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April 26, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: COVID woes lead to recalls, roster shuffling

The 2022 minor-league season is in full swing and all the minor league affiliates find themselves .500 or better, with Portland tying for the lead in their division, the Eastern League Northeast. Meanwhile, the big-league club went 3-and-5 this week, slipping to 3.5 games back in the division.



More COVID fallout as Vazquez and Arauz placed on 10-day IL

While it was overall a week light on transactions, the constant roster shuffling necessitated by COVID-19 continued with catcher Christian Vazquez joining felling catcher Kevin Plawecki on the IL after testing positive for COVID-19 on April 18th.  Infielder Jonathan Arauz also joined the run of Red Sox players on the IL on the 18th, but he has yet to be reinstated. Both players are vaccinated, but that left only recently recalled Connor Wong as the only catcher on the roster. Much to Red Sox and Red Sox fans' relief, Vazquez was able to be reinstated only a day later but Arauz has yet to be reinstated.

As corresponding moves for these two IL trips, the Red Sox selected the contract of infielder Rob Refsnyder (pictured, right) and recalled righty Tyler Danish, both from Worcester. Refsnyder is a bit of a journeyman, with the 31-year-old seeing time in the majors for six different major league teams over seven seasons. He played seven innings on Saturday and a full game Sunday, going 1 for 5 with a double and a walk. Danish also saw action in two games and continued his streak of scoreless innings to begin the year. His appearance on Wednesday stood out, throwing two innings with five strikeouts while only allowing a walk. Danish was optioned back on Sunday but does have opt-outs on June 1st and July 1st so he is likely to return to the Red Sox later this spring.

Portland game gets physical

Thursday's game against the Mets Double-A affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, turned ugly after benches cleared and punches were thrown. The incident came after Sea Dogs first basemen Tyreque Reed was hit on a hand by a pitch and then exchanged words with the Binghamton pitcher before it came to blows. As a result, Reed and righty Victor Santos were suspended.  Reed was 0 for 1 with a strikeout before exiting but the Sea Dogs went on to win 12-5.


Key Links

The SoxProspects.com podcast team was back at it again this week. Among the topics up for discussion were the Portland arms, Greenville bats, and some notes from Ian following his trip to see Worcester.

It took Jake Diekman until his senior year in high school before developing his slider


Players of the Week

Christian Koss, SS, Portland Sea Dogs

4 G, 18 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 R, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 0 BB, 4 K, .500/.526/.889

As a player known more for his glove than his bat thus far in his professional career, Koss (pictured, left) reversed that trend this past week. His standout game came to close out the week on Sunday, going 4 for 5 with a home run, three runs scored, and two RBI. Consistency was there as well, with a hit in each of his four games played, and the team went 4-0 with him in the lineup as part of an excellent 5-1 week. Koss did have an atypical week in the field with two errors in his four starts. 

Koss was acquired by the Red Sox from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Yoan Aybar in December of 2020. With the pandemic-canceled minor league season following the trade, Koss enters his second active season for the organization after hitting .271/.325/.451 for Greenville in 2021. With the good defense, the remaining question has been if Koss will be able to hit enough against advanced pitching. While the sample size is extremely small, his .321 average to begin the season is a good start for the 24-year-old.

Shane Drohan, LHP, Greenville Drive
1 G, 0-0, 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K

Coming off a solid 2021 season at Salem that saw the lefty finish with a 3.96 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 86 strikeouts and 45 walks over 88 and 2/3 innings, Drohan has had an up and down start to the season only allowing one run in his first start but five in his second. This was by far his best start of the year thus far, allowing only four singles and a walk with the only run scoring on a throwing error on an attempted steal of third base. 

Drohan is continued to be plagued by walks with eight already in his 14 and 1/3 thus far this season. He has started the year off with more swing-and-miss stuff to start the year, with an 11.93 K/9 this year compared to 8.73 last year. Still 23 and in his second season after being taken in the fifth round in 2020 (which was the last round of that pandemic shortened draft), he is seen as having the ceiling of a back-end starter.

Photo Credit: Rob Refsnyder and Christian Koss by Kelly O'Connor

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