PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Coming into the 2015 season, Garin Cecchini had a career .298 batting average in the minors, and had played 431 of his 457 games at third base. On July 2, he was batting .188 for the season and had played twice as many games in left field and nearly as many games at first base as he had at third.
However, over his last 17 games, Cecchini has begun to right the ship and show off the hit tool that was supposed to carry him to the big leagues, batting .344/.406/.426 with six walks.
Cecchini has always had an advanced approach since signing with the Red Sox out of high school in 2010. Despite a lack of other standout tools, scouts believed his hit tool and approach were strong enough to make him a potential major league starter on his way up through the system. It is that approach that been a big part of the mid-season turnaround for him.
7/28 Cup of Coffee: It took 15 wild innings and a catcher pitching for Greenville to come away with the organizations only win of the night. Salem was swept in its series, while Portland had its modest winning streak snapped. Both DSL teams fell, and the GCL Sox once again were rained out.
Portland saw its season-high four-game winning streak snapped in the opener of a three game set in Trenton. Starter Danny Rosenbaum, making his way back from Tommy John surgery, gave up two runs despite allowing 10 hits - all singles - in his four innings of work. The 27-year-old walked one and struck out three. It seems like Mike Augliera keeps finding new ways to get saddled as the losing pitcher, and Monday saw one of the more tough-luck decisions one can take. Following the hit parade against Rosenbaum, Augliera managed to hold the Thunder hitless for three innings. However, the one baserunner he allowed was a leadoff walk in the sixth inning. A stolen base and a pair of ground outs scored what proved to be the winning run, dropping Augliera to 2-14 on the season.
SoxProspects.com Staff Writer James Dunne provided a definitive recap of the Red Sox' efforts in the 2015 draft, writing that Boston made the most of its relatively small bonus pool by making a safe pick in first-rounder Andrew Benintendi.
The SoxProspects.com crew also released Episode 81 of the SoxProspects.com Podcast, with Executive Editor Chris Hatfield and Director of Scouting Ian Cundall breaking down their recent trip to Greenville with Managing Editor Matt Huegel. Rounding out the episode was an insightful interview with Drive manager Darren Fenster, who talked about how top players like Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers are progressing in Low A.
7/27 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox' losing streak continues despite a 10-run, 16-hit day. The bats were hot for Portland and Greenville, but Salem was the odd team out, gathering just three hits and seven baserunners on the day. Lowell won a thriller at home, thanks in large part to big days at the plate from Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured)and Austin Rei.
The PawSox' losing streak reached eight games despite the offense's best efforts. Jeff Bianchi went 4 for 6 with two doubles and three RBIs atop the PawSox lineup, and shortstop Marco Hernandez had his first multi-hit day since July 17 with two doubles, a single, a walk and three RBIs. Garin Cecchini went 2 for 5 with a big two-run double, and Travis Shaw added a single, double and walk to the hit parade.
7/26 Cup of Coffee: Last night was an abysmal one offensively for the majority of the minor league affiliates, with all seven teams combining for 10 runs and only Portland and the DSL Red Sox2 pulling out wins. Portland scraped out a one-run victory thanks to solid showings from starter William Cuevas and first baseman Sam Travis(pictured), while the PawSox and Drive extended their respective losing streaks.
Pawtucket extended its losing streak to seven with a shutout road loss to divisional rival Buffalo. The PawSox posted four hits and finished 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. First baseman Allen Craig went 2 for 4, while designated hitter Rusney Castillo and left fielder Garin Cecchini posted a single apiece. Also reaching base was catcher Humberto Quintero who went 1 for 3 and second baseman Jemile Weeks who was 1 for 2.
7/25 Cup of Coffee: Offense helped Portland and Salem pick up victories Friday, while Pawtucket, Greenville, and Lowell all were on the losing end of things. The DSL squads earned a split, and the GCL Sox were rained out.
Zeke Spruill fell to 4-6 despite allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings of work. Edwin Escobar followed Spruill and tossed two scoreless innings of relief. The PawSox were shutout the first eight innings, but attempted a comeback in the ninth. Back-to-back singles by Rusney Castillo and Travis Shaw started off the final frame. Humberto Quintero attempted to move both runners along with a bunt, but was called out on batter interference. A wild pitch moved both runners up, and Garin Cecchini drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. The rally would fizzle as Marco Hernandez ended the game with a strikeout.
