Down On The Red Sox Farm: Promotions, All-Stars and the Spinners – Oh My
BOSTON – It was quite a busy week across the Boston Red Sox farm system, featuring news on a variety of fronts — from draft picks to seasoned prospects and promotions and other nuggets in between. Without further adieu, let’s just get right to it…
First, a few general notes:
- With impressive Thursday night performances, 3B Will Middlebrooks and OF Ryan Kalish officially graduated from SoxProspects.com “prospect” status. Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 with an RBI and his home run in the eighth inning tied the game against Miami, while Kalish came in to score the winning run.
- OF Carl Crawford (left wrist surgery) opened a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Saturday. He served as designated hitter, going 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
- The Sox made significant progress on the draft front this week as first round pick INF Deven Marrero (Arizona State) and tenth round C J.T. Watkins (Army) were both inked to deals and assigned to Short-A Lowell. Fourth round RHP Ty Buttery has not yet been assigned to a team but is considered to be a steal as he was considered to be one of the most difficult prospects to sign in this year’s draft class, coming out of Providence High School in North Carolina.
- WEEI’s Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox are close to signing two more draft picks, which both completed runs at the College World Series with the Florida Gators. First round LHP Brian Johnson and third round RHP Austin Maddox would likely report to Short-A Lowell to begin their professional careers.
Pawtucket (45-30, 1st, +1.0 in IL North): After a five-game winning streak ended earlier in the week, the PawSox are currently in the midst of a five-game dive, which has seen their International League North lead dwindle to a mere game of the second-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). … On a good note, the PawSox can look for some home cooking as they approach with 11 of the final 17 games coming at McCoy Stadium. … On Friday, that strategy did not work to plan as Pawtucket took a marathon game on the chin, falling 4-3 to the league cellar-dwelling Louisville Bats (CIN) in 13 innings. … The Bats are 30-49 but have now won five games in a row, despite a 4.5-game deficit in the standings. … Despite the defeat, it was a solid OF Juan Carlos Linares went 4-for-6 in his first Triple-A game since his promotion on Thursday. The move was made as a counter to placing Ronald Bermudez on the disabled list as well as sending SS Jose Iglesias to Lowell on a rehab assignment. … OF Alex Hassan’s sixth-inning home run gave the Sox their only lead at 3-2. … INF Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-6 in the contest and saw his team-best, 16-game hitting streak come to an end. … Manager Arnie Beyeler got some good personal news recently as he was appointed as manager of the World Team in the upcoming XM All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City. The second-year PawSox skip will also sit on the I.L. coaching staff during the Triple-A All-Star Game a couple days later. … RHP Aaron Cook was scratched from his Saturday rehab start and summoned to Boston to start Sunday for the disabled Clay Buchholz. He allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings on Monday at Syracuse (WSH). … OF Jason Repko is on the mend from a right shoulder sprain With 75 games in the book, the PawSox are now past the halfway point of the season. They sat four games ahead of the pack in the standings at the exact benchmark, which equaled the club’s second-best opening half and the most successful since 1994.
Portland (30-41, 5th, -10.5 in EL Eastern): The Sea Dogs used strong pitching in Thursday’s 6-1 win over Harrisburg (WSH) as RHP Chris Martin tossed four scoreless innings to open the game, while Brock Huntzinger retired the final nine Senator batters in succession for the victory. … Even with the 2-1 series win, the Sea Dogs have still lost seven of their last ten games and 11 of the last 20. … Following his hitless outing in the Carolina/California All-Star Game on Tuesday and a stellar first half with Advanced-A Salem that saw him lead the Sox with a .359 average, 24 multi-hit games and 16 stolen bases, OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. joined the Sea Dogs and singled the first pitch he saw on Thursday night on a line into right field. … On Thursday, OF Jeremy Hazelbaker and Peter Hissey led the way with four hits, three runs scored and four RBI. … Against the Senators in three games, the Sea Dogs used six relief pitchers over 13 innings while allowing just one run. … Portland’s opener of four in Trenton (NYY) on Friday night was postponed, setting up Stolmy Pimentel and Anthony Ranaudo to throw in a twilight doubleheader on Saturday at Waterfront Park. … In a bizarre scheduling quirk, the ‘Dogs play 30 of the next 33 games against either the first-place Thunder or the last-place New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) from now through July 25.
