|Bradfo Show: Alex Cora says not to worry about Rusney Castillo||01.11.16 at 1:21 pm ET|
Heading into Monday night’s Puerto Rican Winter League playoff game, Castillo was 1-for-16 with six strikeouts since joining Caguas for its postseason run.
But Castillo’s manager this offseason — former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora — is adamant that Red Sox followers shouldn’t worry. As he explained on the Bradfo Show podcast, there is still a belief that Castillo will be the player the Red Sox envisioned when signing him to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal.
“He’s been working. Right now, in the playoffs, pitchers are way ahead,” explained Cora, who also managed Castillo last offseason during the outfielder’s 10-game stint with Caguas. “But you can see the approach is there, it’s just a matter of getting more at-bats. But if he doesn’t do it here, that doesn’t mean he’s going to struggle at the big league level. I think he has a plan, he understands what he wants to do. He’s going to be OK this season.
“The pressure is on those guys (in the Red Sox lineup, such as David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, etc.). It can’t be on Rusney Castillo. I still think he’s going to be a guy who is going to hit for average, he’s going to get some home runs, he’s going to get some doubles, he’s going to steal bases. ‘¦ .280, 15 home runs, 20 bags. That’s the Rusney Castillo I envision.”
Here are some other things we learned from Cora when appearing on the Bradfo Show:
CORA DOESN’T AGREE WITH THE NARRATIVE THAT HAS FOLLOWED CASTILLO
“I was kind of surprised last year when he came down, there were a lot of people up there doubting him as far as his baseball instincts. But being around him day in, day out, it was the other way around. He has a good sense of the game, who he is and what he needs to do. That’s a good sign
“He’s played for two years and all of a sudden you want him to perform at the highest level in the best league in the world, it’s not easy to do. But I do think he’s in a good place, and he will be successful, not only offensively but defensively.”
CASTILLO IS STEP AHEAD OF HIS CUBAN TEAMMATES, HECTOR OLIVERA, DIAN TOSCANA
“Comparing those two with Rusney, the kid understands the way we play the game, the American way. If he can just go to Boston again, be himself and stay inside the ball, drive the ball to right-center and hit the breaking ball off the wall.”
BRYCE BRENTZ REMINDS CORA OF DUSTIN PEDROIA
“It takes certain guys to handle that environment, and just watching him go about his business, day in and day out, talking to him about baseball, he fits the mold. Coming down here I thought he would be a free-swinger who strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit the ball the other way, but it’s the other way around.
“Talking to Dustin all these years, he has the Dustin Pedroia syndrome. He feels he can be that good. The difference between those two is Pedey is 5-foot-6 and Bryce is a big guy. I like him. Defensively, he has a strong arm, can play right field. He has a good sense what he can and can’t do defensively. But he puts himself in a spot where he can make plans. I don’t know if it’s going to be in spring training, halfway through the season, or in September, but he will make a difference. I feel that way about him. The way he goes about things is the most important thing, I really like him.”
CORA BELIEVES CAGUAS RELIEVER PAT LIGHT WILL HELP RED SOX SEASON THIS SEASON
“Loved him. I think he has a pretty good idea of who he is, and what he can do. He has a big arm, 96-97. His split/slider combo, it’s OK. It got better. ‘¦ He would come in the middle of the game and shut people down, we did that and he was very successful. Hopefully for the Red Sox he can be a big contributor in August, at the end of the season because he can help.
“I know spring training for him is very important, but regardless of the results if they’re great or bad, it really doesn’t matter. I think this kid is going to contribute with this team in this season and be big part of if they make it to the playoffs.”
|Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Salem pitching dominant in second straight shutout win; Miguel Celestino struggles in Pawtucket loss after solid start from Henry Owens||06.15.15 at 10:07 am ET|
A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (32-32): L, 4-3, vs. Toledo (Tigers)
— Right fielder Bryce Brentz hit a solo shot to left in the bottom of the ninth inning to cut Toledo’s lead to one, but the comeback fell short and Pawtucket dropped back to .500. Brentz finished the day 2-for-5 and now is hitting .231 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs.
— Miguel Celestino took the loss as he came on in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead but gave up the tying run and failed to record an out. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed a leadoff single and made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, allowing the runner to advance. He then gave up a walk, a sacrifice bunt and another single before he was pulled. Celestino was tagged for three runs on two hits and a walk. Celestino is 0-4 in 17 appearances this season.
— Right-hander Jonathan Aro was solid in relief of Celestino, but the damage was done. After the inherited runners scored in the seventh, Aro tossed two perfect innings and finished the day with four strikeouts. In 18 1/3 innings of work over eight games for Pawtucket this season, Aro has a 1.96 ERA and 23 strikeouts.
— Left-hander Henry Owens started for Pawtucket, giving up just one run on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings of work. He lowered his ERA to 3.45 but remained 2-5 on the season.
