Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini isn’t sweating numbers; Henry Owens’ Double-A tenure nearing an end?; Sean Coyle’s outrageous run; Manuel Margot’s five-tool breakthrough
|06.25.14 at 12:01 pm ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-6 LOSS VS. NORFOLK (ORIOLES)
— Garin Cecchini, back at third base with Will Middlebrooks missing a second straight game, went 2-for-5 with a triple. It was his first multi-hit game and extra-base hit since June 10.
Cecchini’s numbers this year are surprisingly modest. One year after he tore up High-A and Double-A at a .322/.443/.471 clip that included 47 extra-base hits and more walks (94) than strikeouts (86) en route to the best OBP among full-season minor leaguers, the 23-year-old is hitting just .263 with a .340 OBP and .333 slugging mark along with 11 extra-base hits through 66 games.
After striking out in 15.4 percent of plate appearances a year ago, Cecchini has fanned in 21.9 percent of trips to the dish this year. His walk rate has plummeted from 16.9 percent a year ago to 9.4 percent this year. By virtually any measure, it’s difficult to view his performance this year as anything but a significant dropoff from last year.
Yet evaluators who have seen Cecchini in Pawtucket insist that he continues to have quality plate appearances, and believe that the numbers will eventually follow suit. Cecchini likewise said that he’s comfortable with the fact that he’s been able to hold his own while on something of a player development fast track that has earned him big league callups twice.
“The numbers don’t lie. At the same time, I don’t even know what the average age is up there, but I’m one of the youngest guys [in Pawtucket],” said Cecchini. “Just to have some sort of success against guys that have been to the big leagues and learning the adjustment period . . . I was in High-A last year. The competition there was good, but these guys know how to pitch. They don’t miss over the plate as much. You’ve got to know how to pick your spots and at the same time, you don’t want to second-guess your approach. You want to stay to your approach and that’s what I’ve done.
“I’ve had really good at-bats, I think, through the whole year. I might have had a week stretch where I didn’t have good at-bats and I got away from my approach and that’s what you don’t want to do. They ingrain that in your head at a young age. When you first sign, it’s stick to your same approach. It’s not mechanics. Your swing is fine. Through the week stretch, it wasn’t about mechanics. Nothing was wrong about my swing. It was my approach. It was just one week though.
“Throughout the whole year, I’ve been consistent although I’ve had more strikeouts. I think that, man, if I had seven more hits and I’ve had a lot of line outs, just like everyone, I’m close to hitting .300 again and my on-base percentage is up to .360 again. I don’t really know what the stats are, but I feel like I’ve had a really good year in Triple-A and I’ve been consistent and it’s about sticking to that same approach. That’s what I’ve noticed the most this year. It’s nothing with my swing. They’re getting me out because they are good pitchers and they have to put food on the table also. You’ve got to tip your cap sometimes and also just going back to the approach, stick to your approach.”
— Shane Victorino went 0-for-4 with two groundouts, a strikeout and a flyout while playing six innings. He’s now 0-for-13 with two strikeouts during his current rehab assignment (0-for-10 in Triple-A Pawtucket, 0-for-3 with the Lowell Spinners). He also committed a throwing error on the only ball hit to him, a
— Alex Hassan continued his June performance upswing, going 3-for-5 with a homer and a double while driving in four. The 26-year-old is now hitting .310/.420/.524 this month, boosting his season line to .237/.341/.351.
— Feats of Mookie: Recognition. On a day he had off, Mookie Betts still made news by being named to the All-Star Futures Game. He is the only player in the minors with at least 20 steals, five homers and more walks than strikeouts, and he’s one of three players in the minors with at least 20 steals and 30 extra-base hits.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-1 LOSS VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)
— On a night when Portland could do little against New Hampshire starter Daniel Norris (who had 10 strikeouts), Sean Coyle went 1-for-2 with a single and two walks while stealing a pair of bases.
Since his return from the DL on May 23, Coyle is hitting .364 with a 443 OBP, .636 slugging mark, six homers, 17 extra-base hits and six steals (without getting caught) in 30 games. That run has boosted his season line to .348/.422/.579 with eight homers and 12 steals in as many attempts, a performance that suggests a tremendous offensive ceiling for a 22-year-old second baseman, albeit with an uneven career track record that raises questions about the probability that he’ll reach it.
Still, the profile of a power-hitting second baseman (with the ability to play third) is rare enough — and the performance this year impressive enough — that it’s becoming harder and harder to imagine Coyle not being added to the 40-man roster by the end of the year for the purpose of protecting the 2010 third-rounder from the Rule 5 draft.
— Shortstop Deven Marrero went 1-for-3 with a single and walk, extending his hitting streak to eight games. He did, however, get caught stealing, marking the career-high seventh time this year that he’s been arrested in his attempted larceny. He has 12 steals on the year.
