Jun 18, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Salem Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (10) during the fourth inning of the California League vs Carolina League All Star Game at San Jose Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Class-A Advanced: Salem Red Sox (Carolina League)
No, Salem did not have Swihart in 2014, but he is proof that Salem can raise premium talent. The even littler Red Sox clinched a playoff spot in the Southern division by posting a .500 record (68-68). They were slightly better at home (35-32) than away (33-36). They eventually lost to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the semifinals. In the three-game series, Salem hit just .167 for 1 home run and 4 RBIs. Compared to the Pelicans’ 20 runs, Salem didn’t have a chance.
The regular season was much better evidence of Salem’s talents at the plate. The team was ranked second in batting average (.261), with 72 home runs, 582 RBIs, a .338 OBP, and a .388 SLG. Manuel Margot had much to say about that. The 20-year-old center fielder from the Dominican Republic hit .340, with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs, in 16 games for Salem, while hitting .286 in 99 games for Class-A Greenville, in 2014. Second baseman Reed Gragnani and third baseman Mario Martinez were some of the RBI leaders for the team to watch for last season. Martinez led the team with 62 RBIs while hitting .268. Gragnani switch-hit for .300, with 53 RBIs, while striking out much less than Martinez (51 to 96).
Look for the righy Margot to continue his big splash with these Red Sox. Depending upon the outfield situation for Portland and Pawtucket, Margot may need another season to work on his skills in Salem. However, while Gragnani is set for another season in Salem, Martinez has made the move to Portland.
Click link for the entire summer schedule: 2015 Salem Red Sox
First Away Game of 2015: April 9th vs. Carolina Mudcats
First Home Game of 2015: April 16th vs. Carolina Mudcats