While this is the first Player of the Week honor this season for both Anthony Ranaudo(pictured) and Garin Cecchini, their weeks were representative of the very strong start each player has had to the 2013 season.
Ranaudo, SoxProspects.com's 13th ranked player, had one start this past week for the Portland Sea Dogs against the Trenton Thunder, a New York Yankees affiliate. He made the most of it throwing six shutout innings, allowing only two hits without a walk and striking out a career best nine batters. After four starts for Portland, Ranaudo has a 0.83 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 21 and 2/3 innings.
Jonathan Hee has retired from baseball, the Red Sox have announced. Hee is a minor league veteran who appeared in over 400 games in the Red Sox system.
Hee, 27, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 21st round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Hawaii, where he won the Gold Glove as the best shortstop in Division I. While his defensive pedigree was outstanding, he was used more as a utility player during his Red Sox tenure, playing more at each of the three infield positions than he did at short.
4/30 Cup of Coffee: A quartet of home runs powered Pawtucket, Salem came out on top of an anticipated pitching matchup, Greenville split its twin bill, and the rain would not cooperate with Portland.
Pawtucket cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Clippers (CLE). The PawSox were originally scheduled to face Trevor Bauer, the top pitching prospect in the Indians system, but caught a break, as the right-hander was scratched in order to be available for Cleveland on Wednesday. The offense responded with a 10-hit attack, including four home runs. Jose Iglesias was first in line with a third inning solo shot, his third of the year. The following inning, Bryce Brentz and Brandon Snyder went back-to-back. It was the second straight game that Brentz has been part of a consecutive home run rally. Snyder added an insurance run with his second solo home run of the night in the eighth, the fifth of the year for the two-time defending SoxProspects.com Player of the Week.
After a week off, Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, and Ian Cundall gabbed about the players who've had the best starts to the season, and what conclusions we can draw (hint: not many) from one month of data.
4/29 Cup of Coffee: Portland's offense proved to be thunderous in their contest against Trenton, while Pawtucket's power display was unable to propel them to victory on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Down South, Salem and Greenville both saw their games postponed by rain.
Despite a late offensive push, Pawtucket fell in their series finale against the Columbus Clippers (CLE), 6-5. Terry Doyle picked up his first loss of the season, hurling 3 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits and six walks, while striking out five. The rehabbing Craig Breslow allowed the eventual winning run, as he tossed 2/3 innings and allowed a run on a hit and two walks. Joel Hanrahan, also on a rehab assignment, pitched a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering just a walk. Hanrahan is expected to be activated by Boston before Tuesday's game with Toronto after Daniel Bard was optioned to Portland after yesterday's game.
4/28 Cup of Coffee: Anthony Ranaudo struck out nine in a dominant performance, Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle remained locked in at the plate, and the PawSox used a three-run ninth inning to send the Pawtucket fans home happy.
Pawtucket rallied for three runs in the ninth, walking off with a 6-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers (CLE). In his first start since pitching in Boston on April 21, Allen Webster struggled with his control, walking three in four innings of work, and throwing only 42 of his 79 pitches for strikes. All of the walks came in a long first inning, but he was able to settle down and retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. He ended up allowing four runs on three hits, while striking out five.
4/27 Cup of Coffee: All four affiliates took losses on Friday night. Collectively, all four pitching staffs surrendered 28 earned runs. There were some silver linings to go around, though, including Salem third basemen Garin Cecchini's (pictured) fourth consecutive two-hit game.
The Pawtucket Red Sox lost to the Buffalo Bison (TOR), 8-4, Friday night in Buffalo. The Bison scored six unanswered runs off PawSox pitching after the team took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third inning. PawSox starter Chris Hernandez lasted five innings, giving up eight hits, one walk and four earned runs. Reliever Oscar Villarreal, who gave up two runs in two innings, was tagged with the loss.
A pair of players acquired last season made their major league debuts this week. Allen Webster (pictured), ranked third on SoxProspects.com, was called upon to pitch game two of Sunday's doubleheader. He impressed, delivering a quality start. Steven Wright, recalled a week earlier, made his debut in miserable conditions on Tuesday night. Both were optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket after their appearances.
