Red Sox Prospect Watch: Tyler Esplin and Brandon Howlett are on fire
By Hunter Noll
Triple-A (Pawtucket Red Sox)
Okay, I said I’d like Tanner Houck in the bullpen but I think he’d be better as a starter. I might’ve been wrong. Houck looks stupid good as a reliever. His slider looks as nasty as ever and he’s cranking up the heat on his fastball.
Houck’s made three relief appearances in Triple-A so far, spanning four innings. He hasn’t allowed a run yet and has a 1.00 WHIP and 0.83 BAA in that time. Straight lights-out.
Trevor Kelley has a 1.59 ERA. I’m sticking with my strike. Keeping it short and simple on him until he’s back in the Majors.
Bobby Poyner is down to a 2.95 ERA and has been racking up the strikeouts lately. The lefty has 50 over 39 2/3 innings in Triple-A and is definitely making a case to find his way back in the Majors at some point this year.
Ryan Brasier was sent down to Triple-A after struggling in the Majors for some time. In his first appearance, he looked sharp. The righty threw a perfect inning and struck out one batter. Maybe some time in Pawtucket can help him figure things out again.
Teddy Stankiewicz allowed four runs in five innings in his lone appearance this week. I’m giving him a pass though because he didn’t start. The righty came into a game that saw Travis Lakins start for the first inning then Nathan Eovaldi come out for the second inning. Stankiewicz is a starter, so the different routine might have messed with him a little.
Chad De La Guerra is hitting .311 so far this year. In 167 at-bats he has 15 doubles, one triple and 10 home runs. That’s just six fewer homers than the career-best mark he set last year in more than double the number of at-bats. DLG is a stud and should be treated as such.
Josh Ockimey is hitting just .195. I know I often say don’t look too much into the batting average with him because the OBP is solid and he hits bombs. However, he’s going to need to sneak that up over .200, preferably closer to .220 by the end of the year. Still, a .347 OBP and 17 homers are nice.
Chris Owings is hitting .327 with six doubles, five home runs and five steals for Pawtucket. He’s done that in just 27 games. Owings is still just 27 and isn’t that far removed from some extremely production MLB seasons. I’ll say it again, this could end up being a sneaky-good move by the Red Sox.