|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Why Anthony Ranaudo was skipped, Chris Balcom-Miller went to the ‘pen and Chris Hernandez deserves notice||06.20.12 at 12:46 pm ET|
A quick review of some of the prospect performances in Tuesday’s action across the Red Sox minor league system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 LOSS AT SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)
– Pedro Ciriaco, a candidate for a call-up to the majors with Dustin Pedroia suffering what may have been a recurrence of his thumb injury, went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. For the year, the 26-year-old is hitting .301 with a .320 OBP, .406 slugging mark and .727 OPS along with four homers.
– Alex Hassan went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer as well as a walk. He’s hitting .264 with a .372 OBP, .408 slugging mark, .780 OPS and six homers in 60 games. He’s enjoyed a particularly strong stretch this month, hitting .340/.414/.520/.934 with as many walks (7) as he has strikeouts.
– Jose Iglesias (back) could start a rehab assignment with the Lowell Spinners by this weekend.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 14-0 WIN VS. HARRISBURG (NATIONALS)
– Chris Hernandez continued his steady excellence for Portland, tossing seven shutout innings in which he yielded five hits (four singles and a double), walked two and struck out three. He got 14 outs via groundball (including three double plays). His 2.64 ERA is sixth in the Eastern League. In his last three starts, he has a 0.90 ERA while having worked at least six innings in each of them.
– Jeremy Hazelbaker went 2-for-5 with a homer, and as has been the case for him in the past two seasons, he is showing a steady improvement in his performance as the season progresses. After a slow start in April (.226/.304/.306/.611), he has shown across-the-board statistical improvement in May (.236/.310/.393/.703) and June (.255/.364/.468/.832).
– Oscar Tejeda went 2-for-5 with a grand slam. With five homers in 48 games, he has matched his total achieved over 123 games last year in Portland. Tejeda’s line stands at .253/.287/.389/.677.
– Chris Balcom-Miller made his first career relief appearance, tossing a scoreless inning while allowing one hit and striking out two. Balcom-Miller, acquired in a trade that sent Manny Delcarmen to the Rockies in 2010, has shown a turbo sinker but had struggled to command it in the rotation this year. In 12 starts, he struck out 38 and walked 31 en route to a 4.89 ERA. Even dating to more successful times last year, the Red Sox thought there was a good likelihood that his sinking fastball/changeup combination (along with a slider that he’s learned to incorporate as a third pitch) would lend itself to a future in the bullpen, but the team wanted him to develop his pitch mix as a starter for as long as possible.
“He’s shown three pitches. From a pitch development standpoint, he’s gotten a lot out of being a starter. We thought his stuff would play even better seeing guys in shorter stints with the action on his stuff, his mix and bringing his past aggressiveness back to the fore,” said Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett.
As for his command struggles, while Balcom-Miller walked six in 4 2/3 innings on June 7, his last start, Crockett suggested that the 23-year-old’s strong control numbers in the past suggested that the starting role was not at fault for his difficulties throwing strikes this year.
“We just felt with the pitch development where it was and the quality of stuff we’re seeing, it would play up out of the ‘pen,” said Crockett.
– Anthony Ranaudo has not pitched since June 13, having been skipped in the Portland rotation in order to do extra side work while trying to iron out some of the mechanical glitches with which he’s been dealing since joining Portland in mid-May. After Ranaudo’s yield of four runs in three innings with three walks and two strikeouts on the 13th, the organization elected to have him take a couple of extra bullpen sessions to try to lock in the delivery that had him bumping 97 mph in spring training. Since a minor groin injury in late spring training sidelined him for a number of weeks, he has struggled with his command and has seen his velocity drop to the low-90s. In six starts in Portland, he is 1-2 with a 6.51 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 20 walks in 27 2/3 innings.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF (CAROLINA LEAGUE VS. CAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME)
– Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-5 with an RBI and steal in the All-Star Game, in his last contest in High-A before a promotion to Double-A Portland. Two scouts who saw Bradley with Salem raved about his big league future.
– First baseman Travis Shaw showcased his emerging power by going 1-for-2 with a homer and a walk in the contest. He was named the MVP of the Carolina League squad.
– Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-2 in the game, while reliever Michael Olmsted did not pitch.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: OFF (SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME)
– Lefty Mickey Pena tossed a scoreless inning, struck out one and walked one on Tuesday.
– Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 0-for-2 in the contest. Cecchini finished the first half in a bit of a rut, going 3-for-31 in his last seven games with 10 strikeouts and no walks. But one AL scout shrugged off those struggles: “He’s got a good swing, he’s got some strength, he controls the strike zone and will get some walks. Whether he’s 1-for-20 or 10-for-20, he’s still doing those things.”
– Keury De La Cruz, on the DL retroactive to June 9 for a hamstring injury, is expected to be ready to play again when Greenville returns from the All-Star break. The hamstring injury was considered minor.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 11-4 LOSS VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)
– Massive outfielder Kendrick Perkins went 1-for-4 and blasted his first homer of the season. The Red Sox recognized that when they signed Perkins away from a two-sport scholarship offer at Texas A&M after taking him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft that he was likely to require some time to refine his game in the minors. That remains the case, as evidenced by the fact that the 21-year-old has four strikeouts in his first eight plate appearances in Lowell. Still, given his big raw power, athleticism and the fact that he showed more of an approach last year in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League (27 walks and a .362 OBP) than might have been expected, he remains an intriguing talent.
– Zach Good turned in an impressive first outing with Lowell, as the 20-year-old — a 20th round pick in 2011 — allowed just one run in five innings while striking out three and walking one. He also recorded nine outs via groundball.
– Williams Jerez, the Red Sox’ second-round pick in the 2011 draft, went 3-for-4 and had an outfield assist. A year ago, playing in the Gulf Coast League, Jerez had four three-hit games.
ROOKIE-LEVEL GCL RED SOX: 3-2 LOSS AT GCL RAYS
– In his first game with a Red Sox minor league affiliate, Beau Bishop — who gained some renown after the Sox signed him out of a fast-pitch softball league in New Zealand — went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts while serving as DH.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 9-4 LOSS VS. DSL RANGERS
– Shortstop Raymel Flores went 1-for-3 with two walks, giving him five free passes over the last two games. The 17-year-old has a .403 OBP for the season. He’s posted big numbers in the early-going against right-handers (.341/.460/.634/1.094) while struggling against lefties (.111/.273/.111/.384).
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