Minor League Report 6/12: Cannons of the Outfield

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Overall, it was a bad week for the Boston Red Sox affiliates. However, the outfielders throughout all minor league levels have been very impressive in one regard this season. Brandon Magee takes a look at that and how each team fared in his weekly minor league report.

Cole Sturgeon has six. Kevin Heller has four. Joseph Monge has seven. Bryce Brentz has eleven. Juan Hernandez already has three in only five games. What mysterious stat are these players acquiring so quickly? The answer is outfield assists… and these cannons of the outfield are keeping their teams in the game.

Bryce Brentz’s arm has always been one of his highest rated tools. Since his debut in 2010, Brentz has accumulated 49 assists. His career high, prior to this season, was ten, which he accomplished in both 2011 and 2012. However, this season, he has gone over the top with eleven assists in only 38 games. There may be something in the water in Pawtucket, as the team has piled up 26 outfield assists in their 60 games. Quintin Berry and Jackie Bradley Jr.. each have four and Travis Shaw and Jeff Bianchi, who have each played only three games in the outfield, have two assists apiece:

 

Pawtucket may lead the organization with assists, but the Salem Red Sox and the Greenville Drive are both doing a fantastic job as well. Salem, led by Sturgeon’s six assists, has a total of seventeen. The Drive have eighteen outfield assists on the season, led by Joseph Monge and Derek Miller with seven apiece. The DSL teams have started out on fire in their first 10 games. DSL Red Sox2 has eight outfield assists already, led by Hernandez’s three. DSL Red Sox1 has three outfield assists.

Only the Portland Sea Dogs have failed to join in on the fun. In 59 games, the Sea Dogs have only registered four outfield assists. Jonathan Roof leads the team with two. 

Outfield defense is an essential part of helping teams win. Athletic plays turning hits into outs help pitchers prevent big innings. Diving catches and superior range are not the only ways to help from the outfield. The Red Sox are showing that great throwing arms are just as essential in garnering extra outs from the outfielders.

Minor League Roundup

Overall team records are shown as of the end of play on Wednesday, June 10th. This week’s record is from Thursday, June 4th through Wednesday, June 10th. 

Pawtucket Red Sox (Overall: 29-31 Week: 2-4)

The PawSox’ downward spiral continues. Since finishing a road sweep against the Toledo Mud Hens on May 7th, Pawtucket has skidded to an 11-21 record.

The offense continues to be offensive, scoring 20 total runs in their six games this week. In four of the six games, they scored two or fewer runs. During the 32-game skid, they have scored two or fewer runs 17 times.

Garin Cecchini was a big part of both PawSox wins during the week. In the PawSox 7-2 victory on June 7th, Cecchini hit his third home run of the season, a grand slam, which put the team up by five. On Wednesday, the Pawsox walked off the field victorious as Deven Marrero scored on Cecchini’s 9th inning double. However, Cecchini is still batting under .200 for the season. His batting average has exceeded .200 at the end of only six games this season.

The recently promoted Jonathan Aro has adjusted to AAA baseball. In his first two PawSox games, Aro allowed four runs in 3 ⅓ innings of work. In his next five games, covering twelve innings, Aro has allowed zero runs while striking out 16.

Heath Hembree continues to impress out of the PawSox pen. In 18 appearances, he has allowed two earned runs. Hembree has also allowed only two walks, none in his last twelve appearances. 

Pawtucket looks to get back above .500 with a weekend series against the Toledo Mud Hens before heading on the road to face the Charlotte Knights starting on Tuesday.

Portland Sea Dogs (Overall: 23-36 Week: 0-6)

The offensive struggles are ongoing for the Sea Dogs as well, scoring only ten runs this week as the team dropped all six of their games. After scoring three runs in the first inning on Friday, Portland went 28 innings without scoring a run, finally scoring two in the 3rd inning on Tuesday.

