7/31 Cup of Coffee: Greenville got a rare treat with a national TV broadcast on CBS Sports Network, showcasing the Drive to the world. Michael Chavis(pictured) took full advantage of that spotlight with a big night. Aneury Tavarez provided dramatics with a walk-off home run, snapping a three-game skid. Jake Cosart hurled his third straight solid start for Lowell.
Pawtucket bats were stymied by Norfolk pitching, settling for a lone extra-base hit, off the bat of Marco Hernandez, in a day game on Thursday. Jonathan Roof drove in the only Red Sox run in the bottom of the ninth. Quintin Berry hit three singles, going 3 for 4. Zeke Spruill battled to a quality start, going six innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits. He walked two and struck out three, but also hit a pair of batters.
7/30 Cup of Coffee:Henry Owens (pictured) pitched well again, amidst speculation that he could be up in Boston very soon. Aside from the Lowell Spinners, it was a very light night on the offensive side for the Red Sox farm system. Sam Travis stayed hot by collecting a pair of hits and Kevin Heller hit the only home run for the entire system. Salem endured a difficult day at the ballpark by losing a game that was suspended and losing another one that followed that.
Henry Owens turned in another solid outing after some interesting comments from Red Sox manager John Farrell. Owens, who pitched six innings of one run ball, could be up to Boston in the near future. He allowed just five hits and one run while walking one and striking out three. The loss dropped him to 3-8, but his ERA was also lowered to a crisp 3.16. This was the ninth consecutive start in which Owens has gone at least six innings, and he has just two walks in his last 16 innings pitched. Tim Britton of The Providence Journal notes that Owens showed the ability to bounce back after a walk or a three-ball count, which is something he had not done well in the past. He also induced a lot of weak contact, according to Britton. Dayan Diaz struggled with command, walking three and retiring only one batter. He gave up an earned run and was relieved by Pat Light, who struck out two in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Jonathan Aro also had a scoreless ninth inning.
The Pawtucket offense struggled, managing just five singles and four walks. They went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Quintin Berry, Humberto Quintero, Deven Marrero, and Garin Cechini each went 1 for 3 with a walk. Berry swiped his 30th base of the year, which leads the International League.
7/29 Cup of Coffee: Despite outscoring opponents 34-22, the affiliates went 3-5 on the day, with Portland, Greenville, Lowell, and the GCL Red Sox all losing games by one run. The PawSox coasted to victory thanks to a strong start from Brian Johnson (pictured), while more glowing reports came in on Anderson Espinoza following his start yesterday. Stanley Espinal slugged two home runs and a triple for the DSL Red Sox, and Javier Guerra broke out of a mini-slump. ----- Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 0
Behind the left arm of Brian Johnson, the PawSox shut out the Tides. Johnson went the first 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out six. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal was at the game, and noted that Johnson was having trouble commanding most of his pitches, but his curveball was on and that is what got him through the game. The start was only Johnson's second in the last three weeks, and his first since making his major league debut on July 21. The recently-optioned Noe Ramirez twirled 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless ninth.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Coming into the 2015 season, Garin Cecchini had a career .298 batting average in the minors, and had played 431 of his 457 games at third base. On July 2, he was batting .188 for the season and had played twice as many games in left field and nearly as many games at first base as he had at third.
However, over his last 17 games, Cecchini has begun to right the ship and show off the hit tool that was supposed to carry him to the big leagues, batting .344/.406/.426 with six walks.
Cecchini has always had an advanced approach since signing with the Red Sox out of high school in 2010. Despite a lack of other standout tools, scouts believed his hit tool and approach were strong enough to make him a potential major league starter on his way up through the system. It is that approach that been a big part of the mid-season turnaround for him.
7/28 Cup of Coffee: It took 15 wild innings and a catcher pitching for Greenville to come away with the organizations only win of the night. Salem was swept in its series, while Portland had its modest winning streak snapped. Both DSL teams fell, and the GCL Sox once again were rained out.
Portland saw its season-high four-game winning streak snapped in the opener of a three game set in Trenton. Starter Danny Rosenbaum, making his way back from Tommy John surgery, gave up two runs despite allowing 10 hits - all singles - in his four innings of work. The 27-year-old walked one and struck out three. It seems like Mike Augliera keeps finding new ways to get saddled as the losing pitcher, and Monday saw one of the more tough-luck decisions one can take. Following the hit parade against Rosenbaum, Augliera managed to hold the Thunder hitless for three innings. However, the one baserunner he allowed was a leadoff walk in the sixth inning. A stolen base and a pair of ground outs scored what proved to be the winning run, dropping Augliera to 2-14 on the season.
