Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts makes his McCoy debut, Blake Swihart on a roll, Pat Light struggling to find consistency
|06.08.14 at 11:59 am ET|
Here’s a brief look at the action across the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.
— Travis Shaw continues to hold his own in Triple-A, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two singles on Saturday, his second multi-hit performances in as many games. While Shaw has been hitting for a solid average in Pawtucket, the power has yet to totally translate to the new league. Shaw has three doubles and a home runs in 50 at-bats since his promotion (he’d clubbed 11 home runs and eight doubles in 47 games with the Sea Dogs this season), and he’s been without an extra-base hit in his last six games.
— Mookie Betts was hitless in his McCoy debut, but his first plate appearance in front of the Pawtucket fans was an eight-pitch walk off of starter Jair Jurrjens, a guy who has had some major league success. Though he wouldn’t reach base the rest of the afternoon, the walk continues a remarkable trend that Betts has displayed. At every level he’s played at, Betts has racked up more walks than he has strikeouts. Though it’s an obviously small sample size, Betts now has walked three times in 24 plate appearances in Triple-A while fanning just twice.
Betts manned center field for the third consecutive game (though didn’t see much action, recording just one putout); he’s now seen more time in center than at second base with Pawtucket.
— Starter Matt Barnes enjoyed one of his better outings this season, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out three. For the second straight start, Barnes did not walk a single batter. Barnes cruised through his first four innings without allowing a hit, but ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing a single and double. That double was the only extra-base hit allowed by Barnes on the afternoon. The right-hander earned his first win since his 2014 debut.
— Shortstop Carlos Rivero had a huge game, going 3-for-4 with a bases-loaded triple and driving in five runs in total on the day. The 26-year-old is batting .221/.285/.316 in 45 games between Pawtucket and Portland this season.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-7 LOSS VS. BOWIE (ORIOLES)
— Blake Swihart had just one hit on the day, but that hit was a huge one, driving in three runs with a bases-clearing triple.
The 22-year-old has been productive all season long, but he’s been especially hot lately, batting .339/.373/.536 over his last 13 games. With runners in scoring position this season, Swihart is hitting .357 with 10 extra-base hits, driving in 26 runs. He’s got 31 RBIs in total on the season.
— Center fielder Derrik Gibson went 3-for-5 with a double atop the Sea Dogs lineup, his first extra-base hit in 14 games. Gibson has been on fire over his last few games, going 10-for-22 with five runs driven in. The 24-year-old is batting a very solid .290 with a .375 OBP in his third season with the Sea Dogs.
— Though the Sea Dogs couldn’t score any runs after the fifth, Noe Ramirez nailed down the last 2 2/3 innings of the contest, allowing just one hit and a walk while punching out four. The right-hander has been dominant over his last 20 innings, holding the opposition to a .162 average and .465 OPS while posting a 0.90 ERA. The 24-year-old doesn’t overpower hitters; he’s averaging less than a strikeout per inning at eight per nine. But hitters haven’t been making solid contact against him. Ramirez has allowed eight extra-base hits on the season, with all of those coming as doubles. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last 42 2/3 innings, dating back to last season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 7-6 WIN AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)
— Catcher Carson Blair went 3-for-4 with a double, driving in a run. He also walked, though it was of the intentional variety. Blair has had a strange season; he’s batting just .210 through 33 games, yet his OBP remains at a decent .340 mark, and 18 of his 25 hits have gone for extra bases. He’s already exhibited far more power than he did in 2013; he’s smacked five home runs, a triple and 12 doubles, whereas he totaled 10 doubles, two triples and four home runs in 44 games a year ago. He’s stepped up the production in the last week or so, however, going 12-for-29 with seven extra-base hits and 13 runs driven in over his last seven contests.
— Aneury Tavarez had a big day, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, his first multi-hit performance since May 23. The 22-year-old has struggled at the plate in High-A, batting a pedestrian .204/.249/.364 in 43 games this season.
— Right-hander Pat Light was roughed up in his 11th start of the season, lasting five innings and allowing five earned runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out three. The strikeouts have dropped significantly since Light’s promotion to Salem; he was averaging almost 10 per nine innings, while that mark has sat between eight and nine in his last two seasons. In eight games with Salem, however, that number has been just about cut in half, with Light averaging just 4 1/2 strikeouts per nine.
The 2012 first-rounder hasn’t experienced much sustained success at any level in the minors, save for his first pro year with the Lowell Spinners. Prior to Saturday’s outing, Light owned a 4.74 ERA in seven starts with Salem, but his five runs and eight hits allowed both represented High-A worsts for the 23-year-old.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-3 WIN AT ROME (BRAVES)
— Kendrick Perkins had three hits on the day, including a home run, his fourth of the season. With the longball, Perkins now has tied his career high for home runs in a season. Perkins has been raking lately, going 15-for-his-last-34 (a .441 average) with two home runs and a double. With the hot streak, he’s improved his line on the season to an impressive .316/.370/.480 through 30 games. Perkins’ high OBP is somewhat surprising, seeing as how the outfielder has drawn only four walks in 109 plate appearances,
— Manuel Margot had two hits on the day (both singles) while scoring a run and swiping his 19th base of the season. Margot is stealing just as many bases as he has in the past; he stole 18 in 48 games last season and 33 in 68 games the year before. But he’s been much more successful in 2014, stealing safely in 82 percent of attempts compared to a 69 percent mark a year ago and a 79 percent mark in 2012.
— Myles Smith was shaky in his fourth start of the season, going five innings and allowing three runs on six hits while walking three and fanning just one. The walks have been a major issue for Smith, the Red Sox‘ fourth-round pick in last year’s draft. The 22-year-old has given out 35 free passes in just 42 1/3 innings, all while striking out just 26 batters. He’s given up walks in every single appearance this season, whether it was a relief effort or a start.
— More of the same from Rafael Devers. The third baseman continued his stellar start, going 2-for-4 with a triple, his third in just 27 at-bats this season. The 17-year-old has been outstanding through his first seven professional games, batting .481/.559/.852 with five extra-base hits and five walks. He’s had a hit in every game so far.
— Starter Jhonathan Diaz lasted five innings, allowing three runs (just two earned) on six hits while striking out four. The 17-year-old has yet to walk a batter through two starts (10 innings) in his first professional season.
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