Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster’s command issues, Jose Iglesias readjusts, Garin Cecchini avoids another scare, Sean Coyle slumps, a daily Mookie-ism
|05.15.13 at 11:42 am ET|
A brief look at Tuesday’s action in the Red Sox farm system . . .
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN VS. GWINNETT (BRAVES)
— Shortstop Jose Iglesias went 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt in four plate appearances. In seven games since returning to the lineup following a four-game spell in which manager Gary DiSarcina had him sit, Iglesias, 23, is hitting .192/.300/.192. However, DiSarcina told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal that more important than the shortstop’s numbers has been his approach to the game since returning to the field.
“One of the great traits he has is his love for the game. Sitting down for a couple days, he realized how much he loves the game, how much he misses playing with that joy,” DiSarcina said. “When he plays free and plays creative, he’s a lot of fun to watch, and I’m sure he has a lot of fun doing it because he has skills other people don’t have.
“The five or six games he’s been back, that’s kind of what we wanted from him. Enjoy yourself. You have an opportunity to go out there and be a leader out there. He’s been doing it.”
— Right-hander Allen Webster, in his first start back in Pawtucket since getting shelled for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings in a big league start, worked around issues with his fastball command (which led to both a solo homer and four walks) to allow just one run on three hits in five innings. He struck out five, recorded seven groundball outs and produced 11 swings-and-misses.
While Webster, 23, had enjoyed an eye-opening spring in which he demonstrated an ability to attack the strike zone that ran counter to his minor league career norms, he’s shown some regression during the season. He’s now issued 10 walks in 25 innings, a rate of 3.6 per nine frames, and on Tuesday, he threw strikes on just 53 percent (49 of 92) of his pitches.
Still, given how his big league outing went, it was noteworthy that Webster proved capable of limiting the damage against him even in a game where he suffered through imprecision.
— Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 and now has four multi-hit games in his last five contests. During a six-game hitting streak that followed a three-day absence due to a sore left side (the result of a collision with shortstop Jonathan Diaz), Brentz, 24, is 10-for-24 with a .417/.440/.667 line.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-0 LOSS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
— Left-hander Drake Britton, 23, had arguably his most pronounced command struggles of the year, issuing a season-high four walks while throwing 53 of 95 pitches (56 percent) for strikes. He also got just six swings and misses, continuing a season when — despite solid strikeout rates (with five punchouts in five innings on Tuesday, Britton now has 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings) — he’s not getting a ton of swings and misses.
Still, Britton — somewhat like Webster — minimized the damage, pitching around a night full of baserunners to hold the opposing lineup to two runs in five frames.
— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 20, went 0-for-4 and saw his streak of reaching base in 22 straight games come to a conclusion. The 20-year-old hit .315/.413/.517 during the stretch.
— Catcher Christian Vazquez, who opened the year with a somewhat startling ratio of 15 walks to seven strikeouts through May 6, is experiencing something of a regression to the mean. The 22-year-old went 0-for-3 with a punchout on Tuesday, and now has six strikeouts against one walk in his last four games. He’s 2-for-12 with a double in that time.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-1 WIN AT CAROLINA (INDIANS)
— Third baseman Garin Cecchini had to leave the game after suffering an injury while chasing a foul pop-up. He limped off the field under his own power. Per Salem broadcaster Evan Lepler (via twitter): Garin Cecchini says he rolled his ankle on the lip of the grass in pursuit of a foul pop up. “It’s a lot better than I thought,” he said.
— Right-hander Mike Augliera had a spectacular outing, tossing six shutout innings in which he retired the first 10 batters he faced, allowed just three hits (all singles), recorded a dozen outs via groundball, struck out four and walked none. He threw strikes on 52 of his 82 offerings (63 percent), and, obviously, his sinker was working to great effect.
The 22-year-old has delivered consistent performances in Salem with high groundball rates, occasional swings-and-misses (6.0 strikeouts per nine innings), a willingness to pitch to contact and not give out walks (2.2 walks per nine) and an absolute refusal to give up home runs. He is one of just seven pitchers in all of minor league baseball with at least 40 innings pitched (Augliera has tossed 40 1/3 frames) and no home runs allowed.
In his last five starts, Augliera has a 2.15 ERA. He’s worked at least six innings in three of his last four starts with 19 strikeouts and five walks in 24 innings.
— Second baseman Sean Coyle, 21, went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. In his last six games, he’s now 0-for-23 with two walks and nine strikeouts. Some of that struggle has merely reflected bad luck — games with hard-hit balls that found gloves — and some of it has been an issue with elevated effort level, something with which Coyle has contended at other points in his pro career, most notably in the first half of last year when he struck out at a somewhat disconcerting rate.
The recent rough patch has eroded his numbers for the year considerably. One of the hottest players in the Sox system through the first weekend of May, the second baseman is now hitting .233 with a .283 OBP — though he still has a .563 slugging mark thanks to his nine homers in the season’s first 17 games, and he’s also stolen seven bases without getting caught.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the first three-strikeout game of his professional career.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 9-8 LOSS AT ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES)
— Right-hander Justin Haley, making his first appearance out of the bullpen after six starts, gave up three runs — all unearned — on two hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. He recorded all eight of his eights either by groundball (six) or strikeout (2) in what represented one of his better outings of the year for the 2012 sixth-rounder. He was in line for the win, having not given up any runs, when he left a bases-loaded, one-out, ninth-inning situation to another reliever, but a walk-off, three-run error on a dropped fly ball ended up saddling Haley with his sixth loss of the year and the three unearned runs.
— Right-hander Austin Maddox, a 2012 second-rounder, again proved vulnerable to homers, as he gave up a pair in 5 1/3 innings during which he permitted six runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one. Maddox has now given up six homers in 30 2/3 innings this year.
— Second baseman Mookie Betts went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. The 20-year-old now has a 10-game hitting streak during which he’s hitting .405/.511/.757 with four doubles and three homers. The seven extra-base hits in a 10-game span is little short of astounding given that, prior to the stretch, he had just 13 in 95 professional games.
— Catcher Tim Roberson, a 23-year-old, undrafted free agent signee out of Florida Gulf Coast University, enjoyed the best day of his pro career, going 3-for-5 with a double, homer and five RBI.
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