August 17, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- The biggest news of the week came right at the end of it, when 2015 seventh overall pick, Andrew Benintendi (pictured, right) was promoted to the Greenville Drive. SoxProspects Executive Editor Chris Hatfield was the first to report the news, and has all the details of his performances transitioning from college to pro-ball this year. Benintendi enjoyed a great last week for the Lowell Spinners and you can read more about that below in the Players of the Week section.
- As Hatfield points out, the Greenville roster is loaded with a large majority of the Red Sox top talent including third baseman Rafael Devers (#1 on the SoxProspects rankings), second baseman Yoan Moncada (#2), shortstop Javier Guerra (#5), third baseman Michael Chavis (#13), and first baseman/right fielder Nick Longhi (#19).
- Even before he was promoted, it was obvious that Benintendi was quickly adjusting to life as a professional baseball player. SoxProspects Managing Editor Matt Huegel spoke with him about this process and how he has handled the large changes, including changing to wood bats and the way pitchers have attacked him.
- Anderson Espinoza only had one start this week for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, and his four innings were not enough to earn him Player of the Week honors. However, they were four more strong innings for the 17-year-old phenom, who allowed only one hit and one unearned run to go along with five strikeouts. You might think he would be phased after being promoted to a stateside team earlier this year, but he has only grown more dominant. He now has a 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 27 strikeouts to nine walks over 32 innings. That performance has propelled him to seventh on the SoxProspects rankings after starting the season ranked 30th.
- Baseball America started rolling out their annual Best Tools list for each league as voted on by the managers of those leagues. Jackie Bradley (best defensive outfielder) and Henry Owens (best changeup) were the only Red Sox mentioned in the Triple-A edition of the list, and no Red Sox were listed in the Double-A or High-A editions.
- Defensively, Bradley had always been a standout, both while in the minors as well as in the majors. His offensive game in the majors has been a different story, at least until recently. The Providence Journal's Tim Britton writes about how Bradley seems to be starting to put it all together. Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com writes that Bradley is getting another chance to stick in the majors.
- The Greenville infield is filled with prospects as earlier mentioned, but most are noticed first for their bats. Turns out the Low-A managers think their defense is pretty phenomenal too, as the Best Tools list for the Low-A leagues list indicated. In the end, the Red Sox nabbed the best defensive player award for every infield position except second base. The winners were as follows: Jordan Procyshen (best defensive catcher), Nick Longhi (first basemen), Rafael Devers (third basemen), and Javier Guerra (shortstop). Not to be left out, Michael Kopech also took home the award for best fastball.
- the rise and fall of Cecchini and where he is currently.
- Steven Wright is the latest edition of Red Sox knuckleballer, but that wasn't how he started his professional baseball career. Smith also took a look on how Wright was able to transform himself and rebuild his career as a knuckerballer.
- Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline ranked his top 10 farm systems, and the Red Sox topped his list.
- The Red Sox brought back old friend and left-handed reliever Rich Hill this week, as first reported by MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo. Hill had been pitching in the Atlantic League after being released earlier this year from the Washington Nationals' Triple-A affiliate.
- It is not prospect related, but perhaps the biggest Red Sox news of the week was the sad news that manager John Farrell has been diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma and will not manage for the rest of the year as he begins chemotherapy. The diagnosis was made after Farrell had a hernia repaired earlier in the week. Farrell has been able to watch the recent games on TV, and WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia passes along notes from interim manager Torey Lovullo on how they still want Farrell around and will count on his insight, even from afar.
- Meanwhile, words of support poured in from all around baseball, including from the rival Orioles manager Buck Showalter as Rich Dubroff writes for CSN Baltimore, as well as cancer survivor and former Red Sox ace Jon Lester as Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com writes.
Players of the Week 8/9-8/16
Enmanuel De Jesus, LHP, Gulf Coast League Red Sox
2 G, 2-0, 11.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K
De Jesus (pictured, left) piled up two wins in his two starts this week for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, and his five wins on the season is now tied for second in the league. More impressively, his 11 2/3 innings lead the system this week. He only tops out at around 90 mph, so he has not been dominating through strikeouts, but as you can see from this week, he has had success limiting both the hits and walks he allows.
On the year, he has thrown nine very strong starts, mostly as a piggy back starter, and has helped lead the Red Sox to the best record in the GCL at 33-15. De Jesus started his professional career last year in the Dominican Summer League where he had success, finishing with a 3.15 ERA. He has built on that this year, but as with most GCL players, a lot of development and projection remain.
Season Stats: 9 G, 5-2, 38.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 8 ER, 32 H, 8 BB, 24 K
Andrew Benintendi, CF, Lowell Spinners
7 G, 33 PA, 11 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 1 K, .407/.515/.852
The seventh overall pick in this year's draft, Benintendi has really hit his stride recently, culminating with his three home run week this past week, helping the Spinners to a 5-2 record on the week. He got off to a ridiculously fast start this week, and by the end of the first two games he had gone 4-for-7 with three home runs and three walks.
As he has done all season, he continued to walk at an impressive rate while keeping his strikeouts very limited, and ends his time with the Spinners walking 10 times more than he struck out. Even though Benintendi was only a sophomore when he was drafted, his assignment to Lowell was not a particularly aggressive one, yet he is still over a year younger than league average position player. After getting comfortable over 35 games, he is ready for a new challenge at Greenville.
Season Stats: 35 G, 153 PA, 36 H, 2 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 19 R, 15 RBI, 7 SB, 25 BB, 15 K, .290/.408/.540
Photo Credits: Andrew Benintendi, Garin Cecchini, & Enmanuel De Jesus by Kelly O'Connor.
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.