|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Rough day for Matt Barnes, Stolmy Pimentel, Anthony Ranaudo; Jackie Bradley, Xander Bogaerts keep clubbing||06.24.12 at 11:31 am ET|
It was a tough day for some of the most heralded Red Sox pitching prospects…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-5 LOSS VS. LOUISVILLE (REDS)
– One day after his 16-game hitting streak was snapped in an 0-for-6 night on Friday, Pedro Ciriaco rebounded by going 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of steals.
– Mark Prior was placed on the seven-day DL (retroactive to June 22) due to a strained oblique. Prior has 20 strikeouts and eight walks in nine innings with Pawtucket. However, after not allowing a run through his first five outings, he permitted three runs over 2 1/3 innings in his most recent two appearances while walking four.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-3 LOSS, 7-6 LOSS AT TRENTON (YANKEES)
– Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-7 with two doubles and a triple in the double header while also stealing a base and getting hit by a pitch. In three games in Portland, he is 4-for-11 with a walk and the HBP along with two steals and the three extra-base hits. Bradley joined WEEI’s “Down on the Farm” on Sunday to discuss his debut. The complete interview is available here.
– Stolmy Pimentel entered Saturday not having allowed a single homer this year in Portland. He left the game having permitted four, doubling his previous career high. The right-hander was shelled for seven runs on 11 hits, walking one and striking out one in 4 1/3 innings. In three of his last four outings, he has failed to make it through five innings. In that four-start span, he has a 7.45 ERA, and after a very promising start, his record for the year is now 1-4 with a 5.98 ERA. He has shown flashes this year, particularly early, of being on the right track at age 22, but his more recent skid — and the overall inconsistency of his season — has raised concerns that his struggles of 2011 may be spilling into a second season.
– After being skipped in his last start to have some extra side work, Anthony Ranaudo once again struggled in his return to the mount. Though he punched out four, the 22-year-old right-hander lasted just two innings while giving up two runs on two hits and three walks. Of his 60 pitches, 35 were strikes. For the year, he is now 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA and nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (24) in 29 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox continue to feel that he remains a future major league starter, and view his struggles this year as a byproduct of mechanical inconsistencies that followed a period of being shut down with a groin injury in the spring. Even so, at the least, Ranaudo’s injury and subsequent struggles have likely delayed his big league ETA. In a longshot, best-case scenario, it seemed possible for him to eye early- to mid-2013 as a reasonable target for reaching the majors. Indeed, a dominant year could have even led to a potential end-of-2012 call-up. Instead, he is on a more deliberate (and, in fairness, normal) developmental path, in which a search for his mechanics has thrown an obstacle in his path in his first taste of the upper levels.
– Bryce Brentz went 3-for-6 with a double and three walks in the two contests. He walked twice in Game 1, marking the second time this year that he had accepted multiple free passes in a game. While his numbers are down this month (.254/.333/.460/.794) from a dominant May in which he earned Eastern League Player of the Month honors, he has more walks (8) and more RBIs (13) than in either of the first two months of the season.
– Oscar Tejeda went 3-for-4 in the first game of the double header and then added a hit in four plate appearances in the second contest. He has driven in seven runs in his last four games.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 8-5 LOSS AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
– In a season that had been characterized by singular dominance, Matt Barnes submitted his worst outing. He allowed five runs on six hits (including a homer, just the second he’d allowed this year) while striking out three and walking two in 3 2/3 innings.
How significant a departure was his five-run yield? In his first 72 2/3 innings, he’d allowed just eight runs, or three more than he permitted in roughly 70 fewer innings on Saturday. Still, bigger picture? Barnes is now 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA on the year. He’s 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA with Salem.
– Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4 while clubbing his 10th homer of the season. His June line: .347/.444/.640/1.084 with six homers.
– Christian Vazquez went 2-for-3 with a double, homer and walk. After having just six extra-base hits in his first 46 games, he has three doubles and two homers in his last eight.
– Sean Coyle, who has been struggling this year to regulate his effort level while digging deeper into a season-long slump, went 3-for-4 with a double. It was his fourth three-hit game of the year but his first since April. Whereas a year ago, he struggled early with high strikeout totals but made subsequent adjustments early in the season in Greenville to perform at a well above-average level as one of the younger players in the league, this year, he was not able to control the strike zone in the same fashion through the first half, with 75 strikeouts (against just 19 walks) in 271 plate appearances, a somewhat alarming whiff rate. That being the case, in a struggle that has now lasted three months, Saturday’s effort represents some grounds for encouragement with the 20-year-old, who remains one of the youngest players in the Carolina League.
In addition to the three hits, Coyle also stole a base. He’s now 9-for-9 on the year in stolen base attempts.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 13-8 WIN VS. CHARLESTON (YANKEES)
– Garin Cecchini went 2-for-3 with three walks, and in three second-half games, he’s now 6-for-12 with four walks, having reached base in 10 of 16 plate appearances. He also stole his 23rd base of the year.
– Left-hander Henry Owens followed a somewhat familiar pattern, dominating early before getting hit around late. Through four innings, he allowed one run on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
In the fifth, though he struck out three batters, he allowed three runs on four hits and a walk, with his outing coming apart a bit after he walked the nine-hole hitter on a 3-2 changeup. Still, he continued to show a sophisticated pitch mix for a first-year pro, kept the opposing lineup off balance for the most part and once again generated strikeouts in a volume as a 19-year-old in full-season ball.
With seven punchouts on Saturday, he has 85 (compared to 28 walks) for the year, a dazzling rate of 13.0 per nine innings. His ability to command a low-90s fastball, change speeds with his slow curveball (one that one scout felt was almost too soft at times) and incorporate a changeup suggest considerable potential as a starter. He has an unusual feel for pitching (especially for changing speeds) at a young age, and the Sox believe his size, stuff and ability to add and subtract offer frontline starter potential.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 8-7 LOSS VS. VERMONT (ATHLETICS)
– Mike Augliera, a 2012 fifth-round pick with a low-90s sinker that produced excellent strikeout and groundball numbers as a senior at Binghamton, made his pro debut, allowing a run in two innings while punching out two and walking none.
– Shortstop Mookie Betts, a 2011 fifth-rounder, has collected hits in five of his six games in Lowell this year, including three multi-hit games, after going 2-for-5 with a double (his first extra-base hit of the year) on Saturday.
ROOKIE LEVEL GCL RED SOX: 9-1 WIN AT GCL TWINS
– Outfielder Carl Crawford started his 20-day minor league rehab assignment in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League on Saturday. In five plate appearances, Crawford was hitless (two groundouts to second and a flyout to center) with two walks. The 30-year-old served as the designated hitter in the contest. He’s now slated to sit on Sunday and DH again on Monday.
– Right-hander Mario Alcantara tossed four hitless innings, allowing two walks and one run, while striking out three. He’s given up just two hits in seven innings to start this year. The 19-year-old is repeating in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 2-6 with a 4.18 ERA, 24 strikeouts and 20 walks last year.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 11-10 WIN VS. DSL YANKEES
– Raymel Flores reached base in all six of his plate appearances without benefit of a single hit. The switch-hitting shortstop accepted four walks and was twice hit by pitches. He now has a .430 OBP this year.
– Maneul Margot went 3-for-6 with a triple while driving in four runs. He now has nine extra-base hits (four doubles, three triples, two homers) in 17 games, leading to a .333/.403/.576/.978 line after 17 games, tremendous numbers for a 17-year-old.
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