Red Sox minor league roundup: Sean Coyle, Rafael Devers keep mashing; Javier Guerra’s big ceiling
|07.06.14 at 12:04 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-6 LOSS AT SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)
– Making his way back to the Red Sox after suffering a broken right foot, Mike Carp went 2-for-4 with a home run on Saturday. Prior to the multi-hit performance, Carp had been just 1-for-13 in five rehab games with the PawSox. Carp played left field and stayed in the game for a full nine innings. His progress will be reevaluated after the weekend to determine when he’ll be ready to return to the major league club. Carp has been sidelined since June 2.
– Will Middlebrooks is also making progress in his return from a fractured finger, but had an ugly day at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s 3-for-12 since beginning a new rehab assignment after some discomfort in his fractured finger forced him to take a week off.
– Travis Shaw smacked his second home run in his last four games, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo shot to right, the first baseman’s sixth home run in Triple-A and 17th overall. Shaw is 6-for-17 in his last five games with five RBIs and two walks after drawing just six free passes in 27 games last month. Shaw isn’t quite showing the power he displayed earlier this season in Double-A, where he posted a .548 slugging percentage in 47 games, and has seen his strikeouts go up quite a bit (he fanned just 11 percent of the time with Portland this season, a number that’s jumped to 27 percent in 38 Triple-A contests). But Shaw is still hitting .269 with a .455 slugging percentage since being promoted.
– Anthony Ranaudo has been pretty dominant since late April, but faltered on Saturday, allowing five runs (which ties a season high — he also allowed five runs in back-to-back outings in April) on seven hits and a walk in six innings of work. He did manage to rack up six strikeouts, the sixth time he’s had that many or more in an outing. It was just the third time this season Ranaudo allowed seven or more hits.
Prior to the rough outing, Ranaudo had compiled the best ERA in the International League since April 19 with a stellar 1.67 mark in 81 innings (14 starts). Even with the five runs allowed on Saturday, he’s still got the second-best ERA in the league since that date. Over that span, the righty allowed just two home runs and fanned 65 batters, while holding the opposition to a .179 average.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-0 WIN, 4-2 WIN VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)
– Sean Coyle continues to hit at a torrid pace. The 22-year-old second baseman totaled five RBIs on the day, with four in the nightcap of the split bill. The Eastern League Player of the Week mashed his 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot to right-center, as well as a two-run single in the second game, adding on to a single and sacrifice fly in the earlier contest. Coyle has hit .371 with an Eastern League-leading 14 RBIs since June 23, with seven extra-base hits and nine walks to his credit over the 10 games. He’s brought his line on the season up to .355/.434/.619 through 58 contests.
Coyle’s power potential is underscored by his ability to drive the ball out without pulling the ball. Three of his 11 homers this year have been to center or right-center; five of his 16 homers in 2013 went out to center or right-center.
– Starter Mike McCarthy was very effective in the first game, tossing five shutout innings and allowing just three hits and a walk while punching out five. The impressive outing comes on the heels of one of McCarthy’s worst starts this season in which he allowed seven runs (including three home runs) and struck out just two batters. The 26-year-old has been inconsistent this season, but has been switching between the rotation and bullpen. He owns a 4.42 ERA in 71 1/3 innings this season, with a 4.82 ERA and .271 batting average against in 10 starts.
– Outfielder Peter Hissey had an impressive evening, going 3-for-3 in the second game with a double and a pair of singles. He’s had a couple of three-hit games since returning to Portland after a stint in Triple-A, and is batting .289/.350/.383 in 26 games with the Sea Dogs.
– Luis Diaz went the distance in game two of the doubleheader, tossing a seven-inning complete game. He allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out six. The 22-year-old righty has been very solid in four starts since being promoted from High-A, and has yet to allow more than two earned runs in an outing. All four of his starts have been six innings or longer. He’s walked just five in 27 innings in contrast to 17 strikeouts, and has held hitters to a .213 average. Diaz is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in Portland after he posted a 3.33 mark in 13 starts with Salem this season.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 3-2 WIN AT CAROLINA (INDIANS)
– Pat Light turned in one of his best starts since being promoted to Salem, permitting just one run on three hits and two walks. After two ugly outings over which Light allowed a total of 20 hits and 15 runs over just 6 1/3 innings, he’s held opponents to just two runs on eight hits over his last 11 innings. Light’s kept his walk numbers relatively low, issuing 19 free passes in 62 1/3 innings, but is also averaging just four strikeouts per nine innings. The 23-year-old managed to bring his ERA back under 6.00 with the win, but still owns an ugly 5.92 mark while the opposition is hitting .310 against him.