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Eduardo Rodriguez’s electrifying first impression; Bryce Brentz mashing; Henry Owens finding his way||08.27.14 at 12:37 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-3 WIN AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)
— On a night when he walked his most batters (4) and threw just 61 of his season-high 105 pitches for strikes (58 percent), left-hander Henry Owens overcame his struggles to limit his opponents to three runs on eight hits. His efforts were helped by his eight punchouts in 6 1/3 innings. In his five starts with Pawtucket, Owens is now 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 10 walks in 32 innings. Opponents are hitting .248 against him with three homers in that span, up from the .201 average to which he held opponents in Double-A this year. In short, there’s an adjustment to a higher caliber of opposing hitters to which Owens is still adjusting, though he’s holding his own amidst that transition.
— Right-hander Dalier Hinojosa was dominant, retiring eight of nine batters he faced. The 28-year-old has a 2.03 ERA since the beginning of June with 26 strikeouts and eight walks in 26 2/3 innings. After he entered July with a 5.51 ERA, he’s dropped that mark to 3.90.
— Bryce Brentz can mash against left-handers with good stuff. He went deep against highly regarded Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris, his 12th homer in 58 games in Pawtucket this year. Against southpaws, Brentz is hitting .304/.355/.725 with eight homers in 76 plate appearances (one for every 9.5 trips to the dish). His performance both against lefties and overall since his return from a groin injury (.260/.333/.558) suggest someone who might be getting close to capable of contributing at the big league level. Yet as much as the Sox’ recent acquisitions of outfielders such as Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig and Rusney Castillo has raised questions about the future of a player like Shane Victorino in the organization, the questions are just as significant for players like Brentz and Alex Hassan, who now find themselves behind a considerable crowd of corner outfielders. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz heat up; Manuel Margot hits ground running in Salem; Teddy Stankiewicz emerging||08.18.14 at 12:40 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-5 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)
— Feats of Mookie: Another triumphant trio. Mookie Betts went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, the 14th time in 99 minor league games and the seventh time in 45 contests in Pawtucket that he’s had at least three hits, and the fifth time (and third this month) that he’s had two doubles in a game this year. In 45 games in Pawtucket, he’s hitting .335/.417/.503 with 19 extra-base hits, 26 walks and 30 strikeouts; over the full minor league season, the 21-year-old is hitting .346/.431/.529 with 61 walks, 50 strikeouts, 33 steals and 46 extra-base hits.
— Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with a homer, giving him 10 longballs in just 51 games this year in Pawtucket. The 25-year-old has been producing since his return to Pawtucket following roughly two and a half months on the sidelines (and rehab assignments) while rehabbing a hamstring injury. In 12 August games, he’s hitting .286/.345/.571 with four homers. That uptick in production has coincided with a somewhat more aggressive approach at the plate that has been characteristic of Brentz throughout his career; Brentz has walked 7.3 percent of the time since returning from the DL, after walking in 12.7 percent of plate appearances prior to the injury. Of course, he was also struggling to a .230/.335/.430 line in April and May.
— The good news for Garin Cecchini: He launched his seventh homer of the year, matching (in 101 games) his home run output from 2013 (from 129 games between High-A and Double-A). The bad news: He struck out twice and now has 86 strikeouts, matching his total from a year ago.
Those season numbers aside, Cecchini looks like he’s amidst his best offensive run of the year. He has an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .394/.429/.697 with two homers, four doubles, two walks and seven strikeouts. In the process, he’s lifted his season line to .250/.323/.354. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Henry Owens, Red Sox pitching prospects and the innings question; Bryce Brentz back big; Kevin McAvoy, groundball machine||08.05.14 at 1:40 pm ET|
The Red Sox‘ pool of top starting pitching prospects has reached a point in their development paths where the Red Sox are eager to challenge them. Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo, all of whom spent much of the early year in Triple-A, have all seen varying degrees of time in the big leagues.
Henry Owens just moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket last week, and in his PawSox debut, he delivered a dazzling outing. Though the youngest pitcher in the International League, Owens looked polished beyond his years in carrying a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings before ultimately putting the finishing touches on 6 2/3 shutout innings in which he punched out nine, allowed two hits (both singles, one of the infield variety), hit a batter and walked three.
It was a dazzling performance that merits a glimpse to confirm that, yes, Owens can spin a curveball to round out a three-pitch mix:
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The 22-year-old is now 15-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 21 starts with 9.5 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings this year. He’s been dominant between Double-A and Triple-A.
But for a number of reasons, there’s a very good chance that Owens won’t see the big leagues this year. Among those reasons: In his age 21 season (he didn’t turn 22 until July), he’s close to cruising past his career high in innings. By the time he gets through another handful of starts in Triple-A, he’ll be at some approximation of the innings threshold where the Sox would like to see him wrap up his year. It’s not worth transforming the 40-man roster solely for the sake of one big league start. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks, Travis Shaw mashing; Nick Longhi’s promising year comes to early end; Bryce Brentz starts back||07.24.14 at 1:03 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 LEAD (SUSPENDED IN FOURTH INNING) AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
— Before the game’s suspension, Will Middlebrooks went 1-for-2, slamming his third homer in 14 rehab games this month with the PawSox. He’s hitting .313/.358/.563 in July.
