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SoxProspects News

September 7, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Minor Notes: Yorke rises up the rankings; Casas has a power surge

Here are this week's minor league notes: 

  • On the most recent episode of the SoxProspects.com Podcast, Ian recapped his trip to Greenville. He provided updated reports on Nick Yorke, Jay Groome, and other interesting players on the Drive. Shortly after the trip, Yorke was bumped up to third in the rankings, and Groome was promoted to Portland where he dazzled in his debut.
  • Yorke and Worcester starter Raynel Espinal were awarded SoxProspects.com Players of the Month for August. Yorke hit .414/.500/.816 between Salem and Greenville, while Espinal pitched well for Worcester and even got a cup of coffee in the majors. 
  • Ian published a Scout Chatter article covering some interesting outfielders on the FCL roster. Eduardo Vaughan, Freddy Valdez, Miguel Ugueto, Bryan Gonzalez, and Darel Belen all have interesting tools, but also a lot of development ahead of them. Vaughan is the top prospect in this group, currently ranked 38th. 
  • The Red Sox organization had over 50 transactions in the last week, mostly due to COVID-related issues with the major league team. Be sure to check out our Transactions page for the full list of moves. The more significant transactions for the minor league affiliates will be covered below.
  • The openings on the major league roster has let several Red Sox prospects make their MLB debuts recently. Espinal, Jack Lopez, and Kutter Crawford all saw time with Boston recently. Old friend José Iglesias is also back after he was released by the Angels. 
  • The big promotion last week was Groome moving up to Portland, but Brainer Bonaci also moved up to Salem from the FCL, and Greenville added Jeremy Wu-Yelland from Salem. Bonaci is the system's 13th-ranked prospect, while Wu-Yelland checks in at 33. 
  • Wu-Yelland was part of history early on in his Greenville tenure, as him and three other pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter last Thursday. Jose Espada, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Jacob Wallace all finished the job after Wu-Yelland went the first five innings. 
  • Two other players were claimed off waivers last week, with Geoff Hartlieb coming from the Mets and Taylor Motter moving over from the Rockies. Hartlieb has a 7.46 ERA over 66 1/3 career major league innings, while Motter has a career line of .191/.264/.312 in just shy of 400 at-bats. Motter has played shortstop, second base, and the outfield. 
  • The Delino DeShields era was short-lived, as he was traded to Cincinnati for cash considerations.
  • The Red Sox signed international free agent Jose Nova and assigned him to the DSL. The 19-year-old right-handed pitcher is listed at 6-foot-5 and weighs 185 pounds. 
  • The Red Sox released Danny Diaz, who was originally signed for $1.6 million as an international free agent in 2017. Diaz got off to a hot start in 2018, launching six home runs in the DSL while no other player had more than three. He struggled once he moved stateside in 2019, and he was hitting just .173 in the FCL this season. 
  • Hitter-to-pitcher conversions are always fascinating, and the Red Sox are trying it out with Michael Gettys. The 25-year-old former outfielder pitched a scoreless inning in the FCL in his debut. While no details were available on his stuff, Gettys has always had plus-plus arm strength. 
  • While no longer in the Red Sox system, Henry Ramos (pictured, right) was called up by the Diamondbacks and got a single in his first major league at-bat. Ramos was drafted by the Red Sox in 2010 and remained in the system through 2016. He finally got his chance after spending parts of 11 seasons in the minors. The timing was also interesting, as he got called up one day after starting a brawl in Triple-A that saw him get ejected before completing his home run trot. 

Players of the Week (August 30-September 5)

Triston Casas, 1B, Portland Sea Dogs
6 G, 20 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 5 HR, 7 R, 11 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K, .450/.560/1.250

Players like Nick Yorke and Marcelo Mayer had been stealing some of the thunder lately, and Casas (pictured, top) did his best to remind fans of why he is still the system's top prospect. Casas hit three home runs over two games on Friday and then added another two on Saturday. Portland's doubleheader on Sunday was canceled, robbing him of the opportunity to pad his stats. The 21-year-old hit a 472-foot shot on Friday, showcasing the plus-plus raw power that he tapped into over the weekend. Casas is looking more and more like the long-term solution at first base for the big league club, though he will likely open next year in Worcester. 

Jay Groome, LHP, Portland Sea Dogs
1 GS, 1-0, 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K

Groome was dominant in his Double-A debut, striking out 10 batters while allowing just two baserunners over five innings. Groome's traditional numbers in Greenville may have shown that he struggled, as he had a 5.29 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, but the advanced metrics told a different story. He struck out 31 percent of batters and had an expected ERA of 4.16. There was no bad luck in his first start with Portland, as the 23-year-old made a great first impression. Groome is now at 86 2/3 innings in 2021, well past his previous career-high in 2017 of 55 1/3. It will be interesting to see how he holds up in the final month of the season.

Photo Credit: Triston Casas, Henry Ramos by Kelly O'Connor