Red Sox minor league roundup: Sam Travis shows pop; Javier Guerra impressing; Carson Blair scorching; Jamie Callahan struggling
|07.17.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: TRIPLE-A ALL-STAR GAME
– Left-hander Tommy Layne was the lone PawSox player to appear in the Triple-A All-Star Game, tossing a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Layne is 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 10.0 strikeouts per nine and 3.9 walks per nine in 44 Triple-A innings this year. Lefties are hitting .138/.242/.172 against him while striking out in 35 percent of plate appearances.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: EASTERN LEAGUE ALL-STAR GAME
– Catcher Blake Swihart went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He did pick off Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor (though Taylor later stole second).
– Derrik Gibson, playing shortstop, went 2-for-3 with a double and homer. Given his standout performance in Double-A (.314/.404/.424), athleticism multi-positional versatility, if Gibson plays reasonably well in Triple-A in the second half, he would appear a candidate for either addition to the Red Sox 40-man roster as a depth option or a Rule 5 candidate
– Second baseman Sean Coyle went 1-for-3 with a double.
– Left-hander Robby Scott tossed a scoreless innings in which he allowed a hit and struck out two.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 8-5 WIN VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES)
– Right-hander Justin Haley once again impressed in his strong 2014 campaign, tossing 5 1/3 innings in which he permitted two runs on three hits (all singles) while walking two and striking out six. Haley has walked two or fewer batters in 11 straight outings and in 16 of 18 appearances this year, slashing his walk rate from 5.3 per nine innings last year to 2.4 this year, part of an impressive campaign in which the 23-year-old has a 2.77 ERA with 7.4 punchouts per nine innings while holding opponents to a .233 batting average.
– Catcher Carson Blair went 1-for-3, got hit by a pitch and, for the fourth straight game, did not strike out. The 24-year-old is amidst a scorching stretch that dates roughly to the beginning of June, during which he leads the minors in average (.409) and OBP (.519) with a .625 slugging mark and 11 extra-base hits in 25 games. The key to the hot streak may lie in Blair’s drastically reduced strikeout rate: Since June 1, he’s whiffed in just 21.3 percent of his plate appearances, a sharp drop from his 36.2 percent strikeout rate through the first two months. He’d been hitting the ball hard when making contact; now that his contact rate has leaped, so have his across-the-board statistics. For the year, Blair is now hitting .279/.404/.505.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-2 LOSS AT ROME (BRAVES)
– Right-hander Jamie Callahan lasted just three innings, yielding four runs (three earned) on four hits (including a double and triple). The 19-year-old walked two and struck out three. The 2012 second-rounder has been shelled this year at a .315/.384/.483 clip en route to a 2-9 record and 6.91 ERA. A very high .370 batting average on balls in play suggests that there’s some bad luck involved, but the 37 extra-base hits he’s permitted in 82 innings suggests that he’s fallen prey to frequent resounding contact.
– Right-hander Taylor Grover punched out five in two scoreless innings, and the 23-year-old has now punched out 25 batters in his last 19 innings (11.8 per nine) after opening the year with 6.4 strikeouts per nine in his first 19 2/3 innings.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 6-4 WIN AT BATAVIA (MARLINS)
– First baseman Sam Travis, who had gone 13 straight games to open the month without an extra-base hit, broke out of that slump with a 3-for-5 game that included a double and his third homer of his pro debut season. The home run was to the opposite field, offering a hint of what the Sox saw in Travis both in terms of his power and his ability to be a fairly complete hitter who doesn’t feature an all-or-nothing pull approach. The 20-year-old is hitting .287/.327/.396 in his first 25 pro games.
– Nick Moore followed up his two-homer performance on Tuesday by going 1-for-4 with an RBI double, giving him nine extra-base hits in 17 games in Lowell. After the game, the 21-year-old was promoted to High-A Salem.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 5-2 LOSS, 6-0 LOSS VS. GCL ORIOLES
– Javier Guerra went 3-for-6 with a double in the two games, extending his hitting streak to 14 games during which the 18-year-old shortstop is hitting .370/.382/.537. The fact that he has one walk and nine strikeouts during the stretch comes as something of a surprise given that he shows a smooth approach and exhibited good pitch recognition and on-base skills both in the DSL last year and in extended spring training this year. Nonetheless, the fact that he’s hitting the ball sharply on a consistent basis (as suggested by the streak) serves as an early performance separator at the lowest levels of the minors. For the year, Guerra is now hitting .329/.346/.500, ranking 10th in the GCL in average and ninth in slugging.
– First-rounder Michael Chavis was 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in the double header and he also made a pair of errors. He’s off to a 2-for-23 start with two doubles, two walks and eight strikeouts in his pro career. (It is worth mentioning that many organizations view performance in a player’s first pro summer as being virtually meaningless as a predictor of future success or struggles. The adjustment to the pro game is sufficiently significant that teams merely want to see players getting familiar with the daily baseball schedule.)
– Rafael Devers went 1-for-6 in the two contests, dropping the 17-year-old’s average to .438/.486/.831.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 13-4 WIN VS. DSL NATIONALS
– Roldani Baldwin had his third straight multi-hit game and his sixth straight game of reaching base multiple times, going 3-for-5 with a double. The 18-year-old Baldwin is now hitting .285/.353/.431, with an impressive .340/.429/.547 line that includes six extra-base hits (two homers) in 14 games this month.
– Outfielder Jesus Perez continues to surprise in his pro debut as an 18-year-old. Perez went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, drove in four, reached base two additional times (a walk and an HBP) and stole home on the back end of a double steal. Perez is athletic with some strength to his swing, as evidenced by his nine extra-base hits (eight doubles and a triple) in 20 games this year. He’s striking out with some frequency (31 times in 85 plate appearances) — a not unexpected outcome for a player who had very little game experience as an amateur — but he’s shown more intrigue than one might expect for a player who remained unsigned until he turned 18.
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