May 4, 2015 at 2:15 PM
This week's minor league notes:
- The big news this past week was the call up and major league debut of of top prospect, catcher Blake Swihart (pictured, right), who had been hitting .338/.392/.382 for Pawtucket. The Red Sox decided to make the roster move after catcher Ryan Hannigan broke his knuckle on his right hand Friday night, which required surgery. Swihart was featured this morning in Baseball Prospectus' Monday Morning Ten Pack.
- Swihart has played every inning since his promotion. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts on Saturday, and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night. In an ideal world, the Red Sox would have let Swihart develop more in Pawtucket. Some growing pains are expected since there is development remaining for the 23-year-old. Scott Lauber writes for the Boston Herald that injured Christian Vazquez will serve as a valuable resource for Swihart.
- ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes writes that the burden now falls on Swihart, the latest in a long list of recent highly touted prospects to debut for the Red Sox. If you are looking to find out more about the recent call up you can start with his SoxProspects.com player page, but Christopher Crawford and Ben Carsley also do a nice job summing it up in The Call Up for Baseball Prospectus.
- On Saturday, Hannigan was added to the 60-day DL after the Red Sox announced they had claimed infielder Luis Jimenez from the Brewers. Jimenez is a strong defender, but the 27 year-old has not had much success with the bat. The Red Sox were left with a short bench because Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to Pawtucket on Wednesday and is ineligible to rejoin the team until this upcoming weekend.
- Red Sox roster moves continued with the promotion of Ty Buttrey to High A Salem following a strong start to the year where he pitched 22 innings with a 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 22 strikeouts to three walks for Greenville. The corresponding move was Red Sox 2013 Latin Program Pitcher, Dedgar Jimenez, moving up to fill Buttrey's vacated roster spot.
- One additional series of moves happened after Tuesday's game when Dalier Hinojosa and Tommy Layne were recalled, Anthony Vavaro was designated for assignment, and, as mentioned earlier, Jackie Bradley Jr. was sent back to Pawtucket, one day after he was recalled. The early struggles of the starting rotation have been extremely taxing on the Red Sox bullpen, and has necessitated the constant movement at the back end of the roster in order to have fresh arms available. Vavaro was claimed on waivers by the Cubs as first mentioned by Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.
- Hinojosa made his major league debut under difficult circumstances as Comcast Sportsnet's Sean McAdams writes, and while it wasn't pretty, he got the job done.
- Remember that the SoxProspects.com rankings will be updated every month throughout the season. Check out the latest top 20 here, and you can see 21-60 here.
- Manuel Margot is one of the risers in the rankings, up to third, and has also become the latest subject in the never ending "who will the Red Sox trade for Cole Hamels" debate. Ryan Hannable hits on this as well as Yoan Moncada's timetable in one packed edition of WEEI.com's Minor League Notebook. Margot was also the subject of Josh Norris' latest Scout's View video for Baseball America.
- SoxProspects.com's managing editor, Matt Huegel wrote the latest installment of Fenway's Future for Baseball Prospectus Boston and covers Henry Owens' lack of control in the early going, Pat Light's strong start in the pen, Margot who never strikes out, and the recently promoted Buttrey.
- Huegel was all over Owens this week and goes into far more detail at SoxProspects.com on his early control issues while developing a new pitch with quotes from skipper Kevin Boles as well as the pitcher himself.
- Left-handers Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez have gotten a lot of the attention in the early going, but Brian Johnson was off to a hot start as well. However, this week he had his start of the season where he struggled writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
- Michael Kopech has also flown a little under the radar this year, likely because he is further from the majors than guys like Rodriguez and Johnson. However, last year's 33rd overall pick has been impressive as well and has a huge ceiling writes SoxProspects.com alum, Alex Skillin, for Baseball Prospectus Boston.
- Mike Antonellis, voice of the Sea Dogs, noted that Justin Haley left Saturday's game with a right leg injury.
- The MLB draft is quickly approaching and the Red Sox hold the seventh overall pick. MLB.com's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo take a run at the top 10 picks with some interesting names linked to the Sox.
- The way baseball transactions are designed, it can be brutal for a player who can ping pong from team to team. Former Red Sox Alex Hassan is going through this stage of baseball "purgatory" being constantly designated for assignment writes Brian MacPherson for the Providence Journal.
- Two former top ranked prospects are the subject of one of Baseball Prospectus Boston's debates, who would you rather have to start a team, Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts? Ben Carsley takes both sides of this debate. Who would you choose?
Players of the Week 4/27/15 - 5/3/15: This season the SoxProspects.com staff will select the best hitter and pitcher of each week throughout the season and feature them in the Weekly Notes:
1 G, 0-0, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Despite only pitching once this week, McGrath's (pictured, left) start for Salem on Saturday was strong enough to secure him the Pitcher of the Week. The Aussie went six shutout innings and left with a 2-0 lead. While Salem was unable to hold the lead, they did ultimately walk away with the win. This was the lefty's best start of the year, and he has increased how deep he goes into games every start thus far this year. Notably, it was also the first start of the year for McGrath without allowing a walk and also his first start without allowing a run.
Season Stats: 4 G, 1-1, 18.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 9 H, 5 ER, 10 BB, 18 K, 1.04 WHIP
Sam Travis, 1B, Salem Red Sox
6 G, 25 PA, 13 H, 4 2B, 3 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 SB, .542/.538/.708
For the second week in a row, a single affiliate took home the sweep. Just from looking at his line, you can see the impact Travis had this past week. He had a hit in all six games played this week, had multiple hits in all but one, and a double in four of his 6 games. Travis had started the season very slowly and came into the week hitting a mere .182/.270/.291, but a good week can have a big impact on the season totals this early in the year.
Season Stats: 21 G, 89 PA, 23 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 13 RBI, 7 BB, 17 K, 4 SB, .291/.348/.418
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart and Daniel McGrath by Kelly O'Connor
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.