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SoxProspects News

June 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Minor Notes: First-half victory and narrow defeat

Here are Monday's minor league notes:

  • The first-half wrapped up this past weekend for both full-season A-ball leagues. In each league, the first half winner gets an automatic playoff spot. The Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox both had a shot at the first-half title for their respective leagues going into Sunday. Greenville was able to wrap up the title with a 4-3 win over the Rome Braves finishing the first half at 41-28. It will be the Drive's first playoff appearance since 2010.
  • Salem fell just short after dropping both ends of a doubleheader to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Salem's two losses actually put them into a tie for the best record (40-29) with the Lynchburg Hillcats, but Lynchburg ultimately takes home the title with a 7-6 lead in head-to-head matchups. Salem can still earn a playoff berth by either winning the second-half title or if Wilmington also wins the second-half and Salem finishes with the best wild-card record.
  • SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall has seen his fair share of Portland games this year, and this morning he came out with his latest edition of Scouting Scratch, covering some quick hits including top prospect third baseman Rafael Devers.
  • Top-ranked pitcher Jason Groome (pictured, right) returns to action tonight pitching on a rehab assignment for the Lowell Spinners. Groome last pitched on April 10th and MLB.com calls him first the pitcher to watch for the day in his first start since.
  • The Boston Globe's Alex Speier said that while Groome has not spent much time on the mound since signing, he has impressed off the field, showing a true professional commitment which was a pre-draft area of concern that allowed him to drop to the Red Sox at 12th overall.
  • Though he fell short of taking home player of the week honors, outfielder Rusney Castillo continues to have a comeback season. He now has a 16-game hitting streak in which he has hit .417/.463/.600. On the year he now has hit .306/.342/.498 with 17 doubles and nine home runs over 243 plate appearances, and has also been successful on 9-of-13 stolen base attempts and played solid defense in centerfield. In his 108 Stitches newsletter, Speier mentioned that Castillo is in 'luxury tax jail' - meaning his large salary would put the Red Sox over the threshold should he be added to the major league roster. However, if the Red Sox free up some space, Speier believes he would merit a promotion, even if it is just as an outfield reserve.
  • Top-seeded Oregon State faced Cal State Fullerton in their first game of the College World Series, and Red Sox 2017 fourth-round pick, righty Jake Thompson, took the mound for the Beavers. Thompson came into the game with the second-best ERA in the nation but struggled a bit in this start. In the end, he went only 3 2/3 innings while allowing three hits, three walks, and five runs while only striking out one. Luckily for Thompson, Oregon State came back to win 6-5 and he will get another playoff start, possibly later this week.
  • ESPN's Keith Law had a team-by-team breakdown of the draft. In his section on the Red Sox, he speaks highly of second-round pick Cole Brannen, saying if he had been healthy all year he would have been a top-40 pick. However, he has concerns with several of the Red Sox pitching selections including first-rounder Tanner Houck, forth-rounder Jake Thompson, and fifth-rounder Alex Scherff, pointing to various areas of their deliveries that point to futures in the bullpen rather than the rotation.
  • Some teams have already begun to announcing draft pick signings. While the Red Sox have not announced any yet, expect them to start coming in over the next few weeks. Head over to the Draft History page which will have info on who has signed as well as their signing bonus.
Players of the Week: 6/12-6/18

Bryce Brentz, OF, Pawtucket Red Sox
6 G, 20 AB, 10 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, .500/.583/1.050

Brentz (pictured, left) continues his solid season with another strong week, earning him International League Player of the Week honors. In his sixth season at the Pawtucket going back to 2012, Brentz is having his best season yet hitting .255/.332/.495 with six doubles, 13 home runs, 22 walks, and 43 strikeouts over 211 plate appearances.

This past week Brentz had at least one hit in every game and multi-hit games in four of the six.  In Pawtucket's doubleheader on Tuesday, Brentz went 4 for 6 with a home run, four runs, three RBI, and two walks. He finished off the week on Saturday with another doubleheader, this time going 3 for 6 with a double, a home run, a run scored, and five RBI. Maybe Pawtucket just needs to schedule more doubleheaders.

Edgar Olmos, RHP, Pawtucket Red Sox
2 GS, 0-1, 10 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 0.90 ERA, 6 H, 0.90 WHIP, 3 BB, 8 K

Olmos (pictured, right) began the year pitching out of the bullpen for Pawtucket, usually in middle relief. With a flurry of doubleheaders over the last couple weeks, the team has needed Olmos to work more innings and the 27-year-old started games in doubleheaders on both Tuesday and Sunday this past week. 

On Tuesday the lefty went four innings, allowing a single run on a hit and two walks with four strikeouts over 61 pitches. On Sunday he had an even better game in a hard-luck loss, throwing 6 full innings, with only two unearned runs allowed on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts while throwing a season-high 76 pitches. Overall, he now has an impressive 2.09 ERA and 1.14 WHIP on the season with 28 strikeouts and 16 walks over 38 2/3 innings.

Photo Credit: Jason Groome by MLB.com. Bryce Brentz and Edgar Olmos by Kelly O'Connor.

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