Red Sox minor league roundup: Why Henry Owens isn’t on Wall Street; Sam Travis raking
|07.30.14 at 1:45 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF DAY
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-2 WIN, 4-1 LOSS VS. READING (PHILLIES)
— Left-hander Henry Owens had an outing where he struggled to command his fastball, resulting in one of his less dominant efforts of the season in Double-A. The 22-year-old tossed just five innings (his second-shortest outing since May) while allowing two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three, a grind-it-out win that improved Owens to 14-4, arming him with the most wins in the minors and permitting him to set a record for most wins in a season by a Sea Dogs pitcher.
Owens has now spent a full year in Portland, having moved up at the beginning of last August. He has nothing left to prove there: In 26 starts, he’s 17-5 with a 2.44 ERA, 10.2 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine. Yet one source indicated that the Sox’ trade for Edwin Escobar — who is slotting into the PawSox rotation — may have slowed down the most immediate plans to move Owens up the ladder to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The 22-year-old feels ready to compete in Pawtucket. He also recognizes that the question of when he moves up represents one for which he does not have an answer.
“If I had a crystal ball, I’d be a stock broker,” Owens told the Portland Press-Herald.
— Blake Swihart went 2-for-5 with a double and a walk. In 88 games, he’s now hitting .307/.360/.500. He has a 10-game hitting streak in which he’s raking at a .421/.463/.658 clip.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-1 LOSS VS. CAROLINA (INDIANS)
— Outfielder Aneury Tavarez went 2-for-3, boosting his average for the year to .255/.304/.430. The 22-year-old has recovered from a dreadful month of May (.151/.208/.237) to impact the ball with intriguing consistent regularity — despite a swing early, swing often approach — since the beginning of June. From June 1 through Tuesday, he’s hitting .302 (10th in the Carolina League in that time) with a .345 OBP and .486 slugging mark. He does, however, have just seven walks and 50 strikeouts during those 48 games.
— Right-hander Joe Gunkel allowed four runs on 10 hits in six innings, but his outing was seemingly quite strong given that all 10 of the hits were singles and he got a considerable amount of bad contact (three groundball singles, one infield pop-up that went for a single, seven groundball outs) while not issuing any free passes and punching out four. The 22-year-old, in his first full pro year, has gone at least six innings in each of his last three starts, with 14 strikeouts and three walks in 18 2/3 innings. He has issued two or fewer walks in each of his eight starts since getting promoted to Salem, with a 3.83 ERA, 2.0 walks per nine and 6.3 strikeouts per nine.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 8-4 LOSS AT HAGERSTOWN (NATIONALS)
— Right-hander Ty Buttrey made his first start in Greenville since mid-May after going on the DL for a hand injury that included a rehab assignment in Lowell. The 21-year-old permitted four runs (three earned) in four innings while walking two and striking out one. In five starts this year in Greenville, Buttrey — a 2012 fourth-rounder who received a bonus more in line of a first-round pick — has allowed 20 runs (18 earned) in 15 1/3 innings.
— Right-hander Myles Smith, as a piggyback starter behind Buttrey, had one of his best outings. Though he allowed four runs in four innings, just one was earned, and of the 12 outs he recorded, six were by strikeout and five by groundout. Meanwhile, Smith — who has battled his control all year — added more evidence that he is starting to figure out how to harness his stuff. In his last three starts, he’s walked five in 14 1/3 innings (including one in four innings on Tuesday), a walk rate that is roughly half of the 6.4 walks per nine innings he’d permitted prior to the current run.
— Outfielder Franklin Guzman went 4-for-4 with his first homer since his promotion to Greenville. The 22-year-old is hitting .294/.351/.451 in 14 games with the Drive.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 4-1 LOSS VS. BROOKLYN (METS)
— Scorching Sam Travis went 3-for-4 with a double one day after going 4-for-5. In 38 games, the 2014 second-rounder is now hitting .321/.354/.442.
— Right-hander Kevin McAvoy, a fourth-rounder, tossed 2 2/3 innings in which all eight of his outs were recorded either by strikeout (4) or on the ground (4). He did allow two runs (one earned) on two hits, but for the fifth straight outing to open his pro career, he didn’t walk a batter. McAvoy has 11 punchouts without a walk in 10 1/3 innings.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 2-1 LOSS, 2-1 LOSS (9 INNINGS) VS. GCL ORIOLES
— First-rounder Michael Chavis was a combined 2-for-5 with a walk in the two games. He’s now 5-for-16 after struggling through a 2-for-36 stretch to start his pro debut.
— Right-hander Keith Couch, starting a rehab from elbow soreness, tossed 2 1/3 shutout innings in which he allowed a single, walked none and punched out three. Couch was 7-1 with a 3.16 ERA in Portland before his early-July injury.
— Bryce Brentz went 0-for-2 with a walk while playing all seven innings of the first game in left field. He struck out twice. The 25-year-old is now 1-for-18 with three walks and five strikeouts in seven rehab games.
— Outfielder Yoan Aybar, who’d been 1-for-15 since getting hit by a pitch last week, went 2-for-4 with a triple. The 17-year-old saw his numbers dip during the post-HBP skid, but is still performing at a strong level (.281/.333/.438) relative to league standards.
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