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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
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Garin Cecchini is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak. (WEEI.com)

Garin Cecchini is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak. (WEEI.com)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:



– 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 »

Read More: bryce brentz, garin cecchini, manuel margot, mookie betts
Red Sox minor league roundup: Michael Chavis getting hot; Carlos Asuaje’s monster day; Garin Cecchini rediscovers his approach 08.14.14 at 10:43 am ET
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Outfielder Manuel Margot is amidst a torrid August stretch. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

Outfielder Manuel Margot is amidst a torrid August stretch. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:



– Left-hander Edwin Escobar had his third straight solid outing since the Red Sox acquired him from the Giants. The 22-year-old matched a season-high by tossing seven innings (the fifth time this year he’s done so, but the first with Pawtucket), allowing two runs on five hits, walking one and punching out six. Escobar recovered from giving up a homer to the first batter he faced in the bottom of the first to limit the damage the rest of the way. Through three starts following the trade, Escobar has allowed four runs while walking four and striking out 16 in 19 innings.

– Feats of Mookie: Arm strength. Mookie Betts, playing center field, recorded his third outfield assist of the season (two in center, one in right) by gunning down a runner at the plate who was trying to advance from third on a fly ball. Though there were questions about how Betts’ arm might play in the outfield following his transition in May from second base, the 21-year-old has shown enough with his throws — roughly average arm strength in center — to sustain the idea that he has the tools to handle himself well in center, particularly as he increases his database of experiences.

– Garin Cecchini went 1-for-2 with a single, walk and sacrifice. He’s 10-for-21 with a homer, three doubles and a walk during the run. Whereas Cecchini had seemed as if he might be cheating a bit to stay on fastballs with velocity, and in the process pulling a bunch of groundballs while getting out too quickly on his front side, he’s been showing an improved ability in recent days to stay back and inside the ball to permit it to travel. The result has been not only better pitch recognition and fewer swings and misses but also more of the characteristic ability he’s shown throughout his pro career to impact the ball to all fields. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carlos asuaje, garin cecchini, manuel margot, michael chavis
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
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:



– 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. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: garin cecchini, javier rodriguez, manuel margot, mookie betts
Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of Garin Cecchini’s struggles; Travis Shaw’s landmark; Blake Swihart mashing 07.29.14 at 1:12 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:



Garin Cecchini, amidst the worst offensive stretch of his career, enjoyed a positive glimmer on Monday, going 1-for-4 with a homer, his first of the month and his fourth of the year. Still, the struggles of Cecchini represent one of the foremost puzzles of 2014 in the Red Sox farm system. A player with a tremendous ability to catch the ball on his barrel and to shoot hits all over the field — while staying back and drawing enormous numbers of walks — has seen his season enter something of a spiral over the last two months.

On May 15, he had a pair of hits to improve his line to a .306 average, .400 OBP and .379 slugging mark. In 49 games since then, he’s hitting .200 with a .262 OBP and .289 slugging mark. And his struggles don’t simply reflect bad luck and a poor batting average on balls in play — Cecchini has 12 walks (6.2 percent walk rate) and 44 strikeouts (22.6 percent rate) during that span, marks that represent a considerable shift from his career norms.

In short, Cecchini — a consistently excellent performer during his professional career — finds himself in an unfamiliar place in Triple-A, with a .243 average, .321 OBP and .326 slugging mark on the year. Evaluators — both inside and outside the Red Sox system — continue to believe that Cecchini will hit, and perhaps the homer on Monday represents the beginning of a strong finishing stretch to his minor league season. But for the first time, Cecchini’s player development path now includes something other than a straight line ascent through the minors, likely delaying his eventual timetable for a regular role in the big leagues.

Travis Shaw went 1-for-4 while launching an eighth-inning homer, reaching a career milestone. Shaw now has 20 homers on the year between Double-A Portland (11 in 47 games) and Pawtucket (9 in 54 games), one of 29 players in the minors with 20-plus homers at this point. He thus surpassed his previous career-high of 19 homers achieved in 2012. Shaw is hitting .290/.347/.491 in Triple-A and .297/.374/.517 between the two levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: blake swihart, garin cecchini, manuel margot, raiwinson lameda
Red Sox minor league roundup: Steven Wright dominating; Garin Cecchini avoids injury; Nick Longhi, Carson Blair streaking 07.10.14 at 2:25 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:



– Though Garin Cecchini had to be removed from Wednesday’s game after a collision at home plate, with the injury having been described as a shoulder having popped out of and then right back into its socket, the 23-year-old felt fine after the game. The Red Sox expect to know more about the injury in the coming days, but the initial sense was that the prospect had avoided any significant harm. Cecchini was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk before exiting the contest.

