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May 31, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Walter and German promoted; Winckowski makes debut

The Red Sox alternated wins and loses this past week while Worcester went 4-2, Portland, Greenville, and Salem all went 3-3 with all four affiliates hovering around the middle of their respective divisions. 



Walter, German promoted to Worcester

Two of Portland's top pitchers in the first two months of the season were promoted to Worcester over the past week. As first reported by SoxProspects.com Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, left-handed starter Brandon Walter (pictured, right) will be officially promoted to Worcester today. Walter was our Pitcher of the Month for April and, as you'll see below, finished his time in Double-A with his second straight Pitcher of the Week award. In 50 innings, Walter boasts a 2.88 ERA and 0.78 WHIP to go with a sterling 68 to 3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

And last week, right-handed reliever Frank German got the call to Triple-A. German continues to impress after his move to the bullpen in September 2021. Since then he has seen success that has coincided with an increase in velocity in the shorter stints. In 2021, he posted a 5.54 ERA as a starter but allowed just one run in his eight innings out of the bullpen. This year, he has a 2.51 ERA over 14 1/3 innings with three of those innings coming in the six days since his promotion on Tuesday.

Josh Winckowski makes MLB debut

On Saturday, the Red Sox called up 24-year-old Josh Winckowski to start the second game of a doubleheader against the Orioles. Winckowski managed to escape both the first and the second despite allowing baserunners. However, things got away from him in the third, allowing four runs on four hits including a three-run home run by Rougned Odor. His final line was three innings, four earned runs on six hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

Red Sox release Carlos Martinez

The Red Sox released former All-Star and Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez after signing him to a minor league deal. One might have assumed this was because he had allowed 10 earned runs in only 4 1/3 innings at Triple-A. However, this week MLB announced that Martinez was being suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Ibutamoren, a substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.


Key Links

Mayer undergoes further testing, diagnosis of wrist sprain confirmed 

As first reported by SoxProspects.com Executive Editor Chris Hatfield, second-ranked prospect Marcelo Mayer was placed on the IL with a wrist injury. It was not known this time last week about the severity of the injury, but he underwent a precautionary MRI last week and the Boston Globe's Alex Speier reported that the results confirmed the initial diagnosis of a wrist sprain. Mayer returned to the Salem lineup on Monday and went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI.

SoxProspects.com Cup of Coffee

The staff continues to work hard every day to deliver you the updates each morning from the previous day's games. This concise summary tells you all you need to know about action up and down the system. Check out this past week's editions which feature our Players of the Week, walk-off home runs, one-hitters, and other exciting action. 

Growing number of potential impact international prospects within the organization

Speier took a look this past week at the lower-level international prospects in the organization and the growth in that area in recent seasons. Top prospects Bryan Mata and Brayan Bello are highlights, but Speier also digs through the FCL and DSL to highlight other up and coming talent including eighth-ranked prospect outfielder Miguel Bleis. Fans will get to see more of these FCL and DSL rosters soon, as both seasons begin on June 6.


Players of the Week

Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Worcester Red Sox
5 G, 22 AB, 13 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, .591/.625/1.000

After an explosive 2021 season where he posted a .827 OPS between Portland and Worcester, 24-year-old Hernandez saw a return to some of that former glory this week. With all five games coming against Lehigh, the IronPigs seemingly could not find a way to get him out, as he secured at least two hits in all five games. His best game came on Tuesday while DHing, going 4 for 5 with a home run and a double along with three runs and an RBI in a 13-2 rout of the Iron Pigs.

Hernandez was acquired from Tampa Bay with Nick Sogard in exchange for Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs in February of last year, and after one good season, he has struggled mightily so far this year. The five multi-hit games were his first of the season and his two home runs this year make up all but one of his season total. His four walks to 33 strikeouts continue a trend after finishing last year with only 12 walks to 77 strikeouts last season. 

Brandon Walter, RHP, Portland Sea Dogs
1 G, 1-0, 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 8 K

It was more of the same from Walter (pictured, left), who—aside from a two-game stretch where he allowed 11 earned runs over seven innings—has only allowed five earned runs in his other seven starts this year over 43 innings (1.05 ERA). On Thursday, his lone blemish was a second-inning solo home run from Elijah Dunham. After the hit, Walter shut things down, throwing 5 2/3 perfect innings with six strikeouts.

Walter ended last year ranked 17th on the SoxProspects.com rankings, but as information continued to come in, it saw him open the season as the ninth-ranked prospect and he now sits sixth. Despite the under-the-radar start to his professional career, the 6-foot-2 lefty has done nothing but dominate. He lost the 2020 season due to the pandemic, but in 2019 and 2021, he did not post an ERA above 3.86 at any stop across three levels and now boasts a career 2.87 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 12.5 K/9. Walter's long weekend ended on a high note, as he earned a much-deserved promotion to Worcester on Monday.

Photo Credits: Josh Winckowski and Brandon Walter by Kelly O'Connor.

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