Here’s a look at the best and worst performances in the Red Sox minor league system for August. (SoxProspects.com prospect ranking in parenthesis)
Top offensive players in August
(1) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Salem/Portland -- .374/.409/.673 with 5 HRs
(7) Bryce Brentz, OF, Portland/Pawtucket -- .368/.406/.579 with 4 HRs
(9) Garin Cecchini, 3B, Greenville -- .316/.422/.434 with 0 HRs and 13 SBs
(30) Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, Portland/Pawtucket -- .345/.360/.527 with 2 HRs and 9 SBs
(58) Manuel Margot, OF, DSL Red Sox -- .351/.444/.473 with 1 HR and 9 SBs
Bogaerts hit the ground running after an Aug. 9 promotion to Double-A, but he’ll still need to continue to improve his plate approach and cut down on strikeouts to stay on track to become an impact major leaguer … Like several other prospects in the Sox system, Brentz earned a late season level promotion, finishing his stint in Portland with a .296 batting average and .833 OPS … Cecchini has posted solid, consistent numbers for the entire season with Greenville and may prove to be a valuable trade chip this offseason … Hazelbaker, 25, earned a promotion to Triple-A on Aug. 27 and is a candidate to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November … Signed in July 2011 for an $800,000 bonus, Margot showed a lot of promise in the Dominican Summer League this season, finishing up the short-season campaign at .285/.382/.423 with 4 home runs and 33 stolen bases.
Top pitchers in August
(14) Drake Britton, SP, Portland -- 2-3, 2.23 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 30/13 K/BB in 32.1 IP
(32) Frank Montas, SP, GCL Red Sox -- 0-1, 1.59 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 18/3 KBB in 17.0 IP
(49) Michael Olmsted, RP, Portland -- -1-2, 3 saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 22/5 K/BB in 15.0 IP
(54) William Cuevas, P, Lowell -- 4-1, 1.32 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 21/4 K/BB in 27.1 IP
(60) Dioscar Romero, SP, DSL Red Sox -- 4-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 20/2 K/BB in 20.2 IP
After a down season in 2011, Britton put himself back on the map in 2012, profiling as a potential high-leverage major-league reliever … Montas, a 19-year-old Dominican flamethrower, earned a promotion to Lowell on Aug. 30 and may end up as the Spinners’ opening day starter in 2013 … A former indy leaguer who has been absolutely dominant for the entire season, Olmsted will be a minor-league free agent this offseason, but there appears to be mutual interest in bringing the righty reliever back in 2013 … Cuevas has spent much of 2012 as a piggyback starter, but should compete for a full-fledged rotation slot with Greenville in 2013 … Signed for $600,000 in July 2011, Romero started the DSL season slowly, then posted a 0.50 ERA in 35.2 innings over the second half.
(2) Matt Barnes, SP, Salem -- 0-0, 4.58 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11/8 K/BB in 17.2 IP
(12) Brandon Jacobs, OF, Salem -- .159/.283/.318 with 3 HRs and 5 SBs
(35) Noe Ramirez, SP, Greenville -- 1-4, 5.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 30/7 K/BB in 28.0 IP
(38) Che-Hsuan Lin, OF, Pawtucket -- .250/.315/.298 with 0 HRs
(40) Dan Butler, C, Portland/Pawtucket -- .217/.304/.333 with 1 HR
As is the case with many top college arms in their first full pro season, Barnes hit a wall when August rolled around, struggling with stamina and maintaining control … Jacobs’ season has been hampered by a broken hamate bone that occurred in late May … Ramirez continues to show excellent control and the ability to miss bats, but was very hittable in August (perhaps as a case of bad luck, posting a .343 BABIP) … Lin continues to struggle to hit the ball out of the infield, hitting 62 percent groundballs for the month … Butler earned a promotion to Pawtucket on Aug. 3, but really struggled upon his first extended look at Triple-A pitching.
As of Sept. 1, here are your batting leaders in the Red Sox minor league system (cumulative stats, min. 250 plate appearances): Pawtucket OF Juan Carlos Linares at .316, Portland OF Jackie Bradley at .314, Pawtucket (now Boston) 1B Mauro Gomez at .310, Salem/Greenville OF Keury De La Cruz at .306, Bogaerts and Cecchini, both at .304.
The organization’s home run leaders are Gomez at 24, Bogaerts at 20, Hazelbaker, De La Cruz and Salem 1B Travis Shaw, all at 19 ... Stolen base leaders are Cecchini with 49, Hazelbaker with 35, Margot with 33, Portland/Salem OF Shannon Wilkerson with 32, Greenville 2B Jose Garcia with 25.
ERA leaders as of Sept. 1 (cumulative, players still in the organization, min. 75 IP) are Barnes at 2.85, Greenville LHP Mickey Pena at 3.01, Pawtucket LHP Chris Hernandez at 3.26, Portland RHP Brandon Workman at 3.43, Salem RHP Mike McCarthy at 3.44.
Strikeout leaders: Barnes with 133, Greenville LHP Henry Owens with 130, Workman with 124, Britton with 118, Salem RHP Yeiper Castillo with 116.
Eleven players got the call to Boston from the minor leagues in August -- Lin, Gomez, C Ryan Lavarnway, RHP Clay Mortensen, 3B Danny Valencia, SS Jose Iglesias, RHP Junichi Tazawa, RHP Pedro Beato, OF Ryan Kalish, RHP Zach Stewart and RHP Daniel Bard.
There were more level promotions in the Red Sox system in August than in any one month in recent memory. Brentz, Hazelbaker, Butler and RHPs Brock Huntzinger, Steven Wright and Josh Fields all were promoted from Portland to Pawtucket. Bogaerts, Workman, Shaw, Wilkerson and C Christian Vazquez were promoted from Salem to Portland. De La Cruz, McCarthy and INFs David Renfroe and Bryan Johns were promoted from Greenville to Salem, while 1B David Chester was promoted to Salem from Lowell. INF Dreily Guerrero and RHP Kyle Kraus were promoted from Lowell to Greenville. Nine players were promoted from the Gulf Coast League to Lowell: RHPs Montas, Austin Maddox, Sergio Gomez and Gerardo Olivares, 1B Kevin Mager, 3B Nick Moore, SS Cleuluis Rondon and OFs Kevin Heller and Jose Colorado.
On the injury front, Boston had Daisuke Matsuzaka, Andrew Bailey and Daniel Nava all in the minor leagues on rehab assignment at various points in August. Minor leaguers on the disabled list include Pawtucket OF Alex Hassan (undisclosed), 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez (broken left hand), RHP Will Inman (thumb), Linares (finger), Portland RHP Anthony Ranaudo (shoulder fatigue), LHP Aaron Kurcz (undisclosed), 3B Kolbrin Vitek (back strain), RHP Chris Balcom-Miller (shoulder), Greenville SS Jose Vinicio (knee sprain) and Lowell RHP Brian Johnson (multiple orbital bone fractures).