With the loss, the PawSox have lost six straight and are just 3-17 in the month of July.
After losing the 47th and 72nd overall picks for signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox entered the 2015 First-Year Player Draft with the ninth-smallest bonus pool despite picking seventh overall. Of their $6,223,800 pool, $3,590,400, or 58 percent, was tied to that first-rounder. Because of this, there was some added pressure to not miss on that pick, and when the time came, they selected University of Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi(pictured, left). Benintendi was named the National Player of the Year by Louisville Slugger, and he also won the 2015 Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.
With Benintendi receiving the full slot amount, the Red Sox did not have much room to get creative with the rest of the draft, and they only signed two players to significantly over-slot deals. In all, the Red Sox signed 27 of their 39 picks, and went $230,700, or about four percent, over their bonus pool. The team will have to pay a tax on that overage, but will not lose any future draft picks. Below is a breakdown of the draft, with some background on the bigger names that Boston signed.
Be sure to check out our Draft History page for a list of everyone drafted by the Red Sox.
Chris and Ian just spent some time watching the Greenville Drive, and they had plenty to talk about! The guys chatted with Matt about their thoughts on Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Javier Guerra, Michael Chavis, Nick Longhi, and more! While he was in town, Chris also checked in with Drive manager Darren Fenster to discuss what's been going on with these players behind the scenes, as well as getting the manager's take on life in the minors. Plus, the guys talk about Brian Johnson's MLB debut, and your listener emails hit on players from throughout the system and beyond: How does Devers compare to Xander Bogaerts at the same age? Where have Karsten Whitson and Christopher Acosta been? Which players might move positions? All this and more!
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7/24 Cup of Coffee: Almost the entire Red Sox farm system played in tight games on Thursday, with six matchups decided by two or fewer runs. Henry Owens(pictured, right) authored another quality start, but settled for a no-decision. Portland staged a dramatic comeback that was sparked by Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje and ultimately won by Tzu-Wei Lin. Salem got a bounce-back start from Ty Buttrey, but it was his relief that was most impressive in the Sox win. Javier Guerra clubbed his fifth home run of the month in Greenville's loss. The GCL bullpen spoiled a fantastic start by Gerson Bautista.
Pawtucket bats went quiet after the first inning, as Norfolk scored five unanswered runs to down the Sox. The first four PawSox batters of the game reached base with Allen Craig and Humberto Quintero each providing two-run doubles. That would be all the offense Pawtucket could muster with only Travis Shaw (2 for 4, double) getting past first base for the rest of the game. Henry Owens continued to put his control problems behind him with a quality start (6 IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 6K). Owens now has eight starts in a row in which he has allowed two or fewer walks. Unfortunately for Owens, he also settled for his tenth no-decision of the season as a result of a blown save from Jonathan Aro. He surrendered a two-out double in the seventh that proved to the be the difference.
7/23 Cup of Coffee: The GCL Red Sox and the DSL Red Sox2 were the only teams in the system to come away with a win. Andrew Benintendi has found his power stroke, as he homered for the third time in the past four games for Lowell. Jackie Bradley Jr. also continued to swing the bat well for Pawtucket, who received great bullpen performances including a perfect four innings from Matt Barnes. Good outings out of the pen were also a theme for Portland, Lowell, Salem, the GCL Red Sox, and the first DSL Red Sox team. Kevin Heller (pictured) had a huge game for Salem and eighth-round draft pick Logan Allen also made his GCL debut and pitched well.
The PawSox played dug themselves into a big hole after the first two innings. Robby Scott, who has had two previous stints with Pawtucket this season, made his first start of the year after being a very effective left-handed reliever for the Portland Sea Dogs for a majority of 2015. He did not fare well, surrendering six earned runs in two innings. Heath Hembree came on for a scoreless third inning before Matt Barnes tossed four perfect innings out of the pen. He threw just 32 pitches during his four innings of work. Newly acquired Ronald Belisario made his second appearance with the PawSox and did not allow a baserunner in his one inning of work.
Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his torrid stretch by going 2 for 3 with a walk and a triple. Garin Cecchini also went 2 for 3 with a walk.