Reaction to Webster was very positive, both in terms of his results and his stuff. John Tomase of The Boston Heraldwas impressed by the way Webster maintained his poise following Alex Gordon ripping his first pitch off the Green Monster and scoring on an error. At WEEI.com, Annie Maroon also praised Webster's poise.
Webster also appeared several times on SoxProspects.com Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews' list of the top tools in the Red Sox system on ESPNBoston.
4/26 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket split its doubleheader in Buffalo, Salem stayed hot, and Greenville's bats awoke in support of some excellent pitching.
In game one of its doubleheader necessitated by Wednesday's rainout, Pawtucket dropped the Buffalo Bisons (TOR), 8-3. The game got off to a tough start for the PawSox, as Charlie Haeger allowed solo home runs in each of the first two innings, while the offense failed to deliver a baserunner until the fifth. However, the knuckleballer settled in, allowing three runs on six hits in his five innings of work, striking out four and walking three. The bats came around, giving Haeger his first victory in his comeback from Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2012 season. Jose De La Torre offered his support in relief, throwing two hitless innings and walking one with a pair of strikeouts.
4/25 Cup of Coffee: All three Red Sox affiliates in action Wednesday night played tight games at home, but only one team — the Salem Red Sox — sent fans home happy. The Sea Dogs and Drive came up short after falling behind early.
Just when you were starting to think — again — that nothing could stop Jackie Bradley Jr., 5 for 7 the last two games, the Pawtucket Red Sox and Buffalo Bison (TOR) got rained out.
In Portland, the Binghamton Mets (NYM) laid it on the Sea Dogs early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead after an inning and a half. Portland got most of it back, but the home team ultimately fell, 8-6, missing out on a series sweep.
The Red Sox announced after Wednesday's game that right-handed pitcher Alfredo Aceves has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Pete Abraham of The Boston Globereports that catcher Ryan Lavarnway will be recalled before tomorrow's series opener with the Houston Astros.
Lavarnway, 25, has spent time with the major league club in each of the last two seasons. After a promising 2011 debut in which he hit .231/.302/.436 in 39 at-bats, including two home runs in a key game during the playoff chase, he struggled both in Triple-A and at the major league level last season. Lavarnway is off to a promising start to the 2013 season, with a .310/.423/.452 line in 11 games in Pawtucket.
A pair of familiar faces were awarded SoxProspects.com Player and Pitcher of the Week honors. Pawtucket's Brandon Snyder (pictured) was honored for the second consecutive week, while Brandon Workman tied Portland teammate Matt Barnes as a career six-time winner, the most of any current minor leaguer.
Snyder followed up his 7 for 15 performance when he won two weeks ago with an 8 for 16 showing last week. Snyder had a base hit in each of his five games, including a solo home run and two-run double as part of Wednesday's 6-1 victory over Lehigh Valley.
4/24 Cup of Coffee: Rubby De La Rosa was able to get back on track in Pawtucket, Xander Bogaerts has been unstoppable after his early-season struggles, and Henry Owens (pictured) turned in his most dominant start of the year.
Pawtucket was unable to hold onto its early lead, as the Buffalo Bisons (TOR) came back to win, 5-3. Rubby De La Rosa had his best start of the season, throwing three shutout innings and allowing only one hit, while walking two and striking out one. His 56 pitches were the most he has thrown in a game this season, but only 29 of them were for strikes.
The Red Sox announced the recall of right-hander Daniel Bard after Tuesday night's game, reported Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald. In the corresponding move, pitcher Steven Wright has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bard, 27, was a mainstay in the Boston bullpen from 2009 through 2011 before attempting to convert to starting for the 2012 season. After struggling in 2012 and again in spring training, Bard was placed in Double-A Portland to begin the 2013 season. He pitched a scoreless inning in Tuesday's contest against the Binghamton Mets, the fifth consecutive appearance for Bard without an earned run.
Industry scouts grade a prospect's tools on the 20-80 scale, where 20 is poor, 30 is well-below major league average, 40 is "fringe-average," 50 is major league average, 55 is referred to as "solid-average," 60 is above-average (or "plus"), 70 is well above-average (or "plus-plus"), and 80 is elite (80 grades are rarely handed out). For prospects, a 50 is actually a very good grade, as it's an impressive accomplishment to profile as major league average in any given tool.
