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July 18, 2023 at 8:00 AM

Minor Notes: Games resume after the All-Star break

This past week was a short week for all leagues except for the DSL with the All-Star break affording all players a brief respite before the week concluded with three games to kick off the second half. Worcester secured a sweep; Portland, Greenville, and Salem all lost 2-of-3; and the FCL Red Sox went 2-1. 

While the major league teams started their second half post-All-Star break, the farm teams actually started the second half the week prior. Worcester wrapped up the first half at 39-36, Portland went 40-29, Greenville won the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League going 36-30 to secure a playoff spot, and Salem went 30-33. 


As the season hits the midway point, you start to see more promotions, and there was a series on Friday prior to games resuming involving some of the organization's top 25 prospects. The first of which was that Wikelman Gonzalez (pictured, right) and Blaze Jordan were promoted to Portland. Gonzalez, a 21-year-old righty, was amidst his second season at Greenville and had thrown 63 innings with a 5.14 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 105 strikeouts to 42 walks. This was significantly down from an awesome finish to 2022 where he allowed only five runs in his final 17 innings after his promotion to Greenville. However, he has still risen from 14th up to 9th on the SoxProspects.com rankings in part due to his potential for three average to better pitches including a 97mph fastball.

Blaze has split time this year between third and first base and has continued to show improvement in his statistical performance as he climbs the ladder. After ending at Greenville to end 2022, he returned this year and raked - hitting .324/.385/.533 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles, 28 walks, and 47 strikeouts. Still only 20 years old, he now sits at 15th in the SoxProspects.com rankings.

To fill the void in Greenville left behind by these promotions, the Red Sox promoted top 20 ranked prospects Luis Perales and Allan Castro along with Felix Cepeda from Salem. Perales is now ranked seventh in the SoxProspects.com rankings after signing for only $75,000 as an International Free Agent in 2019. While he only threw 35 and 2/3 innings in 2022, they were very good ones allowing only 7 earned runs with 50 strikeouts, and was labeled as the top pitching prospect in the FCL. The strikeouts have continued this year with 71 already in just 53 and 1/3 innings to go along with a 3.21 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Castro similarly got a taste of Salem to end 2022 but struggled during the 10-game cup of coffee. This year he has only hit .247 but his OBP was boosted after walking 51 times while striking out 54 with three home runs, 20 doubles, and 15 steals before his promotion. The outfielder has improved his stock, jumping from 33rd to start the year to 24th on the SoxProspects.com rankings. 


While these transactions aren't official, news of draft signings are starting to come out. Carlos Collazo of Baseball America has been all over the signings reporting via Twitter that the following have agreed to deals: Sixth-rounder CJ Weins for $50,000, seventh-rounder Caden Rose to a $150,000 deal, eighth-rounder Trennor O'Donnell for $50,000, and ninth-rounder Blake Wehunt to a $100,000 deal. 

Speculation has begun that those deals, which are all significantly under slot might clear enough room in their cap to sign 15th round pick Pheonix Call who was ranked 226 by MLB.com, 253 by Baseball America, and 166 by Perfect Game USA.

That subject was one of many draft-related topics when SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall joined the Over the Monster podcast The Red Seat to discuss the Red Sox 2023 draft haul. 

Players of the Week

Yoeilin Cespedes, SS, DSL Red Sox
5 G, 22 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 CS, 2 BB, 1 K, .364/.417/.591
The light schedule for the full-season squads gave this 17-year-old a chance to shine and he came through. The shortstop had a hit in each game with his two best games starting off the week, going 5-11 combined with a home run and 5 RBI. Being so young, Cespedes might not yet be a household name, but he has a strong pedigree being the Red Sox top signing in the January 2023 signing period signing for $1.4 million. He is an offensive first player at the moment and might have to move over to second or third, but if his first professional season is any indication, the bat will play anywhere. He has played 28 games as a pro thus far, hitting .336/.372/.541 with four home runs, two triples, and nine doubles. This strong performance has made him one of the players with the most helium in the organization, rising from 48th to start the year all the way up to 23rd. He is definitely a player you will want to keep on your radar as the season moves along.

Angel Bastardo, RHP, Greenville Drive
1 G, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

Bastardo (pictured, left) was able to go the full distance to get the shutout win, albeit in a rained-shortened outing. The 22-year-old threw 51 of his 80 pitches for strikes giving up only two singles, one a deflection off of a comebacker. This was his third game of the season where he has not allowed a run and the nine strikeouts were his second-highest of the year behind only an 11-strikeout outing on April 21st. The righty struggled a bit in his first two professional seasons stateside in the FCL and at Salem, but this year has faired much better with a 3.79 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 105 strikeouts, and 36 walks over 80 and 2/3 innings. 

Photo Credit: Wikelman Gonzalez and Angel Bastardo by Kelly O'Connor

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