In their last 13 games, Portland has scored more than four runs once (May 29th they erupted for 12 runs). In those 13 games, Portland has been shutout four times.

Marco Hernandez has been one of the few bright spots in the offense, reaching base in each of his last seven games, batting .370/.414/.481 in that stretch:

Jorge Marban has still not surrendered a run in AA. In seven appearances for Portland, he has 11 ⅔ innings of scoreless baseball. For the season, he has allowed only three earned runs in 15 appearances totaling 27 ⅔ innings.

Portland looks to win a few games this week, facing off against the Bowie Baysox this weekend before returning to Hadlock Field on Tuesday to face the Binghamton Mets.

Salem Red Sox (Overall: 30-28 Week: 4-3)

Heading into the final week and a half of the first half, Salem is in second place in the Carolina League Southern Division, five games behind the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Unlike Pawtucket and Portland, Salem showed some offensive prowess this week, scoring six or more runs four times including twice reaching double digits.

Sam Travis has reached base in eight straight games and in 14 of his last 15. In that 15-game stretch, he has had eight multi-hit games including four three-hit games and has batted .471/.518/.627 with five doubles, a homerun and only seven strikeouts. Travis was also named as the starting first baseman for the Carolina League All-Star team that will face off against the all-stars of the California League on June 23. He was the only Salem player named to the team.

Tzu-Wei Lin has also been heating up, reaching base in eight of his last nine games, hitting .361/.439/.528.

Trey Ball had a pair of scoreless starts this week, going 11 ⅔ innings, allowing four hits and six walks while striking out 11. In his eleven starts this season, Ball has allowed no runs in four of them – three of them coming in his last four appearances. 

Salem looks to continue their offensive surge against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who they will face in home-and-home three-game series, beginning today in Salem and then in Delaware on Monday.

Greenville Drive (Overall: 32-27 Week: 1-5)

Losing seven games in a row cost the Drive their big division lead. Greenville is now tied with the Savannah Sand Gnats at the top of the South Atlantic Southern Division.

The Drive’s fantastic start to the season was rewarded with a shocking eight representatives to the South Atlantic League All-Star game. Catcher Jordan Procyshen, third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Javier Guerra and outfielder Derek Miller were all named starters. Catcher Ben Moore and infielder Mauricio Dubon rounded out the six everyday players named to the team. Mario Alcantara and Michael Kopech were named to the pitching staff for the South squad.

Nick Longhi has reached base in each of his last nine games, batting .406/.472/.594 in this stretch:

Yoan Moncada has struggled in his last six games, batting .083/.154/.083 with eight strikeouts.

The Drive will look to get back to their winning ways with a four-game series against the Rome Braves this weekend before heading out on the road to end the first half of the season, starting with three against the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

DSL Red Sox (Overall: 4-5 ) and DSL Red Sox2 (Overall: 6-4)

The DSL Red Sox2 are not only throwing out runners from the outfield at an astonishing rate, they are also burning up the base paths. In their first ten games, the team has stolen 26 bases.

Lorenzo Cedrola has led the offense for Sox2, batting .320/.452/.520 with five stolen bases. Rafael Toribio has also started hot for the team, hitting .333/.455/.444 with six stolen bases.

Anderson Espinoza, who received a $1.8 million signing bonus in 2014, has acquitted himself nicely in his first two professional appearances. Espinoza has allowed a single earned run in seven innings of work, striking out eight.

Willis Figueroa has led the offense for Red Sox1, batting .375/.500/.375 with seven walks. Luis Yovera has also had a nice start to his career, hitting .321/.367/.500.
Christopher Acosta, who received a $1.5 million signing bonus last year, did not do as well in his first professional game, allowing 3 earned runs in 3 innings of work.

On top of his duties as our resident minor league expert, Brandon Magee looked at hard-hit balls by David Ortiz, the 2015 Red Sox draft, and the 2010 Red Sox draft.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @cuzittt.

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