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SoxProspects News

May 1, 2018 at 4:01 PM

April Players of the Month: Jalen Beeks and Cole Sturgeon

With the top-two prospects in the Sox system in Jason Groome (injury) and Michael Chavis (suspension) sidelined for the month of April, the farm was in dire need of good news from some of its other prospects in the opening month. 

Two such minor leaguers raised their level of play in earning SoxProspects.com's player of the month honors. One highly-touted arm in Jalen Beeks (pictured) turned heads with gaudy strikeout numbers, while one lesser-known farmhand in Cole Sturgeon made a splash at the plate in a wet month of April. 

In four starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, Beeks has been nothing short of spectacular. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA. He has 37 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings and in his last two starts, both wins, Beeks has 21 strikeouts while giving up a total of just five hits.

After splitting time between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket last season, the 2014 12th-round draft pick out of the University of Arkansas is doing everything he can to catch the attention of the big-league club through the first month of the season. The SoxProspects brass, at least, could not ignore Beeks' hot start, bumping him up from #13 to #8 in the site rankings in the monthly update. With the Red Sox opting to keep Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez in the major league bullpen, Beeks has potentially positioned himself to be the next man up for a spot start should the need arise in the majors.

After spending parts of the past three seasons in Portland, Sturgeon didn't crack the top 60 in our rankings coming into the year, although he enters the rankings for the first time in his career today at #57. A fellow 2014 draftee (10th round, University of Louisville), the left-handed hitting Sturgeon has 24 hits, including 3 home runs, and sports a .369 batting average. He leads the system in average and on-base percentage (.447), and is second in slugging (.569) and steals (5 in 5 attempts).

Sturgeon rose quickly to Portland after signing, spending parts of his first full season in 2015 with the Sea Dogs. His rise stalled a bit from there, as he has spent all of the last two seasons in Portland as well as the start of 2018. However, his ability to field all three outfield positions at an above-average level and consistently turn in competitive at-bats (see his near-identical .267/.312/.370 and .264/.326/.379 lines the past two seasons) have secured his spot in the system. Those qualities have also earned him regular opportunities to come up to major league camp in Fort Myers, as Sturgeon has logged 31 appearances in MLB spring training games the past four seasons, including 19 the past two springs. With much of the Pawtucket outfield struggling at the plate, Sturgeon may be due for a promotion soon.

Photo Credit: Jalen Beeks by Kelly O'Connor