April 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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.
- In a shocking turn of events, Henry Owens allowed multiple runs this week. The tall left-hander started the year by tossing 12 2/3 scoreless innings, but he allowed four runs in his third inning of work on Monday. Pitching coach Bob Kipper told Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald that Owens's biggest area of development is the ability to control his delivery and locate his fastball.
- Brandon Workman made his first appearance as a starter on Wednesday, allowing three runs in 3 1/3 innings. Workman is building his arm strength back up after pitching well in his three relief appearances for Boston earlier in the season.
- The player Workman beat out for a spot in the Boston bullpen to open the season, Drake Britton, has been tremendous for the PawSox thus far. He has allowed only one run in 9 1/3 innings over seven appearances, and he has positioned himself as maybe the first call-up from Pawtucket should a Boston reliever go on the disabled list.
- Matt Barnes made a start in extended spring training on Saturday, and according to Speier he could rejoin the PawSox this week. Barnes is building up arm strength after being shut down with shoulder discomfort during spring training. Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times spoke with Barnes, who is eager to return to Pawtucket.
- A player who is quickly moving up the prospect ranks is Wendell Rijo (pictured). After a strong week, he appeared on Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet, and he currently ranks second in the South Atlantic League in on-base percentage (.469), only trailing teammate Kevin Mager by .04 points.
- Another low minors hitter who has been turning heads is Kevin Heller, who is hitting .366/.480/.634 in 50 plate appearances in Salem. The 40th round draft pick from Amherst College has reached base in all 13 games this season.
Photo Credit: Christian Vazquez and Wendell Rijo by Kelly O'Connor