Red Sox Prospect Watch: Tyler Esplin and Brandon Howlett are on fire
By Hunter Noll
Double-A (Portland Sea Dogs)
There’s a new power duo in the Boston Red Sox minors. Sorry, I don’t make the rules – well okay, I made this one but just simmer down and obey it.
That duo is Bryan Mata and Dedgar Jimenez. The two seem to get along extremely well – often interacting and posting pictures together on social media.
More importantly, they’re two pitchers I think could be really good for the Boston Red Sox sometime down the line.
Mata made one start this week, not looking completely sharp. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits in four innings. That rose his ERA in Double-A to 5.03 (19 2/3 innings). For the second straight start, he racked up the strikeouts – eight in six innings last time out and six in four innings this time around. The 20-year-old is just getting used to Double-A, give him time – he’ll dominate soon enough.
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Jimenez has made five relief appearances this year. Two have been iffy but the other three were superb. The left-hander has a 4.08 ERA in 70 2/3 innings for Portland this year. That number’s risen a bit since his turn to the bullpen but it could just be a grace period. I still see him as a starter down the line anyways.
What really matters here is the dynamic duo of El Idolo and Baby Bartolo forming. This is the definition of “here for it”.
Denyi Reyes has been really good over the last month. He has a 4.03 ERA this year, quickly turning his season around. In the last 30 days, the righty has made four starts. Those four starts have seen him allow six earned runs in 28 innings. That’s a 1.93 ERA.
Marcus Wilson‘s back in Double-A and he’s bringing his ridiculously hot bat with him. The outfielder went on a quick four-game hitting streak this week – then saw it end with an 0-for-1. That 0-for-1 featured three walks and three runs scored.
In that four-game hitting streak, Wilson showed off his power (two-homer game) and his run-scoring abilities (seven runs scored). For those keeping track, that means he’s scored 10 runs in his last five games.
Wilson’s up to a .193 average with Portland (.281 combined). The glove always plays. He’s proving to be a very enticing prospect and one that could soften the blow for the fans that hated to see Blake Swihart traded.
C.J. Chatham‘s at .300 on the year, mashing 21 doubles and two home runs along the way. There’s really nothing else to say about the shortstop that hasn’t already been said. He’s going to be a great hitter in the Majors – he just needs a chance.
Bobby Dalbec is hitting .230 with a .374 OBP. He’s raked 13 doubles and one triple, with an impressive 19 home runs. The ball really just flies off his bat.
Jarren Duran is only hitting .213 in Double-A but is coming off a two-hit game in his last outing. He also has a ridiculous 13 steals in 42 games with Portland – 31 steals total between the two leagues he’s played in this year.
Austin Rei is still getting back into the swing of things, as he’s 3-for-14 (.214 average) in five games. The catcher has two walks (has been great in this category in his career) and two RBI as well. In his last two games, Rei is 2-for-5 with two RBI and two walks. Clearly, the bat is waking up.
Jhon Nunez is down to .280 but just had a home run and four RBI in his last game. The catcher now has career-highs in doubles (10) and home runs (5). He’s also driven in 20 runs and scored 23 more. Both he and Rei are very exciting catching prospects.