Red Sox grabbed their 40th win of the season behind another solid outing from Logan Allen. Jake Drehoff (pictured) also turned in a marvelous start for Greenville. The Drive also saw some good offensive performances from Yoan Moncada, who homered, and Michael Chavis. Allen Craig added a long home run drought in Pawtucket as part of a walk-off win for the PawSox. Sam Travis also stayed hot, pushing his batting average over .300 with Portland.
The PawSox were able to squeeze out a walk-off win at McCoy Stadium in 10 innings. Jonathan Roof did the honors, singling home Allen Craig in the bottom half of the 10th. Roof also added a double and two walks earlier in the game. Craig also had a good night, adding a home run, his first since June 17, as part of a 2 for 5 night. Deven Marrero continued to swing the bat well by going 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI. Mike Miller also went 2 for 4.
Zeke Spruill started and pitched pretty well. He gave up three earned runs while walking three and striking out six over six innings. The bullpen for Pawtucket was rock solid, as Keith Couch tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He did not allow a hit, walked two, and struck out three. Pat Light was credited with the win, getting the final two outs of the 10th inning.
8/26 Cup of Coffee: The DSL Red Sox2 were eliminated from the playoffs yesterday, and now both of Boston's affiliates in the Dominican Summer League are done for the season. Every affiliate except for Lowell struggled to score runs, as the affiliates combined to score 14 runs over seven games. Shawn Haviland, Sam Travis (pictured), Ben Taylor, and Yoan Moncada were a few of the bright spots, with Moncada swiping his 41st base of the year.
Shawn Haviland had his best start since joining the PawSox, tossing six scoreless innings, striking out four without walking a batter. He had picked up the loss in his first three appearances for Pawtucket, but he pitched well enough to get the win last night. Jorge Marban followed with two scoreless innings, and Noe Ramirez notched his second save with a perfect ninth. Ramirez has not allowed a run in eight of his 10 appearances since being sent down from Boston on July 25.