5/31 Cup of Coffee: It was a feast-or-famine night for the minor league affiliates, with Pawtucket and Greenville having no trouble scoring runs while Portland and Salem combined to generate just three. A stellar start from right hander Aaron Wilkerson wasn't enough to earn Salem a win, whileYoan Moncada(pictured, right) and Carlos Mesa led an offensive barrage for the Drive.
Left fielder Travis Shaw's three-run home run in the bottom of the third propelled the PawSox to a one-run victory over Louisville. Shaw finished 1 for 3 with a walk and three RBI. Allen Craig also continues to swing a hot bat since his demotion from Boston. The right fielder went 2 for 2 with a home run and two walks in the victory, improving his batting average to .345 through 14 games in Triple-A. Pawtucket now sits one game behind Rochester in the International League North standings.
Starter Henry Owens went six innings, allowing seven hits, two walks and four runs while striking out three. The left hander was pulled in favor of Dayan Diaz after giving up three runs in the bottom of the sixth, which tied the game at 4-4. Diaz earned the win, his first of the season, after tossing two scoreless innings in relief. Dana Eveland got his second save with a clean frame in the top of the ninth.
5/30 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates were 2-2 on Friday, led by victories from Pawtucket and Portland. The PawSox were carried by outstanding pitching while Portland was lifted by its relentless offensive prowess. Salem lost a close contest to Fredrick while Greenville was stomped by Lexington.
Brian Johnson (pictured, right) continued to stymie opponents as he hurled six perfect innings, striking out nine. Johnson threw 50 of 74 pitches for strikes and was in complete command, improving to 6-3 on the season and lowering his ERA to 2.60. Pawtucket allowed just one baserunner the entire game, a single in the eighth inning. Miguel Celestino added 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and Heath Hembree picked up his sixth save for his 1 2/3 innings of scoreless work out of the bullpen.
It was also a quiet night offensively for the PawSox, who plated their lone run of the game in the second, when Deven Marrero laced an RBI single that brought home Allen Craig.
5/29 Cup of Coffee:Ty Buttrey (pictured) remained unbeaten in 2015 with another solid outing for Salem while Nick Longhi had a big night at the plate for Greenville in a slugfest. Portland's bats could not support a solid outing from Justin Haley in a hard-luck loss. Pawtucket had the night off.
The Sea Dogs were held to five hits in Thursday's loss. Jantzen Witte was the only bright spot at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double and raised his batting average to .329. Carlos Asuaje had a rough game, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Portland wasted a decent outing by Justin Haley who earned his sixth loss of the season. He scattered nine hits over five innings, allowed two runs, struck out a pair and walked one.
In past years, the bullpen options in Portland and Pawtucket have tended to be more organizational players or solid depth options rather than true prospect types. This year, however, both teams have several intriguing bullpen options that could help the major league team at some point this year or next. This week’s scouting scratch will feature six of these pitchers based on looks from the first two months of the season.
Of all the bullpen arms I have seen, Pat Light is the most intriguing. A former supplemental first-round pick in 2012, Light really struggled as a starter even with plus velocity. He did not miss nearly enough bats and was very hittable, giving up a lot of hard contact due to his lack of command and movement with his fastball.
A move to the bullpen this year has revitalized his career, with Light showing off the stuff that led to him being a first-round pick. Light has always had fastball velocity, but has lacked refinement both with his arsenal and delivery. Out of the bullpen, those issues are minimized, as he does not have to worry about repeating his delivery deep into outings, and his lack of a third pitch is not an issue. Light’s fastball has always had plus velocity, generally working in the 93-94 mph range, with the ability to dial it up to 97-98 mph on occasion. When elevated, however, the pitch is still very flat, and he has been made to pay for it when he leaves it there, giving up three home runs this year in only 24 1/3 innings. Still, Light is missing many more bats in 2015 due to improved command and control, mechanical improvements, and drastic improvement with a secondary pitch, the re-introduction of his splitter.
5/28 Cup of Coffee:Yoan Moncada returned to the Greenville lineup in the nightcap of a doubleheader after aggravating his hamstring on Saturday. The Pawtucket offense clicked in a loss, with Jackie Bradley Jr. falling a triple short of the cycle. Right-handers William Cuevas and Michael Kopech (pictured) continued hot starts on the mound for Portland and Greenville, respectively.
The PawSox offense got off to a hot start against New York Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka, who was making a rehab start. Jackie Bradley Jr. started the game with a double, his 10th of the year, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Travis Shaw. Bradley Jr. took Tanaka deep in his next at-bat for his second long ball of the year. He also singled and finished 3 for 5 at the dish. Deven Marrero also had a multi-hit game.
Pawtucket fell short in the slugfest due to a rough outing from Keith Couch, who surrendered six earned runs in three innings pitched. Dalier Hinojosa was the lone bright spot on the pitching staff tonight, as he went three scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 1.89.
Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters on Wednesday that left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be recalled from Pawtucket on Thursday to make his major league debut in a spot start against the Texas Rangers. The news was first reported by Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
Rodriguez will not be replacing Joe Kelly or any other member of the Red Sox rotation, despite some speculation after Kelly's short start on Monday. With the club in the midst of a streak of 20 games without an off-day, Rodriguez will make a start to get the five members of the Boston rotation an extra day of rest. Farrell confirmed that Rodriguez will be sent down after the start, but left the door open for his return later in the year.
5/27 Cup of Coffee: It was a slow night on the farm, with Salem having a scheduled day off and Greenville getting rained out. The PawSox dropped a tough one to the RailRiders despite Allen Craig and Jackie Bradley Jr. sparking a late comeback, while Portland got contributions from every starter, including back-to-back home runs from Jonathan Roof and Blake Tekotte (pictured), to top the Mets.
The PawSox late comeback fell short, as they dropped their fourth straight game. Pawtucket faced an early deficit after the RailRiders got to Jess Todd for three runs in the second inning. Todd ultimately threw six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, picking up his first loss of the year. Jonathan Aro and Robbie Ross Jr. kept them in the game with three innings of shutout relief.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- 22-year-old left-hander Henry Owens took the McCoy Stadium mound against the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, on May 15. Owens’s final line for the day showed six innings pitched, three hits, no runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches total with 53 for strikes. Owens threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 21 batters and generated six total swing-and-misses in his six innings of work.
Now listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Owens reportedly put on 20 pounds of muscle heading into the 2015 season (Link). Owens has packed on muscle considerably each off-season since being drafted out of high-school in 2011 at 175 pounds. Physically, Owens has very long arms and legs, and will always be on the skinny and lean side, so it is tough to see a noticeable difference in his stature from the stands. This added bulk should help Owens through the course of a season after he admittedly felt that his body began to break down and did not feel like he had his legs under him towards the end of the 2014 season after 168 innings, a significant increase from his 135-inning total in 2013.
5/26 Cup of Coffee: All four affiliates were in action on Monday, and all were treated to strong starting pitching. Each team's pitcher turned in a quality start. Two of the hurlers, Salem's Teddy Stankiewicz (pictured) and Mike Augliera of Portland were not scored upon in their victories. Jalen Beeks got the win for the Drive, and Henry Owens was the tough-luck loser for Pawtucket.
Henry Owens turned in his third consecutive start with one or fewer runs allowed, but it went for naught as the PawSox bats fell silent. Owens struggled some with his control, issuing four walks, but he again proved tough to hit and was helped out by some strong defense behind him. After loading the bases with a single and a pair of walks in the second, Owens gave up an RBI base hit, but Bryce Brentz cut down a potential second run at the plate to end that inning. Overall, Owens allowed the one run on four hits in six innings, walking and striking out four. He lowered his ERA to 1.98 in May, and opposing batters are hitting just .183 against Owens on the season.
Offense was hard to come by for the PawSox. They did not have a hit until Travis Shaw delievered a single with one out in the fifth inning, and they did not have a baserunner advance beyond second all evening.
The Yoan Moncada era began in earnest Monday night in Greenville, where the 19-year-old Cuban super prospect (pictured, right) made his first appearance for the Drive, the Red Sox' Low-A affiliate. SoxProspects.com Staff Writer James Dunne recapped the game and Moncada's performance in Tuesday morning's Cup of Coffee.
5/25 Cup of Coffee: Though three of the four Red Sox affiliates lost on Sunday, each loss was decided by only one run. The PawSox' ninth inning rally was not enough to pick up starter Brian Johnson, who allowed four runs but threw a ton of strikes. The Sea Dogs couldn't generate much offense despite strong performances from their pitching staff. The Drive dropped a heartbreaker as three walks and an error in the ninth allowed the go-ahead run to score. The Red Sox' Trey Ball (pictured) threw 5 1/3 shutout innings as Salem grabbed the sole win.
The PawSox scored two in the top of the ninth but their rally came up short as they were dealt their fourth loss in the last five games. Brian Johnson went seven innings and struck out seven, but allowed four runs on eight hits. It was the second time Johnson's gone seven full innings this season. One of the positive takeaways from Johnson's performance was the fact that for the second time in his last three starts, he did not walk a batter.
The PawSox got two runs back in the ninth as Travis Shaw singled to lead off the inning and Luke Montz homered to left. Pawtucket would get two runners on with one out as Humberto Quintero and Mike Miller singled, but would strand those runners. Allen Craig went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles as he raised his Triple-A average to .326. Shaw also went 2 for 4 with a double, his fifth of the year.
5/24 Cup of Coffee: Greenville was the lone exception in a generally frustrating day at the plate for nearly all of the Red Sox' minor league affiliates. Neither Pawtucket nor Salem managed an extra base hit, while Greenville couldn't put a run on the board until the eighth inning. Portland won the second leg of its doubleheader thanks to some unusual heroics from Jantzen Witte (pictured, right).
Shortstop Jeff Bianchi and center fielder Quentin Barry had the only multi-hit games for the PawSox, which posted just five hits in what was a tough night offensively. Pawtucket didn't get on the board until the top of the sixth inning, when left fielder Bryce Brentz plated Bianchi on a sacrifice fly. Louisville then held the PawSox scoreless for the final three frames.