Here's a look at the players with the best tools in the Red Sox minor league system, as graded by the SoxProspects.com scouting staff. Note that this list omits minor leaguers who have graduated from prospect status such as Rubby De La Rosa, Daniel Bard and Ryan Lavarnway.
4/23 Cup of Coffee: A big ninth inning powered the PawSox, a rehabbing starter and a top propsect led Portland, while Salem fell in extra innings after failing to hold an early lead.
After spending most of the night locked in a pitcher's duel with the Rochester Red Wings (MIN), Pawtucket broke out with a six-run ninth inning to come away with an 8-2 victory. Knotted at two, Jose Iglesias led off the inning with a single, stole second, and moved up to third on a Brock Holt fly out. After an intentional pass to Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured), Drew Sutton ripped an RBI double to right, giving Pawtucket the 3-2 lead. Rochester loaded the bases by intentionally walking Brandon Snyder, a move that would not pay off. Ryan Lavarnway delivered a two-run double, and Bryce Brentz followed up with a two-run triple, giving the PawSox a comfortabe 7-2 lead. Pawtucket capped its rally when Brentz came home on a Mitch Maier ground out.
4/22 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket split a doubleheader against Rochester, while Salem pitching dazzled in a 1-0 victory. Portland held on for a close win, and Greenville was swept by Lexington.
In game one of a doubleheader, a five-run sixth inning propelled the PawSox to an 8-1 victory over the Rochester Red Wings (MIN). Graham Godfrey received the start for Pawtucket, going four innings and allowing one run on three hits and four walks. Ryan Rowland-Smith received the victory for his two innings of relief, allowing a hit and a walk, while punching out three. Down 1-0 in the sixth, the PawSox offense awoke for five runs on a bases loaded walk to Mitch Maier, an RBI single from Drew Sutton, a Jose Iglesias double that plated two, and an RBI ground out from Jonathan Diaz. The offensive outburst continued in the seventh, as Iglesias brought home a run on an RBI ground out, and Jeremy Hazelbaker knocked in two on an RBI single. Pawtucket drew ten walks and was 4 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
The Red Sox announced after Saturday night's game that right-hander Allen Webster would make his major league debut Sunday night in the second half of the team's day-night doubleheader with the Royals at Fenway Park. Webster had been scratched from his Saturday start in Pawtucket in anticipation of the move.
Webster, acquired from the Dodgers last August, has had a successful start to the season in Pawtucket. He has made two official starts, allowing just one run (on a solo home run) over 10 innings, giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out 12. He had another start on April 10 cut short when it was suspended due to rain after two innings; he had allowed three hits and no walks while striking out four batters.
4/21 Cup of Coffee: It was an exciting day throughout the system yesterday, as Jackie Bradley, Jr. appeared in his first game with the PawSox a day after turning 23, Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) continued to carve up the competition, and Salem had several strong offensive performances to lead it to victory.
The Rochester Red Wings (MIN) hit a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the seventh to lift them past the PawSox, 5-4. Allen Webster was originally scheduled to start, but he was scratched and called up to start the second game of Boston's doubleheader today. Charlie Haeger got the call instead in his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in February of 2012. Haeger did not allow an earned run in five innings, but a Brandon Snyder error allowed two unearned runs to score in the third. Haeger then threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt to allow a third run to score in the fifth.
A pair of Red Sox prospects who have shared a clubhouse for most of their professional careers are back in Salem together for a second Carolina League campaign this year, but have different outlooks on their pivotal 2013 campaigns.
Second baseman Sean Coyle, who rebounded in the second half last season with Salem, is relishing the chance to continue that progress before advancing a level, while left fielder Brandon Jacobs is looking to put an injury-marred 2012 season behind him.
“I don’t really take it as a negative that I’m back here (in Salem),” Coyle said. “I think Brandon takes it the same way. We have a shot to be somewhere we’re kind of comfortable and put everything aside and work on what we’re trying to do on the field.” Check out the full column on ESPN Boston, by Jon Meoli.