SoxProspects.com 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 SoxProspects.com crew also released Episode 81 of the SoxProspects.com 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.
7/27 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox' losing streak continues despite a 10-run, 16-hit day. The bats were hot for Portland and Greenville, but Salem was the odd team out, gathering just three hits and seven baserunners on the day. Lowell won a thriller at home, thanks in large part to big days at the plate from Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured)and Austin Rei.
The PawSox' losing streak reached eight games despite the offense's best efforts. Jeff Bianchi went 4 for 6 with two doubles and three RBIs atop the PawSox lineup, and shortstop Marco Hernandez had his first multi-hit day since July 17 with two doubles, a single, a walk and three RBIs. Garin Cecchini went 2 for 5 with a big two-run double, and Travis Shaw added a single, double and walk to the hit parade.
7/26 Cup of Coffee: Last night was an abysmal one offensively for the majority of the minor league affiliates, with all seven teams combining for 10 runs and only Portland and the DSL Red Sox2 pulling out wins. Portland scraped out a one-run victory thanks to solid showings from starter William Cuevas and first baseman Sam Travis(pictured), while the PawSox and Drive extended their respective losing streaks.
Pawtucket extended its losing streak to seven with a shutout road loss to divisional rival Buffalo. The PawSox posted four hits and finished 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. First baseman Allen Craig went 2 for 4, while designated hitter Rusney Castillo and left fielder Garin Cecchini posted a single apiece. Also reaching base was catcher Humberto Quintero who went 1 for 3 and second baseman Jemile Weeks who was 1 for 2.
7/25 Cup of Coffee: Offense helped Portland and Salem pick up victories Friday, while Pawtucket, Greenville, and Lowell all were on the losing end of things. The DSL squads earned a split, and the GCL Sox were rained out.
Zeke Spruill fell to 4-6 despite allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings of work. Edwin Escobar followed Spruill and tossed two scoreless innings of relief. The PawSox were shutout the first eight innings, but attempted a comeback in the ninth. Back-to-back singles by Rusney Castillo and Travis Shaw started off the final frame. Humberto Quintero attempted to move both runners along with a bunt, but was called out on batter interference. A wild pitch moved both runners up, and Garin Cecchini drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. The rally would fizzle as Marco Hernandez ended the game with a strikeout.
With the loss, the PawSox have lost six straight and are just 3-17 in the month of July.
After losing the 47th and 72nd overall picks for signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox entered the 2015 First-Year Player Draft with the ninth-smallest bonus pool despite picking seventh overall. Of their $6,223,800 pool, $3,590,400, or 58 percent, was tied to that first-rounder. Because of this, there was some added pressure to not miss on that pick, and when the time came, they selected University of Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi(pictured, left). Benintendi was named the National Player of the Year by Louisville Slugger, and he also won the 2015 Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.
With Benintendi receiving the full slot amount, the Red Sox did not have much room to get creative with the rest of the draft, and they only signed two players to significantly over-slot deals. In all, the Red Sox signed 27 of their 39 picks, and went $230,700, or about four percent, over their bonus pool. The team will have to pay a tax on that overage, but will not lose any future draft picks. Below is a breakdown of the draft, with some background on the bigger names that Boston signed.
Be sure to check out our Draft History page for a list of everyone drafted by the Red Sox.
Chris and Ian just spent some time watching the Greenville Drive, and they had plenty to talk about! The guys chatted with Matt about their thoughts on Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Javier Guerra, Michael Chavis, Nick Longhi, and more! While he was in town, Chris also checked in with Drive manager Darren Fenster to discuss what's been going on with these players behind the scenes, as well as getting the manager's take on life in the minors. Plus, the guys talk about Brian Johnson's MLB debut, and your listener emails hit on players from throughout the system and beyond: How does Devers compare to Xander Bogaerts at the same age? Where have Karsten Whitson and Christopher Acosta been? Which players might move positions? All this and more!
Click through for download links and in-site player!
7/24 Cup of Coffee: Almost the entire Red Sox farm system played in tight games on Thursday, with six matchups decided by two or fewer runs. Henry Owens(pictured, right) authored another quality start, but settled for a no-decision. Portland staged a dramatic comeback that was sparked by Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje and ultimately won by Tzu-Wei Lin. Salem got a bounce-back start from Ty Buttrey, but it was his relief that was most impressive in the Sox win. Javier Guerra clubbed his fifth home run of the month in Greenville's loss. The GCL bullpen spoiled a fantastic start by Gerson Bautista.
