|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Stolmy Pimentel offers a reminder; Xander Bogaerts gets a scare; Deven Marrero, Blake Swihart getting hits in bunches||07.15.12 at 6:58 am ET|
Stolmy Pimentel had one of his best starts in Double-A, retiring the first 15 batters before allowing an infield hit to lead off the sixth. He ended up giving up a pair of hits and one walk while permitting one run in seven innings, with the duration of his outing matching a career high. He struck out six and walked one.
Pimentel hasn’t been consistently dominant in his return to Portland this year, but he’s shown far more flashes than he did in his consuming struggles at that level a year ago. In 13 starts, he has seven outings of at least six innings (something he accomplished just once in 15 starts last year), he’s allowed two or fewer runs on five occasions, his strikeout rate has bumped up to 6.2 per nine innings (from 5.4 a year ago) and his walk rate has dropped to 3.1 per nine innings (from 4.1).
The right-hander still throws hard (his fastball is often in the mid-90s), features a good action pitch with his changeup and also has a slider that is at times an effective breaking ball. And, at 22, he’s pitching in Double-A at a younger age than many pitchers who were drafted a year ago (he’s four months older, for instance, than top Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes, and more than eight months younger than teammate Drake Britton).
Pimentel is often forgotten in discussions of Red Sox pitching prospects, something that is understandable given that he’s followed up last year’s Portland nightmare (0-9, 9.12 ERA) with a 3-4 record and 5.37 ERA. But while he hasn’t blazed a fast track to the big leagues since being placed on the 40-man roster after the 2010 season, he still shows the stuff to be big league pitcher, and his progress this year underscores the point.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-2 LOSS VS. BUFFALO (METS)
– Left fielder Carl Crawford, in what was expected to be the last game of his rehab assignment, went 2-for-5 while playing all nine innings in left. He’s 4-for-12 (all singles) with a walk and a steal in three games in Triple-A.
“It’s just good to be back, period,” he told the Providence Journal. “That’s what I’m looking forward to — just being back.
“I’m just ready to get back on the field,” he added. “I’ve been out long enough. No matter what happens, I’m just happy to be back on the field and ready to get that feeling of being back on the field and playing again.”
– Jose Iglesias went 2-for-5 with a double, his first extra-base hit in 13 games since returning to Pawtucket in late-June from a lower back strain. In 10 games in July, he’s been hitting for average (.297) though he has just one walk and the one extra-base hit.
– Juan Carlos Linares looks like a viable right-handed outfield depth option for the Red Sox. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, a sac fly and his first homer since being promoted to Triple-A last month. In 17 games, he’s now hitting .277/.342/.415/.757, but in his last nine games, he’s hitting .419/.457/.677/1.135.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 9-1 WIN VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
– Jackie Bradley Jr. snapped his 0-for-17 funk by going 2-for-4 with a single, double and walk, pushing his OBP back up to .404. He still has not been below .400 in his OBP after consecutive games this year.
– Reynaldo Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a homer, his 13th of the year but his first since June 9.
– Third baseman Marquez Smith, who was acquired by the Sox from the indy league Camden Riversharks a month ago, went 4-for-5 to improve to .347/.400/.469/.869 in 13 games this month.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 1-0 LOSS AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
– Xander Bogaerts, according to eyewitnesses in Salem, was hit in the face by a throw on an attempted force out while running from first to second following his single. He was escorted off the field with a towel being held to his bloodied face.
However, while the scene was a frightening one, it appears that a significant injury was avoided. According to Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett, Bogaerts required some stitches to his nose, but “should be OK in a couple days.”
– Right-hander Matt Barnes, coming off his two-pitch, two-out appearance in the Futures Game, had his best outing in a month, scattering four hits (all singles) in five innings while striking out four and walking two. Though he took the loss, the performance was back in line with what Barnes had done for most of the year, prior to a three-start, 8 1/3 inning, 14-run hiccup.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-6 WIN AT CHARLESTON (YANKEES)
– Catcher Blake Swihart went 3-for-4, continuing a season in which he’s shown steady month-by-month improvement despite playing the game’s most taxing position. The 2011 first-rounder’s breakdown to date:
July (9 games): .324/.361/.500/.861
– Henry Ramos went 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk and a stolen base. In the second half, thanks in no small part to an approach that has seen a significant uptick in walks and a slight decline in whiffs (he has 13 of each in 20 games since the All-Star break, compared to 18 walks and 47 strikeouts in 60 games in the first half), the 20-year-old switch-hitter has been one of the best hitters in Greenville, with a .306/.427/.468/.894 line.
– David Renfroe went 3-for-4 with a homer, and the 21-year-old is now hitting .360/.458/.580/1.038 in 16 second-half games.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 12-4 LOSS VS. STATEN ISLAND (YANKEES)
– First-rounder Deven Marrero had his fourth multi-hit game in his last eight contests, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. In his last 10 contests, he’s hitting .325/.413/.475/.888 with six doubles, six walks and just two strikeouts. He also stole his sixth base of the season.
– Supplemental first rounder Pat Light made his second appearance as a pro, allowing four hits (three singles and a double) and one run while striking out three and walking none in two innings.
ROOKIE LEVEL GCL RED SOX: 4-2 LOSS VS. GCL TWINS
– Right-hander Frank Montas, the flamethrower who has touched 100 mph this season, had his worst outing of the young GCL season, retiring just two of the eight batters he faced. He gave up four hits (two doubles, two singles), walked one batter and hit another while striking out one. His ERA went up from 1.38 to 3.29.
– Third baseman Kolbrin Vitek, out since May with an intercostal injury, started a rehab assignment in the GCL by going 1-for-3 with a double while serving as a DH.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: OFF
- Bradley: "Everything's back to normal"
- Cup of Coffee: PawSox, Drive produce walk-off wins
- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
- Cup of Coffee: Shaw leads 18-hit attack in Sea Dogs rout
- Cup of Coffee: Gedman, big Salem seventh key system’s only win
- Christian Vazquez’s new focus at the plate starting to pay off
- Cup of Coffee: Augliera dominant in Salem victory
- Players of the Week, May 6-12: Rubby De La Rosa and Mookie Betts
- Cup of Coffee: Streaks continue for Mookie Betts, Chris Martin