Three starting pitchers at three different levels are off to hot starts to the 2013 season. In High-A Salem, 6-foot-7 left-hander Henry Owens has pitched well in his first three starts, allowing only nine hits and five walks to go along with 16 strikeouts in his first 15 innings. In Portland, Brandon Workman(pictured) has punched out 25 batters in his first 18 innings of work, while only walking two. In just two starts at Pawtucket, Allen Webster is showing the buzz around his future this spring was the real deal. So far, the 23-year-old right-hander has struck out 12 batters in 10 innings pitched and has helped lead the PawSox to a 10-4 record to start the season. Webster's changeup has proved an effective weapon early this year, writes SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel.
4/20 Cup of Coffee: The only two Red Sox affiliates in action Friday night were on both sides of blowouts, while the other two had games postponed due to inclement weather On the mound for Portland, Matt Barnes turned in his best performance of the 2013 campaign.
Following a perfect top of the first inning against New Britain (MIN) Friday night,right-hander Matt Barnes (pictured) returned to the bump for the second inning with a four-run lead to work with. He didn't let it slip away, as the SeaDogs routed the Rock Cats by a score of 12-1.
4/19 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night for pitching down on the farm, as three clubs allowed double-digit runs in blowout losses, including Portland during its 20th anniversary party. Salem was able to salvage a single win for the affiliates.
Pawtucket dropped its afternoon bout with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), 14-5. The struggles for Rubby De La Rosa continued, as the right-hander allowed four runs in two innings, walking three and striking out one. Jeremy Kehrt had a strong outing in long relief. allowing a run on seven hits in four innings, and enabling Pawtucket to tie up the game. Lehigh Valley touched up fellow relievers Oscar Villareal, who took the loss, and Anthony Carter.
The writing was on the wall all day, and following the Red Sox’ 6-3 win over the Cleveland Indians Thursday night, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, according to CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam. David Ortiz, who wrapped up his rehab assignment Thursday afternoon, will take his spot on Boston's roster.
It's the end of Bradley’s first major league stint, which for the most part was unsuccessful. The 22-year-old made a big enough splash in spring training to earn a spot on the 25-man roster, which in February seemed like a long shot.
But once in the majors, Bradley hit only .097 with a .263 on-base percentage and .129 slugging percentage. He managed six walks, but had four times as many strikeouts (12) as he did hits (3). He hadn't started a game since Monday.
In the first full weekly slate of games Pawtucket's Brandon Snyder and Portland's Chris Martin are SoxProspects.com Player and Pitcher of the Week for April 8-14, respectively.
Martin made two appearances last week, working three shutout innings against Reading (Phillies) April 9, allowing one hit and striking out three, and New Britain (MIN) April 13, striking out two (walking one) and earning the win. Martin was also named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.
4/18 Cup of Coffee: Not every Red Sox affiliate was victorious Wednesday, but all four games had a pretty clear theme: Strong outings from starting pitchers, including left-hander Franklin Morales, who was making a rehab appearance with the Greenville Drive.
Minor league pitchers Mickey Penaand Gerson Bautista have been suspended for 50 games after violating minor league baseball's drug program.
Pena, a projectable left-hander with a four pitch mix, allowed only one run in four innings of work on Tuesday, in what will be his last game for at least two months. The 22-year-old had a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings with Salem this season after pitching to a 2.95 ERA in 100 2/3 innings with Greenville last season.
Pena failed a second test for a drug of abuse, while Bautista tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol. Bautista is a 17-year-old preparing to play in the Dominican Summer League. Pena has had character concerns throughout his career, which includes being sent home from the Cape Cod League for disciplinary reasons. Leonel Escobarwas activated from the seven day disabled list to fill Pena's roster spot.
During Spring Training, Anthony Ranaudo and Allen Webster pitched on the same day at the Twins complex. I wrote about Ranaudo, while Senior Columnist Jon Meoli wrote up Webster. Following up on these two impact arms was one of my priorities for the early season, and thus far I’ve had the opportunity to scout both and they continued to impress, along with another less-heralded arm.