Pawtucket bats went quiet after the first inning, as Norfolk scored five unanswered runs to down the Sox. The first four PawSox batters of the game reached base with Allen Craig and Humberto Quintero each providing two-run doubles. That would be all the offense Pawtucket could muster with only Travis Shaw (2 for 4, double) getting past first base for the rest of the game. Henry Owens continued to put his control problems behind him with a quality start (6 IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 6K). Owens now has eight starts in a row in which he has allowed two or fewer walks. Unfortunately for Owens, he also settled for his tenth no-decision of the season as a result of a blown save from Jonathan Aro. He surrendered a two-out double in the seventh that proved to the be the difference.
7/23 Cup of Coffee: The GCL Red Sox and the DSL Red Sox2 were the only teams in the system to come away with a win. Andrew Benintendi has found his power stroke, as he homered for the third time in the past four games for Lowell. Jackie Bradley Jr. also continued to swing the bat well for Pawtucket, who received great bullpen performances including a perfect four innings from Matt Barnes. Good outings out of the pen were also a theme for Portland, Lowell, Salem, the GCL Red Sox, and the first DSL Red Sox team. Kevin Heller (pictured) had a huge game for Salem and eighth-round draft pick Logan Allen also made his GCL debut and pitched well.
The PawSox played dug themselves into a big hole after the first two innings. Robby Scott, who has had two previous stints with Pawtucket this season, made his first start of the year after being a very effective left-handed reliever for the Portland Sea Dogs for a majority of 2015. He did not fare well, surrendering six earned runs in two innings. Heath Hembree came on for a scoreless third inning before Matt Barnes tossed four perfect innings out of the pen. He threw just 32 pitches during his four innings of work. Newly acquired Ronald Belisario made his second appearance with the PawSox and did not allow a baserunner in his one inning of work.
Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his torrid stretch by going 2 for 3 with a walk and a triple. Garin Cecchini also went 2 for 3 with a walk.
7/22 Cup of Coffee: The lower levels of the system had more success than the upper levels yesterday, with the short-season teams going 4-1 while Pawtucket and Salem were blown out. The Sea Dogs won again in their last at-bat, Anderson Espinoza fired four more innings without allowing an earned run, and Christopher Acosta returned to the mound in the Dominican Summer League. In the Gulf Coast League, Yoan Aybar (pictured)continued to put up strong numbers as he performed well in both games of a doubleheader.
Two runs in the top of the ninth kept the PawSox from being shut out, but they were still pummeled by the Tides. Keith Couch was rocked for nine runs on 10 hits over three innings as he dropped his ninth decision of the season. With the bullpen stretched out, Jeff Bianchi came on to pitch for the second time this season, and he set the side down in order in his lone inning of work.
7/21 Cup of Coffee: Some of the hottest bats in the system continued to shine on Monday. Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured, left) homered twice for the second time in four days, while Andrew Benintendi went deep for the second straight day in Lowell's loss. Portland walked off with a win after an 11-hit attack. There was a scary moment early in Salem's loss when starting pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz was struck by a comebacker and had to exit the game, but the right-hander walked off the field on his own power. Greenville and both DSL squads dropped their contests.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. continues to deliver for the PawSox. The center fielder carried the Pawtucket offense, with a two-run first inning homer and a solo shot in the third accounting for all of the PawSox run scoring. Bradley also homered twice on Friday, and he has driven in 10 runs in five games since the All-Star break. There was little in the way of offense beyond Bradley. Humberto Quintero doubled as part of a two-hit night, and Quintin Berry led off the game with a walk and came in to score on the first Bradley homer.
7/20 Cup of Coffee: It was a pretty tough day all around for the Red Sox farm system, as the Sea Dogs grabbed the only victory. The PawSox and Red Sox offenses were stifled, and both the Spinners and Drive lost in dramatic fashion, although the Spinners saw a nice day from Andrew Benintendi (pictured, right) en route to the loss.
The PawSox mustered just four hits in the loss and were unable to even generate a walk. Quintin Berry, Rusney Castillo, Travis Shaw and Allen Craig each had hits, but only one baserunner reached scoring position.
