SoxProspects News

April 23, 2014 at 1:04 AM

Players of the Week, April 14-20: Mookie Betts & Brian Johnson


Mookie Betts, 2B, Portland SeaDogs - 4 G, 18 AB, 18 PA, 8 H, 1 HR, 1 2B, 6 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB/4 K, .444/.444/.667

Betts continued his season-long hit parade en route to earning his second SoxProspects.com Player of the Week nod (previously April 3-6), bookending his week with multi-hit performances going 2-for-5 with a double Monday against Binghamton (NYM) and finished his week going 4-for-5 with a home run at New Britain (MIN) Saturday. The SoxProspects.com sixth-ranked prospect is currently leading the Eastern League in batting average and on-base percentage.

Season Line: .452/.500/.694, 28-for-62, 2 home runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 7 BB/7 K, 7 SB (1 CS), 15 games.

Brian Johnson, SP, Salem Red Sox - 1 G, 6.0 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB/5 K, 0.00 WHIP, 7.50 K/9, 1.75 G/F, .000 BAA, .000 OPSA

In case the stat-line didn't make it clear enough, Johnson earned his Pitcher of the Week honors on the strength of his six-inning stretch of perfection last Friday at Winston-Salem (CHA) with five strikeouts. This outing represented a welcome rebound for Johnson who opened the season well but scuffled in his two subsequent starts. He is currently the twentieth-ranked prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com.

Season Line: 4 G, 2-1, 5.03 ERA, 11 ER, 28 H, 19.2 IP, 6 BB/25 K, .244 BAA

Honorable Mentions, Batters:

Carson Blair (SAL)
Alex Hassan (PAW)
Kevin Heller (SAL)
Jonathan Roof (SAL)

Honorable Mention, Pitchers:

Justin Haley (SAL)
Cody Kukuk (GRE)
Miguel Pena (POR)
Teddy Stankiewicz (GRE)
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April 22, 2014 at 7:19 AM

Cup of Coffee: Sea Dogs turn triple play highlighting Patriots' Day sweep


4/22 Cup of Coffee: The Red Sox affiliates celebrated Patriots' Day by sweeping away the competition. Henry Owens returned to form for Portland as the Sea Dogs never trailed in their win, while a pair of Salem hurlers combined for a three-hitter. Greenville and Pawtucket also got strong pitching performances in their victories.

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A sixth-inning rally carried Pawtucket to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Bisons (TOR). Brandon Workman took the mound for his second start since rejoining the PawSox, and found himself matched up against Toronto's top pitching prospect, Marcus Stroman. Workman was solid in his five innings, allowing only four hits and striking out eight without issuing a walk, but a pair of home runs hurt him and he departed with his team down 3-1.
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April 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Second basemen continue to rake


This week's minor league notes:

  • Chaz Fiorino, the newest addition to our scouting staff, introduced The Write-Up this week, where he provides in-depth scouting reports from the field. The first installment focused on Garin Cecchini and Christian Vazquez (pictured).
  • SoxProspects.com's Feature Writer Tim Healey talked with Portland manager Billy McMillon about what it is like to manage the Sea Dogs after playing for them back in 1995. McMillon also discusses how working his way back to the major leagues as a coach is far different from working his way up as a player. 
  • As WEEI.com's Alex Speier noted in his Minor League Roundup on Sunday morning, Mookie Betts may be the best Red Sox prospect in the minors. After going 4 for 5 with a home run on Saturday, Betts is now hitting .453/.492/.717 in 59 plate appearances this year. His .489 batting average on balls in play is unsustainable, but the toolsy 21-year-old has shown that he is not overmatched against the more advanced arms in the upper minors. 
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at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Salem's comeback falls short


4/21 Cup of Coffee: Only one game was played on Easter Sunday, with Salem falling to the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS), 10-8. William Cuevas struggled mightily, giving up eight runs while only recording two outs before being pulled in the first inning. Kyle Kraus was able to limit the damage, allowing only one run over the next 5 1/3 innings, allowing Salem to creep back into the game.

Salem scored two in the second and two in the third to cut the deficit in half. After Reed Gragnani hit an RBI double in the seventh, Salem had cut the lead to two. That was as close as they would get, as they dropped to 9-8 on the season. Ryan Dent (pictured) went 3 for 5 with two doubles and a triple, Gragnani went 3 for 5 with a double, and Jonathan Roof went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. 
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April 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Betts collects four hits to lead Portland


4/20 Cup of Coffee: Mookie Betts (pictured) collected four hits to lead the Sea Dogs to victory. Meanwhile, the PawSox split a twin bill against New Britain, Salem blanked their opposition and Greenville was suspended after six.

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The PawSox took game one of their doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons (TOR), 1-0.  Anthony Ranaudo bounced back from a string of mediocre performances, throwing six innings of two-hit ball while walking two and striking out five. Drake Britton pitched a scoreless seventh, and Chris Resop pitched the final two innings to pick up his third win on the season.

The PawSox struggled against the Buffalo pitching staff, as the two teams carried a 0-0 tie into the ninth.  Christian Vazquez delivered Justin Henry with a walk off single after Henry had entered the game as a pinch runner. Shane Victorino went 0 for 3 in his first game action, and played six innings in the field.
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April 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Johnson's stellar start leads Salem


4/19 Cup of Coffee: Portland took both ends of a doubleheader, thanks to solid pitching and a huge night from Travis Shaw. Salem easily handled Winston-Salem, while the PawSox faltered late. 

