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August Red Sox minor league notes

Here’s a look at the top August performances in the Red Sox minor league system, the not-so-impressive performances, and other notes from the penultimate month of the season.

Top offensive players in August

Josh Reddick, OF, Pawtucket -- .350/.370/.626, 8 HR, 123 AB

Ryan Lavarnway, C, Portland -- .269/.396/.564, 6 HR, 78 AB

Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF, Portland -- .322/.378/.556, 4 HR, 90 AB

Alex Hassan, OF, Salem -- .330/.432/.527, 3 HR, 91 AB

Reynaldo Rodriguez, 1B, Greenville -- .348/.449/.674, 7 HR, 89 AB

Reddick benefitted from the steadiness of staying with one team for the month, and he should be rewarded with a September call-up at or before the conclusion of the Pawtucket season on Sept. 6 ... Lavarnway hasn’t missed a beat offensively after receiving a promotion to Portland in July, but despite showing significant defensive improvements, questions still remain as to whether he’ll be able to round into an adequate major league backstop ... Chiang, a 22-year-old corner outfielder from Taiwan, demonstrated substantial power and plate discipline improvements in August -- he’ll likely continue to be paired with fellow countryman Che-Hsuan Lin as they climb the organizational ladder ... Hassan continues to demonstrate an outstanding approach at the plate, leading the system with a .110 isolated discipline (of players with 350-plus at-bats) ... The Red Sox acquired the Colombian-born Rodriguez from independent league Yuma in October 2009, and shortly thereafter Rodriguez was named the top prospect in all of the independent leagues by Baseball America, an accolade received by Daniel Nava two years prior. At 24, Rodriguez was unable to make a full-season club out of the gate this season, but has shown steady improvements in every aspect of his game each month since being assigned to Low-A Greenville in May.

Top pitchers in August

Robert Coello, RP, Pawtucket -- 1-0, 2.61 ERA, 21 K, 8 BB, 20.2 IP

Blake Maxwell, P, Portland -- 5-0, 2.43 ERA, 18 K, 6 BB, 29.2 IP

Pete Ruiz, SP, Greenville -- 3-1, 2.65 ERA, 40 K, 2 BB, 34.0 IP

Jeremiah Bayer, RP, Greenville -- 1-0, 0.45 ERA, 21 K, 4 BB, 20.0 IP

Tyler Wilson, SP, Lowell -- 2-0, 0.83 ERA, 11 K, 4 BB, 21.2 IP

Boston converted Coello to a relief role on Aug. 7 to determine if he might be a quality addition to the major league bullpen, and the big righty has responded well, putting up a 1.56 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .105 batting average in eight relief appearances ... Maxwell has excelled since returning to Double-A Portland in July, raising the question as to whether some team will take a flyer on the 26-year-old side-armer in the Rule 5 Draft this December ... Ruiz has flashed impeccable control for Greenville this summer, walking only 12 batters in 86 innings since June 1 ... Bayer, a Greenfield, Mass. native and a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut, has been working as a piggy-back starter for Greenville this year. Already 24, he’ll need to move through the system quickly in order to get on a normal age advancement track ... Wilson, a 20-year-old right-hander with a projectable frame, had the best month of his professional career after Boston selected him in the 13th round of the 2008 draft and signed him to a $300,000 bonus. Look for an assignment to Greenville in 2011, where he should compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

August underachievers

Adam Mills, SP, Pawtucket -- 2-2, 7.24 ERA, 14 K, 5 BB, 27.1 IP

Stephen Fife, SP, Portland -- 1-3, 8.20 ERA, 13 K, 10 BB, 26.1 IP

Cesar Cabral, RP, Salem -- 2-0, 8.44 ERA, 11 K, 8 BB, 16.0 IP

Pete Hissey, OF, Salem -- .186/.269/.300, 0 HR, 70 AB

Derrik Gibson, SS, Greenville -- .177/.342/.208, 0 HR, 96 AB

The soft-tossing Mills has pitched below expectations in 2010, going 4-9 with a 5.06 ERA and striking out only 55 batters in 128 innings. Some anticipated that Mills would earn a cup of coffee with the major league club this season ... Fife must have been happy to see August come to an end -- prior to August 31, the Sea Dogs right-hander had allowed opposing batters to hit .418 against him for the month, but he ended August on a high note, taking a no hitter into the sixth inning against Binghamton on August 31, ultimately earning the win after pitching six innings of shutout ball ... Cabral’s subpar month was the result of three poor outings, including an appearance against Kinston on August 29 in which he allowed 8 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks and only recorded one out ... Neither Hissey nor Gibson have performed well offensively in 2010, both putting up an OPS under .630, amongst the lowest in the organization. Expectations were high this season as both were early round picks from the 2008 draft who were given substantial signing bonuses. At 20, they have plenty of time to improve.

