August 30, 2011 at 6:37 PM
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks highlights a list of six Red Sox minor leaguers were included on the initial roster of the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, which was released Tuesday.
Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler will manage a squad that includes Middlebrooks, catcher Dan Butler, outfielder Alex Hassan, pitchers Brock Huntzinger, Jeremy Kehrt, and Will Latimer. Top prospects Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will also play for the Scorpions.
Middlebrooks, a fifth-round draft pick in 2007, has emerged as a top prospect in Boston's farm system with an impressive 2011 campaign, highlighted by an appearance in July's MLB Futures Game. In 96 games with Double-A Portland, Middlebrooks, 22, hit .302 with a .865 OPS and 18 home runs, driving in 80 runs before his Aug. 19 promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. In 11 games with the PawSox, Middlebrooks has just 6 hits. He also homered 3 times in 4 rehab games with the Class-A Lowell Spinners.
Butler was promoted from High-A Salem to Portland in early August after posting a .247/.350/.417 line with the Carolina League club. The 25-year-old catcher was a Carolina League All-Star and was named Carolina League Player of the Week three times before his promotion. He's hitting .211 with a pair of RBI in 18 games with the Sea Dogs.
A Massachusetts native who was selected out of Duke in the 20th round of the 2009 draft, Hassan got off to a torrid start for Portland in 2011. The 23-year-old outfielder hit .411 in April and played in the Eastern League All-Star game. He's batting .296/.411/.463 with a dozen home runs on the season.
Huntzinger, selected in the third round of the 2007 draft, is 5-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 24 starts for Portland. The 6-foot-3 right-handd pitcher struck out 117 batters in 117.0 innings.
Between stops in Portland and Pawtucket, Kehrt is 4-1 with a 4.28 ERA in 88.1 innings, and has pitched both as a starter and reliever. A 48th-round pick in 2008, Kehrt has steadily climbed through the system with his unusually high ground ball ratio.
Latimer has worked out of the bullpen since being drafted in 2007 and is enjoying another successful season. Before being promoted to Portland on August 24, Latimer boasted a 2.96 ERA with 8 saves in 76.2 innings for Salem. In one appearance for Portland, he allowed a pair of runs in 1.1 inning of work.
Boston will likely add one or two more players to the squad before the season starts.