|Red Sox pregame notes: Brandon Workman headed to the bullpen as relief arms start to stack up||07.31.13 at 9:32 pm ET|
Tuesday, Brandon Workman collected his first major league win. Wednesday, he was officially relegated to the bullpen.
With the acquisition of Jake Peavy, right-handed Workman ‘ who allowed five runs in 18 1/3 innings in his three starts ‘ was squeezed out of the rotation and sent back to the role that the Red Sox originally called him up for, pitching in relief.
So even though they did not acquire a right-handed reliever to bolster their bullpen, as they had reportedly been interested in doing, the Peavy acquisition allows the Red Sox to add a new arm to their relieving corps anyway.
And manager John Farrell expects Workman to adjust just fine.
‘If you start to prioritize the characteristics of a successful reliever, strike throwing, and he has shown that, even in his only relief appearance,’ Farrell said. ‘He’s shown the ability to get some swing and miss to his fastball. Last night was the best curveball he’s had in the three starts he’s made for us. I don’t know that you can pinpoint any one thing because the one thing that stands out probably the most is the demeanor on the mound and the composure and the mound presence.
‘Even when he’s been pitching with some traffic behind him or guys on base, he’s not trying to overthrow and come out of his delivery. He’s done a very good job.’
|Drake Britton, Pedro Beato show poise in tight spot for Red Sox||07.22.13 at 4:19 am ET|
Drake Britton and Pedro Beato do not have a lot of experience, but they had to remain cool under pressure in Sunday night’s extra innings affair between the Red Sox and Yankees.
Britton took the 10th and Beato took the 11th, and there was not much behind either of them. The only other reliever on the staff that could have pitched was Jose De La Torre. However, each of the youngsters held the Yankees scoreless for an inning, giving Mike Napoli a chance to hit his walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th.
For Britton, the path was not an easy one. The 24-year-old lefty issued a six-pitch walk to the first batter he faced ‘ speedster Brett Gardner. With him on the basepaths, Britton had to worry about a base stealer on first on top of facing the 2-3-4 hitters in the Yankees lineup with nobody out. Britton forced Ichiro Suzuki to fly out, but then allowed a base hit to Robinson Cano, leaving a runner in scoring position with cleanup hitter Lyle Overbay at the plate.
The pressure was high for Britton, who was not only in his second career game, but also pitching against a heated division rival on national television while trying to help Boston hold its slim lead in the American League East. However, Britton had a brief meeting with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and went back to the mound, where he induced an inning-ending double play with a 93-mph fastball.
‘It was huge,’ Saltalamacchia said, ‘especially coming with a situation like that. It was only the second time out there against a good club and against a rival in Boston.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts moves up; Deven Marrero trying to do the same; Drake Britton’s Triple-A debut; Xander Bogaerts is precocious||07.10.13 at 12:38 pm ET|
A brief look at Tuesday’s action in the Red Sox farm system, on a day perhaps most noteworthy for the callup of Brandon Workman. For more on Workman, and why one man who coached both him and Justin Masterson sees a number of similarities between the pitchers, click here.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-1 LOSS AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
— While the final line appears unimpressive, left-hander Drake Britton impressed in stretches in his Triple-A debut. The 24-year-old worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the third inning with a pair of punchouts, and held his opponents scoreless through four innings. He ended up giving up five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he struck out five, walked one and showed an impressive determination to attack the strike zone (59 of 85 pitches for strikes — 69 percent) while getting a lot of swings and misses (14). Lefties were 0-for-2 with one strikeout against Britton.
— Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 and has now reached base in 11 straight games. During the run, he has a .371/.488/.457 line, with marks of .269/.364/.430 in 26 games since his promotion to Triple-A. Given that the league average line in the International League is .259/.334/.397, it would appear that Bogaerts has been performing at an above-average level over his first month in Triple-A, despite being the youngest player in the league. In other words, his offensive transition has met if not exceeded expectations to date.