— First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-2 before the game was suspended. The 24-year-old has now reached base in all 19 games in which he’s played in July, hitting .324/.430/.544 during the stretch.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-2 LOSS VS. BINGHAMTON (METS)
— Sean Coyle launched his 12th homer of the year, snapping a 12-game homerless drought, as part of a 1-for-3 game in which he also elicited a walk. July has represented the first month of struggle for Coyle this year, as the 22-year-old is hitting just .220/.279/.407 in 18 contests this month. But he’s shown recent signs of emerging from the funk, as he’s 6-for-15 with the homer and two walks in his last four games, bringing his line back up to .326/.401/.562. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bryce Brentz rehabbing in Fort Myers after hamstring setback||06.21.14 at 6:14 pm ET|
At a time when the Red Sox have been desperate for outfield production and right-handed bats, Bryce Brentz has been notably absent from the discussion. Brentz has been out since tweaking a hamstring on May 15. Initially, the injury was considered mild enough that he was characterized as day-to-day before landing on the disabled list several days later. However, during the rehab process, Brentz suffered a recurrence of the injury, and he’s currently in Fort Myers as he works to get healthy. One team source said he’s out for at least a couple more weeks. The 25-year-old is hitting .230 with a .335 OBP and .430 slugging mark.
|PawSox OF Bryce Brentz waiting to get healthy before thinking about major league call-up||06.10.14 at 11:23 am ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — When Bryce Brentz made an impression on the Red Sox with his strong performance during spring training, there was not a spot on the roster that the outfielder could fill. Grady Sizemore was the comeback story of the spring, Daniel Nava was the leadoff hitter and coming off the best season of his career, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was firmly established as the next man up should someone sustain an injury. There simply was not room for Brentz, a 2010 supplemental first-round pick.
Fast forward two months and the Red Sox outfielders collectively are the worst group in the majors, hitting .214/.295/.320 with a -0.8 WAR. While the Red Sox could potentially utilize Brentz’s services considering the group’s offensive struggles, Brentz is not in any position to help — the outfielder has a bum hamstring and has not played in a game since mid-May.
The hamstring injury that Brentz sustained has been so slow to heal that he underwent an MRI before Monday’s game to make sure that there wasn’t anything structurally wrong.
While he is frustrated with his situation, Brentz does not dwell on the possibility that he could be in the majors right now were he not injured.
“I don’t really pay attention to it” Brentz said. “It doesn’t bother me. What goes on up there, they’ve got to take care of what they can take care of and what they can control and what they think is best for the team. Right here with my position, I’ve got to take care of myself and get myself healthy before I can think of anything beyond that.”
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of Anthony Ranaudo; Brian Johnson, Daniel McGrath dominate; Blake Swihart, southpaw slayer; injuries for Deven Marrero, Wendell Rijo||05.21.14 at 11:37 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-0 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE
— There was one sequence in the top of the sixth inning that stood out in the day of Anthony Ranaudo. With a runner on first (followinga leadoff walk) and no outs, a left-handed hitter — Kyle Roller — stepped to the plate. First pitch: changeup with arm side fade, swing and miss. Second pitch: Backdoor curveball on the outside corner, called strike. Third pitch: Fastball on the hands, swing and miss.
It was a sequence that suggests a big league starting pitcher’s arsenal — after some refinements are achieved.
To be sure, Ranaudo isn’t a finished product. His fastball control (on a pitch that once touched 96 mph on the McCoy Stadium scoreboard, but mostly sat at 93 mph) came and went at times, most notably in a 27-pitch first-inning labor in which a pair of walks and a double led to a bases-loaded, one-out jam. But he worked around that with a strikeout and pop-out, commencing a stretch in which he retired 11 of 13. On the day, he ended up allowing just one run (a solo homer on an elevated fastball) in 5 2/3 innings, yielding four hits but punching out seven (while walking four). Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Bryce Brentz mashing (and walking); Mookie Betts achieves absurdity against lefties; Salem’s strikeout machines||04.29.14 at 12:42 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-2 WIN AT LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
— Bryce Brentz continued a torrid run production stretch, going 1-for-4 with a homer and a walk. The 25-year-old is starting to combine extra-base pop with an ability to take walks, with a .340/.400/.566 line with five walks and 11 strikeouts in 15 games since April 14. All three of his homers have come against lefties. His 12 walks in April are tied for the third most in any month of his career (career-high: 15 in August 2012 in Portland).
— Outfielder Daniel Nava wasted no time feeling sorry for himself after being sent down. Nava, who played center field on Monday, added to his strong Pawtucket run by going 2-for-4 with a double and walk, improving to .333/.421/.600 in four games.
— Right-hander Allen Webster struck out just one batter but threw strikes with 63 percent of his 82 offerings and got loads (specifically, 10) of groundouts in permitting one run on five hits in six innings. The 24-year-old has a 2.78 ERA for the year, though just 4.7 strikeouts per nine innings (compared to 4.2 walks per nine).
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 8-6 WIN VS. READING (PHILLIES) Read the rest of this entry »
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