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SoxProspects News

July 2, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mayer explodes for Salem; Bello in charge again


7/2 Cup of Coffee:
A pair of the top prospects in the system turned the calendar to July in style. Marcelo Mayer (pictured) observed his ascent to the top spot in the rankings with two doubles and a homer in Salem's win. The new and benevolent king graciously invited fellow infielders Brainer Bonaci and Eddinson Paulino to join him in the celebration. On a day when a turn in the rotation may have opened up, Brayan Bello submitted a worthy audition. Not to be lost, Thad Ward made his first appearance in 15 months, beginning his rehab assignment with two innings for the FCL Sox. The two Dominican teams also continue to shine, with starters Eybersson Polanco and Inmer Lobo combining for 10 scoreless innings. Greenville's game was called by rain, a far more positive result than anything that happened in the Portland contest.

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Fresh off his second straight SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Month Award, Brayan Bello got to work on the three-peat. The right-hander allowed just two hits across 5 1/3 scoreless innings, walking three, and striking out eight. He induced 17 swinging strikes and lowered his ERA since his promotion to Triple-A to 2.81.  Kaleb Ort threw a scoreless ninth for his 14th save. Ronaldo Hernandez blasted his seventh home run of the season as part of a 3-for-4 night. The eighth-inning blast provided a vital insurance run to put the WooSox up 5-2. Jeter Downs had a pair of doubles, and Connor Wong added a two-bagger along with a single. 

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New Hampshire had twice as many hits before recording the first out than Portland did all evening. Of the six hurlers Portland used, only two were unscored upon. The first, Rio Gomez, managed to put out the fire for 3 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking two. The other was utility infielder Ricardo Cubillan, who pitched a scoreless ninth. 

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Greenville Drive vs. Rome Braves (ATL), postponed
Apparently Niko Kavadas is stoppable. After hitting 14 home runs in 25 games in June, there may be some disbelief that Kavadas failed to part the skies and halt the rain, resulting in a postponement Friday. The upside is that the Greek God of Moonshots will have extra chances to conquer Rome on Saturday when the two teams try for a doubleheader. 

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It was a monster night by the top third of the order, as the three-headed monster of second baseman Eddinson Paulino, third baseman Brainer Bonaci, and shortstop Marcelo Mayer went 9 for 16 with six doubles, a home run, seven RBI, and five runs scored. Mayer added a seventh-inning solo home run to his pair of doubles. Bonaci's two doubles came as part of a 4-for-6 effort, while Paulino drove in three runs while picking up two doubles of his own. The support was plenty for Wikelman Gonzalez, who was again effective if inefficient. The 20-year-old righty allowed just one run on two hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking two. The downside was that he needed 86 pitches to get through just 19 Lynchburg batters. Christopher Troye got credit for the win, allowing one run in two innings of relief. 

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Four Twins hurlers combined on a three-hit shutout, but the important news was the return to the mound of Thad Ward. The 2018 fifth-round pick made his first rehab appearance since he underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2021. He went two innings and allowed just two baserunners, hitting one batter while another reached on an error. He struck out three and recorded four ground-ball outs. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz followed, allowing two runs on four hits in three innings. The earned runs are the first he has surrendered as a professional after going 11 innings across three previous appearances. Ward was not the only player returning to action, as 2019 second-round pick Cam Cannon also started a rehab assignment. Cannon, out since May 11 with an oblique injury, led off and started at second base, going 0 for 3 on the day.

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Team Blue continues to roll, winning its 10th straight game to advance to 18-3 on the season. Inmer Lobo scattered four hits across five scoreless innings to get the win. He struck out five without walking a batter, and lowered his ERA to 0.82 on the year. Carlos Mendoza made his professional debut, firing a hitless sixth inning. Albertson Asigen reached base four times, going 3 for 4 with a walk. Kelvin Diaz stole a pair of bases as part of his 2-for-5 day. Marvin Alcantara was 2 for 4 with a double, giving him nine multi-hit efforts in 21 games.

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Not to be lost in the Blue squad's dominance, their Red counterparts moved to 12-6 with Friday's victory. Alfredo Simon continues to swipe bases at an incredible clip. He stole three bags on the day to bring his total to 17. He reached base three times without recording a hit, walking twice, getting hit by a pitch, and scoring two runs. Eybersson Polanco was excellent, going five scoreless innings, surrendering just two hits, striking out five, and walking one. Andres Jimenez joined Mendoza in making his pro debut, going two scoreless frames. 

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Player of the Day: Eight total bases, three RBI, two runs scored, and a spot atop the updated rankings are the way Marcelo Mayer kicked off July. The fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft has 27 extra-base hits in 42 games, sporting an impressive .236 isolated slugging. It was the third straight game in which Mayer has doubled, as he also snapped a streak of 16 consecutive games with a strikeout.

Photo Credit: Marcelo Mayer by Kelly O'Connor