— Right-hander Brock Huntzinger continued his strong showing in Pawtucket, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He allowed a hit and a walk. The 25-year-old now has a 1.80 ERA with 17 strikeouts and six walks in 15 innings for the PawSox.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 8-6 WIN VS. MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS)
— Feats of Mookie: Getting promoted. Mookie Betts went 1-for-4 with a double in his High-A debut. The 20-year-old forced his way to Salem by hitting .296/.418/.477 with 24 doubles and eight homers in 76 games with Greenville. His OBP ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League. The 2011 fifth-rounder was dominant over his final two months with the Drive, hitting .353 with a .451 OBP, .557 slugging mark and 29 extra-base hits over a 53-game stretch that started on May 5. Betts was also successful on 18 of 20 stolen base attempts prior to his promotion.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero went 3-for-5 with a pair of stolen bases, continuing what has been an excellent second half. In 17 games since the All-Star break, the 2012 first-rounder is now hitting .348/.430/.420 with nine walks, eight strikeouts and nine steals in as many attempts. On the year, Marrero is 16-for-16 in stolen base attempts while hitting .274/.351/.355 and playing excellent defense at short. Given that the Sox viewed him as an exceptionally advanced player when they drafted him — even going so far as to invite him to big league camp this year — there would appear a reasonable chance that Marrero could earn a promotion at some point to Double-A Portland.
— Outfielder Brandon Jacobs likewise continued his second-half push towards a possible promotion, going 2-for-4 with a double and driving in three. He’s hitting .310/.412/.563 with 10 extra-base hits (four homers, six doubles) in 19 games since the break. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks goes off; Jackie Bradley’s power building; milestone for Garin Cecchini; Keury De La Cruz cruising; Manuel Margot holding his own||07.04.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
A quick look at Wednesday’s action in the Red Sox minor league system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-5 WIN VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)
— Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had a milestone day in Pawtucket, going 4-for-5 with two homers (one down the left field line, one to right-center) and a double (to center) while matching a team record by driving in eight runs. In seven games since being sent down, Middlebrooks now has a .333/.375/.767 line with four homers and 13 RBI in 32 plate appearances.
— Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is on a home run binge of his own, having gone deep three times in his last two games after going 2-for-4 with a double, homer and walk on Wednesday. The characteristically patient Bradley appears to be amidst an intriguing stretch of more aggressive plate appearances in which he’s impacting the ball with frequency. In his last nine games, he has just two walks (against nine strikeouts) while having gone deep four times and producing 10 extra-base hits.
In 2012, splitting his year between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, Bradley had nine homers and 55 extra-base hits in 128 games. In 61 games this year (just less than half the contests he played in last year) split between Triple-A and the majors, Bradley has eight homers and 31 extra-base hits.
— Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk. More notably, he played his first career minor league game at a position other than shortstop, serving as the Pawtucket third baseman on Wednesday as the Sox try to get him experience at different positions in order to broaden the number of avenues for him to reach the majors. Bogaerts only had one fielding chance on the night, a pop-up that he caught without incident.
— Outfielder Alex Hassan continues to produce, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. In 15 games with the PawSox, he’s hitting .340/.435/.547 with nine extra-base hits (eight doubles). Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Drake Britton breaking through; Brandon Jacobs heating up; Henry Owens strikes out everyone||06.17.13 at 11:01 am ET|
Drake Britton was dominant for Double-A Portland yet again on Sunday afternoon, tossing seven innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out one. Britton threw 97 pitches with 58 going for strikes.
He saw his 22 2/3 inning scoreless streak reach its terminus (the streak stands as the second-longest in Sea Dogs history) but Britton has allowed only two earned runs in his last five starts, good for a 0.56 ERA since May 25. The lefty has gone seven or more innings in his last three starts, and while he’s 6-5 on the season, he’s won all three of his starts in June. Britton — who features a mid-90s fastball, a slider that he’s commanding with increasing consistency and a changeup that he’s incorporating effectively at times — also hasn’t allowed a home run since May 3, going eight starts without giving up a longball.
Overall on the year, Britton owns a 3.08 ERA with 28 walks and 68 strikeouts in 13 starts. Given the fact that he’s in his second year on the 40-man roster and that he had a solid first stretch in Portland after a mid-year promotion in 2012, Britton very well could be next in line for a promotion from Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket.
His impressive run is somewhat reminiscent of Felix Doubront‘s 2010 season, in which a dominant run in his second year in Portland led to a promotion not only to Triple-A, but soon to the major leagues as well. Britton hasn’t been dominant all season, but the recent stretch of great starts signals that he could be ready for the next level.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
— Outfielder Alex Hassan continued his hit-the-ground-running return from the disabled list after missing two months to open the year. Hassan went 1-for-2 with a two-run double. He’s 4-for-8 with two doubles and a homer in three games with Pawtucket, and he’s collected at least one extra-base hit while driving in at least one run in each of those contests. Overall, in 11 games with the PawSox and Single-A Greenville, the 25-year-old is hitting .484/.610/.710 in 11 games. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: An everyday future for Bryce Brentz?; Drake Britton breaking through; Jackie Bradley streaking||06.12.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with a homer, and is now 5-for-9 with a pair of homers and a double in his last two games. The strong performance for the PawSox right fielder continued an intriguing trend for the potential middle-of-the-order power hitter.