5/23 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates were 2-2 on Friday, as Portland and Salem had difficulties pushing runs across the plate. Pawtucket used steady starting pitching and key hits with runners on base to find the winner's circle. In Greenville, SoxProspects.com's #10 prospect put together his second straight solid outing to carry the Drive to victory.
----- Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Louisville Bats (CIN) 5 Keith Couch allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk across seven innings to pick up his second victory of the season. The recently acquired John Cornely made his Pawtucket debut and recorded the final two outs of the game to pick up the save.
Travis Shaw led the PawSox offense with a 3-for-4 evening, scoring three runs and adding a double. Luke Montz was 2 for 2 as the designated hitter, knocking in three runs. After having issues bringing home base runners the night before, Pawtucket was 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. The PawSox turned four double plays defensively, helping to bail them out of a number of jams.
5/22 Cup of Coffee: Joe Gunkel collected a victory in his first start for Portland while Pawtucket lost a slugfest, despite a huge night from Allen Craig (pictured, left). Salem out-hit their opponent, but lost by six runs. Greenville took home the win behind strong outings from Denny Bautista and Williams Jerez.
----- Louisville Bats (CIN) 6, Pawtucket Red Sox 5 (10 inn.) It was a frustrating night for the PawSox, dropping a slugfest against Louisville. Pawtucket knocked out 14 hits, but left a whopping 15 men on base. There was plenty of blame to go around as Bryce Brentz (1 for 5, RBI) stranded six men, while Rusney Castillo (1 for 6, RBI), Travis Shaw (2 for 6) and Deven Marrero (1 for 5) left five on. Allen Craig raised his slash line since being demoted to Triple A, reaching base five times in a 3-for-5 night with two walks. Jess Todd labored through 6 2/3 innings pitched, allowing five earned runs and striking out a pair. Heath Hembree allowed the walk-off single in the tenth. ----- Portland Sea Dogs 4, Altoona Curve (PIT) 1 Joe Gunkel dominated right-handed hitters and survived the lefties to pick up his first win in Double-A. Gunkel gave up six hits and one earned run in five innings pitched, striking out six and walking four. According to SoxProspects.com Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, righties went 3 for 14 against Gunkel while lefties went 3 for 6 with three walks. Simon Mercedes allowed only one hit in two innings of work. Jorge Marban picked up the six-out save, striking out three. Tim Roberson and Jantzen Witte each had multi-hit games.
----- Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE) 10, Salem Red Sox 4 It was a strange line on the scoreboard for Salem on Thursday, as the Red Sox out-hit Lynchburg 11-9, but lost by six runs. A six-run third inning ultimately did in Salem with Kevin McAvoy allowing all six of those runs. Taylor Grover kept Salem within striking distance with 4 1/3 stellar innings of no-hit relief, striking out seven along the way. Lynchburg put the game out of reach in the late innings, touching up Kuehl McEachern for four runs. Mario Martinez and Aneury Tavarez provided all the offense for Salem, driving in two runs each.
----- Greenville Drive 8, Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) 0 The Drive pounded out 10 hits in a blowout victory in which Yoan Moncada went 1 for 3 and played errorless ball in the field after a rough start this week. Jordan Procyshen went2 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored. He has reached base safely in nine of his last ten games. Shortstop Javier Guerra provided the big blow with a bases-clearing triple in the eighth.
Journeyman right-hander Denny Bautista picked up his second victory in as many games for Greenville, hurling six scoreless innings, striking out two and walking none. Williams Jerez picked up the three-inning save.
----- Player of the Night:Allen Craig, trying to raise his stock since being demoted to Triple-A, reached base five times in Pawtucket's loss. The former National League All-Star raised his average from .250 to .306 with the big night as he battles back towards the Majors. Photo Credit: Allen Craig by Kelly O'Connor
5/21 Cup of Coffee:Yoan Moncada (pictured) broke out last night and recorded his first three-hit game in Greenville's win. The bats went silent in the rest of the system, as Pawtucket, Portland, and Salem all lost. Henry Owens didn't have the smoothest outing, but managed to work out of some trouble.
The PawSox dropped a tough low-scoring battle after Henry Owens labored through 5 1/3 innings. He limited the damage, allowing just one earned run, but walked four and scattered five hits. His ERA is down to 3.19, but now has 30 walks in 42 1/3 innings on the season. Dayan Diaz and Dana Eveland combined to go 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief before Miguel Celestino gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 12th. Pawtucket's offense mustered just six hits and one run in the 12 innings, with Bryce Brentz and Travis Shaw each collecting two hits.
5/20 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Greenville combined to score 29 runs, while Brian Johnson had another good outing for the PawSox. Some shaky Salem defense did not help Trey Ball, as the left-hander fell to 2-4 on the year. The slugfest in Greenville included Yoan Moncada's first professional hit, but that was overshadowed by a rare feat from Javier Guerra (pictured).
Brian Johnson turned in another good start to lead the PawSox to their 23rd win. Johnson went the first six innings, allowing only one run and one walk while striking out two. He gave up eight hits, including four to the first four batters, but he was able to get out of a couple jams, as the Indians left nine men on base. Dalier Hinojosa held the Indians scoreless over his two innings, and Zeke Spruill notched his second save with a scoreless ninth.
