Apr 13, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Baseball fans make their way along Yawkey Way before opening ceremonies at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox home opener against the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
While this article has focused on players who had success for Portland this season, a losing season such as theirs was a result of some players that didn’t perform up to expectations. Here are a few of those youngsters who will hope to bounce back in 2016.
After a stellar performance in 2014 after his arrival in Portland late in the season (1.19 ERA over 37.2 innings), the Red Sox had reason to expect Justin Haley would continue to advance in the Red Sox system. The 2015 season was a difficult one for the six foot five inch righty as he struggled to a 5-16 record and 5.15 ERA in 27 starts for Portland. He could keep the ball in the ballpark, allowing just seven homers in 129 innings, but his .289 batting average against shows he was not fooling many hitters this season. The former Red Sox sixth round pick in 2012 hopefully can bounce back next season which promises to be a good one for Portland as stellar young talent gets to Portland on the way to the majors.
Luis Diaz was another Red Sox right handed starter who took a step back this season. After a 1.96 ERA over 101 innings in A ball in 2013, Diaz earned a promotion to Portland where he posted a 3.72 ERA over 77.1 innings in 2014. The 2015 season was a tough one for the 23 year old Venezuelan who posted similar numbers to Haley’s, 2-10 record and a 5.47 ERA. Diaz struck out just 86 in 136.2 innings. The Red Sox certainly hope for a better season next year for the right hander.
While not having as poor a season as the previous two players mentioned, Carlos Asuaje‘s 2015 disappointment perhaps tempered the Red Sox high hopes for the Venezuelan third baseman. 2014 was a spectacular one for Asuaje, posting a .927 OPS with 65 extra base hits and 101 RBI in 129 games in A ball last season. A promotion to Portland for the 2015 season has not proved to be the meteoric rise the Red Sox likely hoped for. Asuaje posted just a .708 OPS driving in 61 runs in 130 games for the Sea Dogs. The 2011 11th round pick will need to adjust to AA pitching better next year if he hopes to advance to Fenway in his career.
While the Red Sox cannot be happy with the team records from the top two levels of their farm system, the performance of their young players this season shows that the minors develop young players that can contribute, and even excel at the major league level. This year may have been a bad one for the Portland Sea Dogs, but the players at the lower levels will be coming next year some time, so this is definitely a temporary situation. The Portland Sea Dogs will be a force next year. Count on it.