Red Sox minor league affiliate roster analysis: Double-A Portland Sea Dogs
|04.01.14 at 10:16 am ET|
The Sea Dogs roster:
Keury De La Cruz
Top Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens is, of course, the headliner as he returns to the affiliate where he spent the last month of 2013. The 6-foot-7 left-hander was 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA, 13.6 strikeouts per nine and 4.5 walks per nine after his late-season promotion from High-A Salem. Given that he was able to move up mid-season in 2013, it wouldn’t be a shock if the 21-year-old pushed his way up to Triple-A Pawtucket — or even the big leagues — if he can post another strong year.
The biggest future impact from the rest of the season-opening Portland pitching staff in the big leagues likely will be in the bullpen, where arms like Noe Ramirez and Michael Olmsted could come to represent big league relief depth in the not-too-distant future.
Position Player Analysis
The entirety of the infield in Portland is intriguing. Second baseman Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart, both members of the vaunted 2011 draft class who were taken out of high school (along with Owens), offer the Sox fascinatingly athletic up-the-middle players who just started to scrape the surface of their talents in 2013. Betts is a dynamic second baseman whose prospect status blew up last year thanks to an ability to command the strike zone and smash strikes, showing surprising power for a player who is lean and short of six feet. He’s also the Sox’ best base-stealing threat in the minors. Though he spent just two months in High-A last year, he performed at such an outrageous level in both Salem and in the Arizona Fall League that he made an assignment in Portland a no-brainer. Swihart represents a well above-average two-way prospect whose defense made enormous strides in 2013 to the point where it’s easy to project it as above-average; meanwhile, though the switch-hitter’s swing was geared mostly for screaming line drives into the gap, he shows the potential for uncommon offense from a catcher, hitting for average and solid on-base numbers with the potential for power to come down the road.
The infield is rounded out by shortstop Deven Marrero — who made a tremendous impression in spring training this year, and could become a consideration for the big league roster if there were an injury to Xander Bogaerts given that his defense is the best of any shortstop in the Sox’ system — third baseman Sean Coyle, who has been largely relocated from second to accommodate Betts and first baseman Travis Shaw, who maintains some offensive potential but will have to rebound from a tough 2013 in Portland if he wants to sustain his prospect status.
The outfield doesn’t have a heralded group, but switch-hitter Henry Ramos has the tools — defensive range, a strong outfield arm, speed, raw power and signs (though inconsistent) that he has a decent sense of the strike zone — to emerge as a late-blooming prospect.
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