7/19 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Greenville each lost in extra innings, while PawSox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and left-hander Henry Owens(pictured, right) turned in quality performances in a win. Salem starter Trey Ball overcame his command woes to earn his seventh win of 2015, while GCL Red Sox starter Kevin Steen turned in another solid showing.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his stellar series against Durham, finishing 3 for 5 with two RBI to help the PawSox take game three of the four-game set. Bradley is now 7 for 15 with 7 RBI and two home runs in his last three games, improving his 2015 slash line to .311/.389/.471 in the process. Pinch hitter Matt Spring added some late-game heroics in the top of the eighth, hitting a solo home run in his first and only plate appearance. Overall it was a solid night at the dish from top to bottom for Pawtucket, which went 12 for 38 (.316) as a team.
7/18 Cup of Coffee:Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured) blasted a pair of home runs and Marco Hernandez continued his hot streak inhis second game with the PawSox. Javier Guerra also continued to swing the bat well in a big offensive night for Greenville. Both of the Red Sox DSL teams received great starting pitching from Jose Zacarias and Darwinzon Hernandez.
The PawSox offense was on fire last night, cruising to a 13-4 win. Jackie Bradley Jr. set the ton right away by hitting a two-run home run to center field in the top of the first inning. He wasn't finished however, sending another ball over the left-center field fence in the sixth inning for his second home run of the game and seventh of the season. Shortstop Marco Hernandez, playing his second game with Pawtucket, had a huge night by going 4 for 5 with a double, a home run, three runs and three RBI. Quintin Berry also had nice night out of the leadoff spot, going 2 for 3 with a walk and three RBI. Jemile Weeks had two hits and a double, and Luis Martinez went 1 for 3 with two walks and two RBI.
The Red Sox have now signed each of their draft picks from the first 17 rounds and 27 of their 39 selections, plus two non-drafted free agents. Callis also reports that shortstop Yomar Valentin signed for $130,000, so the team has no more than $80,490 of cap space left to spend without forfeiting future draft picks, and is therefore unlikely to do much more, as Brakeman's signing itself was something of a surprise at this late hour.
To everyone who participated in our Annual Drive by
donating over the last month, I want to thank you immensely.
We received about $7,000 in donations from over 150 contributors –
passing our initial goal of $5,000.
Because of your donations, we will be able to send a team of scouts to
Greenville and Salem games this week and another team to the Fall Instructional League. We’ll also be able to cover our costs, continue covering the Boston, Pawtucket, Portland, and Lowell squads on a regular
basis, and return to minor league spring training in 2016. We’re wrapping up the drive in
conjunction with today’s draft signing deadline.
Again, thank you so much for the donations as well as all
the kind words about the site! That’s
what keeps us going every day.
Greenville Drive right-hander Michael Kopech has been suspended for 50 games for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, MLB announced on Thursday. Kopech, ranked eighth on the SoxProspects.com rankings, tested positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine.
With exactly 50 games remaining in Greenville's season, the suspension will essentially end Kopech's season. He could theoretically pitch in the playoffs if the Drive were to qualify for the postseason, but it is more likely that he will return for the Fall Instructional League.
It's another action-packed edition of the SP Pod, featuring an interview with Salem Red Sox right-hander Ty Buttrey! Chris sat down with him recently in Frederick and talked about his bounce-back season, injuring his hand last year, Clash of Clans, and more! Plus, Chris brought back his scouting notes from seeing a pair of Salem games dishing on Buttrey, Daniel McGrath, Aaron Wilkerson, German Taveras, Wendell Rijo, Mauricio Dubon, Jordan Procyshen, and more. Not to be outdone, Ian countered with notes from Lowell on Andrew Benintendi('s BP), Austin Rei, Tate Matheny, Jake Cosart, Ben Taylor, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Acosta, and Jeremy Rivera. Plus, your emails!
Click through for download links and in-site player!
7/17 Cup of Coffee: The Greenville Drive offense tore it up at the plate on Thursday, with the first five hitters -- Yoan Moncada, Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Nick Longhi(pictured, left) and Javier Guerra -- putting on quite a show. Jordan Weems capped off a come-from-behind win for Salem. The Spinners got a solid start from Dioscar Romero, then tightroped out of danger in the ninth. The PawSox and the Sea Dogs both suffered losses to start the second half of their seasons.
Daniel Nava tried to single-handedly carry the PawSox, but the bullpen twice blew the save in a tough loss to start the second half. Nava clubbed a dramatic two-strike, two-out, three-run homer to left in the top of the eighth to put Pawtucket up by two. But Heath Hembree allowed all four batters he faced to reach in the bottom of the frame, including a bases-clearing double. Jonathan Aro was also charged with a blown save, allowing an inherited runner to score in the sixth. Nava finished 2 for 4 with four RBI, a walk and two runs scored. Marco Hernandez went 1 for 4 with a run scored in his Triple-A debut. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1 for 5 with one RBI.