– Knuckleballer Steven Wright continued his dominance, tossing eight shutout innings in which he’s allowed two hits, walked three and struck out eight. Wright has gone at least seven innings in four straight starts. In eight starts in Triple-A (after a season-opening stint on the DL), Wright is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA, 8.2 strikeouts per nine and 2.0 walks per nine. Opponents are hitting .194 against him.

– With Christian Vazquez in the big leagues and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington saying that the team has no immediate plans to promote Blake Swihart to Triple-A, Dan Butler once again appears to be in line for regular playing time in Pawtucket. Butler went 1-for-4 with his third homer of the year on Wednesday, with his line for the year now sitting at .233/.316/.344. A year ago, Butler struggled early while relegated to part-time duty behind Ryan Lavarnway, hitting .196/.311/.348 through mid-June, but then thrived when he assumed primary catching duties for the duration of the year, finishing with a .262/.350/.479 line that had him (in combination with his solid defense) on the radar of many big league clubs. He has an opportunity to do the same this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carson blair, garin cecchini, nick longhi, steven wright
Family affair: Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini, brother Gavin pursue major league dreams 07.02.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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Understand this about Garin and Gavin Cecchini: They did not grow up in the typical southern, Christian household. Sure, the Cecchinis are both from Louisiana and were raised in a very devout Christian family, but Raissa and Glenn Cecchini did not raise their kids like most other families.

Both Raissa and Glenn Cecchini are lifelong baseball coaches. Both parents coached at Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La., where Glenn still coaches baseball in addition to his duties as a coach for Team USA. Raissa, on the other hand, is a 20-year coaching veteran and won the Easton National Master Coach of the Year award in 1997.

Saying that baseball runs in the Cecchini bloodline would be an understatement. The kids started off playing baseball at a young age together. Garin and Gavin often played with the neighborhood kids in their backyard, where the family had a small baseball field.

The brothers would team up and “destroy” their opponents.

“Garin and me would get two other guys,” said Gavin, now a 20-year-old Mets minor league shortstop. “It wasn’t always the same guys, but there was another guy that we usually played against. His name was Zach Von Rosenberg. He pitches in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Zach and Garin are the same age and me and Zach’s younger brother are the same age so we would play against them a lot.”

“I remember us always being on teams and us fighting when we would lose and us cheering when we would win,” said Garin, now a 23-year-old third baseman who is one of the Red Sox‘ top prospects. “That’s where we started to actually love the game. We would have Wiffle balls and we would throw as hard as we could and try to hit the ball as far as we can and always beat the other guys.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: garin cecchini, gavin cecchini,
Red Sox minor league roundup: Garin Cecchini, run producer; Mookie Betts adds another position; Henry Owens, Joe Gunkel ridiculous; Trey Ball’s struggles continue 06.27.14 at 12:07 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:



Garin Cecchini, back at third base on Thursday, launched a first-inning grand slam as part of a 1-for-3 day that also included a walk. While Cecchini’s overall numbers this year have looked modest (.263/.340/.343), he’s been a monster with opportunities to drive in runners. With runners on base, he’s hitting .320/.395/.410, marks that bump up to .393/.493/.536 with runners in scoring position and .625/.625/1.250 with two doubles and a homer in eight plate appearances with the bases loaded. The grand slam was the first of Cecchini’s pro career.

– Feats of Mookie: Diversifying. With Shane Victorino‘s rehab stalled by back stiffness, Mookie Betts played right field for the first time on Thursday. Though he bobbled a single, he recovered in time to throw out a runner trying to advance from first to third. At the plate, he went 0-for-2 but drew two walks, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base by walk or hit since his promotion to Pawtucket to 22, with a line of .330/.422/.455 in that time. He also stole his seventh base in nine attempts since joining the PawSox. At a time when he may be days away from a big league callup, Betts displays surprise about his rocketing career trajectory.

– First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-4 with a double, giving him four extra-base hits in two days after he had just six in his first 27 contests following his promotion from Portland.

– Right-hander Matt Barnes allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits (a solo homer and four singles), walking three and punching out five. Though the three walks were the most he’d issued in six starts, Barnes threw 69 of 102 pitches (68 percent) for strikes, and on the year, he’s showing improved control from a year ago, trimming his walk rate from 3.8 to 2.8 per nine innings. Since a two-start stumble in which he gave up 13 runs in 7 1/3 innings, Barnes has a 3.41 ERA in his last five starts.

– Outfielder Andres Torres joined Pawtucket from Lowell, going 0-for-3 while playing center field.



– Left-hander Henry Owens proved human, allowing four runs on five hits (including a pair of two-run homers) in six innings. The four-run yield matched his total from his previous eight outings (spanning 51 1/3 innings). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: garin cecchini, joe gunkel, mookie betts, Trey Ball
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