Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Xander Bogaerts’ baseball IQ, Drake Britton’s finishing kick, Bryce Brentz moves up
|08.31.12 at 12:31 pm ET|
A quick look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday, entering the final weekend of the regular season throughout the minors . . .
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 1-0 WIN, 3-2 WIN AT GWINNETT COUNTY (BRAVES)
– Outfielder Bryce Brentz was promoted from Double-A for Thursday’s doubleheader, concluding his tenure in Portland with a .296 average, .355 OBP, .478 slugging mark, .833 OPS and 17 homers. While his power suffered in comparison with his performance in High-A in 2011 (where he blasted 19 homers in just 75 games, compared to 75 in 122 in Portland), he had a higher average (.296 in Double-A compared to .274 in Salem) and OBP (.355 to .336) than in his previous stop last year. Brentz is the headliner of the position players whom the Sox will send to the Arizona Fall League after the season.
In his first two games in Triple-A, Brentz was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.
– Right-hander Chris Carpenter gave up a run on a hit and a walk in Game 2 of the doubleheader, snapping a string of 11 consecutive scoreless appearances. His ERA in Pawtucket went up to 1.15; opponents are now hitting .137 against him. Carpenter did strike out two batters in his inning of work, giving him 17 punchouts and eight walks in 15 2/3 innings in Triple-A.
– Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker went 2-for-7 with a pair of doubles (his first two extra-base hits in Triple-A) in the doubleheader. He’s now 3-for-17 with seven strikeouts in four games since his promotion.
– Ivan De Jesus Jr. went 3-for-6 with a double in the doubleheader, and he’s hit in all five games since the Sox acquired him from the Dodgers, going 10-for-18 with two walks (.556 average, .600 OBP) in the process.
– Billy Buckner tossed a seven-inning, complete game shutout in Game 1 of the double header. Buckner, a few days removed from his 29th birthday, continued an outstanding second-half run. Over his last nine starts, he is 7-2 with a 1.78 ERA, 33 strikeouts and 16 walks in 55 2/3 innings.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-1 LOSS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
– One of the reasons why the Red Sox are so bullish on the future of Xander Bogaerts is the fact that he has shown the ability to make adjustments with dazzling speed, suggesting a considerable baseball IQ. Obviously, he’s been thrown into the deep end at every level of pro ball where he’s played, having been among the youngest players in his league at every stop. But beyond that, one of the things for which Bogaerts has earned high marks is his ability to adjust quickly to address weaknesses.
Last year, his hitting coach in Greenville, Luis Lopez, described Bogaerts’ precocious understanding of hitting thusly:
“If he has a bad AB, a young kid like that, they won’t know what they’re doing. He’ll say, ‘I’m pulling off,’ ” Lopez said, at a time when Bogaerts was 18 in Single-A Greenville. “At that age, to acknowledge that, and not only that, the very next AB, to make the adjustment, that’s impressive. I played 10 years in the big leagues. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing. This kid has an idea. He won’t give away at-bats. At that age, that’s outrageous. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Bogaerts had endured a recent seven-game slump, going 5-for-32 in the stretch. But after a day off on Wednesday, he came back and went 3-for-4 with a double, improving his line in 19 Double-A games to .312/.333/.610/.944. He has 13 extra-base hits in those 19 games.
– Drake Britton, in what might be his last Double-A start, logged six innings and allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out seven and walking one. Though Britton saw his streak of 10 straight starts without permitting a homer come to an end, the seven strikeouts and one walk continued to reveal a pitcher who has been increasingly aggressive and at times overpowering against Double-A hitters. In his last eight starts, he had 45 strikeouts and 18 walks with a 2.33 ERA in 44 1/3 innings. In 16 starts in Double-A, he was 4-7 with a 3.72 mark. The 23-year-old has re-established himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system after a trying 2011 season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 3-1 WIN VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES)
– Brandon Jacobs went 1-for-3 with a homer and stolen base, continuing his season-ending upward swing. After he struggled for most of August, he’s now hit in four straight games, going 6-for-16 with four extar-base hits (three doubles and his 12th homer of the year). The 21-year-old also has 17 steals.
– Sean Coyle went 1-for-3 with a triple, giving the diminutive second baseman 20 extra-base hit in 50 contests since the All-Star break. Overall, the 20-year-old is hitting .303/.365/.466/.831 in the second half.
– Mike McCarthy tossed seven innings in which he allowed just one run while striking out six and walking none. In four starts in Salem, he’s 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA, 19 strikeouts and just four walks in 22 2/3 innings. Since July 23, between Greenville and Salem, the 24-year-old has a 1.51 ERA in 41 2/3 innings.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-2 WIN AT KANNAPOLIS (WHITE SOX)
– Left-hander Miguel Pena, in his last start of the season, threw a season-high seven innings to surpass the 100 innings mark in his first full pro season. The 21-year-old allowed two runs on four hits (including a homer — the fourth straight game in which he was taken deep) while striking out six and walking two. In 20 outings in Greenville, Pena went 8-7 with a 2.95 ERA, 91 strikeouts and just 21 walks in 100 2/3 innings.
– Garin Cecchini went 1-for-5 with a double, his 35th of the season.
– Blake Swihart went 0-for-2 but drew a pair of walks, just the fourth time this year that he’s drawn multiple walks in the same game and the first time since July 19. He’s now hitting .319/.373/.447/.819 in August.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 8-0 LOSS VS. VERMONT (ATHLETICS)
– Right-hander Mike Augliera continued his strong finish to the season, tossing three shutout innings in which he punched out three and walked none while scattering three hits. In his final eight outings, Augliera allowed three runs in 24 innings (1.13 ERA) with 27 strikeouts and just two walks.
– Shortstop Mike Miller went 2-or-3 with a double and two steals. The 22-year-old is 19-for-22 in stolen base attempts this season.
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