Red Sox minor league roundup: Impressive showing for Xander Bogaerts at third; Deven Marrero’s solid debut; big day for Travis Shaw; Brian Johnson dominates
|08.14.13 at 12:16 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-1 WIN VS. LOUISVILLE (REDS)
— Catcher David Ross, whose rehab moved to Pawtucket after a pair of games with Portland, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Tuesday. However, he successfully caught knuckleballer Charlie Haeger for five innings without a passed ball and he also combined with Haeger to gun down burner Billy Hamilton on a stolen base attempt. One observer had Ross with a 1.92 second time on his throw from home to second, and with Haeger having gotten the ball to the plate in 1.17 seconds, Hamilton — who is second this year in the minors with 69 steals — had no shot.
— Xander Bogaerts had his eighth start at third base in 55 games since his promotion from Double-A Portland, and went 3-for-4 (all singles) while also playing a solid defensive game that included a 5-4-3 double play (described by PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina to reporters, including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, as “outstanding”) and an impressive play in which he backhanded a ball behind the third base bag and offered a considerable display of arm strength to gun down the runner at first.
Though Bogaerts is learning third base, the undertaking has not impacted his offense adversely. In his eight games at that position, he’s hitting .355/.429/.548 in 35 plate appearances. He’s hitting .270/.349/.425 as a shortstop.
— Outfielder/1B Alex Hassan added to a recent hot stretch, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and two walks in four plate appearances. In his last five games, he’s hitting .467/.619/.467. Interestingly, all eight of his outs during the stretch have come via strikeout. On the year, he’s now hitting .315/.430/.461.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-2 WIN AT ALTOONA (PIRATES)
— In his Double-A debut, Deven Marrero went 2-for-4 with a walk. It was his fourth multi-hit game in his last six contests (with the first three having come with High-A Salem before his promotion), a span in which the 2012 first-rounder is hitting .409/.552/.545. In 86 combined games between the two levels this year, the 22-year-old is now hitting .259/.345/.336 — numbers that are largely in line with the .268/.358/.374 he posted in a 64-game pro debut last year with Lowell.
— First baseman Travis Shaw had his biggest game in weeks, snapping a stretch of 13 straight contests without a multi-hit game by going 4-for-4 with a double, a walk and steal. He’s been just 2-for-23 in seven games entering Tuesday, though with the same number of walks (6) as strikeouts. It was the second four-hit game of Shaw’s season and his sixth of his pro career, while marking the third time in his pro career that the 23-year-old has reached base five or more times in a game. Shaw is hitting just .224/.343/.402 this year, though his .264 batting average on balls in play suggests that there is some degree of randomness to his struggles.
— Right-hander Keith Couch, back in Portland after a one-game hiatus in Pawtucket, allowed one run on eight hits (a double, a triple and six singles) in seven innings, punching out four and walking one. Couch is 9-3 with a 3.76 ERA this year, including 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 3-2 LOSS (18 INNINGS) AT WILMINGTON (ROYALS)
— Second baseman Sean Coyle returned to Salem after a DL stint and rehab assignments (in Fort Myers and then Greenville) that lasted two and a half months while recuperating from a knee injury. In his first Salem game since May 29, Coyle saw plenty of action, going 1-for-7 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the year, in 37 contests with Salem, the 21-year-old is hitting .243/.306/.500 with 10 homers.
— Mookie Betts, who served as DH in his first game as Coyle’s teammate, went 2-for-7 with a double (his fourth extra-base hit in his last six games) and his 15th steal is as many attempts over 32 games in Salem. Betts, 20, is now hitting .278/.359/.461 with Salem.
— Outfielder Keury De La Cruz endured a 1-for-8 game in which he punched out six times. While the six punchouts represented a staggering total, they continued a period in which the 21-year-old has been striking out with alarming frequency. In his last 14 games, he’s whiffed 27 times in 67 plate appearances (hitting .175/.209/.302 in that span), with his 40.3 percent strikeout rate in that stretch representing a marked increase from the 18.6 percent whiff rate he’d had to that point in the year. De La Cruz is hitting .267/.307/.405 in 115 games this year.
— Right-hander Heri Quevedo continued what has been a very impressive run, allowing two runs in six innings while punching out five and walking just one. The outing was the fourth straight in which the 23-year-old has logged at least six innings, a stretch in which he has a 3.00 ERA with 23 strikeouts and five walks in 24 innings. In his last seven games, Quevedo has a 1.88 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 17 walks in 38 1/3 innings while holding opponents to a .197/.290/.307 line.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 2-0 LOSS AT AUGUSTA (GIANTS)
— Left-hander Brian Johnson has been dominant since returning to Greenville following a couple months on the DL while recovering from shoulder tendinitis, a pattern that continued on Tuesday when he gave up one run in a season-high seven innings while allowing just four hits (three singles and a double), striking out six and walking none. In five outings spanning 25 innings since his return to Greenville, Johnson has a 1.08 ERA with 24 strikeouts and nine walks while holding opponents to a .133/.226/.193 line.
Since his return from the DL, Johnson has shown improved command of both his fastball (88-92 mph, touching 93 at times) and the ability to throw his curveball for strikes on a consistent basis. He’s also developed increasing confidence in both his changeup and cutter. With that kind of mix, he’s starting to outperform his Single-A competition, but because of the amount of time he missed this year, there’s a good chance he spends the rest of this year with the Drive rather than getting bumped up to Salem. Still, in 14 starts with Greenville, Johnson has a 2.86 ERA with exactly a strikeout per inning (63 in 63) and 26 walks, and recently, he’s shown the pitch mix that convinced the Sox to take him in the first round of the 2012 draft.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: OFF DAY
— Right-hander Sergio Gomez allowed a run on three hits and a walk in an inning of work in the New York-Penn League All-Star game. Teammate Joe Gunkel delivered a scoreless inning of relief later in the contest.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS, 2-1 WIN VS. GCL RAYS
— Right-hander Myles Smith, the Red Sox’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, tossed two perfect innings in which he struck out one and recorded five outs by groundball. He’s now worked three scoreless innings.
— Second baseman Wendell Rijo went 1-for-3 in both games, going 2-for-6 with a walk and two steals. The 17-year-old is hitting .286/.377/.391 with 17 walks, 17 strikeouts and 12 steals in 16 attempts. Though among the younger players in the GCL, he ranks in the league’s top 20 in OBP (.377) and fourth in steals.
— Shortstop Mauricio Dubon, an 18-year-old whom the Red Sox drafted in the 26th round this year, is off to a strong pro start. He went 1-for-2 with a walk on Tuesday, and in 11 games, he’s hitting .320/.370/.360 while looking good at shortstop and featuring a frame (6-foot-0, 160 pounds) that can fill out. He has a pretty fascinating back story, as he moved from Honduras to the States as a high schooler so that he would have a chance to pursue a professional baseball career, living with a host family in Sacramento, Calif., for the last two years. Here’s an interesting look at his story at his quest to become the first native of Honduras to reach the big leagues.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 1-0 LOSS, 6-5 WIN VS. DSL ATHLETICS
— Right-hander Samir El-Halaby tossed four shutout innings in his first start of the year, and he now has a run of 10 straight appearances spanning 24 innings without permitting an earned run. On the year, the 18-year-old has a 0.35 ERA with 15 strikeouts and three walks in 26 innings.
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