5/19 Cup of Coffee: It was the most anticipated debut the Red Sox system has had in a long time. Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada (pictured, left) made his first game appearance on Monday, but fellow teenager Rafael Devers stole the show as the Drive dropped its slugfest. In the only other game on the schedule, Eduardo Rodriguez delivered a quality start to lead Pawtucket.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez turned in yet another strong start as Pawtucket opened up its road trip with a win. In 6 2/3 innings, Rodriguez allowed three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four. The 22-year-old induced 10 ground ball outs, and threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Jonathan Aro allowed one run in 1 1/3 in his second outing out of the PawSox pen, and Heath Hembree struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth to record his fifth save.
The Greenville Drive announced on Sunday that Yoan Moncada is set to make his minor league debut with the team later today. The 19-year-old Cuban infielder who was signed to a record $31.5 million signing bonus will be appearing in his first game action since December 2013, with most of his playing time likely coming at second base.
With questions swirling about the major league rotation, Brian Johnson (pictured, right)turned in one of his best starts of the season on Thursday for the PawSox, striking out eight batters over 6 2/3 innings without issuing a walk. SoxProspects.com Managing Editor Matt Huegel spoke with Johnson after the game, and Johnson said that his fastball command in this start was the best it had been all season. Johnson broke down the start in detail, and it is easy to see while reading the article why many consider him to be the smartest pitcher in the system.
5/18 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox and Red Sox struggled to produce any offense on Sunday, but the pitching was excellent for the Sea Dogs and the Drive as they rolled to wins. Michael Kopech (pictured) turned in a strong performance on the bump for Greenville, while Justin Haley impressed in Portland. Offensively, Oscar Tejeda continued his hot streak for the Sea Dogs.
The PawSox dropped their third game in a row as the offense was unable to get anything cooking against Clippers pitching, managing just six hits in the contest. Their sole run came from a Luis Jimenez home run, his first since joining Pawtucket. Rusney Castillo reached base twice on a single and a fielder's choice, and both times swiped second base for his fifth and sixth steals of the season. It's the second time in the last week Castillo has stolen two bags in a game.
A little over two months since his signing was made official, the Greenville Drive have announced that Cuban infielder Yoan Moncadawill make his 2015 debut with the club on Monday. Moncada signed with the Red Sox in March for a record $31.5 million signing bonus, and is a consensus top 20 prospect in all of baseball.
Many fans have grown impatient waiting for Moncada, currently the second-ranked prospect in the system according to SoxProspects.com, to join the Drive, but as ESPN.com's Gordon Edes noted in a tweet on Friday night, the 19-year-old suffered a slight shoulder strain sliding into second base during Extended Spring Training in Florida, which pushed the timeline back a bit.
5/17 Cup of Coffee: A 14-inning loss for Pawtucket was the only result separating the Red Sox minor league affiliates from a top-to-bottom sweep on Saturday. Jantzen Witte(pictured, right) had an excellent night for Portland, nearly hitting for the cycle. Greenville third baseman Rafael Devers extended his hot streak, while starter Kevin McAvoy was superb for Salem.
Right hander Miguel Celestino drew the loss in a 14 inning heartbreaker for the PawSox, a game that largely turned out to be a battle of the bullpens. Starter Jess Todd threw six innings and allowed three of the Clippers' four runs before being replaced by Dana Eveland in the top of the seventh. Eveland and Heath Hembree each threw two frames, but the dam ultimately broke in extra innings when Columbus jumped ahead in the top of the 14th.
5/16 Cup of Coffee: It was a night for extra baseball as three of the nights four games went into extra innings. Pawtucket wasted a fantastic pitching performance, Portland was lifted by a truly special offensive performance, and Salem scratched back from an early hole for a victory. Greenville, the only team not to go into extra innings, picked up a victory despite not having their best night at the plate.
The PawSox bullpen allowed a 5-0 lead to evaporate and wasted a great outing by Henry Owens as they fell to the Clippers in 13 innings. The aforementioned Owens had arguably his best start of 2015, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five in six innings. Jonathan Aro's first appearance in a Pawtucket uniform did not go the way he planned, as he allowed three runs on four hits in two innings of relief. Dalier Hinojosa was charged with a blown save when he allowed two runs to score in the ninth. Dayan Diaz pitched well in relief, but allowed the winning run to score in the 13th and took the loss.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- In a week that saw speculation that he could be named the starter for Boston’s game in Seattle on Sunday, Brian Johnson turned in one of the finest performances of his season Thursday evening in Pawtucket.
Despite the potentially distracting hubbub surrounding his candidacy to replace Justin Masterson in the Red Sox rotation, Johnson seemed genuinely unaware, a likely boon as he struck out eight Columbus Clippers (CLE) over 6 2/3 innings, allowing no walks and five hits.
“I haven't even noticed it to be honest with you. I just stay off that stuff,” Johnson said following the game. “I'm worried about every five days, and day two for my bullpen to get good preparation in before that.”
