Red Sox minor league roundup: Matt Barnes’ rotation breakthrough; Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers mashing; Mike Meyers, triple threat
|08.26.14 at 1:05 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-2 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
– Matt Barnes‘ second-half breakthrough continued, and has now reached the point where it can be called the best sustained stretch he’s had since at least the first eight starts of his pro career, and arguably since he made his pro debut in 2012. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on four hits (three singles and a triple) while walking two and punching out four in 7 1/3 innings. The outing marked the third straight, fourth out of five and fifth out of seven in which he’s pitched into the seventh inning or later, something he’d done only four times in his first 65 minor league starts.
Barnes is now 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his seven second-half starts, a span in which he has 7.0 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings. Whereas he looked like someone who might struggle to stay in the rotation in the first half based on the continuation of his 2013 struggles to work deep into games, averaging just under five innings an outing prior to the All-Star break, in the second half, he’s averaging 6 2/3 innings per start, showing an ability to deliver the sort of consistent innings that the Red Sox want to see from anyone whom they’d consider as a rotation candidate. After he closed out the first half with a 5.06 ERA, Barnes has lowered that mark to 3.80, and on Monday, he crossed the 120-inning plateau for the first time in his pro career.
– Alex Hassan went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs. In 63 games since the 26-year-old was returned to Pawtucket from his first big league callup, he’s now hitting .326/.412/.506 to improve to .283/.375/.426 for the year.
– Blake Swihart, who has been playing roughly every other day over the last two weeks as a concession to the workload of his season, went 0-for-4 as his line in 14 Triple-A games dropped to .236/.263/.364. He’s been hitless in four of his last five games, going 2-for-18. Swihart has now played 106 games, three more than he played in the regular season with High-A Salem last year (though he did play five more playoff games in 2013, meaning he’s played two fewer than he did in 2013).
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-0 WIN VS. READING (PHILLIES)
– Portland has now won 10 straight.
– Right-hander Justin Haley tossed six shutout innings in which he allowed four hits, walked one and punched out five. In five starts since his promotion from High-A Salem, he has a 1.47 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 15 walks in 30 2/3 innings. Overall, in 24 minor league appearances, the 23-year-old is 9-6 with a 2.48 ERA, 7.2 strikeouts per nine and 2.8 walks per nine.
– Carson Blair keeps raking in his transition to Double-A. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, with the 24-yera-old improving to .295 with a .373 OBP, .591 slugging mark, eight extra-base hits, six walks and 14 strikeouts in 12 games. Overall this year between Salem and Portland, while nearly doubling his previous career games high of 44, the 24-year-old is hitting .266/.383/.489 with 11 homers and 38 extra-base hits in 79 games.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 6-2 WIN VS. WILMINGTON (ROYALS)
– Right-hander Pat Light allowed one run on five hits (three singles, two doubles) while walking one and punching out six, his largest total since his promotion to Salem, in 6 1/3 innings. The outing marked the third time this year that the 23-year-old, a supplemental first-rounder in 2012, pitched into the seventh inning. He lowered his ERA in Salem to 5.17.
– Corner infielder Jantzen Witte went 3-for-4, extending his hitting streak to nine games during which he has four games in which he’s collected three or more hits. The 24-year-old is hitting an even .500 (19-for-38) during the run to improve to .296/.343/.465 in 57 games in Salem.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: OFF DAY
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 7-3 WIN AT CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)
– Outfielder Mike Meyers set a Lowell record with three triples in a game and eight triples in a season, as the 20-year-old — a 2012 12th-rounder — went 3-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. Meyers, who is hitting .223/.258/.342 for the season, has more triples (8) than doubles (6) in his 49 games this year with Lowell.
– Right-hander Chandler Shepherd continued his solid pro debut with a pair of shutout innings to earn the win. The 22-year-old 13th-rounder out of Kentucky has a 3.56 ERA with 31 strikeouts and just seven walks in 30 1/3 innings.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 3-2 LOSS (COMPLETION OF SUSPENDED GAME), 6-5 LOSS AT GCL ORIOLES
– Michael Chavis completed a suspended game with a 3-for-4 line and followed that up by going 3-for-4 with his first pro homer and a double. When the Sox drafted Chavis with their top pick this year, they did so with the view of him as one of the most advanced high school bats in the draft. Though Chavis, who turned 19 this month, struggled out of the gate in his adjustment to pro ball — a healthy experience in the eyes of some of the team’s evaluators, given that he’d known nothing but untrammeled success as an amateur — he’s lived up to his billing in August. Chavis is hitting .380 with a .429 OBP and .606 slugging mark on the strength of 11 extra-base hits in 20 games this month, boosting his line for the year to .268/.340/.425.
– Suddenly, Rafael Devers is hot again. The 17-year-old went 3-for-4 in the second game, giving him four multi-hit games in his last six contests — a run that followed a four-game hitless streak. In 40 GCL games, Devers is now hitting .318/.378/.493. Though he wasn’t promoted to the GCL until a couple of weeks into the season, he ranks fourth in the league with 33 RBIs, he’s tied for sixth in average and he’s fifth in slugging percentage, all underscoring the notion that he’s an incredibly advanced hitter given that he’s one of the youngest players in the league.
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