Red Sox minor league roundup: Familiar formula for Xander Bogaerts; Jackie Bradley continues tear; Rubby De La Rosa finds efficiency
|05.28.13 at 10:14 am ET|
Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, continuing a year with Double-A Portland in which he’s shown the patience (23 walks, .360 OBP) that was absent in his Sea Dogs debut at the end of 2012 but without the power that he exhibited as a 19-year-old in the Eastern League. Right now, Bogaerts’ line is .273/.360/.413 with two homers and 15 extra-base hits in 42 games.
For a player who is 20 years old, those marks are all excellent given that in a league where the average age of position players is 24, the average line is .258/.337/.391. So, Bogaerts has been an above average across-the-board performer in terms of his slash line while facing advanced pitching even though he’s the youngest position player in the Eastern League.
Still, given his power show in Portland last year — he had 15 extra-base hits (the same number he has at the level this year) in 23 games, including five homers — Bogaerts’ year hasn’t captured the imagination in the same fashion that his Portland unveiling did last year (this despite the fact that his .360 OBP is better than was his .351 mark of a year ago). However, it would be a mistake to look past what he’s doing.
After all, a year ago, Bogaerts had essentially the same start to his season while with High-A Salem. Through last May 27, he’d played 43 games with a line of .274/.343/.427, four homers and 15 extra-base hits in 43 games. To summarize:
Through May 27, 2013: .273/.360/.413, 2 HR, 15 XBH, 42 games
Through May 27, 2012: .274/.343/.427, 4 HR, 15 XBH, 43 games
It wasn’t until June that Bogaerts emerged as one of the most dominant players in the Carolina League. Beginning of May 28, in his remaining 61 games in High-A, Bogaerts (at age 19) hit .323/.403/.564 with 11 homers and 30 extra-base hits to force his way to Portland. He seemingly spent the first couple months of last year gaining a comfort zone with his approach at an advanced level before spending the warmer months of the season dominating it. It remains to be seen whether he follows a similar pattern this year in Portland, but certainly, the parallels between his performance in early 2012 and early 2013 are noteworthy.
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– Jackie Bradley Jr.‘s tear continued. He went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and walk, extending a number of tremendous streaks. The 23-year-old now has:
- An 11-game hitting streak dating to April 30, during which he’s hitting .455/.547/.750.
- A six-game streak of multi-hit games, during which he’s hitting .480/.552/.880 with a pair of homers.
- A four-game streak in which he’s reached base three times in each contest, with a .500/.600/.875.
Bradley’s impact on Monday wasn’t limited to his offense. He also recorded a pair of outfield assists (while making his second straight start in left field), throwing out one player at second and one at third. Still, given that his offensive struggles featured so prominently during his major league stint, it is his tremendous performance at the plate that offers the most prominent evidence that he could be poised to make a big league impact again soon.
On the year, Bradley now is hitting .360/.461/.547 with two homers and nine extra-base hits in 19 games. Interestingly, that line syncs up fairly closely to the one he posted at the start of 2012 while thrusting himself into top prospect status in High-A Salem, when the outfielder hit .359/.480/.526 in 67 games before his promotion.
– Rubby De La Rosa returned to the mound after being scratched from his previous start with soreness in his intercostal. The right-hander had a strong outing in which he sustained the excellent results that he’d shown in his prior four starts but that was somewhat out of character for his previous outings this year. De La Rosa elicited just three swings and misses and had only one strikeout (looking), but he sailed through four innings of work in which he gave up one run on two hits (both singles) and a walk. He threw strikes on 29 of 48 (60 percent) of his pitches, and his ability to get bad contact — six groundball outs — resulted in his most efficient outing of the year.
De La Rosa averaged just 12 pitches per inning on Monday. In eight starts entering the game, he’d averaged 18 pitches per inning, with an average of 14 pitches per inning having been his most efficient outing prior to this start.
– Infielder Brock Holt went 1-for-4 with a single and walk. In his last 10 games, he’s hitting .455/.525/.545. For the year, Holt is hitting .300/.365/.330 against right-handed pitchers (a stark contrast to his stark struggles against lefties — .088/.244/.088).
– Corner infielder Brandon Snyder continued his solid recent performance, going 2-for-4 with a triple. In his last seven games, he’s hitting .385/.500/.615 with a double, triple and homer.
– Right-hander Jose De La Torre fired a season-high four innings in which he didn’t yield a run, gave up just two hits and one walk while matching a season-high with four strikeouts. The 27-year-old now has a 1.42 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .148 against him.
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– Strike, strike, strike. Right-hander Brandon Workman fired strikes on 68 of 96 pitches (71 percent), including 11 swings and misses en route to nine punchouts. He only walked one in six innings of work during which he permitted three runs (two earned) on seven hits, including a homer. He now has 69 punchouts on the year, third most in all of minor league baseball. His 10.8 punchouts per nine rank 14th in the minors (min. 50 innings).
– Though first baseman Travis Shaw snapped out of a five-game, 0-for-15 rut by collecting a pair of singles in five plate appearances, he also punched out three times, continuing a stretch in which he’s proven consistently vulnerable to the punchout. He has struck out 11 times in his last six games, giving him 29 (in 25 games) in the month of May, during which Shaw is hitting .189/.305/.344.
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– For just the third time this year and the first time in a month, Garin Cecchini struck out multiple times, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk on Monday. Cecchini is now 0-for-7 over his last two games, which, given the remarkable productivity of his year to date, actually counts as a slump in ipsitive terms. His back-to-back hitless games mark the first time he’s gone two straight games without at least one hit since April 16-17. Thanks to his walk, he has still managed to avoid going consecutive games without reaching base this year. Cecchini’s performance in the year to date had been such that a two-game hiccup is statistically costly: He went from a line of .375/.486/.632 through Saturday to a .358/.470/.603 line after Monday’s game.
– Shortstop Deven Marrero went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, continuing his struggles since returning from the hamstring injury that resulted in his placement on the DL. In 11 games back, the 22-year-old is hitting .170/.188/.234 with one walk and seven strikeouts; before his injury, he was hitting .294/.400/.451 with nine walks and 10 strikeouts.
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– Right-hander Pat Light, who left his last start (on May 22) after facing just one batter due to a hamstring cramp, was placed on the DL with a hamstring strain. While the pitcher, according to a team source, has recovered quickly and the injury is viewed as being not severe, the team decided to proceed deliberately and to ensure that Light “is comfortable with no hesitation” before resuming. There’s no timetable for his return. In seven games (six starts), the 2012 supplemental first-round pick has an 8.28 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks in 25 innings. Before his injury, he’d endured a pair of dreadful starts, yielding 14 runs in 7 1/3 innings that featured seven walks and three homers.
– Shortstop Jose Vinicio extended his modest hitting streak to five games, going 1-for-3 with a single and a steal. Mired in a considerable slump for most of the year, the 19-year-old shortstop is now 10 games into a run in which he’s hitting .324/.378/.441 with four doubles (matching his total number of extra-base hits in his prior 31 games this year) and two walks.
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