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SoxProspects News

May 2, 2023 at 12:00 PM

Minor Notes: Injury woes continue; Red Sox draftees catch on in the NFL

Boston has continued to have injury issues, as Garrett Whitlock and Yu Chang both were placed on the shelf. Despite that, a few guys in Greenville got healthy and a few former Sox draftees successfully caught on in the NFL as undrafted free agents.



Brayan Bello returns to Boston
Bello's (pictured) trip west on the Mass Pike lasted just four days, as Garrett Whitlock was placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow ulnar neuritis on April 28 and Bello was the countermove. The 23-year-old pitched five innings the following day for Boston and surrendered one run.
This knocked Bello's ERA in the majors down to 6.57 after three starts, with one additional appearance at Triple-A Worcester. He struggled in his first two starts for Boston, but his three-pitch mix of a fastball, changeup and slider all have above-average potential, giving him mid-rotation starter potential.

The organization hasn't given a prognosis for Whitlock, as elbow ulnar neuritis has a wide range of outcomes. Tommy John surgery shouldn't be ruled out, as Jeffrey Springs was initially given this diagnosis in April, but went under the knife. However, Jordan Romano was back after 10 days in April 2021.

Enmanuel Valdez recalled
Yu Chang fractured his hamate bone and underwent surgery after going on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday. Valdez was recalled to replace him. Chang had struggled at the plate but given other injuries, he had an opportunity to break out.

Valdez is instead taking over that chance, with a 6 for 20 start over six games with four strikeouts and three extra-base hits, exclusively playing second base. He has platoon splits and hits right-handers much better, but has solid contact skills. He had been hitting .184/.298/.347 in 57 plate appearances from Worcester. Valdez hit his first career big-league home run on Monday in Boston's 6-5 win over Toronto.

Chris Martin activated
It wasn't all bad news on the injury front, as Martin, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, was activated from the injured list on Sunday. Kaleb Ort was the countermove after earning a 1.78 WHIP in 12 1/3 innings for the big club this year.

Martin has previously pitched in the organization before, reaching Triple-A in 2013 after being signed out of the independent ranks in 2011. He was then traded to Colorado following the 2013 season. At 6-foot-8, the 36-year-old has exceptional command and control with four different pitches at his disposal.

Welcome, Justin Garza
The Angels designated the 2015 eighth-round pick for assignment and Boston was the winning claim on Saturday. He was optioned to Worcester. He has a 1.57 WHIP and 4.71 ERA in 28 2/3 big league innings, but he has only pitched in Triple-A this year. He has the ability to miss bats but does struggle with command, with four walks in 8 1/3 innings this year.

Injury updates
The injured list in Greenville has had a lot of activity this week. Brainer Bonaci and Kier Meredith were each activated from the list on Friday, with Meredith going directly to the development list. Alex Erro also returned on Wednesday and Aaron Perry was put on the shelf on Thursday.

Bonaci is ranked No. 22 on the SoxProspects.com list and has played a pair of games since being activated, while Perry has contributed four innings of relief and Erro has played in seven games behind the plate so far in 2023. He's slashing .333/.385/.417 in 26 plate appearances.

Happy trails
Sunday marked the end of the line in the Boston organization for a pair of DSL players as Ronny Ramirez and Jhaydel Flores were both cut loose. Ramirez was signed as an international free agent in July 2021 and struggled in 2021, but performed much better as an 18-year-old last year. Meanwhile, Flores slashed .246/.299/.312 in 24 games in 2022.
NFL Draft news
The NFL Draft was over the weekend and a few former Red Sox draftees were signed as undrafted free agents following its conclusion on Sunday. Thayer Thomas, a 33rd-round pick in 2019, never signed with the Red Sox organization,  but he did sign with the Minnesota Vikings as a wide receiver. He's tied for third in NC State history with 20 touchdown receptions. David Durden slashed .220/.311/.231 with 33 strikeouts in 91 at-bats for the GCL Red Sox after being picked in the 20th round in 2017, but he retired to play football. He caught on with the Dallas Cowboys.

Notes from the Field

Scouting director Ian Cundall has continued to update scouting reports from the bevy of information the brass got during their Spring Training trip. This week, he looked at Luis Perales and Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz. He also emptied the notebook later in the week, with information on Bradley Blalock, Theo Denlinger, Smil Guzman and Christopher Troye.

Players of the Week

Nick Yorke, 2B, Portland Sea Dogs
5 G, 23 AB, 9 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .391/.417/.783

Ranked No. 6 in the SoxProspects.com rankings, Yorke led the organization in extra-base hits this week and was second in OPS, which led to the nod as player of the week. After a tough 2022 in which he hit just .231/.303/.365 in Greenville amid various injuries, Yorke is healthy this year and is now hitting .284/.415/.552 in 82 plate appearances for Portland. His bat has carried him to a top-10 organizational ranking thanks to one of the most advanced hit tools in the system, but he needs to continue working defensively to become a future regular at the major league level.

Dalton Rogers, LHP, Salem Red Sox
1 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Rogers was one of five starters this week to deliver a shutout outing, but he surrendered only one hit and notched eight strikeouts against two walks, which gave him the nod over some others, including Brian Van Belle and Bryan Mata. Rogers is expected to be a reliever at the big league level. He has an intriguing fastball and changeup mix but has command and control issues that he needs to clean up to reach his potential.

Photo Credit: Brayan Bello by Kelly O'Connor