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Red Sox minor league roundup: Christian Vazquez, potential ‘frontline guy'; Ryan Dent makes a mark on mound; Matt Price dominating

07.13.13 at 12:20 pm ET

The Sea Dogs lost an outfielder on Friday when Brandon Jacobs was traded to the White Sox for reliever Matt Thornton just a day after Jacobs had been promoted to Double-A. In his final game with the Sox, Jacobs started and went 1-for-2 with a double and a flyout before being pulled in the bottom of the third upon news that he’d been sent elsewhere.

Here’s a look at the rest of Friday’s action in the Red Sox minor league system:



— Coming off his worst start of the season in which he allowed six runs on four hits and two walks while recording only one out, Rubby De La Rosa was hit hard again on Friday, though his line looks a lot better than that from his prior outing. The righty allowed three runs on a season-high seven hits through five innings, walking three and striking out five.

De La Rosa had recorded a three-start scoreless streak back in June, but in three starts since then, owns an 11.88 ERA, allowing 11 runs in 8 1/3 innings. Despite being hit hard, De La Rosa has allowed only one home run in his last 30 1/3 innings. It seems that the 24-year-old struggles the most when facing a lineup for the first time; he’s compiled a 4.96 ERA in the first inning and 4.50 in the second, but has put up a 2.30 ERA from the third inning on without allowing a run in the fifth or sixth inning all season.

De La Rosa did run into some trouble in the fourth inning on Friday though, loading the bases on a single and two walks with two outs before inducing a ground out to escape the jam. He allowed just one single in the fifth while getting two swinging strikeouts, but was up to 87 pitches on the evening. Through 17 starts and 63 2/3 innings this season, De La Rosa owns a 3.53 ERA, striking out 67 while walking 30.

Alex Hassan clubbed his second home run of 2013 to break a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning, sending a 2-2 pitch into the PawSox bullpen in left field. Hassan finished the day 1-for-2 with three RBI while drawing two walks. It was the first home run Hassan hit off a left-hander this season, as the 25-year-old has been more productive against righties (.356/.473/.511, 45 at-bats) than lefties (.286/.359/.514) thus far.

Hassan, who has been expanding his versatility by making starts in right field, left field and at first base this season with Pawtucket, is riding a six-game hit streak and has six RBI over his last four games. It’s clear that Hassan enjoys playing home games at McCoy Stadium this season, where he’s hitting .375/.468/.625 with four doubles and two home runs in 12 games, as opposed to a .275/.383/.400 line on the road. Overall this season, Hassan, who missed the first couple months of the season with a foot injury, is batting .325/.426/.513 with nine doubles and 14 RBI through 80 at-bats, drawing 13 walks while fanning 17 times.

Will Middlebrooks contributed two singles, going 2-for-4 with a run scored while drawing his fourth walk since returning to Pawtucket. The base-on-balls was Middlebrooks’ first in seven games.Through 17 games with Pawtucket since the demotion, Middlebrooks is batting .261/.301/.449 with four home runs, one double, and 16 RBI, drawing four walks while striking out 10 times, though he’s fanned only twice in his last four games.



— Catcher Christian Vazquez was one of the four Sea Dogs to record three hits on the day, going 3-for-7 with three singles, a walk and two RBI on the evening. With the three hits, Vazquez extended his hit streak to six games.

The 22-year-old is heating up again after a brief June swoon in which he hit .217/.247/.319, mashing to the tune of a .346/.393/.385 line in six games in July while hitting .362/.388/.426 over his last 11. Vazquez hasn’t displayed a ton of power this season, with 11 doubles, a triple and four home runs in 238 plate appearances, but has exhibited great plate discipline, walking 29 times with only 31 strikeouts. Vazquez also caught his 34th runner of the season on the basepaths, and has gunned down 48 percent of runners this season, well above the major league average.

“This guy continues to perform. Every time the stage gets higher, this guy brings his game higher. … He’s been unbelievable in his game the last couple years in his game behind the plate,” said Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson. “I watched him a couple years ago. I definitely seeing him turning the page, being a consistent guy in all phases of the game. … He understands now what it takes to be consistent. We’re not talking a backup. We’re talking about a guy with the ability to be a frontline guy. He understands that.”

— The most impressive performance of Portland’s 15-inning marathon had to be Ryan Dent‘s pitching debut, in which the infielder threw two scoreless frames while allowing two hits and two walks. He even had a strikeout. Dent received the win, which marks only the second time in franchise history that a position player was credited with a victory. So, Dent’s pitching line looks pretty impressive this season…he’s 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

— Reliever Matty Ott was also quite impressive, logging four scoreless frames while allowing only one hit and one walk in his Double-A debut. The 23-year-old right-hander had gone 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA and two saves in 52 2/3 innings with High-A Salem this season, striking out 52 while allowing only 16 walks.

— Yet another pitcher made his debut for the Sea Dogs on Friday, but this one didn’t go as well. Bobby Lanigan, a 26-year-old who was released from the Twins organization earlier this season and signed as a minor league free agent with the Red Sox organization, blew a save in his first game with the Sea Dogs, giving up two runs in the ninth inning after two scoreless frames, though the runs were counted as unearned after a Heiker Meneses error led off the inning. Lanigan allowed three hits while walking two and striking out two. Lanigan, who was teammates with the game’s starter Keith Couch at Adelphi University, was 3-1 with a 3.77 in 23 appearances and 28 2/3 inning between Triple-A and Double-A with Minnesota this season.

