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June 5, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Draft day approaches

Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • The 2017 MLB draft begins a week from today and lasts through Wednesday. Monday night will consist of the first, supplemental, second, and competitive balance rounds, Tuesday will cover rounds 3 through 10, and Wednesday will finish up with rounds 11 through 40.
  • As always, SoxProspects.com will have full coverage of the draft including previews, information on every pick, and signing details. Coverage will start later this week with Editor-In-Chief Mike Andrews' Draft Day Intro.
  • As the draft nears, the mock drafts start to come out rapid fire. This past week there were two updates: ESPN's Keith Law and Perfect Game USA. Both mock drafts have the Red Sox selecting UC Irvine second baseman Keston Hiura (pictured, right). Hiura can absolutely rake - he is hitting .442/.567/.693 this year - but he may require Tommy John surgery and his final defensive landing spot is up for debate.
  • The Dominican Summer League started up on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the DSL Royals. Unlike past years, the Red Sox are only fielding one team this year. Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski announced this morning that a member of their 2016 team, infielder Yeison Coca, was selected as the player to be named later that completes the trade in which the Red Sox acquired right-handed reliever, Tyler Thornburg. Last season over 285 plate appearances, Coca hit .307/.370/.409 with 12 steals and 15 extra base hits including 9 triples, good for 3rd best in the league. Coca was ranked 37th on the SoxProspects.com rankings and was projected to start the year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox when their season opens later this month.
  • Over at 2080 Baseball, Mark Shreve wrote that while Rafael Devers bat is ready for the big leagues, his defensive development will dictate when he moves up. The write-up is detailed and covers all the aspects of Dever's game. Devers is off to a fantastic start to the year, hitting .308/.371/.544 with 10 home runs over his first 202 plate appearances.
  • 23-year-old Jalen Beeks has been on fire to start the year for Double-A Portland. Over his first nine starts, he has gone 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts to 22 walks over 49 1/3 innings. That strong start earned him a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. SoxProspects.com assistant director of scouting Chaz Fiorino said that he thinks Beeks will be a future major leaguer, but the main question is will it be as a starter or reliever? Chaz seemed to answer his own question in his Write Up of Beeks back in April, but obviously, things can change.
  • Beeks is not the only pitcher to earn a promotion this week. The Greenville Drive announced Sunday that right-hander Mike Shawaryn was being promoted to the Salem Red Sox. The 2016 fifth round pick was very strong at Lowell last year and has been solid for Greenville this year too with a 3.88 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and an impressive 13.2 strikeouts per 9 innings over his first 10 starts. His overall stats are marred by a terrible first start of the year where he allowed 9 runs over 2 innings, but in his other 9 starts, he has had a 2.45 ERA over 51 1/3 innings.
  • Finally, reliever Ty Buttrey  (pictured, left) also recently earned a promotion to Pawtucket as well. This was his second year with the Sea Dogs, but unlike last year, Buttrey pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for Portland this year. He showed improved results including a 3.28 ERA and a huge bump in his strikeout rate with it climbing to 13.5 per nine innings, by far the highest of his career. He was promoted on a little bit of a cold streak, allowing runs in four of his last five appearances. 
  • Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was placed on the 10-day DL this week after injuring his knee and therefore a spot starter is needed to fill his spot in the rotation. Lefty Brian Johnson was the presumed candidate to fill that role, but that is now uncertain after Johnson tweaked his hamstring in his start on Saturday night while pitching for Pawtucket. 
  • Former Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech, part of the package sent to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale, continues to get rave reviews. Kopech took home the organization's minor league pitcher of the month award for May after making six starts with a 2.31 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts over 35 innings in the month.
Players of the Week: 5/29-6/04

Rafael Devers, 3B, Portland Sea Dogs
8 G, 30 AB, 12 H, 2 HR, 3B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 7 K, .400/.471/.733

Still only 20 years old, Devers (pictured, right) continues to put up impressive offensive performances against players much older than him. Another solid week puts the top rated prospect's season line up to .308/.371/.544, and he lands in the top 20 in the Eastern League in all three rate stats including sixth in slugging. Devers was consistently good this week, reaching base in every game and spreading his extra base hits over 5 separate games. He has improved in each month of the season thus far including the first four games of June where he went 8-for-15. Let the speculation begin on when Devers will be promoted.

Hector Velazquez, RHP, Pawtucket Red Sox
1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 1 BB, 3 K

When you have a 1.50 ERA on the season as a starting pitcher, it is not very easy to lower it in any given week, but Velazquez did just that throwing six shutout innings. This was his second start since returning to Pawtucket after struggling in a spot start for Boston. Despite the struggles in a small sample in the majors, he has absolutely dominated at Triple-A over 42 innings with a 0.80 WHIP, 30 strikeouts, and 7 walks while holding opponents to a .593 OPS against.

Photo Credit: Keston Hiura by the Orange County Register and Ty Buttrey and Rafael Devers by Kelly O'Connor

Will Woodward is a Senior Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.