Boston Red Sox Prospect Watch: Everyone’s settling in for week two

Feb 14, 2020; Lee County, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox infielder Jeter Downs (20) blows a bubble with his bubble gum as he works out during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2020; Lee County, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox infielder Jeter Downs (20) blows a bubble with his bubble gum as he works out during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Red Sox prospect Kole Cottam
Greenville Drive’s Kole Cottam (39) is safe at first base after a pickoff attempt from West Virginia Power during the game at Flour Field Thursday, April 4, 2019.Ss Drive 04 04 2019 1603 /

Red Sox Advanced-A (Greenville)

Last week I said the Greenville Drive might be the most entertaining team in baseball right now. I was right.

First let’s talk about some elite pitchers.

Chris Murphy had a strong first week, giving up two runs on five hits in four innings – striking out seven in that time. He out-dueled himself to a pretty high level though. Murph threw 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out another seven. The lefty took an impressive first outing and built upon it. The sky’s the limit and the Red Sox need to recognize that.

Brayan Bello has now thrown 11 1/3 innings, giving up just two runs. The right-hander struck out 13 batters and has a .158 BAA and 0.79 WHIP. Bello definitely does not get enough recognition for the electric pitches he has and obvious ability to use them effectively.

Chase Shugart is someone I could see flying up the minor leagues if we’re being honest. He came to the Red Sox in the 2018 draft out of the University of Texas. Shugart then posted a 1.13 ERA in 2018 and a 2.81 ERA in 2019. This year, the righty has allowed just one run over seven innings. Shugart has eight strikeouts compared to just one walk, a .200 BAA, and a 0.86 WHIP.

Jay Groome has allowed 12 earned runs over 7 1/3 innings (14.73 ERA). He has a .405 BAA and a 2.86 WHIP. Obviously nothing great right there, but there are a few bright spots. First of all, Groome is getting work. Injuries have been murderous to him, so as long as he is out there pitching it’s a positive. Second, Groome already suffered an injury in his second start of the year, but managed to be ready for his next outing, so that’s good. Once the rust is off, expect him to be fine (he does has 11 strikeouts).

Kole Cottam is slashing .391/.481/.696. Remind me again how he isn’t a top catching prospect? Dude just rakes. Constantly increasing his defense, and a fantastic bat. The right-hander has one double, two home runs, five RBI, and five runs scored. It’s safe to assume he’s not going to hit .400 all year but the bat should be fun to watch.

Brandon Howlett is on a four-game hitting-streak, he is 7-for-15 in that time. The right-handed hitter is now batting .343 with three doubles, one home run, six RBI, and six runs scored. Howlett could be enjoying a big breakout year in 2021.

Cameron Cannon is slashing .325/.400/.625 with six doubles and two home runs. He’s driven in two runs, scored nine more, and stolen one base. Cannon has shown off a lot of pop with all the extra-base hits and a great ability to get on-base.

Tyreque Reed has only gone further this week to prove that he is an absolute unit. The right-handed hitter has a .240/.406/.760 slash line with one double, four home runs, nine RBI, and nine runs scored. He has hit a home run in each of his last two games, including hitting a walk-off homer on Sunday.

Nick Sogard was part of the surprising package (along with Hernandez) that the Red Sox got from the Tampa Bay Rays for Jeffrey Springs and Chris Mazza. Sogard is hitting .243 at the moment, but that average should continue to rise (it was only .133 at this time last week). The left-handed hitter does have two doubles and three home runs already (three more than he had prior to this season). He’s also driven in five runs and scored six more.

Tyler Esplin is hitting .256 (.383 OBP) with two doubles at the moment. The right fielder has driven in three runs and scored seven more. Meanwhile, he is 1-for-1 in stolen base attempts.

Tyler Dearden is hitting .231 but has a fantastic .429 OBP thanks to eight walks. The left-handed hitter has roped two doubles and two home runs, meanwhile he’s driven in six runs and scored seven more.