The Pawtucket Red Sox are in the middle of the International League standings. Just what players could provide help for Boston?
The Pawtucket Red Sox (PawSox) have survived the weather, numerous call-ups to Boston and some performance inconsistencies to have a 13-13 record in the International League North Division through 5/5. As with the record, the offensive team numbers fall somewhere in the middle of league stats. The batting average (.261), however, is third among the 14 teams. Nothing else jumps out to demonstrate a minor league version of murderer’s row.
Pitching is always of real interest and the PawSox team ERA is 3.19 and right in the middle of league stats. The PawSox staff has an acute case of walkitis that has infiltrated the staff with 92 walks to be second in the league in that rather ignominious stat. The offset is the stingy allowance of hits with only 192 in 228.2 innings for a respectable 1.24 WHIP.
So where is the potential help for Boston in the early going?
Marco Hernandez, called up to Boston several times, is certainly been racking up the air miles and also the hits. The famed PTBNL in the Felix Doubront deal with the Cubs slashing .355/.412/.452 and a few more plate appearances would have Marco second in the IL in hitting. Expect Marco to spend more time in Boston.
Sam Travis has cooled off a bit slashing .283/.333/.404 with two home runs and 14 RBI. The 22-year-old right-hand hitting first baseman also has a team-leading four errors. Travis also leads the team in strikeouts with 25 but his BABIP is at .361.
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Has anyone fallen quicker than Sean Coyle? Coyle – once a top twenty prospect – has faded to a .143 average after .151 in 2015. Coyle does have a pair of home runs and 14 RBI. His roster position may be quite tenuous.
Switch-hitting Blake Swihart started slow upon his return to Pawtucket, but has picked up the hitting pace to .234. The most notable issue is the power outage with no home runs and just three doubles in 64 at-bats. Swihart has dabbled defensively in left field and is still the primary catcher. With the success of Christian Vazquez any upswing by Swihart increases his value to Boston as a player or trade chip.
Deven Marrero’s bat continues to wither at .202. A wonderful glove and 24 strikeouts. One the other side of the family tree is cousin Chris Marrero, who leads the PawSox in home runs with four and sports a .280 average. The soon to be 28-year-old right-hand hitter does have MLB experience and some punch. Marrero is a non-roster player.
Rusney Castillo has done virtually nothing to resuscitate any hope of decent returns on a 72.5 Million contract. The slash is .234/.306/.281 with no home runs.
Ryan LaMarre is a .263 career hitter in the minors and the fleet of foot outfield ball hawk has seen his average dip from .357 to .316 in recent weeks. LaMarre has some MLB experience, but that resulted in a .080 batting average for the right-hand hitting outfielder who is a non-roster player.
Allen Craig is currently on the disabled list and has two hits in 10 at-bats. With Castillo, this forms quite possibly the highest payroll duo in the minors.
Everyone is aware of the problems Henry Owens has and it is simple – walks. Owens has stated that he needs to stop nibbling and attack the zone, but the application is just not there either in Pawtucket of Boston. Owens will be a success in the minors simply because of his swing and miss ability, but unless his BB/9 falls under 3.0 expect little for Boston.
The other walk meister is Brian Johnson with 14 in 21 innings. That translates to a 1.57 WHIP. Johnson has “The Stuff” but lacks the consistent control. The 26-year-old lefty may be seeing time running out.
An ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP that is a staggering 1.81 about sums it up for Roenis Elias. Elias’s Boston appearance was about as successful as the Big Dig.
William Cuevas is 3-1 with the PawSox and has a 3.76 ERA. His lone Boston appearance this season was a flashback to a long list of first time MLB pitching disasters. The 25-year-old right-hander will refine his skills and just might get a chance at redemption.
Mr. Dependable for the staff has been Sean O’Sullivan – a non-roster right-hander who self-destructed with Philadelphia in 2015 (1-6, 6.08). O’Sullivan has the one item that gets attention and that is walks are rare for the portly 28-year-old. In 33 innings O’Sullivan has issued only five walks, 32 strikeouts and allowed a miserly 24 hits. That translates into a 0.88 WHIP. As pitching evaporates at the MLB level expect O’Sullivan to get a shot somewhere.
The remaining members of the PawSox staff have done nothing significant to show any real potential to be anything other than a temporary fix for a burned bullpen – Noe Ramirez and Pat Light have already been to Boston with mixed results. Jorge Marban has a minuscule ERA of 0.63 but 10 walks in 14.1 innings. Keith Couch continues to allow more hits than innings pitched and Kyle Martin remains a very long shot for contributions at the MLB level.