7/16 Cup of Coffee:Marco Hernandez (pictured) made a huge impact on the Eastern League All-Star Game, earning MVP honors. Five other Sea Dogs participated in the game, and Jackie Bradley Jr. played in the Triple-A All-Star game as the PawSox' representative. Yoan Moncada had another big day, homering for the third consecutive day. Salem swept a doubleheader, getting great pitching performances from Kyle Kaminska and Teddy Stankiewicz.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was the lone PawSox player to participate in the All-Star game. He went 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts and was hit by a pitch. After he was hit in the top of the ninth inning, he came around to score the tying run for the International League after the team had entered the inning down by two. Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles was also on the International League coaching staff. Left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson was also selected as an All-Star, but he was called up to Boston on Saturday.
7/15 Cup of Coffee: With half of the affiliates getting the day off, the teams that did play made the most of the opportunity. Behind an outstanding start from Jalen Beeks (pictured) and another home run from Yoan Moncada, the Drive squeaked by Augusta. The GCL Red Sox kept rolling, the DSL RedSox1 won on a walk-off single, and the DSL Red Sox2 put up 11 runs in another easy victory.
While he did not get much help from his defense, Jalen Beeks was dominant, going a career-high eight innings in a win over Augusta. Beeks allowed four runs, although only one of them was earned as the Drive committed three errors behind him. He walked one and struck out eight while inducing 10 groundouts. Kuehl McEachern came on to record the final three outs, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.
The Red Sox announced today that they have signed sixth-round pick Travis Lakins, a right-handed pitcher from Ohio State University, and 20th-round pick Yomar Valentin, a shortstop from Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. Additionally, the team signed undrafted free agent Andy Perez, a senior second baseman from Duke University.
The Red Sox have now signed every draft pick from the first 15 rounds, and with Jim Callis of MLB.com reporting that Lakins is receiving $320,000, or $32,500 over the slot value of $287,500 associated with the 171st pick, the team has $235,490 of cap space left to spend without losing any future draft picks. Some of that money may have gone to Valentin, which may explain the delay in his signing, but his bonus is currently unknown. With very little money left and the signing deadline approaching on Friday, it is likely that the Red Sox have finalized their draft class.
7/14 Cup of Coffee: For the first time since his promotion to the Gulf Coast League last month, Anderson Espinoza allowed a run. Even without the young phenom's usual perfection, the GCL Red Sox cruised to victory. The DSL RedSox2 picked up a win as a trio of hurlers combined for a four-hit shutout, while their Red Sox1 counterparts walked off with a victory in the 10th inning. Portland, Salem and Lowell were all on the wrong end of the box score Monday
The Mets completed the four-game sweep over Portland at Hadlock Field on a day where little went right for the Sea Dogs. Things got off to an auspicious beginning as Marco Hernandez led off the bottom of the first with a single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Hernandez then came around to score on a Sam Travis base hit, giving Portland the 1-0 lead. Travis had three hits on the afternoon and drove in both Portland runs.
Mike Augliera could not hold that early lead, as Binghamton touched him for three runs in the second and never looked back. Augliera allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, on his way to his professional-baseball leading 13th loss of the year. Mike McCarthy allowed a run in 2 1/3 of relief, followed by a scoreless inning apiece by Jorge Marban and John Cornely.
Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers(pictured, right) each went hitless in two at-bats at the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, but told Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com they were "proud" to represent the Red Sox organization on the World Futures. Margot was the starting center fielder for the World players and was lifted after the fifth inning. Devers entered the game as a replacement at third base in the sixth inning. He struck out looking to end the game. The U.S. Futures crushed the World Futures, 10-1.
Portland's William Cuevas was named the starting pitcher for the East Division in the Eastern League All-Star Game to be held at the home of the Sea Dogs, Hadlock Field, on July 15, according to a release. Cuevas is 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 16 starts.
7/13 Cup of Coffee: Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers represented the Red Sox system in the Futures Game on Sunday. It was a tough day for the upper levels as Pawtucket, Portland and Salem all struggled to push across runs. But the Drive launched an offensive attack led by Yoan Moncada and Javier Guerra (pictured, right), while the Spinners won in extra innings in a very unusual manner.
U.S. Futures 10, World Futures 1 Manuel Margot got the start in center field for the World team, but, much like the rest of the World lineup, was unable to do much against U.S. pitchers, going 0 for 2 with a strikeout. Rafael Devers got two at-bats, playing the second half of the game at third, but also went 0 for 2 with a strikeout.
