September 6, 2016 at 6:34 PM
Here are this week's minor league notes:
- SoxProspects.com managing editor Matt Huegel took a look at another 2016 draftee who's playing in Lowell right now in fourth-rounder Bobby Dalbec. After struggling at the plate in his junior season at Arizona, Dalbec has hit .391/.432/.688 with 13 doubles and seven home runs in 33 games with Lowell. Dalbec credits his success to a return to the hitting mechanics that he used in the Cape Cod League last summer.
- Dalbec is featured on this week's Scouting Scratch as SoxProspects.com director of scouting Ian Cundall took a recent trip to Lowell to see some of the 2016 draftees.
- With rosters expanding in September, the Red Sox promoted top prospect Yoan Moncada (pictured) from Portland to Boston for Friday's game against Oakland. Moncada entered Friday night's game as a defensive replacement and then made his first start on Saturday, going 2 for 5 with a double for his first major league hit. Through four games, Moncada is 4 for 13 with a double and a walk.
- Along with Moncada's flashes of brilliance in the early going, he has also made a couple of mistakes. In Sunday's game in Oakland, Moncada made an error on a routine groundball and was also picked off of first base by Athletics starter Kendall Graveman. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe urges fans not to worry and that Moncada will make mistakes in the early stages of his big league career but that doesn't take away from his immense talent.
- Matt Collins of Over the Monster draws comparisons between Moncada and Xander Bogaerts, another top prospect whom the Red Sox promoted in the heat of a pennant race in 2013.
- Unlike Bogaerts in 2013, however, Moncada already appears to have grabbed the starting third base job from the get go. Moncada will replace Travis Shaw as the everyday third baseman as the latter will begin to see time in left field.
- In addition to the Moncada promotion, the Red Sox bumped a pair of prospects up to a new level for the final stretch of the season, promoting Jason Groome to Lowell and Luis Alexander Basabe to Salem. Groome struggled with his control in his first start on Friday, walking four but allowing just one run on no hits in 2 2/3 innings, striking out two. However, it's important to remember that Groome was facing high school hitters just a few months ago and is now facing primarily college draftees in the New York-Penn League. Basabe has gone 8 for 18 with two doubles and a triple in four games with Salem.
- Groome spoke with WEEI's Ryan Hannable about his hectic draft process and how happy he is to be in Lowell getting started on his professional career. Groome also discussed his lofty career goals with no holds barred, stating that his end goal is to be a Hall of Famer.
- Dalbec also received some recognition for his dominance with Lowell, being named to Baseball America's All-Prospect team for August. In the month, Dalbec hit .369/.414/.680 with 10 doubles and six homers.
- The Red Sox announced that they will send seven players to the Arizona Fall League this year. That group will include Moncada, right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech, infielder Mauricio Dubon, left-handed pitchers Trey Ball, Jalen Beeks, and Jamie Callahan, and outfielder Danny Mars. These seven players will join the Surprise Saguaros this fall.
- The Red Sox have promoted their two top prospects this season directly from Portland to Boston, prompting the Boston Globe's Alex Speier to wonder whether Triple-A is a critical step in prospect development. Speier cites players in recent seasons who have struggled in their initial exposure to the majors possibly due to a lack of seasoning in the upper minors, such as Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. On the other hand, players such as Mookie Betts, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon made the jump with little experience in Triple-A.
- The first of those top prospects who skipped Triple-A this season is Andrew Benintendi, who fared well in his first taste of the majors, hitting .324/.365/.485 through 21 games. Benintendi sprained his left knee on August 24 but is progressing well in his recovery and could be ready to return soon.
- With rosters expanding for September, the Red Sox recalled four players alongside Moncada on Friday. This group includes right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly and left-hander Robby Scott to add some depth to the bullpen with infielder Deven Marrero and catcher Ryan Hanigan coming up to help the bench.
- On Monday, the Red Sox added one more round of players to the major league roster. Boston activated Koji Uehara from the 15-day disabled list and recalled catcher Christian Vazquez and right-handed pitchers Heath Hembree and Noe Ramirez.
- The Greenville Drive received three awards from the South Atlantic League. The franchise won the league's Excellence in Marketing award for the third straight season. Greg Burgess was selected as Sports Turf Manager of the Year and Fluor Field was named the Best Playing Surface.
Players of the Week 8/29-9/5
5 G, 19 AB, 2 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 K
Romanski closed out his season with an excellent final week at the plate, leading Red Sox minor leaguers in average. Named an Eastern League All-Star earlier in the season, Romanski enjoyed a successful 2016 season with the Sea Dogs, slashing .308/.338/.410 with 22 doubles and four home runs. The Red Sox drafted Romanski in the 14th round of the 2013 draft out of San Diego State.
2 G, 6 1/3 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K
McEachern has struggled this season in Greenville but his season will end on a positive note as he tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings of relief. On the whole, he has a 5.68 ERA in 51 1/3 innings with the Drive, though he was dominant in Lowell, pitching to a 0.36 ERA with 23 strikeouts and three walks in 25 innings pitched.
Photo Credit: Yoan Moncada and Jake Romanski by Kelly O'Connor