Red Sox minor league roundup: Blake Swihart powers up; Sean Coyle’s patience; Mookie Betts makes Triple-A debut; Garin Cecchini slumping; Deven Marrero, doubles machine
|06.04.14 at 8:54 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-2 LOSS AT DURHAM (RAYS)
– Feats of Mookie: Adjusting. Mookie Betts made his Triple-A debut at second base, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He did initiate a pair of 4-6-3 double plays and recorded seven assists.
Betts made the jump from Double-A to Triple-A after spending less time in Portland than any other top Red Sox prospect in recent years. He spent just 54 games in Portland, graduating from Double-A faster than Jackie Bradley Jr. (61 games), Garin Cecchini (66), Dustin Pedroia (66), Jacoby Ellsbury (67) and Xander Bogaerts (79).
– Third baseman Garin Cecchini went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and an error (his ninth) in his first start since being sent back down to Pawtucket from the big leagues. The 23-year-old is amidst an atypical stretch — he’s gone 11 straight games without a walk, and he’s struck out nine times during that run. He’s 8-for-43 with a double (.186/.186/.209) during the slide — with, of course, a brief interruption for a double in two at-bats in the big leagues.
– First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-4, giving him hits in seven of nine games since his promotion to Triple-A. He was the only PawSox with a multi-hit game.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 11-9 LOSS VS. ERIE (TIGERS)
– Catcher Blake Swihart snapped out of a 2-for-15 funk by going 2-for-5 with a double and his sixth homer of the season. The homer came against a left-handed pitcher, with five of the switch-hitter’s six longballs now having come while batting from his natural (right-handed) side. Swihart is hitting .333/.375/.633 with four walks and five strikeouts from the right side, and .265/.297/.398 with five walks and 20 strikeouts while batting left-handed. With six homers, he’s already tripled his home run total from 2013 (2).
Interestingly, though his average is very similar to what it was last year in High-A (.289 this year vs. .298 with Salem) and his OPS is likewise in line with what it was a year ago (.804 this year, .794 this year), the means by which he’s achieved that OPS are very different. In Salem, he had a .366 OBP and .428 slugging mark; in Portland, he has a .324 OBP (below the league average of .328) but a stout .480 slugging percentage.
– Sean Coyle, playing second base for the first time since April 11 (an opportunity that coincided with Betts’ promotion to Triple-A), went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk. Coyle has been producing extra-base hits with startling regularity since coming off the DL, amassing nine (eight doubles and a homer) in his 11 games since returning. Of course, he’s shown extra-base pop with reasonable consistency throughout his Red Sox career. As intriguing as the power is the fact that in recent games, he’s combined it with a disciplined approach in the batter’s box. He has walked in each of his last three games and four of his last five; he has struck out in just one of his last five games. In 29 games this year, he’s hitting .367/.431/.571 with 14 extra-base hits in 29 games.
– Shortstop Deven Marrero went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. He’s up to 20 extra-base hits in 46 games this year, and is close to matching his total of 22 extra-base hits in 104 games from a year ago. Marrero now has three straight multi-hit games in which he’s collecting doubles like crazy — he’s 7-for-14 with four doubles in his last three contests. For the year, the 23-year-old is hitting .269/.351/.403. Marrero’s 17 doubles rank fourth in the Eastern League.
– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz went 2-for-4 with a double, improving to 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles since joining Portland following his recovery from a broken wrist to start the season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 6-4 WIN VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES)
– Though left-hander Corey Littrell allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, his outing featured a season-high nine strikeouts and, for the first time in his 10 outings, he did not walk a batter. The 22-year-old, a 2013 fifth-rounder, now has 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings this year. While his ERA is 4.09, it’s inflated largely by one off-the-rails start (eight runs in 3 1/3 innings); without that hiccup, he would have a sub-3.00 ERA. Tuesday marked the fifth time in Littrell’s 10 starts that he’d submitted a quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs).
– Second baseman Reed Gragnani, 23, went 1-for-4 with a double to sustain his league-best batting average at .337.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 3-1 WIN VS LEXINGTON (ROYALS)
– Left-hander Trey Ball, the Red Sox’ 2013 first-rounder, had his best pro outing to date. He tossed five shutout innings, allowing four hits (three singles and a double) while punching out three and walking one. He threw 45 of 69 pitches (65 percent) for strikes. The outing marked the first time of the season that Ball — who has a 2.00 WHIP this year — didn’t allow more baserunners than innings pitched.
– Third baseman Carlos Asuaje went 2-for-4 with a triple while driving in three. The 22-year-old, a 2013 11th-rounder, is tied for second in the minors in triples with eight.
– First baseman Jantzen Witte went 1-for-4 with a double, his 24th two-bagger of the year — the second highest total in the minors. The 24-year-old is hitting .361/.451/.598.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-3 LOSS AT DSL NATIONALS
– Rafael Devers, the 17-year-old slugging third base prospect, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a steal while also getting hit by a pitch. He’s reached base at least three times in all three games to start his pro career.
– Left-hander Emmanuel De Jesus, a 17-year-old whom the Red Sox signed out of Venezuela last year with good size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and the potential for a solid three-pitch mix (he threw a fastball in the mid- to high-80s at the time of his signing with feel for a curveball and changeup) made his pro debut. De Jesus allowed four runs on six hits (five singles and a homer) in 3 1/3 innings, but he walked just one and punched out five.
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