7/23 Cup of Coffee: It was a big night in Portland, where the Sea Dogs rolled to a 9-3 victory and Andrew Benintendi took another step toward the majors by making his first start in left field. Joe Kelly tossed another scoreless outing, and Daniel McGrath started a shutout for Salem. Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured) mashed a home run for the second straight night in Greenville’s narrow loss. GCL Red Sox played a wild one, tying the game with two outs in the ninth on a little league home run before rain suspended the contest.
Two Columbus runs in the bottom of the first accounted for all the scoring in another narrow loss for Pawtucket. After Roenis Elias was scratched from his start just before game time, Robby Scott received a spot start and made one big mistake, allowing a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. Scott finished 3 1/3 innings without any more damage and Roman Mendez tossed the next 3 2/3 innings without allowing a run, though he did walk a batter for the first time in an incredible 42 2/3 innings (17 appearances). Joe Kelly tossed his third scoreless outing in relief this week, working around a double and an infield single in one inning of work and touching 99 miles per hour. The offense was dormant, managing only three hits. Ryan LaMarre doubled, and Jantzen Witte reached twice with a single and a walk.
7/22 Cup of Coffee: Greenville grabbed a win in a pitcher's duel thanks to Logan Boyd's (pictured) best start of the season. The Spinners erupted for 13 runs and Tyler Hill paced the offense again. The GCL Sox rallied for six unanswered runs late to grab a win. Salem battle back from a three-run deficit only to see a near win slip away in the ninth.
Columbus Clippers (CLE) 5, Pawtucket Red Sox 4 (14 innings) The PawSox fell in a frustrating game, losing on a walk-off walk in the 14th inning. Jantzen Witte went 2 for 6 with a double and an RBI. Henry Owens lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out four. Rusney Castillo was removed from the game after fouling a ball off his foot. He was 0 for 3 when he was replaced.
7/21 Cup of Coffee: It was a rough Wednesday for the affiliates, as the DSL Sox1 were the only squad that came out on top. Pawtucket's late rally fell short, while Portland and Greenville squandered solid offensive performances in their losses.
Despite a late rally, the PawSox dropped the series finale. Starter Keith Couch dropped to 1-3 despite seven solid innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out seven. Joe Kelly added an inning of relief, and allowed a hit and a walk while striking out a pair. Down, 3-0, in the top of the ninth, the PawSox pulled to within a run on back-to-back sacrifice flies from Christian Vazquez and Brennan Boesch. Unfortunately, the rally was squashed with the tying run at third base.
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. Over the July 4th weekend, 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. After finishing our run through the pitchers, today we take a look at two Greenville outfielders making their full season debut after struggling in 2015 with Lowell.
- Kyri Washington has formed a formidable power duo in the middle of the Greenville lineup along with first baseman Josh Ockimey. A 2015 23rd-round pick, Washington got off to a slow start in the GCL and Lowell while showing little power with only one home run and 11 extra base hits in 135 plate appearances. This year, however, Washington has found his power stroke, hitting 13 home runs, 17 doubles, and 4 triples, putting together a .264/.324/.520 triple slash in 276 plate appearances through July 19 with 22 walks and 79 strikeouts. While the power is there, the other aspects of Washington’s game lag behind, and I am skeptical about how he will handle upper level pitching.
Washington does not have a prototypical power hitter’s frame, listed at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds. He has a very strong, muscular build without much projection remaining. He starts with a vertical, slightly open stance from the right side. He utilizes a slight leg lift with a short stride, generating most of his power with his upper body and strong wrists. He has a slight uppercut in his swing to generate lift and a pull approach. Noticeably, Washington did go to right-center a few times during the series, including hitting his second home run that way. He has bat speed and rarely gets cheated, getting everything into his swing when he decides it is a pitch he can hit. Washington has an aggressive approach, and as result has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. He also makes a fair amount of weak contact due to his aggressive approach. He struggles to recognize spin and his backside often collapses against breaking balls. His 29% strikeout rate is not a fluke, and as the pitching becomes more advanced and the book gets out on him, he will likely see a lot of a soft stuff away, forcing him to make an adjustment.
7/20 Cup of Coffee: Pitching was the story on Tuesday in the Red Sox system. While Rick Porcello and friends were shutting out the San Francisco Giants for the major league squad, Matt Kent (pictured, right) and Brian Johnson turned in scoreless outings for Salem and Lowell. The hurlers for Pawtucket and Portland also submitted quality starts.
