July 7, 2015 at 10:29 AM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- The international signing period officially opened on July 2, and despite restrictions on the bonuses they can give out, the Red Sox were very active. Due to their excessive spending last year, the Red Sox are not allowed to spend more than $300,000 on any one player during the next two signing periods. Already they have spent that maximum amount on four Venezuelan players, including two very highly regarded outfield prospects, Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti. The other two signings were shortstops Eduardo Torrealba - the son of former major leaguer Yorvit - and Antonio Pineiro. The Red Sox have an overall pool of $3,681,000, so there could be many more signings to come as the Red Sox possess the ability to cast a wide net.
- The amateur signings continued with five more draft picks signing this week, led by top pick Andrew Benintendi (pictured, right) and third-round pick Austin Rei. Both Rei and Benintendi signed for their exact slot values. After winning the Golden Spikes Award after his amazing sophomore college season, Benintendi has stayed hot over his first three pro games, going 5-for-13 with his first career home run for Lowell, while Rei debuted on Monday.
- It did not come as much of a surprise that lefty Brian Johnson was named to the International League All-Star Team for the game taking place on July 13th. Johnson's ERA this season stands at 2.68 with a 0.93 WHIP and 76 strikeouts to 24 walks for Pawtucket. He is now ranked fifth on the SoxProspects rankings, and he is doing everything he can to prove he is major league ready.
- Jackie Bradley had been leading the International League All-Star fan vote since balloting opened, but when the vote ended, he was playing with the major league team and thus was not named an all-star. However, now that he has been optioned back to Pawtucket, he will indeed play in the game on July 15th. He has been up with the major league team on three separate stints this season, one each in May, June and July, but he has struggled offensively during that time, hitting only .133/.229/.233 over 30 at-bats. His performance at Triple-A this year has been drastically different, leading some to believe he had rediscovered what made him a top prospect several years ago. At Pawtucket, Bradley is hitting .319/.396/.460 with four home runs and 18 doubles over 213 at-bats, justifying his all-star selection.
- The Eastern League also announced their All-Stars this week, and the Sea Dogs had an five players selected. Infielders Carlos Asuaje, Marco Hernandez, and Jantzen Witte, and pitchers William Cuevas and Robby Scott will represent the home team when the game is played at Hadlock Field on July 15.
- Noe Ramirez made his major league debut this week when he was called up on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Zeke Spruill was designated for assignment (and has since cleared waivers and been outrighted to Pawtucket). After the 2012 season, Ramirez was transitioned from starting to the bullpen, and he turned into a standout performer out of the pen. However, the one inning he has thrown in the majors thus far was less impressive, allowing four runs (three earned) with three hits and a strikeout in the tenth inning on Friday to take the loss.
- While Ramirez struggled in his major league debut, Eduardo Rodriguez continues to impress. Over his 8 starts for the Red Sox, he has thrown 46.1 innings, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 44 strikeouts to 15 walks. Jimmy Toscano of Comcast SportsNet points out that Eduardo has made history, becoming the first Red Sox player since 1920 to log six quality starts in his first eight appearances to start his career.
- Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com spoke with Rodriguez about the start to his career, and Rodriguez says he is starting to feel more comfortable in the majors and is learning a lot from his fellow pitchers. Ryan Hanigan is back from injuries and sees what all the hype is about.
- There is an ongoing education process that is necessary for players to reach their potential, and SoxProspects.com alum Alex Skillin for Baseball Prospectus Boston dives into this developmental process for Rodriguez.
- Yoan Moncada (pictured, left) has not put up the numbers that you would assume from his lofty rankings across the industry. Those in the game are not bothered by the numbers, especially considering Moncada had 18 months off after his defection from Cuba. Chris Crawford of Baseball Prospectus asked scouts and front office members about the best player at each position, and Moncada was among those discussed at second base, with one scout saying he would put a 6 grade on both his hit and power tools on the 2-8 scouting scale and another saying he has the highest offensive ceiling of any prospect.
- Also over at Baseball Prospectus, David Lee writes about Moncada in the latest edition of the Prospect Profile.
- New, updated rankings come out on the first day of every month throughout the season and you can check out the latest version of the SoxProspects rankings right here, which includes a new top prospect and the initial rankings of six draft picks.
- In the latest edition of the SoxProspects podcast, the team tackled topics including recent promotions, major league debuts, and the new rankings.
Players of the Week 6/29-7/5
Teddy Stankiewicz, RHP, Salem Red Sox
1 G, 1-0, 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 K
Stankiewicz was able to get a win by throwing a seven inning complete game shutout against Myrtle Beach as part of a pseudo double header for the Salem Red Sox. His nine strikeouts in the game tie his career best, which tie his start from last July while pitching for the Greenville Drive.
Both the win and the strikeouts have been a bit tough to come by this season for Stankiewicz. His strikeout rate of 13.2% is a career low, and his eight losses this season also tie his career high. Despite this, his ERA remains solid, and he has been able to limit the walks, something he has done well through his career.
In addition to winning our pitcher of the week award, he also took home the award for the Carolina League, his second time taking home the award this season.
Season Stats: 15 G, 3-8, 90.1 IP, 3.69 ERA, 37 ER, 92 H, 15 BB, 48 K
Rafael Oliveras, 2B/3B, Gulf Coast League Red Sox
4 G, 19 PA, 8 H, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, .571/.632/.857
Oliveras is off to a hot start to the season, and while he hit .294 last week, his overall line was far superior this week. The power stands out as he had almost as many total bases as at-bats. The home run was the first of Oliveras' career after being selected in the 35th round of the 2013 draft.
Oliveras did more than just hit, as he also pitched 1 2/3 innings this week as well. He was summoned in the 12th and 13th innings of a long game on Friday, eventually taking the loss. He walked one and allowed two hits and one earned run in his first pitching appearance as a professional.
This is his third straight year that he has played for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. At 20 years old, he is now a bit older than league average, which puts his performance somewhat into prospective.
Season Stats: 9 G, 40 PA, 13 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI, 9 BB, 8 K, .419/.548/.548
Photo Credit: Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada by Kelly O'Connor.
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.