Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts streaking again; Blake Swihart’s new power standard; Nick Longhi makes early mark
|06.17.14 at 10:56 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-1 LOSS AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)
— Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino both went 0-for-2 in their rehab games. Middlebrooks spent four innings at third base, while Victorino spent five playing right field. The two players are expected to play again on Tuesday, have an off day and then play in three straight games starting on Wednesday.
— Feats of Mookie: Being exceptional. Through eight innings, the PawSox had two hits against Twins prospect Trevor May. Both were from Mookie Betts, who had a double and triple before adding a ninth-inning walk against the right-hander and ultimately scoring his team’s only run. With the 2-for-3 performance, Betts (who played second base on Monday) has a .292/.404/.479 line and has reached base in all 13 games he’s played in Triple-A.
— Right-hander Allen Webster submitted another solid start, allowing two runs on seven hits (including three doubles and a homer) in six innings while walking one and striking out five. He threw 59 of 94 pitches (63 percent) for strikes. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his last four starts, with a 2.42 ERA with 24 strikeouts and eight walks in 26 innings during the run. For the year, he’s 3-4 with a 2.94 ERA. His stuff, according to an NL scout, hasn’t had the same electricity that he had last year, but he’s been more consistent with his location and strike-throwing this year.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-7 LOSS (WALKOFF) AT ERIE (TIGERS)
— An NL scout who recently saw the Sea Dogs play emerged raving about catcher Blake Swihart, suggesting of his far-reaching tools — including the ability to impact the ball, hit for power, show strong technical catching skills including excellent catch-and-throw skills to control the running game, and running well, “He’s unique.”
The 22-year-old continued his head-turning season by going 2-for-5 and launching his eighth homer of the season, establishing a new career high (surpassing the seven he hit in Single-A Greenville in 2012, and significantly improving upon the two he hit last year for Double-A Salem). The catcher is an aggressive hitter, and his on-base skills may ultimately be dependent on his ability to hit for average, but his offense has nonetheless been impressive given his position and the complementary skills he possesses. Swihart is now hitting .294/.330/.495, and the switch-hitter is now holding his own against righties (.290/.327/.449) after struggling against them earlier in the year.
— Sean Coyle extended his hitting streak to eight, going 2-for-4 with a homer (his sixth in 39 games) and a walk (of the intentional variety). Coyle has homered in consecutive games. The 22-year-old, who hit in the .240s in each of the last three years (in 2011 in Single-A Greenville, and in 2012-13 in High-A Salem) is more than 100 points better than that this year, hitting .353/.408/.568 with six homers and 18 extra-base hits in 39 games. He did commit his seventh error of the season.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero went 3-for-5 with a triple to improve his season line to .270/.353/.396. He now has 22 extra-base hits, meaning that in 55 games in Portland, he’s matched the number of extra-base hits he had in nearly twice as many games (104) in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland last year, when he hit .252/.338/.317.
— For the first time this year, right-hander Keith Couch struggled, with the 23-year-old getting knocked out after just 3 1/3 innings in which he allowed seven runs on 10 hits and three walks without striking out a batter. He took a no-decision.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: ALL-STAR BREAK
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: ALL-STAR BREAK
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-3 LOSS AT TRI-CITY (ASTROS)
— Corner outfielder Nick Longhi, 18, continued his strong start, going 1-for-4 while lining a double to center. He now has four extra-base hits in as many games, offering an early indication of his uncommon ability to drive the ball. He’s 6-for-16 with three doubles and a triple so far, hitting .375 with a .353 OBP and .688 slugging mark through four games.
“We have a kid that has really strong hands, and he has a short swing to be able to drive the baseball. It doesn’t manufacture big length to get the barrel there. It’s fairly short. And the ball sounds different off his bat. He’s a guy we’re very excited about,” said Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers in this Minor Details podcast. “He’s very young and he’s still learning about the game. He’s learning about his strengths and weaknesses. When he figures it out, he’s one that we’re excited about watching him progress in Lowell and further.”
— A year ago in the Gulf Coast League, left-hander Randy Perez showed a distinctive ability to get bad contact and groundballs in volume. That skill presented itself again on Monday in Lowell, with the 20-year-old allowing one run on just three hits in five innings and eliciting eight outs via groundball and another three on strikeouts.
— Shortstop Raymel Flores went 2-for-4, posting Lowell’s only multi-hit game of the year, and added his first extra-base hit (a double) of the year. Flores has hit in all four games, with the 19-year-old going 5-for-13 with a .385/.500/.462 line in those four games.
— More of the same from Rafael Devers, who went 2-for-4 with a double and walk while driving in a run to boost his line to .415/.522/.736 with eight extra-base hits, 13 walks, seven strikeouts and 20 RBIs. Devers has reached base in all 14 games, collecting multiple hits in half (7) of them.
— For the first time this year, both Basabe twins were in the lineup, with center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe going 2-for-4 with a walk and triple and second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe going 2-for-3 with a steal.
— Outfielder Yoan Aybar, who turns 17 next month, went 1-for-3 with his fourth double of the season and negotiated a walk. The athletic 16-year-old has hits in all six games in which he’s played, along with four doubles, while hitting .348/.400/.522.
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