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SoxProspects News

September 13, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Casas crushes first MLB homer, Hamilton sets record in Portland

Although the Red Sox still have 21 games remaining, the Salem Red Sox and Greenville Drive both saw their seasons come to an end on Sunday. Salem finished the year at 64-66, good for fourth place in the Carolina League North. Greenville finished the year at 52-78, good for last place in the South Atlantic League South. Neither affiliate qualified for the postseason. In the upper minors, the WooSox play until September 28 while the Sea Dogs have six regular season games remaining against the Somerset Patriots. With a second-half record of 41-22, Portland could clinch a spot in the Eastern League playoffs this week.


Casas hits first homer

In his home state of Florida, Triston Casas hit the first home run of his major-league career at Tropicana Field last Tuesday. It came off Rays opener J.T. Chargois and was a 371-foot two-run shot that left his bat at 96.7 mph. Since making his highly anticipated debut on Sept. 4, Casas has gone just 2 for 21 (.095) with two RBIs, two runs scored, three walks, and eight strikeouts over seven games. The 22-year-old first baseman is currently regarded as the No. 2 prospect in the organization.

Sea Dogs announce 2022 award winners

Before wrapping up the home portion of their regular season schedule at Hadlock Field on Sunday, the Sea Dogs handed out their annual team awards for the 2022 campaign. As voted by the fans, Christian Koss was named Most Valuable Player, Chris Murphy was named Pitcher of the Year, Ceddanne Rafaela was named Defensive Player of the Year, and development coach Katie Krall was named the Charlie Eshbach Citizen of the Year.

Hamilton makes history

Speaking of the Sea Dogs, David Hamilton (pictured, top) made history on Saturday by stealing his 65th base of the season. The speedy 24-year-old surpassed Julio Ramirez for the most single-season stolen bases in franchise history. He has since added to his total, swiping bag No. 66 in Sunday's 8-5 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

Mayer's first full season concludes

Marcelo Mayer, the top prospect in the organization, ended his first full season on a high note down in Greenville. Mayer struggled out of the gate upon being promoted from Salem last month, but the left-handed hitting shortstop batted a stout .452/.553/.710 (236 wRC+) across eight games in September. Between the two Class-A levels, Mayer -- who turns 20 in December -- slashed .280/.399/.489 (144 wRC+) with 30 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, 68 walks, and 107 strikeouts over 91 total games and 424 plate appearances.


On Monday, the Red Sox claimed infielder Yu Chang off waivers from the Rays and designated outfielder Jaylin Davis for assignment. Chang, 27, was once regarded as one of the top prospects in the Guardians farm system after signing out of Taiwan in June 2013. He broke in with Cleveland in 2019 and has since bounced around between the Guardians, Pirates, and Rays. In 36 games with Tampa Bay this season, the right-handed hitter batted .260/.305/.385 with three home runs and 12 RBIs while seeing the majority of his playing time come at second base. He is out of minor-league options, so he will have to stick on Boston's big-league roster or will otherwise be exposed to waivers again. Davis, 28, was originally claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April and has gotten into 12 games with the Red Sox, going 8 for 24 with a double, two RBIs, four runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts.

On Sunday, the Red Sox released reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, who had been designated for assignment and outrighted to Worcester late last month. After making just one appearance for the WooSox, however, the 34-year-old righty asked for and was granted his release so that he could pursue other opportunities. Originally signed out of Japan to a two-year deal that included a dual player/club option for 2023 last February, Sawamura wound up posting a 3.39 ERA and 4.59 FIP to go along with 101 strikeouts to 59 walks over 104 relief outings (103 2/3 innings) in his two seasons with Boston. Since his deal also came with a buyout, Sawamura will receive $1 million from the Red Sox as he heads to free agency.

Last Wednesday, the Red Sox placed outfielder Franchy Cordero on the 60-day injured list due a right ankle sprain, thus ending his season. In a corresponding move, fellow outfielder Abraham Almonte had his contract selected from Worcester. Cordero sprained his right ankle as he attempted to chase down a fly ball in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5. Almonte, who was acquired from the Brewers for cash considerations in late July, has gone 2 for 4 with an RBI in his first two games with Boston.

Last Tuesday, the Red Sox signed utilityman Enrique Hernandez to a one-year, $10 million contract extension. Hernandez, who was slated to hit the open market this winter, is now set to remain in Boston through the end of the 2023 season. Limited to 73 games to this point in the season due to hip and core injuries, the versatile 31-year-old has batted .269/.333/.410 with two homers and 14 RBIs over his past 87 plate appearances since returning from the 60-day injured list on August 16.

Key Links

On Episode No. 260 of the SoxProspects Podcast, Chris and Ian discuss Triston Casas' call-up, the many rule changes coming to Major League Baseball in 2013, September prospect rankings, listener emails, and much more. 

On recent rehab assignments with the Sea Dogs, Red Sox veterans Matt Barnes and Trevor Story took note of just how exciting Ceddanne Rafaela can be regardless of which position he is playing. The Boston Globe's Alex Speier has the latest on Rafaela's breakout season in Portland.

Anthony Varvaro, who made nine relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2015 as part of a six-year major-league career, was killed in a wrong-way car crash on the New Jersey turnpike early Sunday morning. Since stepping away from baseball, Varvaro had joined the Port Authority Police Department in New York. He was on his way to the 9/11 memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center when the crash happened. Varvaro was 37 and is survived by his wife Kerry and their four children. 

Where are they now?

Joey Meneses, who spent 2020-2021 in the Red Sox organization, has emerged as one of the best stories in baseball since debuting for the Nationals in early August. As a 30-year-old rookie, Meneses has batted .326/.349/.556 with nine doubles, eight home runs, 22 RBIs, and 22 runs scored in his first 35 games (152 plate appearances) with Washington.

Players of the Week

Izzy Wilson, OF, Portland Sea Dogs
5 G, 16 AB, 9 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, .563/.611/1.188

Wilson (pictured, top) was named Eastern League Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday. The 24-year-old outfielder extended his hitting streak to six games while homering twice in Portland's last series against Binghamton. Over his last 45 games dating back to July 4, the left-handed hitting Wilson has slashed .293/.371/.592 to go along with 10 homers, 33 RBIs, 29 runs scored, and eight stolen bases across 169 trips to the plate. He is slated to become a minor-league free agent at the end of the season.

Juan Daniel Encarnacion, RHP, Greenville Drive
1 G, 0-0, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K

Encarnacion's (pictured, left) second start with Greenville represented a nice bounce-back effort. After getting tagged for four runs in his High-A debut, the right-hander rebounded on Friday by striking out seven over five scoreless innings. He retired 15 of the 21 batters he faced and threw 80 pitches (50 strikes). The 21-year-old hurler was previously unranked but is now listed as the No. 22 pitching prospect in the organization. He originally signed with Boston for a modest $40,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in September 2018.

Photo Credit: David Hamilton, Izzy Wilson, and Juan Daniel Encarnacion by Kelly O'Connor