Salem (0-2, T-2nd, -2.0 in CAR Southern): The Sox dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Northern Division-leading Lynchburg (ATL) on Friday night to open the second half. … After the Hillcats walked off with a 4-3 win in 11 innings, RHP Aaron Northcraft struck out ten Sox in pitching the Carolina League’s first individual no-hitter of the season and the first by a Lynchburg hurler since 1995. … 1B Travis Shaw was named C.L. MVP for the 2012 California/Carolina League All-Star Game as he finished 1-for-2 with a walk, a two-run home run and two runs scored in the 9-1 win. … Before his promotion, Bradley, Jr. appeared in the game and reached base on an error while stealing a base, scoring once and driving in one. … Two Sox were selected to play in the XM All-Star Futures Game on July 8 as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities in Kansas City as RHP Matt Barnes will lead a stacked United States pitching staff and INF Xander Boegarts will play on the World side. … Barnes, who starts at Lynchburg’s City Stadium on Saturday night with hopes of avoiding a three-game sweep, continues to pace Sox farmhands with a 7-1 record, 0.99 ERA and whopping 95 strikeouts. … Boegarts posted breakout numbers in 2011 but scouts note his improved plate discipline this season thus far, leading to his solid .290 average and 42 RBI, which are second to Shaw’s 52 on the team. … Salem has had at least one representative take part in the annual showcase for the third time in four years but the first time since 2010 when Casey Kelly and Stolmy Pimentel both took part. … After missing out on the first-half title for the first time since 1988, the Sox need to finish the year with a better record than Myrtle Beach (TEX) and Carolina (CLE) in order to clinch a playoff berth.
Greenville (2-0, 1st, +1.0 in SAL Southern): Following the South Atlantic League’s All-Star Break, the Drive have rattled off two home wins against rival Charleston (NYY) to open the half, including a 7-3 victory over the RiverDogs on Friday. … RHP Jason Garcia allowed just six hits and one run in posting his second win of the season, while 1B Boss Moanaroa drove in three runs. Greenville has now topped their cross-state foes in seven of ten meetings thus far. … LHP Mickey Pena’s solid first half was rewarded with an all-star appearance during which he struck out one over his inning of scoreless relief. … 3B Garin Cecchini was 0-for-2 in the South Division’s 3-2 loss on Tuesday, while OF Keury De La Cruz could not play in the game. … De La Cruz continues to pace the squad with a .329 average, while his 11 home runs and 48 RBI are also among the system’s highest marks.
Lowell (4-1, 1st, +1.5 in NYPL Stedler): The Spinners are off to their best start since a 5-0 launch in 2005 and took three of the first four from Connecticut (DET) before Friday’s win over rival Vermont (OAK). … RHP William Cuevas and LHP Francisco Tavares have started the season very well on the mound, each tossing five scoreless innings during the rotation’s first go-around. … Tavares, who is one of several Spinners making the jump from the GCL this year, was Lowell’s Opening Night starter and struck out nine Tigers batters while falling one short of the franchise record for strikeouts in a pitcher’s Lowell debut, previously set by Phil Dumatrait in 2001. … The namesake of a former Boston Celtic has made significant contributions to the team thus far as OF Kendrick Perkins has posted a .381 average and six RBI in the first five games. In Tuesday’s loss, the Texas native (just like his Oklahoma City Thunder counterpart) knocked a home run out of LeLacheur Park’s right field in his first at-bat. … 1B David Chester and OF Williams Jerez, who were both selected in the 2011 Draft, have each posted eight hits in their first 20 at-bats. … Chester, a 6’5,” 270-pound Pittsburgh Panther product, has shown true power potential with two home runs in that span. … SS Jose Iglesias opened a rehab assignment on Friday night, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, a stolen base, and four converted attempts in the field.