- Anthony Ranaudo(pictured) came out in the brisk Portland weather
throwing strikes with his fastball and commanding the pitch well. The pitch sat
91-94 mph throughout the outing and he held his velocity over the five-inning
stint. The pitch was extremely effective, resulting in 12 swing-and-misses and
five of his six strikeouts. Ranaudo used his size well to get downhill plane on
the offering, burying it down in the zone with arm-side run. Ranaudo mixed in
his curveball and changeup sparingly, as he really didn’t need them to be more
than show-me pitches since his fastball was so effective. Ranaudo only threw
his curveball eight times, recording one strikeout on a 79-mph curveball with
deep break while giving up a hit on another one up in the zone. Ranaudo threw
his changeup less than his curveball, and he didn’t show much feel for the
pitch. It was relatively flat and he slowed his arm, telegraphing the pitch.
4/17 Cup of Coffee: While the big league club provided some much needed support for the city of Boston, the minor league squads were winless on Tuesday. In Portland, Xander Bogaerts finally broke out of his slump, and Drake Britton continued to show improved control, as he now has three walks and 16 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Pawtucket has now dropped two in a row, falling to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), 8-6. Chris Hernandez got the spot start for the PawSox, filling in for Steven Wright who was called up to the majors early in the afternoon. With nobody on and two out in the third, a Justin Henry error extended the inning, and that was quickly followed by a single and home run to give the IronPigs three unearned runs. Hernandez allowed another three-run home run in the fourth, and he departed after five innings, allowing seven runs, three earned, while walking one and striking out four.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- On Monday night, Allen Webster turned in his finest performance of the season thus far, striking out seven in five innings of work. The only blemish of the night came on a solo shot by former major leaguer Josh Fields to lead off the second inning, and otherwise he mixed his pitches effectively and used his nasty changeup to his advantage.
"It felt good," said the 23-year-old Webster following the start. "That was a real aggressive team that was going after fastballs, so when we mixed it up [with offspeed stuff], they were still swinging for fastballs."
"He looked good this start," his battery-mate, Dan Butler, said after the game. "He was getting ahead of guys; he was putting guys away when he had the chance to. He did a real good job staying in the zone, making guys swing the bat a little bit. He got some early outs, and he just did a good job of attacking the zone and going right after guys."
Boston has placed closer Joel Hanrahan on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled groin, and recalled right-hander Steven Wright from Pawtucket, reports Peter Gammons. Wright will join Red Sox in Cleveland as the Red Sox begin a three-game set with the Indians, the organization that traded him last summer.
Wright, 28, was acquired in July 2012 from Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Lars Anderson. The knuckleballer has started two games this season for Pawtucket, allowing three runs in 10 innings pitched, striking out 11. While Wright has largely been a starter since he started throwing the knuckler in 2011, he will work out of the bullpen with Boston.
4/16 Cup of Coffee: Portland pitchers took a no-hitter into the seventh, leading the Sea Dogs to the system's only win of the evening. Pawtucket failed to hold a late lead, while the bats struggled for Salem and Greenville.
The PawSox got a solid start from Allen Webster, but could not hold on for the win, falling, 8-3, to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). The loss halted Pawtucket's five game winning streak. Webster allowed just one run on five hits in his five innings of work, striking out seven without walking a batter. SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel was in attendance at McCoy Stadium, and he reported Webster threw 84 pitches, 55 for strikes, and topped out at 95 with his fastball. Webster's most impressive inning was the third, when he struck out the side on two sliders and a changeup.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Boston's front office has employed a careful approach for pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa, who was acquired by the club in last summer's blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the right-hander says he'll be off his established program in "about a month."
The program sets his limit at 50 pitches, which has translated to 2 1/3 innings for the 24-year-old in each of his two starts with the PawSox. De La Rosa, however, believes he can go deeper into his outings.
“I feel I can go longer," said De La Rosa, who currently sits fifth in the SoxProspects.com rankings. "But I have
to do whatever the bosses say.”
4/14 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox outscored the Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 14-2 over two games to sweep a doubleheader, Portland rallied from three runs down to win its fourth game of the season, while poor control doomed both Salem and Greenville. Pawtucket is now 8-1 to start the season, and seven of the wins have been by four runs or more.
