Red Sox minor league roundup: Christian Vazquez, game-changer behind the plate; Craig Breslow says he’s ready; Salem silently streaks towards history
|04.08.14 at 10:37 am ET|
A brief look at the limited action in the Red Sox system on Monday:
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— Catcher Christian Vazquez, who had been batting seventh in his first three games of the year, was moved up to the second spot in the batting order. The upward drift did not go seamlessly, as Vazquez — who was 5-for-11 in his first three games — went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. The whiffs represented something of an aberration, given that Vazquez has very good hand/eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills. He hadn’t struck out three (or more) times in a game since July 28, 2012, when he was in High-A.
Of course, on a day when he struggled offensively, Vazquez (who has currently caught two of the six runners trying to steal on him) once again underscored why he has emerged as such a promising prospect. His positive impact on the game still resonated for the PawSox, as he caught one runner attempting to steal second and picked off another from first.
“I want to throw everybody out. … It’s like, I want to walk everyone so they go to second base. Go! Go! I want to throw you out,” Vazquez said in spring training. “I love [the responsibilities of being a catcher. There are eight people in front of you. You need to call a good game to win. You have a lot of responsibility there. It’s exciting to be that man, be that leader in the field. I love it.”
— Left-hander Craig Breslow tossed a perfect first inning, requiring just 10 pitches (6 strikes) to record a pair of groundball outs and a flyout. He’s now logged three scoreless appearances on his Triple-A rehab assignment, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing one hit and two walks. He’s struck out a batter. Breslow feels ready for activation from the DL — particularly since he’s merely building arm strength rather than recovering from an injury.
“I hope so,” Breslow told the Providence Journal. “At this point it becomes John [Farrell] and Ben [Cherington]‘s decision. As far as I’m concerned, I feel good, I feel healthy, I feel I’m ready to help the team up there but it’s not a decision for me to make.”
— Bryce Brentz went 0-for-3, and is now just 2-for-17 (.118 average) with no extra-base hits through five games. However, there is an intriguing caveat to his offensive struggles — the notoriously free-swinging Brentz has walked three times and struck out just twice in 20 plate appearances. The 25-year-old discussed this spring how he used an offseason stint in the Dominican to try to become a more patient hitter.
— Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 1-for-4 with a single, extending his hitting streak to five games. As perhaps the most consistent hitting prospect in the Red Sox’ system, streaks are a thing for Cecchini — both of the consecutive games on base and hit varieties. He’s off to a .438/.526/.500 start in Pawtucket.
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HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF DAY
— The Salem team is not a prospect-laden one, but that fact has resulted in opportunities for players who have not enjoyed steady playing time to date, with the possibility of some interesting stories of late-emerging future big leaguers. Aaron McFarling of the Roanoke Times offers a recommended profile of Salem catcher Carson Blair, a player who, in his seventh pro season, is getting his first everyday opportunity, and is trying to take advantage of a chance to turn heads. (Blair was identified by multiple evaluators as a breakout candidate among Sox minor leaguers.)
— Salem play-by-play man Evan Lepler is working tirelessly in an effort to get the world to notice Salem’s 15-game winning streak. Here is his latest effort to do so. With a win on Tuesday, Salem would tie the Carolina League record for most consecutive victories — though the two-year nature of the streak makes it a historiological conundrum.
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