Red Sox minor league roundup: The asterisk in Sean Coyle’s breakout; Allen Webster’s consistency; Daniel McGrath impressing
|07.04.14 at 5:25 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS)
— Allen Webster was slightly wild but very effective on Thursday, going 5 1/3 innings while allowing just one run on two hits, though he walked three and hit a batter. He fanned six. The only damage against Webster came in the form of a home run, the eighth he’s allowed this season. Webster, who has held lefties to a .209/.258/.301 line while righties have hit .251/.348/408 against him, had his work cut out for him against a Rochester lineup that featured eight right-handed hitters.
Three of Webster’s six strikeouts were swinging, and he recorded eight swinging strikes on the night. According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, four of Webster’s punchouts came on his slider. Aside from the solo home run, Webster cruised through five, but ran into trouble in the sixth when he walked the leadoff man and hit the following batter. He induced a fly ball out before being lifted.
Webster has allowed more than three earned runs in just one start this season, and has allowed two or fewer in 14 of his 18 outings. Through 104 innings of work this season, Webster owns a 2.86 ERA and 1.212 WHIP, striking out an average of 7.5 batters per nine innings.
— Christian Vazquez continues to heat up at the plate, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Over his last 14 games, the PawSox catcher is hitting .319 with three doubles and a pair of home runs while drawing walks in 15 percent of plate appearances. Since the beginning of June, Vazquez has produced steadily, hitting .298 with a .368 OBP in 24 games.
— Miguel Celestino made his Pawtucket debut after recently being promoted from Double-A, and took the loss after allowing a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings of work in relief of Webster. He was able to work out of a one-out, two-on jam in the sixth, preventing either of the inherited runners to score. But a pair of doubles in the seventh led to the deciding run. The big righty had been solid in 29 1/3 innings for Portland this season, posting a 3.07 ERA while fanning an average of almost 10 1/2 batters per nine innings.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-0 LOSS AT TRENTON (YANKEES)
— Sean Coyle went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Why was that noteworthy? After 56 games, his OBP is now .428 — an increase of more than 100 points over his .321 mark in 48 games last year in High-A Salem. But the walk was just Coyle’s 24th of the year — matching his total from his 2013 time in Salem in a nearly identical (223 in 2014, 224 in 2013 in Salem) number of plate appearances. So, his walk rate is basically unchanged from what it was a year ago, at a time when his approach yielded his second straight year of displaying considerable power potential but disappointing results in Salem.
This year, there has been evidence of improved at-bat management in the form of an 18 percent drop in his strikeout rate (he had 65 last year, 53 this year), but even that would seem unlikely to explain why he has 20 more hits this year than he did in nearly the same number of at-bats and plate appearances as in Salem last year.
Certainly there appears to be greater consistency of hard contact as well — but probably not enough to explain the shift in Coyle’s batting average on balls in play, which is at an astounding .435 this year compared to .284 a year ago. In other words, while there has been improvement in Coyle’s at-bat management, there also appears to have been some favorable fortune to his standout year.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: RAINED OUT
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 3-1 LOSS VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES)
— Though he suffered his fourth loss of the season, Daniel McGrath turned in a very solid performance, going seven innings, which stands as the longest outing of his professional career. He allowed two runs on six hits, walking just one and punching out a pair. The 19-year-old lefty has allowed just five earned runs over his last 23 1/3 innings (a 1.93 ERA), holding opponents to a .205 average and fanning 17. McGrath, who is almost three years younger than the average age of a player in the South Atlantic League, has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his nine outings this season, posting a 3.33 ERA and 1.174 WHIP in 46 innings.
— First baseman Aneudis Peralta was the only member of the Drive with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and scoring Greenville’s only run. The pair of hits broke a mini 2-for-12 slump for the 20-year-old, who has hit .267/.323/.333 in 21 games in his first season in Single-A.
— Manuel Margot went hitless on the night, flying out, grounding out and popping up to the infield twice. The 19-year-old center fielder has hit a little bit of a skid as of late, batting just .194 with a .219 OBP over his last eight contests, though two of the six hits he’s had have gone for extra bases. The slump follows a stretch of torrid hitting from Margot, a span of 13 games during which he went 19-for-50. Margot’s line through 70 games this season has dipped to .266/.331/.417.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 6-4 WIN VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 1-0 LOSS (11 INNINGS) AT GCL ORIOLES
— Right-hander Ty Buttrey, rehabbing in the GCL, tossed two perfect innings with three strikeouts. Prior to landing on the DL, the 2012 fourth-rounder had been tattooed for an 11.91 ERA in four starts spanning just 11 1/3 innings.
– Left fielder Juan Perez went 4-for-4 with a double, triple and six RBIs in his first stint as a hitter. He also drew a walk and hit a sacrifice fly.
– Outfielder Yoan Aybar celebrated his 17th birthday with a 2-for-3 showing, scoring four times and driving in three with a double and a triple. He also worked a walk and hit a sac fly. Aybar has put together multi-hit performances in his last three games, and is hitting .348 with six extra-base hits over his last 12 contests. He’s totaled seven doubles and three triples through his first 81 plate appearances in professional ball, hitting .333/.370/.507.
– Serving as the DH, Raiwinson Lameda added to the hit parade, going 3-for-4 with a double and RBI. In his second year in the DSL, Lameda has shown improvements at the plate; he hit just .220 with a .282 OBP and .300 slugging mark in 56 games a season ago. He’s already racked up seven extra-base hits in just 76 appearances, or a base hit every 11 plate appearances. That number sat at 17 last season. The 18-year-old’s base stealing has also come along; he swiped eight bags in 2013 with a success rate of just 62 percent. He’s stolen five times without being caught in 19 games this season.
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