– Jantzen Witte‘s success in Single-A has continued to carry over since his promotion, with the infielder going 2-for-4 for the second straight day. In 15 games since moving up a level, Witte is hitting .291/.355/.455 with six extra-base hits and 10 RBIs.
– With a 2-for-3 day, Aneury Tavarez extended his hitting streak to six games. Tavarez hit his third triple of the season and drove in a run. The outfielder is 9-for-21 over the course of his short streak with a double, triple and home run.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-5 LOSS AT AUGUSTA (GIANTS)
– Carlos Asuaje had a big game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, his second and third extra-base hits in his last two contests. Asuaje has been getting it done at the plate (hitting .314, 13 RBIs in his last 13 games) as well as in the field, playing a total of four positions (left field, third base, second base and shortstop) in the last four games. The 22-year-old is hitting .309/.399/.546 through 79 games this season.
– Wendell Rijo went 2-for-4 with a double, his 16th of the season, and driving in a run. Rijo has been heating back up over the last week or so, hitting safely in eight of his last nine games. He’s hitting .266 with a .353 OBP and .403 slugging mark this season.
– Teddy Stankiewicz was solid through seven innings, tying his previous high for longest outing this season. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits, including two home runs, just the fifth and sixth home runs he’s allowed this year, though he’s given up home runs in three straight starts after keeping the ball in the yard for 75 straight innings over the course of 12 straight outings. For the fourth time this season, he didn’t walk a single batter. He struck out four. Stankiewicz was coming off back-to-back outings in which he allowed six runs. The 20-year-old has posted a 4.34 ERA through 85 innings and 16 starts this season.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 9-4 LOSS AT TRI-CITY (ASTROS)
– Right fielder Nick Longhi went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to eight games, while recording his fifth multi-hit game during the run. He’s 13-for-31 with three doubles and three walks during the streak, boosting the 18-year-old’s line for the season to .354/.377/.477 in 18 games.
– Center fielder Danny Mars went 1-for-3 with a walk, and he’s now collected hits in seven of his first eight pro games. The 20-year-old is hitting .438 with a .486 OBP and .594 slugging mark to open his pro career.
– Shortstop Javier Guerra launched his first professional homer, with the 18-year-old going deep to right in a 1-for-4 day. Guerra had a statistically modest pro debut that offered little proof of his impressive tools. He hit just .248 with a .356 OBP, .290 slugging mark and nine extra-base hits (all doubles) in 60 games in the DSL last year.
But Red Sox officials raved about Guerra’s game, seeing a shortstop who played the game with both skill and a tremendous clock, while also exuding a relaxed, calm approach at the plate that allowed him to stay back on pitches, force pitchers to throw strikes and then hit hard line drives to all fields. The team imagined a player with legitimate shortstop skills who could hit for average, get on base at a strong clip and show off solid gap power, perhaps even growing into double digit homer totals.
Early in 2014, there has been at least the beginnings of evidence of growth into that potential, with Guerra collecting five extra-base hits through 14 games in the GCL, good for a .291/.316/.436 line. His two walks against 12 strikeouts come as a bit of a surprise, but the initial hints of a player who can amass extra-base hits while offering standout shortstop defense suggests a player who has as much upside as all but a handful of position players in the Red Sox system.
Tools do not equal production, but they offer the possibility of impact. And in Guerra’s case, there’s plenty to intrigue.
“We’ll see on Guerra,” one evaluator recently observed. “He has the tools to be a very special player for a long time.”
– Third baseman Rafael Devers had his second straight multi-hit game to start his GCL career, going 2-for-4 with a double. The 17-year-old is 6-for-8 with three extra-base hits in his first two games since his promotion from the DSL.
– With Devers now at third base in the GCL, Victor Acosta played his second straight game at second base, going 1-for-3 with a walk. The 18-year-old snapped a three-game, 0-for-13 streak.
– Right-hander Keivin Heras tossed four scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits and walked none to earn the win. In four appearances spanning 13 innings, the 19-year-old has yet to give up a run while striking out 11 and walking just one.
– With Devers gone to the GCL, outfielder Yoan Aybar may be the most interesting Red Sox prospect in the DSL. The newly turned 17-year-old went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, giving him six extra-base hits while driving in six in his last five games. In his last 10 games, the athletic 6-foot-2 outfielder is hitting .371/.395/.629, boosting his season line to .317/.360/.488.
– Right-hander Gerson Bautista tossed two scoreless innings to extend his season-opening stretch without permitting an earned run to 28 innings before yielded a run in his third of four frames. The 19-year-old now has a 0.30 ERA in 30 innings with 17 strikeouts and 13 walks.
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