7/12 Cup of Coffee: A bases-loaded walk in the top of the tenth inning made the difference for High A Salem, who grabbed a tight victory thanks to solid offensive performances from Wendell Rijo(pictured, right) and Yoilan Cerse. Draft pick Austin Rei swatted his first minor league hit for Lowell, while Low A Greenville overcame an early deficit to snatch a win from division-leading Asheville.
A couple of players familiar to the majors, Daniel Nava and Allen Craig, gave the PawSox a big offensive boost, combining for seven hits and four RBI to help snap a 12-game losing streak. Nava, in Pawtucket on a rehab assignment, went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBI from the leadoff spot, while Craig drew the start at first base and went 4 for 5 with an RBI. Third baseman Garin Cecchini also showed well, and appears to be breaking out of a poor run of form at the dish. The 24-year-old finished 2 for 5 with a solo home run, his fourth consecutive multi-hit performance, and is batting .325 in his last 10 games.
As first reported by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the Boston Red Sox have purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson and recalled him from the Pawtucket Red Sox. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported that Clay Buchholz will head to the disabled list to make room on the active roster, and the team announced right-hander Dalier Hinojosa was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Manager John Farrell confirmed that Johnson will be available out of the bullpen in the near-term, and it looks likely that he will get the first shot at Buchholz's spot in the rotation after the All-Star break.
Johnson, a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, positioned himself for a call-up with his performance for the PawSox in the first half of the season. In 16 starts, he went 8-6, working 85 2/3 innings and posting a 2.73 ERA. He allowed just 68 hits and 26 walks while striking out 81.
Espinoza earns his first SoxProspects.com award after decimating Dominican Summer League competition and earning a promotion to the GCL Red Sox on June 23, just three weeks after his minor league debut. In 15 innings with the DSL Red Sox across four appearances, the 17-year-old Venezuelan was nothing short of dominant, posting a 1.20 ERA while striking out 21 batters against just three walks. Espinoza also allowed only six runs, two of them earned, and posted a 1.07 WHIP. In two June appearances in the Gulf Coast League – where Espinoza is the youngest pitcher in the league – the right-hander threw eight innings and didn't allow a run, while also posting six more punchouts against two walks and six hits.
7/11 Cup of Coffee: It was a difficult night on the farm as just two of the eight affiliates in action were victorious. Pawtucket, Portland, Greenville, Lowell and both DSL squads were on the wrong side of the box score Friday. Salem was aided by strong defense and a strong offensive performance, and the GCL Red Sox used a five run sixth inning to bring home a win.
Henry Owens pitched well in a no decision, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings of work. The left-hander threw 66 of his 95 pitches for strikes, punching out nine IronPig hitters. Pat Light relieved Owens and struggled in his 1 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on a hit and four walks, taking his second loss of the season. Light struggled to find the plate, throwing just 17 of his 44 pitches for strikes.
7/10 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night for several Sox minor league teams as Teddy Stankiewicz, Dedgar Jimenez, and Jose Almonte each struggled in their respective starts. Portland's middle infield set the table in the Sea Dogs win with Marco Hernandez(pictured, right) and Carlos Asuaje each collecting three hits.
Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), PPD.
Heavy rain postponed Thursday's match-up between the PawSox and the IronPigs. The two teams will make up the game some time during the next series Pawtucket returns to Lehigh Valley from Aug. 14-16. The two teams will face off Friday back in Pawtucket.
7/9 Cup of Coffee:Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured) blasted two home runs and Jake Cosart tossed five no-hit innings in a win for Lowell. Eastern League All-Star Marco Hernandez continued to rake, picking up three hits in a tough Portland loss. Greenville and Pawtucket lost heartbreakers, both coming in the 11th inning.
The PawSox jumped out to an 8-1 lead after four innings, but failed to hold on as the IronPigs won in 11 innings. Quintin Berry and Garin Cecchini each went 3 for 5 and Carlos Peguero continued to be a very productive power source for Pawtucket by smashing his seventh home run of the year. Mike Miller also added two hits and two RBI.
7/8 Cup of Coffee: The two pitching prospects with arguably the highest ceilings in the system were on the mound on Tuesday, with Anderson Espinoza firing four more shutout innings, while Michael Kopech did not allow a hit over four innings, though he did struggle with his control. Steven Wright was hit hard in his start for the PawSox, though Garin Cecchini (pictured) and Jackie Bradley Jr. did their best to bail him out. Ty Buttrey turned in another quality start, while Yoan Moncada was on base four times for the Drive.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) 9, Pawtucket Red Sox 6
After a brief stint with Boston during which he did not appear in a game, Steven Wright was back in the Pawtucket rotation, as he picked up the loss in a high-scoring affair. Wright went the first six innings, allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits with only one walk and two strikeouts. He did settle down after the IronPigs posted a five-spot in the first, but the damage had already been done. The IronPigs extended their lead against Pat Light, who gave up three runs on four hits in his lone inning of work.
