|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Milestones for Bryce Brentz, Garin Cecchini; that’s a wrap for Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Workman||09.04.12 at 11:55 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday — the last day of the regular season for all four full-season affiliates. Only Triple-A Pawtucket (set to commence a best-of-five playoff series at home against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday) and Short-Season Single-A Lowell (with two games left in a three-game trip to Brooklyn) are still playing, so for all practical purposes, Monday represented the end of the year for most Red Sox prospects . . .
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-4 WIN (12 INNINGS) VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)
– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-5, notching his first two hits in five games since his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. Courtesy of Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, a look at why PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler sees similarities between Brentz, Will Middlebrooks and Bryce Harper.
– Juan Carlos Linares, in his second game back from a thumb injury that had sidelined him for two weeks, went 2-for-6 with a double and homer, his eighth in 52 Triple-A games after going deep eight times in 58 Double-A games this season.
– Right-hander Steven Wright allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings, striking out four and walking three. In four Triple-A starts, the knuckleballer — acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline — had a 3.15 ERA with 16 strikeouts and five walks in 20 innings. In 25 total starts between Double-A and Triple-A, spanning two organizations, Wright finished the year with a 10-7 record and 2.54 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 69 walks in 141 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .213 against him.
– Right-hander Scott Atchison, in his first appearance since July 27, tossed a shutout inning of relief, retiring all three batters he faced on a groundout and two flyouts. He needed just eight pitches to breeze through his inning.
– Infielder Jonathan Hee went 3-for-5 with a walk … and also threw a scoreless 12th inning, needing just six pitches to retire all three batters he faced. It was his second perfect inning of the year.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-3 LOSS VS. READING (PHILLIES)
– Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a double to wrap up his spectacular age 19 season with a .326/.351/.598/.948 line in 23 games with Double-A Portland and a .307/.373/.523/.896 line with 20 homers in 127 combined games in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. He had a total of 60 extra-base hits.
– First baseman Travis Shaw wrapped up his first full pro season by going 1-for-3 with a walk. In 31 Double-A games, he hit .227/.353/.427/.781; overall, between Salem and Portland, the 22-year-old hit .287/.397/.517/.915 with 19 homers and 85 RBI in 130 games. While fellow 2011 draftees Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Henry Owens commanded the lion’s share of attention for their performances in their first full pro years, Shaw’s performance this year deserves mention alongside those other ones. While he had a low average in Double-A, he continued to show the same on-base skills and respectable power to suggest that he has a chance to develop into a big league starting first baseman. Given that the Red Sox don’t have a first baseman after 2012, the Kent State product’s path going forward could be of considerable import to the Sox.
– Right-hander Brandon Workman wrapped up his very strong age 23 season by permitting three runs in five innings. He gave up four hits (one homer), two walks and struck out six. In five year-ending starts in Double-A, Workman had a 3.96 ERA with 23 strikeouts and just five walks in 25 innings. Overall, Workman — who turned 24 last month — went 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA, 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.6 walks per nine. At some point, the Sox will have to make a decision about whether he will become a starter or reliever as he progresses up to the majors. But in performance thus far, he has done nothing to force the team to back away from his development as a potential member of the rotation. On the contrary, his progress with his curveball and his ability to get swings and misses with his fastball while also getting bad contact on his cutter suggest the potential to remain as a starter. There remain questions about whether his delivery involves too much effort to start (something that can cost him velocity and stuff as he works deeper into games), but Workman does not apologize for how he pitches.
“I feel like my delivery is something that I can repeat and something works for me,” he said. “I’m not sure how much effort’s in it or that sort of thing. I know I hold velocity throughout games. … I just know it’s something I’m comfortable with, it’s something I can do and it works for me.”
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 9-4 WIN VS. WINSTON-SALEM (WHITE SOX)
– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz wrapped up his year by going 2-for-5 with a double while driving in three. He was 7-for-25 with a homer, two doubles, a walk and two strikeouts in six year-ending games in High-A, in the process becoming the first Red Sox minor leaguer since George Lombard (now a manager for the Sox in the Gulf Coast League) in 2005 to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the same year. He led the Sox minor league system with 65 extra-base hits.
– Right-hander Keith Couch kept getting groundballs in volume in working five innings and allowing four runs (just one earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out five. Couch went 11-9 with a 3.46 ERA, striking out 109 and walking 34 in 145 2/3 innings. He finished third in the Sox system in innings, second in wins and seventh in strikeouts.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE: 4-2 WIN VS. HICKORY (RANGERS)
– Yes, Garin Cecchini wanted to reach 50 stolen bases. The third baseman went 0-for-1 but drew three walks. He ran like crazy after each free pass. He was gunned down at second after the first walk, swiped both second (stolen base No. 50) and third (No. 51) after his second walk and got thrown out again at second after his third attempt. The 21-year-old finished the year hitting .305 with a .394 OBP, .433 slugging mark, .827 OPS, four homers, 46 extra-base hits, and 51 steals in 57 attempts.
The two times Cecchini was thrown out were highly uncharacteristic. Prior to the season finale, he’d stolen 10 consecutive bases without getting caught. However, because he was caught twice, his stolen base success rate dropped to 89 percent.
Even so, Cecchini wrapped up a season in which he continued to show an advanced offensive approach, made considerable defensive strides at third base and demonstrated an ability to impact the game on the bases. Despite his limited power numbers, he showed the ability to be a well-rounded player who grades out as above-average in a number of facets of the game.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-1 LOSS AT BROOKLYN (METS)
– Frank Montas, in his first appearance for Lowell following his stint in the GCL this year, tossed 3 2/3 innings while allowing just one unearned run. He gave up five hits (all singles) while striking out four and walking one. As a 19-year-old with the ability to hit triple digits as a starter, he represents a prospect with considerable ceiling even as he remains at the formative stages of his career.
– For the first time in his three games since returning from a hand injury on Aug. 27, Deven Marrero played shortstop. He went 1-for-4 with a double, giving him 18 extra-base hits in 62 games this season.
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