The PawSox used a six-run sixth inning to defeat the Red Wings 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader. The Red Wings got to Terry Doyle for a run in the first, but he settled down and was in control the rest of the game. He left after five innings, allowing only two hits and one walk with five strikeouts. The PawSox bats were quiet until the sixth when they put seven men on base and put the game out of reach. David Ortiz laced a two-run single to right, and Drew Sutton hit a two-run double to help build the commanding lead.
4/13 Cup of Coffee: With Pawtucket and Portland postponed due to rain, Salem and Greenville were the only two Red Sox affiliates to take the diamond Friday. Making up a Thursday rainout, Greenville played two, taking home victories in both games of the doubleheader.
On the strength of two Sean Coyle (pictured)solo home runs, the Salem Red Sox defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX) by a score of 7-2 in the team's home opener. Coyle's first blast came in the third inning and opened the scoring for Salem when he hit a two-out offering over the left field fence. The second basemen's second solo home run was more meaningful, however, as it broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning.
The minor league season is just over a week old, and the SoxProspects team is already out there reporting from the field. On this episode, Chris gets on the horn with Jon Meoli, who was at Salem's season-opening series in Frederick, and Chris Mellen, who caught Portland's opener and hadn't been on yet to talk about Spring Training. Per Jon's request, we opened with some Justin Timberlake. Forgive us.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. - When Jose Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket in favor of a healthy Stephen Drew on Wednesday, he was admittedly disappointed. But the 23-year-old defensive wizard vows that he'll use the trip to Triple-A to continue building upon the offensive success he had in Boston, while refining all aspects of his game.
"I mean I was disappointed, but this was out of my control," said Iglesias, who batted .450 (9 for 20) in six games with Boston. "All I can do is come to the field, take extra BP, learn something every day, and be a better player. When I get another opportunity I will be better."
It didn't take long for Iglesias to exhibit the same offensive success in Pawtucket that he showed earlier this season.
Alex Wilson (pictured) is ranked at No. 16 in the SoxProspects.com rankings, is the top relief pitching prospect, and despite a good spring was unable to make the major league team because of the depth the Red Sox have at the position. However, he did not have to wait long to get the call as he was activated on Wednesday when John Lackey was sent to the disabled list with a bicep strain. He appeared in his first major league game last night throwing one inning with a walk and a strikeout, and in doing so became the first Saudi Arabian born pitcher to appear in a major league game. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer Kevin Pereira talked to Wilson last week about his mindset and preparation entering his first full season as a reliever.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes about Wilson's long journey to the majors. The transition to the bullpen for Wilson seemed ill-timed last year as the major-league bullpen quickly became a strength and starting depth was needed. Wilson finally got his call-up to majors though in a role in which most think he is best-suited.
4/12 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket and Portland were the only minor league affiliates in action on Thursday, and both came away victorious. Greenville's scheduled contest was postponed by rain.
In the home opener at McCoy Stadium, Jose Iglesias returned with a bang, helping Pawtucket to a 5-4 victory over the Rochester Red Wings (MIN). Iglesias hit a two-run home run in his second plate appearance, matching his long ball output in 353 at-bats last year with the PawSox. David Ortiz got the start at designated hitter in his first appearance of his rehab assignment. Ortiz went 2 for 3, and most importantly, he ran the bases with no issue. Drew Sutton and Justin Henry added two hits apiece.
4/11 Cup of Coffee: Typical Northeast spring weather postponed the Pawtucket Red Sox after just two innings, but the three squads that did get to play a full game Wednesday all prevailed. The Salem Red Sox and Greenville Drive both won mid-week matinees on the road.
The PawSox, visiting the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) before their home opener Thursday, got two scoreless innings in before a second rain delay put a premature end to their night. Right-hander Allen Webster threw an efficient pair of innings, striking out four and giving up three hits on just 32 pitches.
The Red Sox today called up right-hander Alex Wilson (pictured) from Triple-A Pawtucket, and John Lackey was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Additionally, shortstop Stephen Drew was activated from from the 7-day disabled list as Jose Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket.