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.
7/7 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Greenville battled to close wins, and relied on timely power from players like Rafael Devers(pictured, right) and Jake Romanski. The PawSox had trouble getting their offense off the ground, while catcher Austin Rei,the Red Sox' second overall pick in the 2015 draft, made his professional debut for Lowell.
The basement-dwelling Chiefs hung on to complete the series sweep, limiting the PawSox to five hits and keeping them off the board until the top of the sixth inning. Second baseman Jonathan Roof had Pawtucket's lone multi-hit game, going 3 for 3 with a double. The PawSox missed left fielder Carlos Peguero's power bat, as the 28-year-old journeyman – who has six home runs and 19 RBI in 21 games played – finished 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. Right fielder Daniel Nava and designated hitter Rusney Castillo each chipped in an RBI, but finished the afternoon hitless.
7/6 Cup of Coffee: The Drive saw some big performances out of members of their lineup, like Yoan Moncada (picturedright), Joseph Monge and Nick Longhi but couldn't seem to connect for the big hit, stranding nine on base and going 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position. The Spinners lost in extras on a tough day for Aneudis Peralta, and the PawSox' Henry Owens let one bad inning ruin an otherwise strong outing. Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs and Red Sox got timely hitting and took advantage of miscues to push across runs.
The PawSox managed just four hits on the afternoon, with just one, Mike Miller's one-out triple, coming as an extra-base hit. Daniel Nava, Travis Shaw and Luis Martinez had the only other hits for Pawtucket. Garin Cecchini's slump continued with an 0 for 4 day. Cecchini has hit just .140 with a .160 slugging percentage in his last 15 games.
7/5 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Portland and Salem were all handed big Independence Day losses, with Salem being blown out by 15 runs. 2015 first-round draft pick Andrew Benintendi(pictured, right) smashed his first professional home run en route to a Lowell victory, while Greenville second baseman Yoan Moncada continued to gain momentum after a slow start at the plate.
Left fielder Carlos Peguero's power surge wasn't enough to overcome 12 runs from division rival Syracuse. Peguero upped his home run total to six with a pair of blasts, and finished 2 for 4 with four RBI. The 6-foot-5 slugger has a .309/.368/.662 slash line since joining the PawSox last month. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits in his first game back with Pawtucket after a short stint with the big club, while shortstop Jemile Weeks and catcher Matt Spring each went 1 for 4 with a double.
7/4 Cup of Coffee: Andrew Benintendi made his professional debut for Lowell, helping the Spinners run to victory. Pawtucket, Portland, the GCL, and both DSL squads ended up on the wrong side of things Friday. Salem was unable to break its lengthy losing streak as part of a doubleheader split, and Greenville pulled out a close game against Hickory.
Pawtucket lost their sixth straight, as they were only able to muster five hits against RailRiders pitching. Joe Kelly made his second start since joining the PawSox, tossing six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, striking out seven. Dalier Hinojosa added three innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits and a walk.
The Red Sox made several moves before Friday night's game with the Houston Astros. The team purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Noe Ramirez from Triple-A Pawtucket, and activated outfielder Shane Victorino from the 15-day disabled list. Catcher and recently-graduated top prospect Blake Swihart was placed on the disabled list with a foot sprain, and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to the PawSox. To make room on the 40-man roster for Ramirez, pitcher Zeke Spruill was designated for assignment.
Ramirez was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Cal State-Fullerton. After spending the 2012 season with Greenville as a starter, he transitioned to the bullpen on a full-time basis the following year, where he has been a standout performer. He was named a SoxProspects.com All-Star following both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and garnered recognition as an Eastern League All-Star in 2014.
Brian Johnson (pictured) is the lone Pawtucket Red Sox player to be named to the International League All-Star team. Johnson will face all-stars from the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game to be played on July 15 in Omaha, Neb.
Johnson has had an outstanding season, and recently moved up from seventh to fifth in the rankings here at SoxProspects.com. The left-hander has put up a 2.68 ERA in 80 2/3 innings during his first season with the PawSox. He has 76 strikeouts to just 24 walks, a 1.08 WHIP, and batters are hitting a measly .214 against him. His stuff is not overpowering, but he has been very consistent by controlling the strike zone, especially with his off-speed pitches, and curveball in particular.
