September 8, 2015 at 2:52 PM
- Monday marked the end of the minor league regular season, with Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, Greenville and Lowell all taking the field for the last time in 2015. Both the PawSox and Sea Dogs finished their respective campaigns well below .500, while Salem managed a 66-73 record to finish last in the Carolina League Southern division. Lowell narrowly missed out on the postseason, getting knocked out of contention on a walk-off last Friday.
- Greenville, which had been in a dogfight with the Asheville Tourists in the South Atlantic League Wild Card race, ended its season in heartbreaking fashion. Needing a win against Savannah and a Tourists loss to eek out a playoff berth on the season's final day, the Drive lost 4-2.
- Venezuelan pitching phenom Anderson Espinoza dominated the headlines once again, earning a promotion from the GCL Red Sox to the Low A Greenville Drive and then making his debut for the team on Saturday. The Drive limited Espinoza's first start to 3 1/3 innings, with the 17-year-old allowing four runs on three hits and fanning four. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer James Dunne detailed Espinoza's promotion as well as a flurry of other GCL-related moves that came after the league's season ended on Sept. 2.
- SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall turned in Part 3 of his look at the Greenville Drive's talent-laden lineup, focusing his Scouting Scratch column on infielders Javier Guerra (pictured, above), Michael Chavis and Nick Longhi.
- Guerra earned an end-of-season accolade of his own, being voted by Drive fans as the team's Player of the Year. Left-hander Jalen Beeks, shortstop Rafael Devers, Longhi, right-hander Kuehl McEachern and Moncada rounded out the ballot.
- The GCL Red Sox capped off their stellar 2015 campaign in style, winning their second Gulf Coast League title in as many years after posting a 44-17 regular season record. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer Nick Rabasco recapped the victory in last Thursday's Cup of Coffee.
- Rabasco also wrote a Notes from the Field column, which included scouting observations from his trip to the Pawtucket Red Sox' game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on August 14. The column featured extended looks at PawSox second baseman Marco Hernandez, shortstop Deven Marrero and more.
- Last week also featured the 2015 Arizona Fall League roster announcement, with the Red Sox assigning six prospects – most notably Portland Sea Dogs first baseman Sam Travis – to the Surprise Saguaros.
- Travis finished the season in style, being named Portland's Most Valuable Player when the Double A affiliate presented its team awards prior to its final game of the season on Monday. Right-hander William Cuevas (Pitcher of the Year), catcher Tim Roberson (10th Player Award) and right-hander Mike McCarthy (Citizen of the Year) were also recognized for their efforts.
- Greenville infielder Yoan Moncada earned a pair of South Atlantic League honors last week, being named both an All-Star and the league's Most Outstanding MLB prospect. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer Nick Rabasco detailed the Cuban super prospect's winding journey to a breakout second half with the Red Sox' Low A affiliate, and the rewards that came with it.
- Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald took an end-of-season look at a trio of highly touted prospects: Moncada, Espinoza and Greenville outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Each write-up featured an insightful quote from Red Sox Director of Player Development Ben Crockett.
- Alex Speier of The Boston Globe wrote an interesting feature on Espinoza, which included comments from the right-hander himself and a handful of baseball lifers. One of whom, GCL Red Sox manager Tom Kotchman, compared Espinoza to "a cross between Pedro [Martinez] and [Francisco Rodriguez]," praising his mature, disciplined approach and easy velocity.
- Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes that young graduate Jackie Bradley Jr. has firmly established himself as "an integral part of the Red Sox' future," in recent weeks. Bradley Jr. – whom Bradford notes had been thought of as "somewhat of a lost cause" just a year ago – has turned things around in a big way, posting a .312/.385/.631 slash line in 49 major league games this season.
- Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald writes that the Red Sox have to be patient with 23-year-old left-hander Henry Owens, citing Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester as examples of that approach paying off. Thomas' piece came in the wake of Owens' disastrous outing against the Yankees on Sept. 2, which saw him give up seven runs on six hits and get pulled after just 1 2/3 innings.
- In transaction news, the Red Sox executed a trade last week, acquiring San Francisco Giants minor leaguer Luis Ysla in exchange for outfielder Alejandro De Aza. Ysla, a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher, was added to Salem's active roster on Sept. 2 and made his first appearance for the High A affiliate on Sept. 7 against the Potomac Nationals.
Players of the Week
8 G, 34 AB, 15 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB, .441/.447/.765
Margot was the clear choice for Offensive Player of the Week, turning in outstanding numbers and capping off his stellar run by hitting for the cycle on Sunday, the second Sea Dog to do so this year. The 20-year-old Dominican earned his milestone by going 4 for 5 and driving in a career-high five runs on the second-to-last day of the season, helping Portland to a 10-5 victory. Margot, currently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the system by SoxProspects.com, also took home Eastern League Player of the Week honors for his performance.
Season Stats (Salem and Portland): 110 G, 439 AB, 121 H, 27 2B, 9 3B, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 39 SB, .276/.324/.419
2 G, 8 1/3 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 12 K, 0.48 WHIP
Callahan (pictured) also ran away with the Player of the Week race, wrapping up the final week of the season in near-unhittable fashion, giving up two hits in 8 1/3 innings of work. The crown jewel of Callahan's week came on Sept. 6, when the right-hander spun 4 1/3 relief innings, giving up one hit and no walks against eight punchouts in a 5-4 win over Savannah. The 20-year-old South Carolina native left it all on the field down the stretch, throwing 15 1/3 consecutive shutout innings and fanning 23 batters across his final four appearances.
Season Stats: 31 G, 89 1/3 IP, 7-6, 3 SV, 4.53 ERA, 94 H, 52 R, 94 K, 1.42 WHIP
Photo Credit: Javier Guerra and Jamie Callahan by Kelly O'Connor