Red Sox Prospect Watch: Major call-up creates buzz in system
By Hunter Noll
Full-A (Greenville Drive)
Parked cars better be careful, because Kole Cottam is hitting. The catcher struggled to start the year but looks to have his swing back. He’s collected two hits in two straight games, including his first home run of the year in his most recent outing. The right-handed hitter is up to a .237 average (.370 OBP) and has three doubles and one home run so far.
A lot of bats have been struggling in Full-A, and Triston Casas hasn’t been immune to that bad luck. The Red Sox number two overall prospect is hitting .180 with just one home run. However, the left-handed hitter only had four at-bats last season. He’s still getting acclimated to the minors – so give it some time.
Another 2018 draft pick was Brandon Howlett. The 19-year-old is hitting .156 but has a hit in each of the last two games. This is the right-handed hitter’s first season in Full-A. Again, giving him time to adjust is smart as he’s had just 45 at-bats so far this year.
Juan Carlos Abreu is ice-cold at the moment, with his average down to .219. He hit .330 last season and is just 10 games into his Full-A career. The outfielder brings a lot to the plate and his numbers should rise again.
Tyler Esplin has been hot-and-cold so far this year. The 19-year-old has a .236 average and four doubles. This is his first year in Full-A as well. The left-handed hitter has plus-power and hit potential. With that in mind, he’s actually off to a pretty promising start when comparing them to his previous season.
Marino Campana was not having a good start to the season in Advanced-A. The 21-year-old had a .139 average with just one double and one home run. Now the right-handed hitter is back in Full-A with the hopes that he can find his swing again. So far, he’s appeared in just one game – going 0-for-3.
If his previous seasons have taught us anything it’s that this shouldn’t be much of a worry though. Campana can get extremely cold, but extremely hot as well. Expect some big games from him soon enough.
Alex Scherff is definitely building off his strong finish to last season. The right-handed pitcher has a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings so far this year. He’s already walked seven batters compared to 10 strikeouts but has managed to stay out of too much trouble. There’s a reason he’s one of the Red Sox best pitching prospects, as he has all the tools to be a top-of-the-line starter down the line.
Yoan Aybar‘s numbers don’t look good at first glance. The 21-year-old has a 9.64 ERA on the year. However, that’s not indicative of how his season’s gone.
So far, Aybar has allowed five earned runs in 2019. All of those came in one outing. On April 14, the left-handed pitcher allowed five runs on three hits and two walks without recording an out.
Outside of that, Aybar’s thrown 4 2/3 innings. In that time, he’s walked five (that is an issue) but allowed just two hits. He’s struck out four and hasn’t given up any earned runs either. Aybar has all the potential in the world and some nasty pitches. If he can get the control necessary, he could become an elite arm.
Brayan Bello‘s career is off to a nice start. The right-handed pitcher was awesome in Rookie Ball last season and hasn’t slowed down yet. In three starts for Full-A, Bello has a 1.29 ERA. He’s struck out nine batters in 14 innings, walking four. Opponents are hitting just .220 against Bello, whose WHIP is a clean 1.07.
In 81 1/3 innings to start his career, Bello has yet to give up a home run. I apologize now if by the next Prospect Watch I’ve jinxed that.