First, the homer came against a right-handed pitcher, and indeed, 11 of Brentz’s 12 homers this year have come against righties. On the year, the right-handed Brentz has a very strong line against righties — .285/.328/.529, albeit with a poor walk rate (5.4 percent of plate appearances) and a high but not outrageous strikeout rate (22.4 percent) — while failing to enjoy, to this point, any platoon advantage against lefties (.263/.333/.421, 7.9 percent walk rate, 23. 8 percent strikeout rate).
That’s a noteworthy reversal of Brentz’s performance of a year ago, when in 127 games (all but five in Double-A), he clubbed lefties at a .315/.372/.621 clip with 11 homers while posting a more modest line of .281/.340/.410 with six homers against righties. In 2011, Brentz likewise exhibited a natural platoon advantage against lefties.
Put another way: If Brentz’s gains this year against righties — specifically, the ability to generate more regular power while more or less sustaining the average and on-base numbers he’d shown in 2012 — are real and sustainable, then it would go a long way towards a future as an impactful everyday player in the big leagues. After all, eventually one would expect his numbers against lefties to catch up to and more likely surpass his numbers against righties. If he is a power-hitting threat against pitchers of both handedness, then his ability to impact a lineup on a regular basis would be brought into sharp relief.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 LOSS (7 INNINGS), RAINOUT AT SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)
— Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 with a double, and he now has one of the more fitful 14 game hitting streaks with Triple-A Pawtucket that one can imagine. The streak began on April 30, when he hit in three straight games before landing on the DL due to biceps tendinitis. After two weeks off, Bradley returned to the PawSox lineup and hit in nine straight games before being called up to the big leagues. He returned to the PawSox lineup after a 10-day hiatus on Sunday, and now has hits in each of his two games back in Triple-A. In addition to the 14-game hitting streak, during which Bradley is hitting .414/.500/.690, the 23-year-old also has a run of doubles in five straight contests. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman promoted; breakthrough for Drake Britton?; Will Middlebrooks’ bat comes alive; Henry Owens has a wild night; Feats of Xander, Mookie||06.06.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Another top Red Sox pitching prospect now stands on the doorstep to the big leagues, with 2012 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year Brandon Workman earning a promotion from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday.
For Workman, who was taken by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2010 draft, consistency has been the key to success throughout the course of his minor league career. In 62 career games between Single-A Greenville, High-A Salem, and Double-A Portland, Workman owns a 21-16 record, while he finished each of the last three years with an ERA under 4.00. This season for Portland, he compiled a 5-1 record and 3.43 ERA through 68 2/3 innings. Workman has exercised outstanding control for Portland this year, ranking near the top of the Eastern League in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4.35, fanning 74 batters (most in the Eastern League) while issuing only 17 free passes.
The promotion is timely for Workman, since the right-hander’s last start for Portland ranks among the best in his minor league career. He went a career-high eight innings while allowing only one run on three hits, while walking two and striking out five.
Workman has shown confidence in all four of his pitches (a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a cutter, a curve, and a change), spending time developing his change-up. A big, strong right-hander, Workman is the type to attack hitters aggressively, throwing a lot of strikes. The Red Sox also like him for his bulldog mentality out on the mound. It’s no secret that the Red Sox have high hopes for Workman; the organization even had him start a big-league spring training game this year to get a closer look at what he can do.
Workman joins a Pawtucket rotation that boasts high-ceiling prospects like Allen Webster, who has been inconsistent throughout the year, and Rubby De La Rosa, who is still working to regain strength and go deep into games. Workman may not have the same kind of ceiling that those standout prospects do, but increasingly, he looks like he is not far away from the big leagues, quite possibly as an innings-eating, solid member of a big league rotation.
What Workman brings to the table is a reliable option for the Red Sox if the need arises, that is, as long as his minor league success follows him to his new club. Workman will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this coming offseason, so the Red Sox will add him to the 40-man roster no later than this offseason. Given that fact, if he represented a useful depth option, the team likely would be comfortable with an aggressive approach to adding him to the big league roster. In other words, the promotion to Pawtucket further underscores the idea that he could help in the big leagues as soon as this year.
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