“Outstanding,” was how PawSox manager Kevin Boles summed up Thursday's performance. “[He had] fastball command. He could really spin a breaking ball tonight. I thought the breaking ball was an above-average pitch for him. The changeup was a weapon — he slowed his arm down a couple times, but he was able to recover. I'll tell you what, he really had them off balance tonight.”
Cup of Coffee 5/15:Brian Johnson (pictured, left) was lights out on Thursday while Bryce Brentz supplied the power and Rusney Castillo returned to the lineup after an injury scare in the previous game. Salem and Greenville also received solid pitching outings from Aaron Wilkerson and Dedgar Jimenez, respectively, in their wins.
SoxProspects Managing Editor Matt Huegel was in attendance at McCoy Stadium to see Brian Johnson dominate Columbus clippers over 6 2/3 innings of work. Johnson's curveball was "really on," according to Huegel, striking out four batters with the pitch and eight total. Johnson scattered five hits in his outing with the only extra base hit allowed coming in the third on a solo home run. Perhaps most impressively, Johnson did not walk a single batter in his outing.
The Red Sox announced the promotions of a trio of right-handed pitchers on Thursday. Jonathan Aro (pictured) has been added to Triple-A Pawtucket, and Joe Gunkel moves up to take his place on the Double-A Portland roster. The moves are in conjunction with the moves on the major league staff as Robbie Ross Jr. has been recalled to Boston and Justin Masterson placed on the 15-day disabled list. Update: The Red Sox have also promoted right-hander Chandler Shepherd to Salem as part of the chain of promotions.
Aro, 24, has been making a fast ascent in the Boston organization over the past two years. After spending a full season each with the DSL Red Sox, GCL Red Sox, and Lowell from 2011 to 2013, Aro will be appearing in his fourth level in less than ten months. In eight appearances out of the Portland bullpen this season, Aro had a 2.28 ERA in 22 1/3 innings, striking out 19 and walking eight. Aro was named a SoxProspects.com All-Star in both 2013 and 2014, and was also honored as South Atlantic League All-Star last season.
5/14 Cup of Coffee:Ty Buttrey received his third win in as many starts with Salem. Eduardo Rodriguez took the loss for Pawtucket but pitched fairly well. Oscar Tejeda (pictured) exploded offensively with four hits for Portland, but it wasn't enough as the Sea Dogs lost a heartbreaker. Rusney Castillo was also removed from Pawtucket's game after turning an ankle.
Amidst speculation that PawSox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez could be called up due to Justin Masterson's fatigue issues, Rodriguez threw five innings and allowed just two earned runs while walking one and striking out five. The Pawtucket offense struggled to get much going, as they managed just eight hits, all singles, and no runs. Deven Marrero had the only multi-hit game. Rusney Castillo went 1 for 2 with two stolen bases, but he turned an ankle at second base and was forced to come out of the game. Castillo walked off the field on his own power.
5/13 Cup of Coffee: Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, and Garin Cecchini all had two hits in a walk-off victory for the PawSox, while Daniel McGrath (pictured) continued his torrid start to the season for Salem. Greenville had an impressive team victory, with strong performances from both the pitching staff and the offense, while Pat Light had another successful outing out of the Portland bullpen.
It was a deflating loss for Indianapolis, as Rusney Castillo hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Castillo laced a line drive off the left field wall that scored Luke Montz, who had singled to lead off the inning. Castillo finished the game 2 for 5 with a double. Allen Craig also added two hits and a double in his first action with the PawSox, though he also committed an error at first base that led to an unearned run.
Keith Couch turned in his best start of the season, as he was touched up for only one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings. Dalier Hinojosa and Dayan Diaz combined to throw four innings of scoreless relief, with Dana Eveland coming on to bail Diaz out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th.
5/12 Cup of Coffee: It was a full slate of games on the schedule for Monday, with the Red Sox affiliates taking the win in three contests. Pawtucket and Portland both got strong pitching to open up their respective homestands with wins. Greenville held off a pair of late rallies and snapped its five-game losing streak. Salem mustered only five hits while taking the only loss of the night.
With Steven Wright and Matt Barnes recently getting the call to Boston, this game looked like it could be all hands on deck in the PawSox bullpen. Spot starter Jess Todd, however, made sure that was unnecessary. The veteran righty scattered three hits over five shutout innings, striking out six while walking only one. The appearance was the longest for Todd since he went six innings while a member of the Memphis Redbirds in August 2008. Miguel Celestino tossed two scoreless frames in relief. Robbie Ross made his PawSox debut, allowing a run on two hits in two innings, closing out the victory.
Deven Marrero was a pest, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. Marrero was 2 for 2 with two walks, a double, RBI, run scored, and a stolen base. Bryce Brentz added a pair of hits, doubling and scoring two runs. Sean Coyle ended an 0-for-15 drought with his first double of the season.
Struggles in Boston have led to some major roster changes for the Red Sox and PawSox. On
Friday, first baseman Travis Shaw was called up to make his Major League debut. Shaw was sent back down the following day after going 0 for 2 with a walk in Friday's loss in Toronto. Matt Barnes was also called up Saturday. On Sunday, Allen Craig and Robbie Ross Jr. were optioned to Pawtucket, and Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured, right) and Stephen Wright were brought up to the big club.
