May 9, 2016 at 1:00 PM
Here are this week’s minor league notes:
- Red Sox pitchers Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez made starts for Triple-A Pawtucket as they both rehabbed from injuries. Kelly, who has been out with a right shoulder injury since April 19, made his first rehab appearance last Friday. He allowed one run, a homer by Minnesota prospect Byron Buxton, and threw 52 pitches in three innings. Rodriguez, who is working his way back from a knee injury suffered in Spring Training, made his third rehab start on on Sunday, allowing six hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings. Rodriguez said afterward he felt 100 percent, but it has not been decided whether he will make another rehab start before returning to Boston.
- Boston and Pawtucket made a couple of swaps as well this week. Relief pitcher Carson Smith was activated from the 15-day disabled list on May 3 after a rehab stint with Portland. Smith threw a perfect inning against the White Sox on the day he was activated but has not pitched since. Manager John Farrell has said that he wants to limit Smith's use to ease him back from the injury. Marco Hernandez was optioned to the PawSox to make room for Smith. PawSox starter Sean O’Sullivan (pictured) received a call-up on May 6. O’Sullivan pitched an inning out of the bullpen against the Yankees and allowed two hits and run. Farrell identified him as Boston's likely Tuesday starter against the Athletics. Henry Owens was sent back to Triple-A after a rocky start against the White Sox in which he lasted just three innings and walked six batters.
- Salem first baseman Nick Longhi is the featured player in our SoxProspects.com Featured Video this week. The 20-year-old put up a .292/.354/.371 line in the season’s first month, batting in the middle of the loaded Red Sox lineup.
- With over a month of the season gone, our Podcast (Episode 96) breaks down the ups and down in Portland and Greenville so far.
- Third-ranked prospect Anderson Espinoza tied a Greenville Drive record with 11 strikeouts in a dominant outing Thursday. The performance represented a rebound after the 19-year-old failed to finish fourth innings in each of his last two starts.
- In Baseball America’s most recent mock draft, the Red Sox are projected to select University of Miami catcher Zach Collins with the 12th overall selection.
- Andrew Benintendi saw his hitting streak reach 23 games, a new Salem Red Sox record, before it was snapped in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.
- Given Benintendi’s torrid start to the season, Over the Monster’s Marc Normandin says the Red Sox should not wait to promote the young outfielder to Double-A Portland.
- MLB.com placed Yoan Moncada and Benintendi on another top prospect list Tuesday, after Moncada hit a grand slam and Benintendi continued his hitting streak.
- In its International League update, 2080 Baseball spotlighted Red Sox prospects Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis.
- Former first-round pick Trey Ball pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball for Salem in his second start since returning from offseason knee surgery. He spoke to Ryan Hannable of WEEI about his knee and preparation for this season.
- With a lineup that features three of the top four prospects in the Red Sox system, Salem has jumped out to a 21-9 start to lead the Carolina League's Southern Division. SB Nation’s Charlie Drysdale called Salem “the most talented team in the minors.”
- Pawtucket starter Brian Johnson was removed from a start after just one inning, but according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, the move was precautionary, not injury related.
- The Red Sox signed first baseman Ryan Court to minor league deal on May 2 and assigned him to Portland. Court hit .331/.400/.474 for the Independent League Sioux City Explorers in 2015 after spending four years in the Arizona Diamondbacks' system.
Players of the Week 5/3–5/8
6 G, 20 AB, 10 H, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 3 K, .500/.565/1.050
Marrero was a first-round pick back in 2006, but he has bounced around in recent years without showing his potential. He sputtered to start this season as well, but caught fire in the last week. He hit safely in all six games, increasing his average by 45 points and his slugging percentage by 153 points in the process. After his slow start, his OPS is now a point away from Marco Hernandez’s team-leading .875.
1 G, 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K
Wilkerson bounced back from a six-run outing last week to throw his best start of the year: a six-inning, two-hit, zero-run outing against the Birmingham Mets. Wilkerson stuck out seven batters, but it was his ability to induce ground balls that jumped off the page. Wilkerson forced 10 batters to roll into outs, good for a 10.00 groundout-to-flyout ratio.
Photo Credit: Sean O'Sullivan by Kelly O'Connor