Let the hitting begin!
The parent team appears to be solid on the offensive side so that leaves the PawSox with some interesting talent. Right up front the next latest and greatest in 22-year-old right-hand hitting Sam Travis. A line drive machine that has consistent .300 stamped on him. Expect Deven Marrero (.256) to return to Pawtucket for slick fielding and – just maybe – a resuscitated bat for the former first round pick. Marrero could be at third or short. Expect PTBNL Marco Hernandez (.271) – a free swinging left-hand hitter – to spend some quality infield time with veteran Josh Rutledge (.284 in Boston). Chris Dominguez – a 29-year-old journeyman – could get some third base and DH action. Expect Mike Miller – a light-hitting infielder – to back up all infield positions.
Will there be any surprises in the PawSox outfield?
Depending on developments you may see August bring a few surprises to Pawtucket. Will Andrew Benintendi make a Mookie Betts type run up the organizational ladder? The start will see the contract from hell – Allen Craig – somehow hoping to justify a return to MLB. The rest of the outfield will be determined in spring training with the key being 34-year-old David Murphy. Murphy’s last visit to Pawtucket was in 2007 when he hit .280 and then started a productive career in Texas, Cleveland and LA. . Murphy has the opt-out card.
Brennan Boesch, Ryan LaMarre and a disappointing Bryce Brentz all round out the outfield with a smattering of power (Brentz), some respectable MLB service time (Boesch) and some speed (LaMarre). All are on that very thin string that may mean on the outside looking in when the Pawtucket roster is set. The thinnest of strings is Chris Marrero – Deven’s younger brother – a 27-year-old once promising power hitter who apparently is a Triple-A lifer.
The catching will be led (hopefully) by a recovering Christian Vazquez with a cast of characters that include a trio of light-hitting backstops – Sandy Leon, Dan Butler and Ali Solis – expect one or more to depart.
The baseball sands will shift in the next few weeks and expect several names on this list to be elsewhere or on the baseball unemployment line.
The PawSox will be devoid of substantial rookie talent unless someone makes a significant organizational leap. Look for Pawtucket in 2016 to be more of a supply line for spare parts rather than a development station for young talent.