Shane Victorino was also sent on a rehab assignment to Portland on Friday. He has played in two games and gone 0 for 6. Victorino can come off the DL on Monday, and Pete Abraham of the Boston Globetweets that he and Bradley Jr. will split time in right field, even though it may not be a strict platoon.
Ryan P. Morrison of Baseball Prospectus Bostontook a look at Steven Wright four days prior to his call up. Red Sox fans know how inconsistent a knuckleballer can with after watching Tim Wakefield, but if Steven Wright is on, he can be very successful.
5/11 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough day for Red Sox minor league affiliates, as the four teams scored a combined six runs on Sunday. While the lower levels saw strong performances on the mound from Jalen Beeks and Teddy Stankiewicz, Henry Owens battled major control issues in an ugly outing for the PawSox.
The Clippers completed the three-game sweep of the PawSox on Sunday. Starter Henry Owens struggled mightily with his control, as the Clippers scored three runs off of Owens in his four-plus innings of work without the benefit of a hit. Owens cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one walk. He issued two free passes in the fourth, but things really unraveled for Owens in the fifth when he threw 13 pitches, all balls, and walked three and hit a batter. The left-hander threw less than 50 percent of his pitches for strikes (34 strikes, 79 pitches) and now has walked as many batters as he's struck out (25) in 31 innings this season. It's the second time Owens has walked six batters in his six starts this year.
With Chris returning from the other side of the world, he got Ian and Matt on the horn to look back at the season's first month. The guys talked about the new rankings' movers and shakers, as well as some recent MLB call-ups and the outlook for players like Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley, and Matt Barnes. The guys also had plenty to report from the field(s), having seen Pawtucket, Portland, and Greenville already in this young season. Listen for reports on Henry Owens, Rafael Devers, and more! Finally, in response to reader questions, the guys quickly discussed the Red Sox' potential plans for the number 7 pick in next month's draft.
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5/10 Cup of Coffee: It wasn't a Saturday to remember for the Red Sox minor league affiliates, which combined to lose four out of their five games played. Offensive struggles were a common theme, with Greenville's seven runs and Cisco Tellez' (pictured, right) 4-for-5 showing being one of the few exceptions.
The PawSox' weak showing at the plate came back to haunt them as Columbus overcame a 2-1 deficit to get the win in 10 innings. Second baseman Jemile Weeks had the best night of the bunch, going 2 for 4 with an RBI double and a triple. Shortstop Deven Marrero went 2 for 3 with an RBI, while first baseman Garin Cecchini went 1 for 4 with a double.
5/9 Cup of Coffee: Offense was at a premium as the affiliates managed to score only three runs between all four teams. The PawSox were shut out, while both Portland and Greenville fell by four. Salem only managed to score one run, but it would be enough thanks to a brilliant start from Ty Buttrey(pictured).
Eduardo Rodriguez took home his first loss of the year, as the PawSox were unable to muster much in the way offense against the Clippers. Rodriguez went five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Dalier Hinojosa followed with two scoreless frames while Jess Todd allowed two runs on one hit and three walks in just one inning of work. Not much went right for Pawtucket's offense, as they managed only four hits, and Jemile Weeks was the only batter to advance past first thanks to a fourth-inning double. Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, and Humberto Quintero all had singles for Pawtucket.
The Red Sox announced this afternoon that they have recalled infielder Travis Shaw from Triple-A Pawtucket for Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Shaw will take the roster spot of Edward Mujica, who was designated for assignment, with David Ortiz serving his one-game suspension for making physical contact with an umpire after his appeal was denied earlier in the day.
Shaw, ranked by SoxProspects.com as the 23rd best prospect in the Red Sox' system, will play first and bat ninth against the Blue Jays on Friday night. He will likely be sent back to Pawtucket on Saturday in favor of a relief pitcher - probably Matt Barnes - with Ortiz coming back from his suspension.
Cup of Coffee 5/8: Luke Montz hit a game-tying home run in the eighth, while Quintin Berry drove in the winning run for Pawtucket in the ninth in a come-from-behind victory on Thursday. Jantzen Witte (pictured, left) collected three hits in a Portland loss, while Salem and Greenville each fell in extra innings.
The PawSox scored six unanswered runs to erase an early deficit in a dramatic win over Toledo. Pawtucket battled back after a rough second inning for Keith Couch, who allowed five runs in that frame. Pawtucket pitching only allowed three hits from that point on, with Noe Ramirez, Miguel Celestino and Zeke Spruill combining for five innings of scoreless relief. Spruill picked up the victory, his third, striking out three in two innings.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- With the ongoing
struggles of some members of the Boston Red Sox major league rotation, the focus
on the club’s starting pitching prospects in Pawtucket is magnified. The
Pawtucket rotation features three highly regarded left-handed prospects in
Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Brian Johnson, all looking to position
themselves for a big league role at some point in 2015, while right-hander Matt
Barnes moved out of the rotation last night to prepare him for a major league
Last week, I got my first look at Owens
this year. He had his struggles over his five-plus innings of work, showing he
still has a lot to work on in Triple-A before entering the picture for a
potential call-up. Interestingly, Owens showed off a new pitch, one that he is
still in the early stages of learning to throw, but with continued repetition
could be key for his development going forward.