Johnson has moved right up the ladder in the Red Sox system after being drafted in the first round out of the University of Florida, pitching well at each level. He spent last April in Salem, where he made five starts, but was quickly called up to Double-A and dominated the rest of the way. He went 10-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 118 innings for the Sea Dogs in 2014. His efforts in Portland earned him an Eastern League All-Star selection as well.
7/3 Cup of Coffee: A mixed night on the farm included a pair of solid efforts from former first-round picks Michael Kopech (pictured) and Trey Ball, while Pawtucket and Lowell were both blown out. Daniel Nava made his return to the diamond as he begins his rehab stint with the PawSox, and the GCL Red Sox got another good pitching performance as they moved to 10-0 on the year.
Not much went right for the PawSox, as they were clobbered by the RailRiders. Making his third straight start, Zeke Spruill was lit up for 10 runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Edwin Escobar did not have any better luck, as the RailRiders got to him for four runs on five hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Dayan Diaz was able to save the rest of the bullpen with three scoreless innings to end it.
The Red Sox have signed Venezuelan prospects Albert Guaimaro (pictured) and Simon Muzziotti to $300,000 deals, each according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The international signing period opened today, and as in past years, the highly-regarded players have quickly agreed to deals.
Both Guaimaro and Muzziotti have long been linked to the Red Sox, and they were the favorites to land them despite their bonus restrictions. The Red Sox international bonus pool for the 2015-2016 signing period is $3,681,000, however, due to their excessive spending last signing period, including the signing of Yoan Moncada for $31.5 million, the Red Sox are not allowed to spend more than $300,000 on any one player during the next two signing periods. Therefore, it is no surprise that these highly-rated prospects both required the team's maximum to sign. However, it is a bit surprising that the Red Sox were able to convince these two to sign for that amount when other teams could have potentially offered much more.
7/2 Cup of Coffee: It was a rough night on the farm, with the GCL Red Sox being the only team to come away with a victory. All seven of the remaining teams lost, but saw some good offensive performances from Rafael Devers, Rusney Castillo, and Kevin Heller (pictured). Reed Reilly also continued his nice season for Greenville.
Steven Wright didn't have his best outing today as the PawSox dropped this one 8-4. Wright was knocked around for 10 hits and six runs (three earned), pushing his ERA with Pawtucket up to 3.00. Pawtucket briefly took the lead in the third inning when Travis Shaw singled in a pair of runs but the Red Wings were able to grab those runs right back, and held on for the remainder of the night. Jeff Bianchi had a nice night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a triple. Rusney Castillo also had a pair of hits, raising his batting average with Pawtucket to .310. Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 2.42 on the year.
With the calendar turning to July, Chris and Ian got on the horn and had plenty to talk about, starting with a slew of recent promotions, including those of Manuel Margot, Sam Travis, and Mauricio Dubon to new affiliates and Deven Marrero, Jonathan Aro, and Jackie Bradley to the majors, among others. Plus the Red Sox are now mostly done with draft signings - after inking Andrew Benintendi, how much money is left? And of course, new month, new rankings, including a new number one prospect and debates aplenty! We close, as usual, with your emails.
Click through for download links and in-site player!
A fan vote determines two representatives from each team in the league, with Cuevas and Witte being the fan selections for Portland, while the three others were selected by a vote of Eastern League media, managers, and officials.
Asuaje is ranked 24th here at SoxProspects.com and is batting .240/.350/.376 in 70 games for the Sea Dogs this season. He has shown great plate discipline, leading the Sea Dogs with 37 walks. He also leads the team in runs scored with 36. Although he primarily has played second base with Portland, Asuaje had a tremendous year in 2014 split between Greenville and Salem while playing all over the field, splitting his time equally between second base, third base, and left field, and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star.
7/1 Cup of Coffee: Both Henry Owens and Anderson Espinoza dazzled in their starts, though only one would come away with the victory. Shane Victorino and Henry Ramos each showed positive signs in their rehab appearances, while Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured) went deep twice for the Spinners.
Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 1, Pawtucket Red Sox 0
The no-hit and shutout bid by Henry Owens both ended in the seventh, as the left-hander picked up his sixth loss of the year. The first hit he allowed was a double to start the seventh, and that runner came around to score on a sacrifice fly. In all, Owens went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. He was out-dueled by Ervin Santana, who appears ready to help the Twins as he comes back from an PED-related suspension.