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Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Mark Prior’s ‘pretty damn close,’ and Travis Shaw is an underrated prospect

06.17.12 at 10:44 am ET

Happy Father’s Day to all! A quick look at what went on in the Red Sox minor league system on Saturday…



Mark Prior worked a perfect ninth for his first save with Pawtucket. He punched out two, and in 6 2/3 innings, he’s now recorded 15 of 19 outs by strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .130 against him. Reliever Clayton Mortensen, who was called up by the Red Sox on Saturday, offered this scouting report on the 31-year-old.

“In my opinion, he’s pretty damn close. He’s throwing the ball hard, locating his pitches and looks good,” said Mortensen, noting that Prior’s fastball has been 90-94 mph. “His fastball is pretty electric. He hides the ball well. A lot of guys get a lot of [downward] plane, but he throws that sneaky one that guys always swing underneath all the time, and he’s locating it to both sides of the plate. It’s worked well with his curveball. He’s getting both fastball and curveball strikeouts, which is huge.”

Mortensen has been rooming with Prior on the road, and has been as impressed by the right-hander’s attitude in his effort to return to the majors after being out since 2006 with a variety of injuries.

“He’s been enjoying it. He’s been awesome, man,” said Mortensen. “He’s a cool dude. It’s awesome talking with him. You tend to put him in a different category because of how dominant he used to be. … It’s fun. He’s having a good time, rather than being down from all of those years he’s been down. And his numbers are pretty good, too, which makes it even better.”

It is worth noting that he has pitched on at least two days of rest in each of his Triple-A outings, and in his last two appearances, he’s had three days of rest.

Ryan Lavarnway went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and three runs batted in. Over his last nine games, he’s plated 12 runs.

Ryan Kalish went 1-for-4 with a single, a walk and two steals. He now has three steals in as many attempts in his nine games in Pawtucket, and four in five attempts in 15 minor league games this season.

Cody Ross, in the first game of his rehab assignment, went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk



— Though he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts (falling to .190/.261/.333/.594 in June), Bryce Brentz did have a pair of outfield assists (one gunning out a runner at third on his attempt to tag up, another with a throw to second on a player where a batter tried to advance to second on an RBI single), giving him five in 42 games in right field this season. The 23-year-old was a two-way player in college, and featured a fastball that registered in the low- to mid-90s, underscoring the notion that he possesses above-average arm strength.

— Left-hander Jesse Carlson, who on Tuesday appeared in his first game for an affiliate since 2010, was released on Saturday.



Travis Shaw continued his tremendous power surge, going 3-for-5 with a homer (his 11th) and double. He is now hitting .335/.424/.591/1.015, and his recent surge has put him atop the Carolina League leader board in OPS. Since May 26, in a span of 25 games, Shaw has 10 homers, 15 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, a .744 slugging mark and a 1.180 OPS, all of which lead the Carolina League during that span.

Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4 for his first four-hit game in Salem. (He did have a 4-for-5 performance a year ago in Single-A Greenville.) He’s hitting .355 with a .446 OBP, .667 slugging mark and 1.113 OPS (thanks to five homers) in 19 games in June.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-5, and he’s now hitless (0-for-15) in his last five games. His average has dropped 25 points, from .380 to .355, during that span, though he does still lead the Carolina League in average and OBP (.477).



David Renfroe went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. It was the second time this year (and first since April 9) that Renfroe had multiple extra-base hits in the same game. On the year, he’s hitting .253/.329/.418/.746, an uptick from last year’s line of .240/.296/.377/.673 in Greenville.

— Catcher Jordan Weems, a 2011 third-round pick, went 0-for-5 and is now 1-for-28 in his last nine games, dropping him for the year to a .170 average with a .291 OBP. The 19-year-old has an opposite field swing that allows him to stay back on the ball and hit line drives while drawing walks to produce good on-base percentages, but he’s struggled in his first full professional season to find the right balance between being patient (he has 24 walks on the year) and passive, contributing to a first half in which he has just three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 42 games.



— Center fielder Manuel Margot went 3-for-5 with a double and a steal (his 10th), and he leads the team in average (.375), is tied for second in OBP (.448) and paces the DSL Sox in slugging (.646) and OPS (1.094).

— Catcher Alixon Suarez went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. All three of his extra-base hits (all doubles) this year have come against left-handed pitchers.

Read More: alixon suarez, bryce brentz, clayton mortensen, jordan weems
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