SoxProspects News

July 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Weekly Notes: Johnson makes Major League debut

Here are this week's minor league notes:

  • Staff Writer James Dunne provided a definitive recap of the Red Sox' efforts in the 2015 draft, writing that Boston made the most of its relatively small bonus pool by making a safe pick in first-rounder Andrew Benintendi.
  • The crew also released Episode 81 of the Podcast, with Executive Editor Chris Hatfield and Director of Scouting Ian Cundall breaking down their recent trip to Greenville with Managing Editor Matt Huegel. Rounding out the episode was an insightful interview with Drive manager Darren Fenster, who talked about how top players like Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers are progressing in Low A.
  • Perhaps the biggest story of the week was left-hander Brian Johnson making his major league debut on July 21 against the Houston Astros. Despite the fanfare surrounding the game, Johnson – the No. 5-ranked prospect in the system according to – didn't show well, drawing the loss after tossing 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on three hits and four walks. But as Zack Cox of writes, it's too early to write the 2012 first-round pick off.
  • Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe notes that Johnson was out of rhythm entering Tuesday's game, having not seen action for 15 days prior to taking the mound. He writes the young lefty also fell victim to a strange, momentum-shifting play in the fifth inning, when a Ryan Hanigan throwing error helped the Astros put together a four-run inning and put the game out of reach.
  • On a lighter note, Johnson shared 10 facts about himself to's Christopher Smith, most notably that his uncle Joe Williams coached against UCLA men's basketball legend John Wooden in the 1970 NCAA Division I tournament final. Williams was then the head coach at Jacksonville University.
  • With the July 31 trade deadline fast approaching, speculation abounds about what moves – if any – the Red Sox will make. Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald tweeted that some in the Philadelphia Phillies front office are "very high" on Portland Sea Dogs outfielder Manuel Margot. Boston, on the other hand, has been linked with Phillies ace Cole Hamels since the spring.
  • Jake Kaplan of writes that while the Red Sox will have plenty of competition for Hamels' services, Boston's well-stocked system could help the team stand out from other suitors. He notes that a potential Red Sox prospect package could revolve around Margot and Greenville Drive slugger Rafael Devers.
  • Charlie Drysdale of SB Nation's Minor League Ball blog took a look at Devers, whom he writes has paired a love for the game with uncanny hitting ability to create a player to watch for the future.
  • Alex Speier of The Boston Globe put the underperforming Pawtucket Red Sox under the microscope, writing that, given the talent on the team's roster, its recent performance "borders on shocking." Speier writes the PawSox, who are currently riding an eight-game losing streak, find themselves caught in the classic minor league debate between player development and team results.
  • Annie Maroon of writes that Pawtucket left-hander Henry Owens appears to be hitting his stride, overcoming a rocky first half that saw him post one of the International League's highest walk totals. Three of the first-round pick's four July starts have been quality ones, and he's allowed just seven walks and nine earned runs against 31 strikeouts in that span.
  • Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal writes that former Red Sox prospect Alex Wilson has carved out an important role for himself with the Detroit Tigers. Tossed into the Rick Porcello-Yoenis Cespedes deal in December, the right-hander has become one of the Tigers' top relievers, posting a 1.88 ERA an a 0.97 WHIP in 37 relief appearances.
Players of the Week 7/20-7/27

Madison Younginer, RHP, Portland Sea Dogs
2 G, 1-0, 5.0 IP, 1 S, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Younginer (pictured, right) showed well in his two relief appearances last week, tossing five combined innings and not allowing an earned run in a pair of Portland wins. Younginer got a win for his efforts against Trenton on July 21 – a game the Sea Dogs won in extra innings – and earned a save after tossing the final two frames against New Hampshire on July 25. A 2009 seventh-round pick out of Mauldin High School in South Carolina, Younginer has been a valuable member of Portland's bullpen this season, as well as an important factor in the team's recent success.

Season Stats: 29 G, 4-4, 55 2/3 IP, 2.91 ERA, 50 H, 18 BB, 38 K

Kevin Heller, OF, Salem Red Sox
6 G, 18 PA, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, .444/.565/.667

Heller was one of Salem's most consistent offensive contributors this week. The highlight of the week came on July 22, when Heller went 4 for 4 with a solo home run. The 2012 40th-round pick been a steady presence since joining Salem on May 9, hitting .306/.420/.430 while playing both outfield corners and designated hitter. He is 10 for 30 with six RBI in his last 10 games.

Season Stats (Portland and Salem): 69 G, 224 PA, 62 H, 14 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 30 R, 36 RBI, 9 SB, 33 BB, 65 K, .277/.393/.388

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson and Madison Younginer by Kelly O'Connor

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