Wilson, 26, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft. A starter for most of his minor league career, Wilson switched to the bullpen during the 2012 campaign with Pawtucket. The move proved to be successful, as Wilson went 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 40 games.
With their outstanding starts to the season, Portland's Michael Almanzar (pictured) and Salem's Henry Owens convincingly earned the first SoxProspects.com Player and Pitcher of the Week honors of 2013, respectively. Each garnered more than half of the votes from the SoxPropects community en route to receiving the awards.
Almanzar, who signed as an international free agent with the Red Sox in 2007, collected four hits, including two home runs, drew one walk and drove in three runs in seven at-bats over the first two games of his Double-A career last week. Last season, the 22-year-old compiled a .300/.353/.458 slash line with 12 home runs and 54 RBI in 124 games in Single-A Salem. He bookended 2012 in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .185/.272/.235 in 22 games with the Surprise Saguaros and made an appearance in the league's Rising Stars Game.
4/10 Cup of Coffee: There were strong pitching performances throughout the farm system last night, but none were better than what Anthony Ranaudo (pictured)did in his 2013 debut.
Pawtucket improved to 5-1 on the season with a 5-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). Pawtucket scored in three of the first five innings, which was more than enough support for Steven Wright who notched his first victory of the season. Wright had the knuckleball working, allowing one run over six innings, walking three and striking out six. Brandon Snyder put the PawSox on the board with a two-run home run in the second, and he added another RBI with a double in the fourth. Bryce Brentz padded the Pawtucket lead in the fifth with a two-run single, and he has now hit safely in all six games this season.
Henry Owens caused a stir during spring training when he reportedly struck out 13 of 15 batters faced in an intrasquad game.
But as the tall left-hander continues to make good on the projection that has vaulted Owens onto many top prospect lists after his debut last year in Greenville, the California prep product is striving to go deeper into outings and pitch more efficiently in his sophomore campaign.
“Since I get so many strikeouts… I don’t want to walk two, strike out three (each inning),” the 20-year-old Owens said. “I’d rather get two groundballs and a strikeout, that’s fine with me.”
4/9 Cup of Coffee: The Red Sox top 2012 draft pick had a big night to end Salem's season-starting losing streak. Elsewhere, a pair of top pitching phenoms struggled for Pawtucket and Portland, while Greenville lost in a thriller.
It was the highly anticipated debut in the Red Sox organization for Rubby De La Rosa, but the righty struggled out of the gate, and Pawtucket fell 14-5 to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). The right-hander, acquired in August's mega-deal with the Dodgers, gave up five runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out three, walked one, and was touched for a pair of home runs. The IronPig barrage continued against the bullpen, with Lehigh Valley scoring in every inning except for the sixth. Graham Godfrey took the loss in relief.
From the outset of camp, it looked like Pedro Ciriaco had locked up Boston's utility man bench spot. But that didn’t stop Brock Holt from trying to win the job and make the organization think twice before sending him down to minors. The infielder apparently did a pretty good job too, as he made it to the last wave of cuts and was optioned to Triple-A on March 28.
“I know going in there, they told me I'd have a shot to make the team as a utility guy, and I was looking forward to that chance,” Holt said at media day for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on April 2.
4/8 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket continued its hot start to the 2013 season, completing a four-game sweep of their rivals. Portland and Salem fell in close contests, while Greenville was blanked by Charleston.
The PawSox continued their early season domination, defeating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), 6-2, and completing a four-game opening series sweep. Terry Doyle (pictured) received the victory in his Pawtucket debut, tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and five walks while striking out five.
4/7 Cup of Coffee: After winning the Governor's Cup last season, the PawSox have picked up right where they left off, getting good pitching and timely hitting on their way to a 3-0 start. Elsewhere on the farm, Henry Owens had a strong debut in Salem, Greenville split a doubleheader, and the Portland game was postponed because it was too cold.
Pawtucket improved to 3-0 on the season, defeating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 7-2. PawSox starter Chris Hernandez pitched in and out of trouble for four innings, but ultimately gave up only two runs despite allowing eight baserunners. Pawtucket got on the board in the third with an RBI double by Dan Butler, and two more runs scored on an error by the RailRider first baseman. The PawSox bullpen was able to hold the lead, as Pedro Beato and Jose De La Torre combined to throw five scoreless innings.
