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April 25, 2006 at 11:54 AM

PawSox Blog: Where are all the prospects?

I suppose it's alot like the anticipation of a blind date: your friends have told you how good-looking and attractive this woman whom you've never met really is. As the big night approaches, you continue to buy into the hype, only to be sorely disappointed when you meet her at the restaurant (or bar, or Chuck E. Cheese) and realize that she is not the Paris Hilton your friends had spoken about.

Well, if you are a Pawtucket Red Sox fan, you can certainly feel for the guy. Because all during spring training, your proverbial mouth watered in anticipation of David Murphy, Brandon Moss, and Craig Hansen gracing the beautiful McCoy Stadium grass this Spring, only to find out that they would return to friendly confines of Hadlock Field instead. The only benefit you had over the poor guy on the blind date is that you found out two days prior that this team was no beautiful celebrity actress, but rather a B-list star.

With that being said, let's not take away what this team has done so far. Jon Lester, one of the few prospects who did catch the flight to Pawtucket, rather than Portland, has been on 65-75 pitch counts early on, and although he has not fared as expected early on (0-3, 8.64 ERA, 1.92 WHIP), let us not forget the immortal words of Jerry Remy in his critically-acclaimed "Watching Baseball" : a slump is only as long as your last (outing). Well said, RemDawg. Manny Delcarmen has looked phenomenal thus far, and as we speak, is with the ol' Beantown team after pitching 10 scoreless innings of relief while posting 10 puncharos (forgive my Espanol) in Pawtucket. Another pitcher enjoying early success has been Jermaine Van Buren, the ex-Cubbie prospect who was in Toronto with the Sox this past weekend before returning to the PawSox pen on Sunday. Van Buren has struck out six in four innings of scoreless relief. Not to be forgotten is southpaw starter Abe Alvarez, who has gone 3-0 while posting a sparkling 1.96 ERA in his four outings thus far.

The PawSox hitters started off the season on a low note, scoring 3 or less runs during the opening series versus Indianapolis, and being blanked twice during those four games. The slow start can usually be attributed to the sub-arctic air that hangs over McCoy Stadium early in the season, and as the weather warmed, the frost began to melt off the bats. Speedy Ron Calloway has been on fire of late, hitting at a Williams-esque .404 clip with four doubles. Recently-demoted Adam Stern has already chipped in with a homer and a double in his two games back from Boston, while Hee-Sop Choi is doing his best Brian Daubach impression by absolutely feasting off of AAA pitching (3 HR, 20 TB, .297). Dustin Pedroia is back from injury, and hopes to continue his fast rise in the organization with a possible call-up before the season ends.

Notes: While Lester has struggled early on, the remainder of the rotation has been exceptional. Alvarez, Matt Ginter, Marc Deschenes, and Jimmy Serrano have a combined 7-2 record, with a 2.85 ERA...Infielder Trent Durrington saw action behind the plate this past weekend, catching for Ginter during Sunday's 7-0 blanking of Buffalo...According to Sunday's Providence Journal, Manager Ron Johnson has indicated that all of his starters are on pitch counts between 65-85 pitches early on, per the instructions of Boston's front office...