Trends

With the minor league season slated to end this weekend, only one of Boston’s seven minor league affiliates realistically remains in the playoff-hunt, with Greenville 1.5 games ahead of Asheville in the second half standings of the South Atlantic League ... The system’s home run leaders heading into the final weekend of the season: Anthony Rizzo (23), Lavarnway (22), Nate Spears (18), Reddick (17), and Lars Anderson (15) ... Strikeout leaders: Coello (130), Kyle Weiland (115), Ruiz (109), Alex Wilson (105), and Manny Rivera (104) ... Reddick was named International League Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 23-29, the second time he took home that honor in August ... Other Red Sox minor leaguers named player or pitcher of the week in their respective leagues during the month of August were Lavarnway, Michael Lee (twice), Rodriguez, Ramon A. Ramirez, Rizzo, Miguel Gonzalez, and Miguel Celestino ... Lowell Spinners shortstop Jose Garcia and center fielder Felix Sanchez participated in the NY-Penn League All-Star Game on Aug. 17, each picking up a hit and an RBI ... Sanchez, one of the fastest players in the system, broke Lowell’s single-season stolen base record on Aug. 26, ending the month with 35 steals for the season ... Meanwhile, Rizzo set Portland’s team record for RBIs in a month with 32 ... Portland third baseman Ray Chang was named to the Eastern League Postseason All-Star team as a utility player ... 2010 supplemental first round pick Bryce Brentz, who has struggled mightily with Lowell this season with a batting average hovering around the Mendoza line, ended the month on a positive note, hitting .278 with a .444 slugging percentage over his last 10 games ... The Gulf Coast League wrapped up on Aug. 28, with the GCL Red Sox finishing the season at 31-28, 2.5 games out of first place ... The Rookie-Level affiliate was led by 2010 5th round pick Henry Ramos, who put up a .316/.373/.459 line in 133 games ... GCL second basemen Jason Thompson turned around a poor start to his season by relaxing at the plate, earning 13 bases on balls in 85 plate appearances in August after failing to earn a single walk in 107 plate appearances over June and July ... The Dominican Summer League Red Sox finished the DSL season at 37-35 on August 21 ... The most intriguing player for the 2010 DSL squad was Aruban-born shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who put up a .314/.396/.423 line in 63 games.

Player movement

Six minor leaguers were called up from Pawtucket prior to the Sept. 1 roster expansion -- Daniel Nava, Yamaico Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Michael Bowden, Dusty Brown, and Robert Manuel ... Another five prospects received minor league promotions -- Navarro from Portland to Pawtucket, Adalberto Ibarra from the GCL to Salem, Ronald Bermudez from Greenville to Salem, Kolbrin Vitek from Lowell to Greenville, and Sean Coyle and Ramos from the GCL to Lowell ... Newly signed Cuban center fielder Juan Carlos Linares received his initial assignment to Double-A Portland, although he spent 4 games rehabbing in the GCL before playing with the Sea Dogs ... 2010 draftees that signed with Boston in August were Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Sean Coyle, Garin Cecchini, Chris Hernandez, Mathew Price, Lucas LeBlanc, and Kendrick Perkins ... The Sox signed former All-Star first baseman Carlos Delgado to a minor league deal on Sept. 7 ... Boston also signed 6-foot-7 lefty John Killen, an undrafted free agent out of San Jacinto College. Killen did not sign after the Red Sox selected him in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft ... The team acquired well-regarded pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller from Colorado in exchange for Manny Delcarmen on Aug. 31, and assigned Balcom-Miller to Greenville ... Among the players that are no longer in the system are Michael Thomas (sent to Texas to complete the trade for Saltalamacchia), Jeremy Hermida, Ryan Shealy, Tug Hulett, Argenis Reyes, Juan Apodaca, Kyle Rutter, and Jay Broughton ... Boston will assign seven players to the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League this Fall, six of whom were announced on Aug. 31 -- relievers Jason Rice, Daniel Turpen, and Seth Garrison, shortstop Jose Iglesias, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, and outfielder Juan Carlos Linares. Top prospect Casey Kelly is expected to fill the seventh spot as long as he is healthy when the AFL season kicks off on Oct. 12.

On the injury front, Delgado played in only 5 games with Pawtucket before succumbing to a left hip injury on Aug. 15 ... Kelly was shut down on Aug. 18 with a strained lat muscle, an injury that is not considered serious, but one that requires rest ... Former first-round pick Jason Place has been out of action since he was hit in the hand by a pitch on Aug. 6 -- he will miss the remainder of the season ... Hissey left an Aug. 25 game with concussion symptoms and was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 31 ... Yeiper Castillo returned to the Greenville rotation on August 31 after missing more than 11 weeks with an undisclosed injury ... Ryan Westmoreland continued his inspiring journey on the road back to full health by joining the Spinners on Tuesday. Westmoreland won't play for Lowell, but he'll participate in team drills and take batting practice with the team, and will head down to Greenville to join the Drive in the same capacity this weekend. From there, he’ll head down to Florida to participate in drills in the Fall Instructional League.

Mike Andrews is the Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com and a special contributor to ESPNBoston.com.