July 18, 2016 at 6:00 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- The Red Sox made headlines this week trading away their top pitching prospect, according to the SoxProspects.com rankings. Boston acquired All-Star left hander Drew Pomeranz from the Padres for 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza. The one-for-one trade was analyzed by SoxProspects Director of Scouting Ian Cundall, who said the price for Pomeranz was "steep" and called it a "win-now trade."
- Some are speculating that Espinoza became somewhat expendable because the same day he was traded, the Red Sox came to terms with their top pick in the 2016 draft, Jason Groome (pictured). The 17-year-old New Jersey native was predicted by some experts to be the top overall pick in the draft, but he was snatched up by Boston when he fell to the 12th spot. The Sox also came to terms with their fourth-round pick, infielder Bobby Dalbec, and their fifth-round pick, pitcher Mike Shawaryn.
- SoxProspects Director of Scouting Ian Cundall wrote up his latest "Scouting Scratch" on Greenville first baseman Josh Ockimey. After adding "significant muscle" to his body, Ockimey has shown impressive power this season and has rocketed up the SoxProspects rankings from 37 to start the year to his current ranking of eighth .
- SoxProspects managing editor Matt Huegel sat down with Lowell pitcher, Josh Pennington. A 2014 draft pick who can touch 99 mph with his fastball, Pennington is returning from Tommy John surgery.
- Evan Drellich of The Boston Herald, who was the first to report Jason Groome's signing, spoke with the young lefty about signing with the Red Sox and the negative comments about his makeup that reportedly caused his drop in the draft.
- Red Sox GM Mike Hazen told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the organization plans to keep Yoan Moncada at second base and currently has no plans to move him. Hazen said they want Moncada to "master a position" before they consider moving him.
- Bradford also argued that Moncada and Andrew Benintendi should be promoted to Boston this season for the playoff push. He brought up Jacoby Ellsbury's promotion in 2007 as an example for Benintendi and advocated for the use of the speedy Moncada as a pinch runner a la Dave Roberts.
- Pawtucket's Chris Marrero won the Triple-A Home Run Derby, hitting 18 home runs in the final round. He also bashed 16 homers in the semifinals.
- The next night, Marrero was at it again, clubbing a solo shot in the eighth inning to pad the International League's lead in the Triple-A All-Start Game. He was named the game's MVP with his 1-for-2 effort. Marrero has 18 home runs on the season so far for the PawSox, which is second in the International League.
- While some fans may be upset about trading away Anderson Espinoza, Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal reminds those fans how few Single-A pitching prospects as young as Espinoza go on to actually make an impact in the majors. Of the 54 pitchers who were age 18 or younger in Single-A since 1996, only 12 have a career WAR higher than two and just six have a career WAR above five.
- Michael Kopech made headlines last week, reportedly hitting 105 mph on the radar gun with one of his fastballs in a game on July 14. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America was on hand for the game, and confirmed the pitch speed with two radar gun operators.
- Jake Romanski and Aneury Tavarez contributed off the bench to the East All-Stars' 10-2 victory in the Eastern League All-Star game. Romanski went 2 for 2 with a double and a run scored. Tavarez went 1 for 3 with a double.
Players of the Week 7/11-717
5 G, 19 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, .526/.591/.1000
A week after his twin brother was traded to the Diamonbacks, Basabe pounded the ball and raised his average 21 points. Highlighting his week was a 4-for-4 game on July 13 and a 3-for-4 night on July 16 with four RBI. The ninth-ranked prospect in the Red Sox system, according to SoxProspects, Basabe has seen his average rise from .196 on May 30 to its current mark of .256.
1 G, 7.0 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K
Couch (pictured) returned to Triple-A with a bang and earned his second Pitcher of the Week honor in as many weeks. After two straight complete-game wins for Portland earlier this month, Couch earned another promotion to Pawtucket, where he previously struggled in both 2013 and 2015. Couch continued his recent dominant ways with seven shutout innings. He is currently 7-6 with a 3.83 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A this season.
Photo Credits: Jason Groome by Perfect Game and Keith Couch by Kelly O'Connor