Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Minor League update

Pawtucket Red Sox (SYR 11/PAW 3, PAW 2/SYR 0, PAW 14/BUF 5, BUF 2/PAW 0, BUF 5/PAW 3)

The Paw Sox had another pretty sub-par week as they went 2-3 mostly thanks to their lackluster bats. With the exception of one very good 14 run game the offense managed only 8 runs combined in the other four games of the week. Kelly Shoppach was the only offensive standout for the Paw Sox last week as he lead the way for the team in that 14 run explosion hitting two home runs. He had a good week overall going 4-15 with 4 walks although he did strike out 4 times. Out of his 4 hits, 3 went for homers and 1 was a double.

Kevin Youkilis continues to struggle at AAA while playing mostly first base. He only drew one walk last week while going 5/18 at the plate. Three of his hits were doubles, but he's still looking very unimpressive. While Youk has been struggling at AAA, Bill Mueller has been sidelined by the flu. Youk really isn't making a case that he should be the one starting in Mueller's place.

Mark Malaska had a hot and cold week as he was shelled for 4 runs thanks to 3 walks and 4 hits in one game while only managing to get two outs. Three days later he earned the win in a game by going 3 scoreless innings in relief without allowing 1 baserunner and striking out 2.

Chris Naverson and Lenny Dinardo both had good starts this week while Abe Alvarez didn't look all that good. Naverson pitched 5 scoreless innings and struck out 2, but didn't get a win thanks to poor run support. Dinardo put up a similar line going 5 scoreless and striking out 2, but he allowed 5 hits and a walk as opposed to Naverson's 1 hit and 1 walk. Dinardo also failed to get a win when Pawtucket didn't manage to score any runs until the sixth inning. Alvarez also went 5 innings and only let up 5 hits without a walk, but the hits were strung together and Alvarez let up 3 runs. He also only managed to strike out 1.

Portland Red Sox(POR 5/BIN 4, BIN 6/POR 5, POR 5/HAR 4, HAR 4/POR 3)

Portland only managed to get in 4 games this week thanks to a rain out and then the next day's double header was snowed out. They had a 2-2 record in 4 one run games. The team is still riding strong on the backs of Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez with the help of their starters always keeping them in the game. Pedroia and Ramirez both actually had a subpar week. Pedroia struggled going 4-17, walking only once, and striking out 4 times. He had struck out only twice in his first 36 at bats. He also made his second error of his pro career. His week was pretty well split, however. He started the week off going hitless in his first two games at an 0 for 8 mark before having two two-hit games immediately afterwards. Ramirez had a very similar week going 0 for 7 before he also rattled off two two-hit games. He was 4-18 on the week and topped that off by getting caught stealing and making an error.

Brandon Moss continues to struggle as he went 4-16 on the week. His poor k/bb ratio continues as he struck out 4 times and walked only twice. His 18/4 k/bb ratio for the year is the main reason why he's struggling so much and is batting only .212.

Jared Sandberg is quickly making a case for himself that he'll never make it to the major leagues again. He is leading the team (and second in the league) with 5 homers, hitting his fifth last week. But he also went 3-15 last week dropping his average to .313 and made his 7th error. If he was solid in the field his bat might make him useful someday, but if he can't catch the ball he won't have the numbers to justify a spot as a major league DH. He has already struck out 19 times and his power numbers are a lot less impressive when you take into consideration the fact that he's a 27 year old playing in AA.

Jon Papelbon didn't get a start last week, but Jon Lester impressed in his outing while Charlie Zink and Kason Gabbard managed to keep the team in the game despite struggling a little bit. Lester went 5 strong, striking out 6. He did walk 3, but only allowed 2 hits and 1 run. His 4.85 ERA on the year is unimpressive, but he has struck out 19 batters in 13 innings while walking only 4. Gabbard went to 3-0 on the year with a 5 inning performance. He allowed only 2 runs, but walked 4 and allowed 4 hits to go along with 4 strikeouts. He's one of only 4 guys in the Eastern league to go undefeated in his first 3 starts. Zink is a borderline prospect that can not afford to struggle, but he did last week when he walked 3, allowed 4 hits, and 3 runs in 5 innings. He did manage to strike out 6, but the team lost the game and his ERA went up to 3.94 for the year.

The Sea Dogs have had some great work out of the bullpen so far this year. Their closer, Cla Meredith, still hasn't been scored upon this year in 8 games. He's up to 7 saves so far this year and has struck out 7 without allowing a walk in 8.1 innings. Marc Deschenes, a 32 year old who still hasn't had a taste of the big leagues, has pitched in with 2 saves while allowing only 1 run in 8 innings. He's struck out 12 and walked 4. Talley Haines, another older guy at 27 who still hasn't been to the bigs, has thrown 10.1 innings, striking out 8 and only allowing 1 run. Phil Devey completes the trio of old guys impressing at AA. He's gone 10 innings with 11 k's while only walking 1 and still hasn't let up a run.

Wilmington Blue Rocks (KIN 4/WIL 0, WIL 5/KIN 0, FRE 6/WIL 4, FRE 9/WIL 8, WIL 5/FRE 4, FRE 2/WIL 1)

The week started off on a little bit of a sour note for the Blue Rocks as they were two-hit by 20 year old Indians' prospect Nick Pesco. Wilmington turned the tables the next day when 2004's fourth round pick, Tommy Hottovy took the mound and went 5 scoreless innings, striking out 7, allowing only 2 hits and a walk. Jose Vaquedano finished off the game with 4 shutout innings of his own that brought his season ERA down to 4.50 as he's working exclusively from the bullpen for the first time in his short career. The rest of the week didn't go very well as the Blue Rocks had four very close games, but lost three of them, and finished off the week at a 2-4 mark.

Anibal Sanchez had his first bad start of the year going only 4 innings and letting up 5 runs on 7 hits and a walk. He did keep up his amazing strikeout rate with 6 k's as opposed to his first walk of the year giving him a 28/1 k/bb ratio for the young 2005 season.

Ian Bladergroen continues to struggle with a 3/18 week at the plate. He struck out 8 times and is starting to show that the Red Sox really don't have any first base prospects in their system. It's still early and Bladergroen is showing patience by leading the team with 9 walks, but his .224/.350/.347 line in 49 at bats for the year isn't very impressive.

Chad Spann, a 21 year old who still hasn't made a name for himself, had a decent week belting 2 homers in one game and now leads the Blue Rocks with 3 home runs. The problem is that he also leads the team with 19 k's and has only a .241/.308/.431 line. At that rate he never will make a name for himself.

Best known for his glove and the fact that his name is Iggy, Iggy Suarez went 6/22 over the week, but didn't walk at all and his season long .288 OBP says that if he does go anywhere, he's going to have to use his glove to get there. At 23 he's a little bit old to expect him to ever develop a bat.

I still haven't talked about the Greenville Bombers, the Sox low-A affiliate, and I may keep it that way unless someone extraordinary starts to show himself. So far the team is 8-9 and while they have a few guys that seem to be doing fairly well, none of them actually jump off the page.

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