5/7 Cup of Coffee:Deven Marrero, Travis Shaw, and Garin Cecchini all played new positions for the first time for the PawSox. Matt Barnes had started in 75 of his 76 appearances in the minor leagues up until last night, tossing an inning in relief. Jackie Bradley Jr. got a couple more hits, quietly continuing his impressive start. Pawtucket also got a great outing from Stephen Wright (pictured) and Rafael Devers had another solid night at the plate.
Things were shuffled around last night for the PawSox. Garin Cecchini started at first base, Deven Marrero started at third base, and Travis Shaw started in left field. Stephen Wright was on the hill for Pawtucket and delivered a gem, going seven innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run. He struck out seven. Shaw provided the big blow early, blasting a three-run home run in the first inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. also went 2 for 5 with two runs and a stolen base. He is now batting .344 this year. Matt Barnes came in the game as a reliever, suggesting that may become his role in Boston in the near future. Barnes and Heath Hembree each threw an inning of scoreless baseball to close out the game.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. – I had the opportunity to get my first look at the Greenville Drive and their prospect-laden infield last weekend in a Sunday afternoon game against an unimpressive Hagerstown Suns (WAS) squad. These are my scouting/journalistic takeaways on the key players I was able to see.
- Although I was disappointed not to get both of the Drive’s Top 10 prospects at the hot corner, Rafael Devers (pictured) and Michael Chavis, in the lineup, Devers more than made up for Chavis’ absence with his performance. The 18-year-old Dominican went 5 for 6 with two doubles and two home runs, putting on a show for those in attendance. The outburst was a pleasant surprise—while he had not been scuffling, his .286/.311/.329 line in 18 games showed a player who may have been feeling out the South Atlantic League, as would be expected for his age and experience-level. The four extra-base hits were more than the three he had tallied all season entering the day, showing a glimpse of what makes him such a special prospect.
The most apparent key to Devers’ success on the day was his ability to get the barrel of the bat to the ball, and with authority. His first at-bat was the only out he made, but it was perhaps the best-hit ball he produced in his first four plate appearances, as he tomahawked a high fastball right at the shortstop. That loud out was a preview of what was to come. In the fourth, he drilled another line drive, this to deep center. The Hagerstown center fielder could perhaps have caught the ball, but because it got on him in such a hurry, he did not get a good read on it, and it got over him for a double.
5/6 Cup of Coffee: Henry Owens turned in his best start of the year, and Rusney Castillo was on base three times in Pawtucket's win over Toledo. Despite great performances from Aaron Wilkerson and Aneury Tavarez (pictured), Salem fell to Myrtle Beach, and Portland was it's own worst enemy in a loss to Binghamton.
After struggling to varying degrees over his first four starts of the season, Henry Owens had his smoothest outing of the season yesterday, allowing only one run over six innings. The biggest positive from the outing was the lack of walks, as he issued only two free passes while striking out three. He came into the game averaging over seven walks per nine innings, which led to poor results despite the fact that he was holding batters to a .178 batting average against.
With the release of the 2015 Dominican Summer League schedule earlier this week, it is now official that the Red Sox will field two teams in the circuit this season for the first time since 2003.
Given how active the organization had been in the most recent international signing period, going over its bonus allotment and signing 26 international amateurs since July 2, 2014, we at SoxProspects.com had projected that the plan was to field two teams. Red Sox Director of International Scouting Eddie Romero confirmed that the team foresaw last summer that an additional affiliate would be needed. "When the decision to surpass our spending allotment was made," he wrote in an email, "we knew it was likely we were going to need to field a second team to get everyone enough playing time. As the number of players signed grew, we registered the second team and continued to add players that we liked."
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – 22-year-old left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez began the year as the third-youngest player in the International League and the
youngest pitcher in Triple-A.
On Saturday, Rodriguez made his fourth regular season start at the level, going
six innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk, notching six
strikeouts. In total, he threw 93 pitches, 58 for strikes. Most impressively,
Rodriguez was able to generate 15 swing-and-misses, thanks in large part to an
overpowering fastball, the ability to throw his changeup in any count and his ability
to consistently stay around the strike zone.
Rodriguez threw a heavy dose of his fastball-changeup
combination in the early innings before mixing in his slider more in his last
two innings. The fastball sat 93-95 mph and topped out at 96. The pitch had
late life with some sink down in the zone. It is a plus-grade pitch with the ability
to miss bats and overpower hitters at times. He picked up five of his six
strikeouts on the fastball, all swinging.
This year, the winners of the SoxProspects.com Player and Pitcher of the Month Awards will be chosen by the SoxProspects.com community through voting on our Forum. This month, Manuel Margot ran away with the Player of the Month voting, while Eduardo Rodriguez(pictured) squeaked by Brian Johnson in the Pitcher of the Month poll. With Blake Swihart in the majors and Yoan Moncada still in extended spring training, Margot and Rodriguez represent the current top position player and pitcher in the minors per the SoxProspects.com rankings.