On this episode, Chris Hatfield, Matt Huegel, and Ian Cundall review what we learned at spring training (which you can also catch up on at news.soxprospects.com), and analyze the season-opening rosters at the four full-season affiliates. Also discussed: Jon Meoli's hair.
4/6 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox, Sea Dogs and Drive all took home victories against New York Yankee affiliates on Friday, while the lone outlier, the Salem Red Sox, fell to the Frederick Keys (BAL) in their season-opener.
Although the 9-4 final score appears lopsided, Friday evening's contest between the PawSox and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (NYY) was close until a five-run top of the eighth inning busted the game wide open. The inning was started with hits by Justin Henry and Drew Sutton, and was capped off by a three-run home run by designated hitter Mark Hamilton.
First baseman Michael Flacco has announced his retirement from baseball, reports Salem Red Sox announcer Evan Lepler. Flacco had been assigned to High A Salem, scheduled to open its season this evening against the Frederick Keys.
Flacco, 26, was acquired in March from Baltimore for a player to be named later. A 31st round draft pick of the Orioles in the 2009 draft, Flacco showed solid plate discipline, but failed to develop the power that his 6-foot-6, 225 pound frame projected.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured) officially made the Red Sox Opening Day 25-man roster. After an impressive spring, Bradley continued to hold his own against the Yankees. He collected two hits in 10 at-bats, drawing three walks and adding three RBI.
The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber talks with Bradley's college coach, Ray Tanner, about how impressed he was with Bradley's approach and overall game during an initial college scouting trip.
4/5 Cup of Coffee: The minor league season officially got underway Thursday, and both Red Sox teams in action — the PawSox and Sea Dogs — played the Yankees' affiliate at their respective level, but ultimately to mixed results.
The PawSox traveled to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to play the RailRiders (NYY) in a contest that proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Pawtucket came out on top by a score of 8-4, thanks to a five-run 10th inning behind the strength of four extra-base hits. Left fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker and designated hitter Justin Henry both homered in the big inning.
Here is a compilation of scouting notes from Fort Myers in
this final preseason installment of Scouting Scratch.
- Outfielder Keury De La Cruz(pictured) had a breakout 2012 season with the Greenville Drive, showing plus
power for someone with his frame. De La Cruz is listed at 5-foot-11, 185
pounds, but he looks considerably bigger than that, with a well-filled out
lower half. He generates plus bat speed from the left side, and rarely gets
cheated at the plate. He generates a lot of power with his lower half and gets
great leverage with a slight uppercut swing. During batting practice, he showed
power to all fields, driving the ball with backspin easily out of the park. He
also showed in-game power, driving out a belt high fastball to deep
right-center field during a Double-A game.
De La Cruz still needs to work on his consistency from
at-bat to at-bat. He often gets caught off balance against off-speed pitches,
as he is always looking for a fastball he can drive. His swing is also long,
and it is so violent that at times he spins around when he swings and misses.
In season, I’ll be interested to see if he can make the necessary adjustments
to his swing, especially with two strikes, in order to stay on the ball longer
rather than swinging for the fences every time.
Strengths: Cecchini possesses a sweet stroke from the left side of the plate. He easily rifles the head of the bat through the strike zone, generating above-average bat speed. The 21-old-year has the type of strong, quick hands to keep the barrel of the bat in the hitting zone and also use them to stay inside of the ball. The post-contact extension has been improving over the course of the last season or so as well. Cecchini’s hit tool grades as solid-average. The third baseman’s offensive skills are enhanced by his strong plate patience. Cecchini has grown into a relaxed hitter in the box, approaching each plate appearance with a plan in place. The left-handed hitter is not afraid to take a strike or let a pitch pass that he is not looking for in a hitter’s count. Developing physically since he signed with the organization in 2010, Cecchini’s body has become firm and strong, especially in the lower half. There’s raw power for him to tap into, with the potential to hit 18-20 home runs down the line.