— Left-hander Henry Owens was named to the All-Star Futures Team. The 21-year-old is 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA, 9.3 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine, and he’s held opponents to a .178 average (second lowest among full-season minor leaguers) — one year after he held opponents to a .177 mark in High-A and Double-A. Owens has done everything he can to prove that he’s ready to graduate from Double-A, and one of the noteworthy byproducts of a potential shakeup to the Red Sox‘ big league rotation to keep Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa in the big leagues could be an opportunity to promote Owens to Pawtucket. As such, Owens’ scheduled start at Hadlock Field on Wednesday — his 21st Double-A start — could be his last, or at least close to it (the other side of the July 13 Futures Game represents another logical time for the promotion).
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 10-1 LOSS AT POTOMAC (NATIONALS)
— For the second straight outing, right-hander Pat Light gave up 10 hits, following an eight-run yield last week with a seven-run allowance in 2 1/3 innings on Tuesday. All 10 of the hits were singles, but Light simply isn’t missing bats, and he’s struggling because of it. Opponents are hitting .329 against him, and the towering right-hander has just 4.0 strikeouts per nine innings since his April promotion to Salem en route to a 7.01 ERA.
— Second baseman Reed Gragnani went 2-for-3 with a walk, and he’s reached base in 13 of 21 plate appearance (.619 OBP) in his last five games, arriving at first by walk or hit at least twice in each contest.
— Outfielder Aneury Tavarez went 1-for-4 with a homer, his third in his last 11 contests and his seventh on the year, matching the career-high he set last year (in 125 games in Greenville, compared to just 56 this season in Salem). While he’s shown the ability to impact the ball, he’s also showing little approach, as evidenced by the fact that he has one walk and 18 strikeouts in June. For the year, the 22-year-old is hitting .227/.266/.412.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-4 LOSS AT ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES)
— Outfielder Manuel Margot continued his most impressive stretch in his two seasons in the States, going 2-for-4 with a triple and a homer to center. The 19-year-old is hitting .380 with a .446 OBP, .640 slugging mark, two homers and seven extra-base hits during a 13-game stretch in which he’s reached base in every contest. The run has boosted his season line to .276/.345/.425 with six homers and 25 steals (in 29 attempts) in 62 games.
— Right-hander Jamie Callahan was roughed up for five runs on seven hits (six singles and a double) while walking three and striking out one, as his ERA rose to 6.79 for the year with a 2-7 record. While he at least elicited swings and misses through the first two months of this season of struggle (45 punchouts in 45 1/3 innings in April and May), he’s seen his strikeout rate fall to 5.4 per nine innings in June.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 12-4 LOSS VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)
— Center fielder Andres Torres went 2-for-5 with a double and homer, as the 36-year-old improved to .211/.250/.474 in his first five games since joining the Spinners. Though a switch-hitter whom the Sox signed largely because of his ability to deliver production against left-handed pitchers, Torres has had just one plate appearances thus far (out of 20 overall) against lefties.
— Outfielder Danny Mars, a 20-year-old outfielder out of Chipola College whom the Sox took in the sixth round, had a tremendous pro debut, going 3-for-3 with a double, triple and steal.
— Left fielder Bryan Hudson, a 2013 15th-round selection, went 3-for-4 with a walk and a steal. The 19-year-old is hitting .321 with a .457 OBP.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 5-3 WIN AT GCL RAYS
— Shortstop Javier Guerra went 1-for-4 with his third extra-base hit in four games, pulling a line drive double to right after his first two extra-base hits had been to the opposite field. The 18-year-old is 4-for-15 (.267) through four games.
— Toolsy 19-year-old outfielder Joseph Monge, a 2013 17th-rounder out of Puerto Rico, had his first pro homer as part of a 2-for-4 day.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-2 LOSS AT DSL NATIONALS
— Rafael Devers watch: Still in the DSL. The 17-year-old went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk on Tuesday, and he now has a well-distributed collection of nine extra-base hits, with three doubles, three triples and three homers. He’s reached base in 20 of 21 games, with a line of .346/.450/.568.
— While Devers has been the clear headliner in the DSL, 17-year-old Luis Alexander Basabe is having a year that is nearly as impressive. The switch-hitter went 1-for-3 with his seventh (not a misprint) triple of the year, got hit by a pitch and stole a base on Tuesday, improving his line to .311/.448/.527. He has more walks (19) than strikeouts (18), and he has nine extra-base hits and eight steals (while getting caught once) in 20 games.
— Right-hander Gerson Bautista keeps putting up zeroes. He allowed one hit in six shutout innings on Tuesday, walking two and striking out four, and in 21 innings this year, the 19-year-old has yet to allow an earned run. Opponents are hitting .104 against him.
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