Right-hander Justin Haley spent the night working his way out of trouble, surrendering only two runs in 6 2/3 innings despite allowing 12 baserunners. Haley gave up 10 hits and walked two while striking out four in picking up the win. Robby Scott had another strong outing in relief, throwing two scoreless frames, allowing a hit while striking out a pair. Roman Mendez recorded the final out to get credit for the save.
Christian Vazquez had a hand in all of the scoring for the PawSox. The catcher hit a decisive three-run homer in the fourth, his first since rejoining Pawtucket. He later singled off old friend Drake Britton (DET) and scored an insurance run on a Jantzen Witte base hit. Overall, Vazquez was 3 for 4 on the night to break out of a 4-for-27 skid since he was optioned.
7/19 Cup of Coffee: Yoan Moncada (pictured) launched two home runs to raise his July OPS to 1.480 and Michael Kopech set a career-high with nine strikeouts as the top prospects put on dazzling performances. Joe Kelly continued to look good in relief, Kyri Washington slugged his 13th home run for Greenville, and Pedro Castellanos continued his domination of the Dominican Summer League
William Cuevas's return from Boston did not go as planned, as he was roughed up in Pawtucket's loss to Toledo. Cuevas went the first six innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits while striking out five without walking a batter. Joe Kelly had another promising relief appearance as he struck out the side in his lone inning of work, and he now has eight strikeouts and only two hits allowed over his last five innings.
So a few things have gone down over the past 10 days, eh? The guys had a ton to talk about - the trades of Luis Alejandro Basabe and Jose Almonte for Brad Ziegler and, more importantly, Anderson Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz showed why the Prez of Baseball Ops is becoming known to many as Dealin' Dave. Plus, the Red Sox were able to get Jason Groome signed before the July 15 deadline, along with fellow draftees Bobby Dalbec and Mike Shawaryn, so the guys ran down what they thought of the full draft haul and how the Groome signing may have played into the club's willingness to move Espinoza. And with the deadline past, the SoxProspects Rankings were updated - where did all of the new guys fall? And who moved based on what the guys have seen in Lowell, Greenville, Salem, Portland, and Pawtucket over the past few weeks? Listen for all this and more!
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The Red Sox made headlines this week trading away their top pitching prospect, according to the SoxProspects.com rankings. Boston acquired All-Star left hander Drew Pomeranz from the Padres for 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza. The one-for-one trade was analyzed by SoxProspects Director of Scouting Ian Cundall, who said the price for Pomeranz was "steep" and called it a "win-now trade."
Some are speculating that Espinoza became somewhat expendable because the same day he was traded, the Red Sox came to terms with their top pick in the 2016 draft, Jason Groome(pictured). The 17-year-old New Jersey native was predicted by some experts to be the top overall pick in the draft, but he was snatched up by Boston when he fell to the 12th spot. The Sox also came to terms with their fourth-round pick, infielder Bobby Dalbec, and their fifth-round pick, pitcher Mike Shawaryn.
7/18 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox needed just one big hit from Marco Hernandez to pull away for a win. Salem walked off with a dramatic win thanks to an unlikely hero. Portland fell late despite more production at the plate from Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi. Josh Ockimey posted another multi-RBI game, but Greenville fell in a tight contest. Lowell fell despite a big night from its top three hitters, including Tyler Hill (pictured). Three Red Sox prospects participated in the Dominican Summer League All-Star Game.
Marco Hernandez provided all the offense the PawSox would need on Sunday, opening the scoring in the first with an RBI ground out and jacking a three-run home run in the third inning. Triple-A Home Run Derby champion, Chris Marrero, clubbed his 18th homer of the season to pad Pawtucket's lead. Roenis Elias was solid in 6 2/3 innings of work. He gave up just two hits, no runs and collected four strikeouts. He did walk four and was at 104 pitches when he was pulled in the seventh.
Cup of Coffee 7/17: It was a night of strong pitching performances for Red Sox affiliates on Saturday. Henry Owens began his evening with 7 2/3 hitless frames in a win for the PawSox and Josh Pennington was lights out in a shutout win for Lowell. Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon each reached base three times, setting the table in a win for Portland. Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured) and Michael Chavis turned in big games but Roniel Raudes struggled in a loss for Greenville.
Starting pitcher Henry Owens turned in a dominant performance for the PawSox on Saturday evening. The lanky lefty cruised through 7 2/3 hitless innings before running into trouble in the eighth inning and loading the bases with two outs. He exited the game in favor of Chandler Shepherd, who promptly allowed a bases-clearing double. On the whole, it was an encouraging outing for Owens, who tossed 7 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on one hit and two walks, punching out four.