Margot’s impressive month was highlighted by the fact that he did not strike out until his 70th plate appearance of the season, the top mark in all of professional baseball. But he did not win the award just for his ability to make contact. Margot showed that he can impact the game on every level, with a triple slash of .324/.377/.515 to go along with nine stolen bases and typically positive reviews of his defense. He slugged four doubles, three triples, and a home run, and collected seven walks to go along with his one strikeout.
5/5 Cup of Coffee: It was a strong day down on the farm, as all three affiliates in action came away with a win. Salem completed a four-game sweep, the Greenville lineup continued its assault on South Atlantic League pitching, and Portland opened up its series with a win.
It was a successful homecoming for right-hander Mike Augliera, as the former Binghamton University ace returned to his old stomping grounds to deliver his strongest start of the 2015 season. Augliera allowed just one run on six hits in his five innings of work, walking two and striking out three to pick up his first win of the year. Kyle Kraus and Kyle Martin pitched a pair of scoreless innings apiece to nail down the victory, with Martin notching his second save of the season.
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.
5/4 Cup of Coffee: The lower levels saw a ton of offense, as the Drive and Red Sox scored a combined 24 runs on Sunday. Things were not as positive in Pawtucket, where Brian Johnson faltered for the first time this season. The Sea Dogs rallied behind Jantzen Witte's big day at the plate to score twice in the ninth, but were unable to grab the win.
Brian Johnson came into Sunday's game leading the International League in ERA with a 0.86 mark, but after allowing seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Bulls, Johnson's ERA jumped to 3.42. Johnson's command was missing from the get-go, as the lefty allowed a double to the second batter of the game and allowed him to score on two wild pitches. He would end the day with three wild pitches, and five walks. Three of the Bulls' six hits off Johnson went for extra bases. The start was Johnson's worst, both in terms of innings and runs allowed, since he gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 inning last July for the Sea Dogs.
5/3 Cup of Coffee: Saturday was a good day from top to bottom for the Red Sox minor league affiliates, which combined to go a perfect 4-0. The pitching was particularly good, as Eduardo Rodriguez continued his dominance for Pawtucket and a handful of lower-level hurlers – namely Portland's Jonathan Aro(pictured, right) and Salem's Daniel McGrath – made the difference for their respective clubs.
Second baseman Sean Coyle's solo home run in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1-1 tie and was enough to earn the PawSox a narrow 2-1 win. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a solid showing at the plate and in the outfield, throwing out a Durham runner at the plate and knocking in Pawtucket's first run of the game on an RBI single. Bradley finished 2 for 4 with a double, and continues to be the PawSox most consistent offensive performer so far this season with a .333/.393/.432 slash line through 20 games.
5/2 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem were led by solid pitching performances as they found the winners circle on Friday. Pawtucket and Greenville couldn't muster much on offense as they both dropped the opener of their series.
Matt Barnes pitched well in his four innings of work, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, striking out seven. Keith Couch took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk, punching out six in five innings of relief.
The PawSox offense was led by Matt Spring who was 2 for 4 with an RBI double. Pawtucket was 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and struck out 10 times against Durham pitching.
Multiple sources are reporting that Boston will recall catcher Blake Swihart before Saturday's game against the New York Yankees. The move follows the news that Ryan Hanigan suffered a displaced fracture in his knuckle during the seventh inning Friday's game. Following the game, manager John Farrell said the injury will require surgery that will keep Hanigan out a "substantial period."
Per Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, Farrell met with general manager Ben Cherington and assistant GM Mike Hazen following the news, to decide on how to proceed. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and Sean McAdam of Comcast Sportsnet had the initial reports that the trio had settled on calling up Swihart. Those reports have since been confirmed by other media outlets. McAdam added that the organization will also continue to explore external options, but that those options do not include former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was recently designated for assignment by Miami.
6-foot-6 right-hander Ty Buttrey (pictured) has been promoted from the Greenville Drive up to the High A Salem Red Sox, the club announced today. Buttrey is currently ranked #44 on the SoxProspects.com rankings, already up 10 spots from the beginning of the season. Taking his spot in the Greenville rotation will be big left-hander Dedgar Jimenez, who spent last season pitching for the Red Sox affiliate in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Buttrey has started the season well, throwing 22 innings over four starts for Greenville with a 2.45 ERA and 0.91 WHIP while striking out 22 and only walking three. The 22-year-old is coming off his best start of the season, throwing five no-hit innings with seven strikeouts and two walks on Sunday. The three walks may be the most telling part of his season line after walking 24 in 46 innings last season for Greenville in a disappointing full-season debut for the player who received an above-slot $1.3 million bonus as a fourth-round pick in 2012.
Jimenez, listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, was the Red Sox 2013 Latin Program Pitcher of the Year. Last season, in his stateside debut, Jimenez struck out 37 and walked eight in 49 1/3 innings, going 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA for the GCL champion Red Sox.
Photo Credit: Ty Buttrey by Kelly O'Connor
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.