Red Sox minor league roundup: Rubby De La Rosa dominating; feats of Mookie Betts; Jamie Callahan strikes out everyone
|04.11.14 at 12:10 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Friday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-4 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
— When Rubby De La Rosa opened the 2014 season with five dominating innings in which he yielded neither a run nor a walk, the Red Sox were thrilled, but with a caveat — they wanted to see him do it again. On Thursday, he did just that. De La Rosa logged a strong 5 2/3 innings in which he once again attacked his opponents, allowing just one run while permitting two hits (both singles) and walking two while retiring the last 12 batters he faced. He punched out four. In two starts so far, the 25-year-old has allowed one run in 10 2/3 innings (0.84 ERA) while punching out nine and walking two. He’s given up just four hits, with opponents hitting .111 against him to date this season. And he’s been an absolute groundball machine, with 14 of his 15 outs recorded by strikeout or groundball in his first outing and 15 of his 17 outs recorded by strikeout or groundball on Thursday.
— Brock Holt added to his strong start to the year by going 3-for-5; he’s now 9-for-22 with a .409/.500/.500 line in 26 plate appearances. Holt did strike out for the first time of the season on Thursday. His nine hits in six games are one shy of the number he amassed in 20 games for Pawtucket last April.
— Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-5 and clubbed his first homer of the year. He’s now 3-for-9 with a double and homer — his first two extra-base hits of the year — in his last two games.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-4 WIN VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)
— Feats of Mookie: Breaking the opposition’s spirit. Mookie Betts employed what may have been Jedi mind tricks to leave New Britain’s center fielder unable to track his fly ball through the wind, resulting in a triple, and then scored when the relay home skipped past the third baseman. Betts went 2-for-4, adding a triple, and he’s reached base multiple times in six of his seven games this year while posting a ludicrous .464/.531/.750 line through seven games. The 21-year-old is leading the Eastern League in average and slugging while ranking second in OBP.
— Right-hander Keith Couch is opening his second straight year in Double-A Portland, and he’s spent much of the last two seasons in the opportunistic pursuit of innings in Portland and Pawtucket. But despite the fact that he’s seen other prospects pass him, Couch, 24, has delivered the sort of solid, steady performances that eventually could earn him opportunities at higher levels.
For his second straight start to open this year, Couch tossed 5 2/3 innings in which he permitted just one unearned run. He allowed five hits — three singles, two doubles — while recording five strikeouts and walking just one. And so, two starts into the year, he has a tidy 0.00 ERA with 11 punchouts and two walks in 11 1/3 innings. Dating to last year, in 141 innings with Portland, he’s 13-3 with a 3.19 ERA, 6.6 strikeouts per nine and 2.9 walks per nine.
He doesn’t feature the kind of plus arsenal that will land him on prospect rankings lists — he works with a low-90s fastball with sink, slider and changeup — but he is emerging as the sort of reliable performer and strike thrower whom it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one day in the big leagues.
— Third baseman Sean Coyle had his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and driving in a run. The 22-year-old also committed his first error of the year at his new position of third base.
— Though he lasted just 3 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on a day when he struggled with his control (three walks), right-hander Luis Diaz was not charged with any earned runs. That outing, coming on the heels of his season-opening five scoreless frames, gives Diaz 15 consecutive starts dating to last year in which he’s permitted three or fewer earned runs, with a 1.04 ERA spanning 86 1/3 innings in that time. He has a streak of three consecutive regular season starts in which he hasn’t given up an earned run as well.
— Right-hander Madison Younginer tossed three scoreless innings with three punchouts and retired the final seven batters he faced. The 23-year-old, between the end of last year and start of this year, has flashed some of the promise that led the Sox to sign him for a $975,000 bonus after they drafted him out of high school in the ninth round of the 2009 draft. He has four scoreless appearances this year in which he’s struck out five and walked none. Given that he’s old for the level and that he performed well in his second-half promotion to Salem last year (13 games, 3.52 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 11 walks in 23 innings), Younginer could represent an early-season candidate for a promotion to Portland.
— Outfielder Matty Johnson celebrated his 26th birthday by going 4-for-5 while driving in three. He’s hitting .323/.371/.419 this year.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 7-6 WIN (10 INNINGS) VS. KANNAPOLIS (WHITE SOX)
— Right-hander Jamie Callahan punched out a career-high 11 batters, tied for the most strikeouts in Greenville Drive history (matching the record set previously by right-hander Pete Ruiz in 2010). His fastball sat mostly around 91-92 mph, but he did run it up to 95 mph and it was a clear swing-and-miss offering. Of the 14 swings and misses, 12 came on his fastball.
Callahan allowed one run on five hits (three singles, two doubles) and a walk in five innings of work, throwing 54 of 78 (69 percent) of his pitches for strikes. The outing represented a noteworthy rebound from an Opening Day struggle in which the 19-year-old allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings while enduring an uncharacteristic struggle with his command.
— Outfielder Bo Greenwell, who joined Greenville on Thursday morning after opening the year in Double-A, delivered a walkoff single as part of a 2-for-5 day. The 25-year-old, who is the son of former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell, told greenvilleonline.com that he had been up since 4:30 a.m. to join the Drive after getting three hours of sleep.
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