Red Sox minor league roundup: Christian Vazquez breaks out; Garin Cecchini keeps hitting; a powerful early performance in the Dominican
|06.29.13 at 11:16 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox’ minor league system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 10-6 LOSS VS. TOLEDO (TIGERS)
– Alfredo Aceves suffered his second Triple-A loss of the season, dropping to 3-2 after giving up five runs on seven hits in five innings to the Mud Hens. Aceves walked two and struck out three on the evening. Aceves’ night was rough from the get-go, allowing a double to lead off the game, followed by a walk and a sacrifice fly. A solo home run to lead off the third inning would be the first of three home runs Aceves would allow, with the other two coming in back-to-back fashion in the fifth inning. The right-hander left balls up in the zone and paid for the mislocation throughout his entire outing, allowing two hard-hit doubles in addition to the three home runs.
Aceves, who has been a solid option for the Red Sox to go to when they’ve been in need of a spot starter, had made a good case to get the start for the big-league club on Friday night, posting a 3.03 ERA in six starts prior to getting roughed up by Toledo. Aceves was coming off one of his best starts of the season, an eight-inning effort in which he allowed only one run on five hits while striking out seven. Through seven starts in Pawtucket, the righty owns a 3.71 ERA, walking 15 and striking out 37 in 43 2/3 innings.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed to a three-inning rally in the seventh for the PawSox, driving in two with a one-out single, knocking Toledo’s starter out of the game. Bradley finished the night 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and two RBI. The center fielder has now hit safely in his last seven games, with multi-hit efforts in six of his last nine games. After a brief slump upon returning to Triple-A from his second big-league stint, Bradley is hitting .366/.422/.634 with six doubles, a triple, a home run, and seven RBI over his last nine games and 45 plate appearances, raising his Triple-A line to .316/.406/.526 through 37 games on the year.
– Will Middlebrooks went 1-for-5 on the night, singling to center field in his first at-bat of the night. He also grounded out to third, lined to second, grounded to short and flied to right. He left three runners on base. Middlebrooks is 3-for-13 since returning to Pawtucket with one RBI, and has neither struck out nor walked in his 13 plate appearances.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-1 WIN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
– Catcher Christian Vazquez collected his second four-hit game of the year, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles. In his last nine games, he’s hitting .343/.378/.514. On the year, he’s hitting .247/.350/.388 (with 27 walks and 25 strikeouts), marks that are roughly consistent with the .266/.360/.396 line he posted in High-A Salem last year prior to an August promotion to Double-A. At a young age for the level (at 22, Vazquez is roughly two years younger than the league average position player), he’s performing at a roughly league average level, while his plate discipline (as suggested by the fact that he has more walks than strikeouts) and contact rates point to a player who might be capable of advancing to Triple-A this year.
– For the first time this year, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger did not issue a walk while tossing a season-high eight shutout innings. He struck out six and gave up seven hits. The 29-year-old is holding opponents to a .230 average in the Eastern League. All four of his hits came against right-handed pitchers, representing something of an aberration in the 22-year-old’s year. He’s now hitting .230/.326/.352 against righties with Friday’s performance, and a robust .292/.407/.479 against lefties.
– Michael Almanzar, serving as DH with the need to get Garin Cecchini regular playing time at third, went 3-for-4 with a double and walk. It was his fifth three-hit game of the year, with the 22-year-old now hitting .286/.346/.489.
– Third baseman Cecchini went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. He’s reached base at least twice in each of the last four games, and so, through six games, his OBP is .448 — carrying forward his remarkable OBP (.469) in High-A Salem.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-3 WIN (10 INNINGS) VS. CAROLINA (INDIANS)
– Right-hander William Cuevas continued his recent dominance, matching a career-high with seven innings while permitting two runs on six hits and three walks and striking out a season-high eight. In his last four starts, the 22-year-old has permitted five runs in 26 innings (1.73 ERA).
– Keury De La Cruz went 2-for-4 to bump his batting average up to .291, though perhaps his more significant landmark was a walk. In 22 games in April, the 21-year-old had seven walks; in 54 subsequent games, he has six walks. Still, he’s hitting .369/.389/.495 in June.
– Catcher Blake Swihart went 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk, and he’s now reached base multiple times in five straight games. The 21-year-old is now hitting .290 with a .376 OBP and .455 slugging mark for the year.
– Outfielder Brandon Jacobs is hitless in his last three games (0-for-11) and in five of his last six (3-for-24), dropping back to .218/.304/.397.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: TRAILING 4-0 (SUSPENDED, 2ND INNING) AT KANNAPOLIS (WHITE SOX)
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-1 WIN VS. VERMONT (ATHLETICS)
– Right-hander Ty Buttrey had an outing that was both dominant and unusually efficient, tossing six shutout innings in which he gave up just two hits and one walk while striking out two. He required just 71 pitches (46 strikes) to sail through the outing, consistent with some of the games that the Sox saw the right-hander throw as a senior in high school in 2012, in which he worked in the low-90s and attacked the strike zone. The 6-foot-6 right-hander recorded nine outs via groundball.
– Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin extended his hitting streak to five games, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. The 19-year-old is now hitting .290/.395/.452, showing tremendous hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills (six walks, one strikeout) in the early-going. While he has ridiculous speed, Lin has just two steals in three attempts thus far, but the Sox feel that he’s still learning how to take his chances on the bases, and that eventually, his speed and baseball instincts will allow him to become a legitimate stolen base threat.
– Outfielder Kendrick Perkins went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, and in nine games, the 21-year-old is now hitting .303/.395/.485.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 5-2 LOSS AT GCL TWINS
– Shortstop Raymel Flores, 18, went 1-for-2 with a double (his first extra-base hit of the year) and got hit by a pitch. Though hitting just .154 (2-for-13), the switch-hitter has a .476 OBP — earned largely on the strength of the fact that he’s already been hit by four pitches this year.
– Rehabbing first baseman Mark Hamilton went 1-for-4 with a double. In six games in the GCL, he’s hitting .316/.409/.421
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-3 WIN, 2-1 LOSS AT DSL INDIANS
– Third baseman Victor Acosta went 2-for-5 with a homer, a walk and a steal in the doubleheader, and the 17-year-old’s early performance bears notice. In 21 games, he’s gone deep four times — a number that typically represents an impressive full-season total in the league. Indeed, Acosta is one of just six players in the DSL with four or more homers; two of those players are in their 20s. He’s hitting .267/.389/.493 with 15 walks and seven strikeouts while stealing six bags in seven attempts.
– Second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and steal in the first game, followed by a 1-for-4 performance with a double in the second game. All four of the 16-year-old’s extra-base hits this year have come while batting left-handed.
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