— Kolbrin Vitek, who took over in left field for Brandon Jacobs after the outfielder learned that he had been traded to Chicago, went 3-for-6 with a double after entering in the third inning. It was the second time this season Vitek had recorded more than two hits in a game (but also the first time he’d played in a 15-inning game), and his first time since April 11.

Vitek, 24, has struggled at the plate in the past couple months despite a .268/.362/.366 line in 11 April games. Since May 1, he’s batting .182/.233/.223 in 42 contests. The Red Sox’ 2010 first round pick has put up modest numbers in his time in Double-A while seeing his power numbers drop, knocking only 24 extra-base hits in 403 plate appearances over parts of two seasons with Portland. Vitek is batting .201/.262/.254 with eight doubles, a triple and 13 RBI through 53 games in 2013, drawing 14 walks and striking out 54 times.



— Reliever Matt Price earned his fifth save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth while walking one and striking out one. The 24-year-old right-hander has now logged seven straight scoreless appearances, and has allowed only one run in his last 15 2/3 innings. A disastrous four-hit, five run outing back on April 30 skews Price’s numbers a bit, but he’s compiled a 1.03 ERA in his last 19 games, a stretch that has spanned 26 1/3 innings. In that time, opposing batters are hitting only .129/.230/.165 against Price. Through 24 games, Price owns a 2.95 ERA and has struck out 39 batters while walking 13.

Keury De La Cruz was 1-for-4 with a single after going hitless in his previous two games. The outfielder, who failed to draw a walk after receiving free passes in five straight games, has been enduring a cool stretch after batting a ridiculous .387/.415/.523 in 28 games in June. De La Cruz has only two hits in his last seven games, and is batting a modest .171/.261/.268 in July. The 21-year-old, who has 28 doubles, three triples and five home runs in 89 games this season, doesn’t have an extra-base in his last seven games.

— For the second straight game, first baseman Matt Gedman drove in three runs, this time with a three-run jack in the second inning, his third home run of the year and first since June 5. Gedman, the 24-year-old product of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman‘s son, is enjoying one of his better offensive seasons to date, hitting .240/.298/.356 in 33 games for Salem with three home runs and three doubles. The three home runs actually tie a career-high for Gedman, who has hit three out of the park in each of his three professional seasons, though the third one came in just 33 games this season.

Stefan Welch has certainly been enjoying his time with Salem. The third baseman, who has been hitting clean-up, hit his first home run in 3o games in the Red Sox organization, stretching his hit streak to nine games. Welch, 24, is hitting .441/.474/.588 with two doubles and six RBI over the life of the streak, and .330/.427/.437 on the season.




— The Red Sox’ fifth round draft pick in 2013, Corey Littrell, made the second start of his professional career, and it went pretty much the same as the first one did. Just like in his first outing, he pitched two scoreless innings while allowing only one hit, though this time he doubled the amount of strikeouts (two) and allowed the first walk of his pro career. Littrell is a 21-year-old lefty out of the University of Kentucky.

– Center fielder Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with a walk for the second straight game, scoring twice and driving in one while swiping his eighth bag of the season. Margot, an 18-year-old in a league that features a large number of college players, is holding his own, batting .272/.354/.333 through 23 games. Though he hasn’t shown much power, he has put up consistently good at-bats, drawing 12 walks in 99 plate appearances while totaling only 15 strikeouts.

Kevin Mager hit his seventh and eighth doubles of the season, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Mager, an undrafted first baseman who signed with the Red Sox last year, is enjoying a very solid and consistent season at the plate for Lowell, batting .296/.400/.432 in 23 games, drawing 12 walks compared to 17 strikeouts. The 24-year-old, who has split time between Greenville and Salem this year, is batting .277/.382/.408 between the two clubs with eight doubles and three home runs.



— Starter Keivin Heras was roughed up for the second straight outing, giving up five runs on six hits in four innings while walking two and striking out two. The 18-year-old is 1-0 with a 6.46 ERA in four appearances (three starts), allowing 19 hits and 11 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out nine.

Deiner Lopez recorded his first three-hit game of the season with three singles and an RBI. The 19-year-old third baseman has five hits in his last 13 plate appearances, and is batting .265/.321/.367 in 13 games. The leadoff hitter, who stole his third base of the season (he’s been caught three times), has drawn only one walk in 53 plate appearances.

Aneudis Peralta went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored while serving as the designated hitter on Friday. Peralta, 19, has played only eight games this season, but is hitting .357/.379/.500 with four doubles through 29 plate appearances.



— Shortstop Javier Guerra reached base safely four times, going 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk. The 17-year-old has struggled to get hits this season, batting only .196, but Guerra has drawn a total of 21 walks (as opposed to only 18 hits and 17 strikeouts) in 119 plate appearances, good for a .359 OBP.

– Second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe went 2-for-4 with his third double and seventh RBI of the season. The 16-year-old is batting .206/.345/.309 with 15 walks and 22 strikeouts on the season.

Read More: brandon jacobs, Chad Epperson, christian vazquez, kolbrin vitek
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