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The bullpen could not hold on to a late lead as Pawtucket fell to the Buffalo Bisons (TOR), 7-3. Allen Webster took the mound for the PawSox, hurling 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out three. Rich Hill picked up the loss, as he allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Jose Valdez added two innings of relief, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. 
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April 18, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: De La Rosa, Stankiewicz pitch well in victories


4/18 Cup of Coffee: It was a strong night for starting pitching throughout the system, as Rubby De La Rosa, Chris Hernandez, Corey Littrell, and Teddy Stankiewicz (pictured) all pitched well. Salem and Greenville each took advantage of sloppy play by their opponents, and Portland was postponed for the third game in a row. 

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In game one of a doubleheader, the PawSox pitched their way to a 2-1 victory over the Rochester Red Wings (MIN). Rubby De La Rosa continued his fantastic start to the season, tossing six innings, allowing only one run on four hits, walking one and striking out five. His ERA actually rose to 1.08 following this performance. For a while it looked like he was going to be the tough-luck loser, but the PawSox scored a run in the seventh when Christian Vazquez doubled home Garin Cecchini. The score was tied until the 11th, when Heiker Meneses drove in Bryce Brentz with a single. 
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April 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Two decades later, Billy McMillon back in Portland


PORTLAND, Maine -- With the sun setting and the temperatures dropping last Thursday evening, a bundled up Billy McMillon hopped out of the dugout and jogged to home plate as the public address announcer called his name and the half-filled crowd at Hadlock Field stomped their collective feet. It was Opening Day for Double-A Portland, and for the first time in 19 years, McMillon suited up as a Sea Dog.

The first time McMillon donned the Portland jersey was way back in 1995 -- when Bill Clinton was in the middle of his first term, America Online was gearing up to offer World Wide Web access to the general public, and many of this year's high school draft picks to-be were born. McMillon was a 23-year-old outfielder making his way up the Florida Marlins farm system.

Two decades later, McMillon is now the first-year manager of the Sea Dogs. He spent the last two seasons with High A Salem, the two before that with Low A Greenville. After he guided Salem to the Carolina League championship to cap off 2013, the Red Sox bumped him up to Portland.

Just like his players, McMillon is trying to climb the ladder to the major leagues. It isn't quite the same the second time around.

Read the rest on ESPNBoston.com.

Photo credit: Billy McMillon by Kelly O'Connor.

Tim Healey is a feature writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.


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at 9:00 AM

The Write-Up: Garin Cecchini and Christian Vazquez


Chaz Fiorino is the newest addition to the SoxProspects.com scouting staff. In his new series, The Write-Up, he'll provide detailed scouting reports from the field. The format may evolve a little, but we are excited to add Chaz's expertise to the fold, and look forward to his reports.

Garin Cecchini
Dates scouted: April 3, 5, 6
Line (four-game series): 6 for 12, 1 2B, 3 BB, 3 K, .500/.600/.583 

The soon-to-be 23-year-old left-handed hitter is listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, with an athletic build, strong lower half and room for potential additional strength in his upper body. His incredibly advanced approach and hit tool, which grades around 65/70 on the 20-80 scale, are well-documented and were on display all series. There is no question the hit tool will play at the next level.

The biggest question mark is his defense, where Cecchini remains a work in progress at third base. Will Middlebrooks’s trip to the DL—and Cecchini’s hot start to the season—begged the question of whether Cecchini could have received the call to Boston that briefly went to Brock Holt. Red Sox Manager John Farrell confirmed last week what many suspected: “While he’s had good at-bats there, there’s still some development defensively that’s taken place. His time is coming but didn’t feel like it’s right now.”
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at 7:58 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket holds on to win, Salem drops doubleheader


4/17 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket edged out a one-run victory while Greenville lost by just one score. Salem dropped both halves of a doubleheader and Portland was postponed again due to rain.
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The Pawtucket Red Sox were able to hold on and win by a score of 7-6 after an early offensive explosion in Wednesday's games against the Rochester Red Wings (MIN)The PawSox jumped out to an early lead in the contest, going up 7-0 after the top of the fourth inning. The scoring began in the third inning when outfielder Alex Hassan doubled home Heiker Meneses, who singled to leadoff the inning. Bryce Brentz and Brandon Snyder also picked up RBI in the inning, Brentz's coming on a two-out single. In the fourth, Hassan picked up another RBI-double, and catcher Dan Butler (pictured) picked up a pair of RBI on a two-out bases loaded single.

Starter Brandon Workman lasted only 3 1/3 innings and was charged with three earned runs. Workman yielded only one hit in the first three innings, but ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth. He was lifted with one out in the inning after giving up two hits and a walk, which loaded the bases. Reliever Chris Resop came in and gave up three singles in a row before getting out of the inning. Drake Britton picked up the save after pitching two scoreless innings.

Four PawSox collected three hits in the game; Hassan, Meneses and Brock Holt, who each went 3 for 5 with two runs, and Ryan Lavarnway, who went 3 for 4 with a walk.
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