The Red Sox Triple-A farm club at Pawtucket will occasionally be highlighted on this site along with the other farm teams of Boston. The focus will be on prospect watch to get some insight into how the top prospects are developing and, especially with the PawSox, which players with MLB experience could be of assistance to The Big Club.
I plan, as with 2014, spending some time in Pawtucket and will occasional write my views and those of others on just how the prospects are performing. If anyone has additional comments on what they have observed please enjoy the opportunity to post them.
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The PawSox opened their home schedule with an 8-7 victory over the Rochester Red Wings. The Wings certainly could have used a personal favorite of mine – Luke Easter. Easter could hit and so can Bryce Brentz – at least in the ninth inning with a walk off home run.
This game I was relegated to the cheap seats and compared to MLB every seat is really cheap. The night was cold, the crowd less than capacity, the coffee fine and my seat partner, a former coach (Billy) and scout, entertaining with his commentary and critiques of all things PawSox.
The Red Wings are the farm club of the Twins and that means you get to view some of the high-level Twins talent that may be seen during the season such as Taylor Rogers, a young left-hander, who took to the mound against Steven Wright.
Wright simply did not have his normal “stuff” during the game, allowing seven hits and seven runs, but three were earned thanks to some disappointing defensive plays. Wright, however, was rescued from a loss by a suddenly resilient PawSox offense. I was told that the three runs the PawSox placed on the board in the fourth broke a 23 inning scoreless streak.
The PawSox bullpen closed the door on the Red Wings and the offense chipped away with a pair of runs in both the sixth and the seventh before Brentz send the remaining fans home with a one out shot to left for his second home run of the season.
Always exciting to see a Red Sox win in any league, but my main focus when at Pawtucket is to see who is hot and who is not. What observations I can glean from those who had regular attendees at McCoy. Just how are some of those top ten or twenty prospects doing?
Mar 12, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (71) at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
First up is Blake Swihart who has been mentioned in the same sentence with Buster Posey. A must have in every trade scenario. Swihart had three hits and three RBI and in just this view on this night was quite impressive. Swihart punched one ball into right for a quality hit on a quality pitch. What you read and saw from spring training about bat control and pitch recognition was on display.
Swihart had a few moments with Wright pitching and that is to be expected with a knuckleballer. If first impressions mean anything the Red Sox have a gem in Swihart. In fact “Billy” spent most of the evening presenting me with catcher-speak on just why this kid is quite advanced defensively. Endless comments of foot movement, arm release, framing a pitch and surviving the tosses of Wright.
Deven Marrero, who is hitting close to .400, and what a difference a year makes. In 2014 the Marrero I saw at Pawtucket was simply over matched. This version is not. His fielding everyone who is a Red Sox loyalist knows about. Marrero is to short stop as Christian Vazquez is to catching.
The bat, therefore, is the roadblock for Marrero and based on the early sample the Red Sox may have something special on the board with the former first round pick. Marrero hit his first home run of the season in the sixth, but the downside of his evening was two strikeouts. When I saw Marrero in 2014 he had some real issues with inside pitches – both recognition and ability to fight off inside borderline tosses. His development will be interesting to follow during 2015.
Sean Coyle hit one out right after his infield partner Marraro. I’d read and heard about Coyle as a Dustin Pedroia clone. Saw some TV games from Fort Meyers and got a upclose view. Coyle actually appears physically different from Pedroia. A bit taller and leaner. In the early IL season Coyle is hovering around .200 as he makes the next step adjustment.
Last season, I wrote an article about Garin Cecchini potentially moving to left field. An Alex Gordon type of move and that is where Cecchini is playing. His game was a nightmare with the stick as Garin picked up three strikeouts and was baffled by Taylor. Cecchini was a disappointment in 2014 and not off to a good start in 2015. Once a top prospect his credentials are rapidly eroding.
Brentz was the hero for the night for not forcing us to wait out an extra inning game on a cold night. Every time I see Brentz I wonder what he could do with 200-300 at bats with an MLB team. For Boston he is stuck and will be heading down that road that Jeff Bailey walked on. A taste, but no real shot.
The pitching for the evening was the usual suspects that are in Triple-A for a reason. Wright did not have a decent game, but both Miguel Celestino and Dana Eveland did by keeping the Red Wings off the board.
The next few games I attend I will work around the pitching schedule to get a look at the top pitching prospects.
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