July 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- After a standout performance in the Futures Game as part of the All-Star festivities in New York, the spotlight is shining brightly on shortstop Xander Bogaerts (pictured), the top ranked player on SoxProspects.com all season. Batting third for the World Team, Bogaerts went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. While he did not earn MVP honors, Baseball America selected him as Best Overall Player in the game. Dave Schoenfield of ESPN.com came away impressed, openly wondering "if he'll play his way onto the Red Sox roster before September."
- Getting out ahead of the Futures Game hype was SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel. In a special to ESPNBoston.com, Huegel discusses a number of topics, notably how Bogaerts, the youngest player in Triple-A, has been able to make the transition in such a short time since his promotion from Double-A Portland.
- Longtime ESPN.com writer Jerry Crasnick also had an excellent profile of Bogaerts, as the shortstop impressed him both on and off the field. He also unearthed the little-known tidbit that Bogaerts is fluent in four languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento, the official language of his home island of Aruba.
- Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe highlighted Bogaerts as well in the Minor League Notes. Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina tells Benbow that, even more than his incredible talent, it is Bogaerts composure that impresses him most.
- Bogaerts' advanced baseball acumen and preparation was on display even in the batting practice for the Futures Game, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Instead of putting on a display of the power that has helped him become an elite prospect, he was instead working on driving the ball to all parts of the field.
- The prospect rankings have taken notice as well. Several publications have released their midseason rankings this week, and all feature Bogaerts near the top. Marc Hulet at Fangraphs.com and John Sickels of Minor League Ball have him ranked second in the minor leagues, Keith Law of ESPN (insider only) has him third, and the staff of Baseball America rates him number four. Other prospects appearing in the rankings were Garin Cecchini, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo and Allen Webster. Sickels singled out Cecchini as a player he was very high on coming into the season, and regrets not following his initial intuition to put him in the preseason Top 100.
- Cecchini and Ranaudo also took part in the Futures Game, playing for the United States team. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that Ranaudo getting his fastball back has been the reason for his comeback from a lost 2012 season. In another piece, MacPherson talks to Cecchini about to his approach to hitting, and about his influences at the plate, including Hall of Famer and eight-time batting champion Tony Gwynn.
- Not to be lost in all of the Bogaerts-watching was a pretty exciting week of minor league games, particularly a combined no-hitter by the Salem Red Sox on Wednesday. The effort was led by Owens (pictured), who struck out 10 in shutting down the Frederick Keys. The lefty moved up to #6 this week on the SoxProspects.com rankings.
- Huegel also profiled Alex Hassan this week. The outfielder, added to the Red Sox 40-man roster this offseason, struggled with foot and calf injuries early in the season. Since rejoining the PawSox, Hassan has been a force, with a .326 /.439/.517 batting line.
- Right-hander Brandon Workman made a splash in his first major league start. Getting the call on the Sunday before the All-Star break, Workman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, when it was broken up by former Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp.
- Also joining the Red Sox last weekend was lefty Drake Britton after a long trek through the minor leagues. The 2007 23rd-rounder is in his sixth season with the Boston organization. While he did not appear in game action over the weekend, he is expected to be in the bullpen when the Red Sox begin the second half at Fenway Park against the Yankees.
- Christian Vazquez has been building a reputation as an elite defensive catcher. That reputation is bolstered by Portland manager Kevin Boles, who tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that Vazquez is "probably the best defensive catcher I’ve seen."
- Speier discusses second baseman Wendell Rijo as another player who is ahead of the aging curve. The 17-year-old, among the younger players in the Gulf Coast League, has dominated in July with a .359/.500/.513 batting line in 12 games. During that stretch, he has 11 walks and has struck out only twice.
- The Red Sox have signed two left-handed pitchers out of Venezuela, reports Speier: Emmanuel DeJesus and Jhonathan Diaz.
- Right-handed pitcher Bobby Lanigan was signed to a minor league deal and added to the Portland roster. In other transactions:
- Fellow right-handed pitcher Matty Ott joins the Sea Dogs, as he was promoted from High A. Ott, a 13th-round pick in 2011, had a 3.46 ERA in 54 2/3 innings for Salem.
- Kendrick Perkins was promoted from Lowell to Greenville to take the roster spot of the injured Drew Turocy. Jose Colorado moves up from the GCL Red Sox to take Perkins in the Lowell outfield.
- Former Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson, once the top prospect on SoxProspects.com, was released this week by the White Sox. Anderson had struggled to a .194/.302/.251 line with Charlotte, Chicago's Triple-A affiliate.
John Gray and James Dunne are Staff Writers for SoxProspects.com.
Photo Credit: Xander Bogaerts and Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor