Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts taking center stage; more strides for Garin Cecchini; Manuel Margot scorching
|08.13.14 at 12:34 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 LOSS AT GWINNETT (BRAVES)
– Feats of Mookie: Leading man. Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk, and he’s now 11-for-25 with a .440/.533/.640 line (with five walks, five strikeouts and five extra-base hits) in six games since being sent back down to Triple-A by the Sox. Among all minor players with at least 300 minor league plate appearances in full-season ball this year, Betts ranks fourth in average (.348) and fifth in OBP (.436), with his combination of the ability to hit for average and work the strike zone suggesting a player who profiles as a leadoff hitter — something the Red Sox will need going forward if they conclude that Brock Holt is not the answer for such a role.
Put another way: There’s a fascinating dynamic in the organization, in which the fates of Jackie Bradley Jr., Holt and Betts are entwined in interesting fashion. Center field remains an undefined position for the Sox, and a case can be made that the identity of the leadoff hitter is in a similar place. Betts right now might be the best bet to address both needs. Notably, all six of his games since he’s returned to Pawtucket have been in center field.
– Garin Cecchini continued his recent eruption, going 2-for-4 with his sixth homer of the year. The 23-year-old is now 9-for-19 with a homer, two doubles and eight runs driven in over his last four games. In the process, he’s boosted his average from .236 to .249, increased his OBP from .314 to .321 and bumped his slugging mark from .320 to .346. He also successfully stole his 11th base in 12 attempts on Tuesday.
– Knuckleballer Steven Wright tossed his first complete game in defeat, working eight innings in which he permitted nine hits, walked one and struck out two. He threw 66 of 98 pitches for strikes, and his 2014 walk rate of 2.0 per nine innings is less than half the 4.3 free passes per nine he issued a year ago. Wright is 6-3 with a 2.81 ERA.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-4 LOSS VS. AKRON (INDIANS)
– Left-hander Brian Johnson‘s season has been so good that a six-inning, one-run effort represented his shortest outing (and matched his highest run yield) since July 7. Johnson gave up a solo homer among his four hits and also walked two, but he struck out five, threw loads of strikes (66 of 100 pitches) and induced plenty of bad contact, including six groundball outs. Johnson is 12-3 with a 2.26 ERA on the year, and 9-2 with a 1.87 ERA in his 18 Double-A starts.
– Outfielder Keury De La Cruz went 3-for-4 with a double and a walk. The notoriously aggressive 22-year-old now has five walks in 10 games this month, with .297/.372/.432 marks that have boosted his season line to .281/.304/.388.
– Right-hander Noe Ramirez saw his rough patch continue, as he was scored upon for the third straight outing, taking the loss and blowing a save by permitting two runs in the ninth. The four earned runs permitted by Ramirez in his last four games (six innings) matched his total yield of the prior two months (16 games, 26 1/3 innings).
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: RAINED OUT VS. POTOMAC (NATIONALS)
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 8-1 WIN VS. ROME (BRAVES)
– Manuel Margot‘s scalding August continued, as the center fielder went 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple and walk. The 19-year-old has an 11-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .458/.509/.729 with seven extra-base hits and five steals (along with five caught stealings) this month. His season marks are now up to .285/.354/.448 with 10 homers and 37 steals in 50 attempts.
– Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz continued a string of strong starts, matching a season high with seven innings in which he allowed one run (a solo homer) on four hits while walking just one and punching out seven. The 20-year-old has five straight starts of at least six innings including three straight in which he’s allowed one or no runs. He has a 1.99 ERA in his last five starts with 27 strikeouts and just six walks in those 31 2/3 innings. He now has a streak of 13 straight starts in which he’s walked two or fewer batters, with a rate of 2.1 walks per nine for the year. In many respects, he seems to be growing stronger as the year progresses. The fact that his last three starts — his 20th through 22nd — have represented his best stretch of the year suggests a pitcher who shows the potential to carry a considerable workload. Because of his strike-throwing and durability, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander has already crossed the 120 innings threshold.
– Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin hit his first homer of the year and his second of his pro career in a 1-for-4 day. He also walked. The 20-year-old is hitting .219/.310/.280 for the year, the low slugging mark underscoring what an unexpected event his homer was.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: RAINED OUT AT BROOKLYN (METS)
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 2-1 WIN AT GCL ORIOLES
– One outing removed from leaving a start in the first inning due to heat exhaustion, first-rounder Michael Kopech returned to the mound to deliver his longest pro outing (three innings) in which he didn’t give up a hit, walked one and punched out two.
– Michael Chavis, one day after turning 19, went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games, during which the Sox’ top pick in this year’s draft is hitting .333/.438/.444.
– Left-hander Javier Rodriguez, a 19-year-old out of Mexico, had his third straight scoreless outing and fourth straight outing without permitting an earned run, tossing four shutout innings in which he allowed five hits, walked one and punched out five. Rodriguez is 7-0 with a 0.75 ERA.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-5 WIN VS. DSL ORIOLES
– Second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe reached base five times, going 2-for-2 with three walks. He now has an equal number of walks (20) and strikeouts (20), though the fact that he hasn’t put a ball in play in 40 percent of his plate appearances (even with the ability to take a walk) is less than ideal. The 17-year-old is hitting .231/.400/.244.
– Left-hander Jhonathan Diaz had his string of five consecutive starts without giving up an earned run snapped, as he yielded three runs on four hits in five innings. He punched out three and walked two. The 17-year-old saw his ERA climb from 1.28 to 1.61.
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