Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Minor League Update

There's not much to a post, but John Sickles takes a look at the top 20 Sox prospects and checks in on how they're doing in an article that can be found here. Like I said, there's not much to the post, but I'm hoping that some insightful stuff gets posted in the comments section.

Pawtucket Red Sox (PAW 3/SCA 2, PAW 4/SCA 2, TOL 13/PAW 4, TOL 12/PAW 11, TOL 6/PAW 4, PAW 4/TOL 3)

The Paw Sox just barely avoided a 4 game sweep by the Toledo Mud Hens thanks to some 10th inning heroics and the team managed to post an even 3-3 record for the week. They started the week the same way the finished it with an Abe Alvarez start. Alvarez pitched well enough in both games but came away with a no decision in both even though the Paw Sox managed to win both games. He went 6 IP with a 6/1 k/bb ratio and allowed 2 runs with 7 hits. On Monday Alvarez went 6.2 IP, this time letting up 3 runs on only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. 26 year old Tim Hummel hit a solo shot and Shawn Wooten hit a two run blast that plated the red hot Chip Ambers to provide the offense in the first game that Alvarez pitched. The second game he threw in lasted long after he was out of the game and was decided in the 10th. Ambers, as mentioned, is still on fire. He went only 5 for 16 over the course of the week, but scored 5 times during the week, hit a two run home run, and walked 6 times. He also stole 4 bases on the week, three of them coming in a single game.

The Sox didn't fare very well against Toledo. The Mud Hens embarrassed the team in the first game of their four game series with a 13-4 win. Charlie Zink started the game, but lasted only 2 IP and gave up 8 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks. He earned the loss and was sent back to Portland on Monday. Toledo put up double digits again the next day scoring 12, but at least the Paw Sox put up a little bit of a fight and came back with 11 runs of their own. Kelly Shoppach hit his 9th home run in that game, just one day after hitting his 8th of the season. Shoppach has remained very consistant all year maintaining an average around .275 and hitting for power the whole time. He's still striking out far too much with 28 k's in 106 AB's, but so far that hasn't come back to bite him. Roberto Petaine, back from the DL, also homered in that game. Petagine, an offseason acquisition that I was excited about, has been out with an injury since spring training. So far in 3 games with the Sox he's 2-12 with a double and a homer to go along with 3 walks. Lenny Dinardo and Mark Malaska were both hit hard in the game. Both had been very solid for Pawtucket until Sunday's game. Dinardo lasted only 2 innings and gave up 7 runs (only 5 of the earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out only 1. Malaska came on in relief only to let up 5 runs in 2.1 innings. He struck out 3, walked 3, and allowed 3 hits.

Chris Naverson followed his dreadful start from last week with a solid, but unspectacular game going 6 innings. He struck out 4 and walked 2 while allowing 6 runs on 6 hits. He would've earned a win, but the bullpen blew the game.

Portland Sea Dogs (POR 6/NH 5, BOW 3/POR 2, BOW 2/POR 1, BOW 9/POR 3, POR 5/ERI 4)

The biggest loss on the week for the Sea Dogs came in a 9-3 loss at the hands of the Bowie Bay Sox. The Bay Sox scored 8 off of Dave Pauley in the bottom of the 1st. Pauley lasted only 3 innings and let up 8 runs (6 earned) on 10 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 2. Two of the runs the Sea Dogs scored came on a two run shot by Dustin Pedroiam who hit his second home run in as many days. The other run came on Hanley Ramirez's first homer of the year. Ramirez went 5-19 on the week to go along with his homer and 3 walks. He hasn't been hitting the homers, but he has been tearing up the bases, stealing his 10th base of the year last week. Pedroia went 5-17 with 2 homers last week. He walked 3 times and struck out twice. The Sea Dogs were swept by the Bay Sox and went 2-3 on the week.

Chris Smith was activated from the DL and made his first start for the Sea Dogs. Smith, 23, isn't on most prospect radar screens. According to Sox Prospects he has a good power curve, but needs to work on his curve if he wants to compete as a starter at the major league level. He made a good start to the year, prospect or not, with a 5.2 inning start letting up 1 run on 1 walk and 3 hits. He struck out 4.

Jon Lester got his first loss of the season to go to 1-1 on the year, but the loss was more of a result of poor run support than anything else. He went 5.2 innings and allowed only 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He only struck out 3. The Sea Dogs were held to a single run, a Pedroia solo shot.

Jon Papelbon continued to dominate with a 6.1 inning performance where he let up only 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 5. Papelbon has been walking more in his last few starts than he was at the begining of the year, but he has still been very effective. He was in line for the win before Manny Delcarmen, a borderline Sox prospect having a bad year in the AA bullpen, blew the save by allowing 3 unearned runs in relief of Papelbon. The Sea Dogs went on to win the game and Marc Deschenes got the win by pitching a hitless 1.1 innings to end the game. With Cla Meredith in the majors, Deschenes is the guy who will step up as the Sea Dogs closer. His numbers aren't as good as Meredith's were in AA. He's actually let up a couple of runs. But the numbers are close. In 15.1 innings he's struck out 23 and has a 1.17 ERA. His biggest drawback appears to be his control. He's walked 11. If he doesn't cut back on the walks, eventually they will catch up to him and bite him in the ass.

With Ian Bladergroen struggling all year and now going on the DL with a sprained left wrist, Jeremy West is the top first base prospect for the Sox. West has been hitting clean up for the Sea Dogs for most of the year. He has only 2 home runs, but he has doubled 10 times and tripled twice. His .310/.376/.468 line shows that he knows how to get on base, but he does need to start hitting for more power if he wants to be considered a serious option at first.

Wilmington Blue Rocks

There's only one thing we care about down in Wilmington and his name is Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez went 6 innings allowing only 1 unearned run to get the win last week. He allowed 3 hits and 3 walks, but struck out 7. His ERA is down to 2.19 on the year and he has a 55/6 k/bb ratio in 7 games over 37 innings. It's only a matter of time before Jon Papelbon finds himself in AAA and Sanchez replaces him as Portland's ace.

Hey, I was at the first game of the Sunday double-header between the Sea Dogs and the Baysox. Pedoria looked very, very good. Excellent plate disciple, quick on the field and running bases (although he was slow diving back to first at one point), and all around solid looking. Rameriz, on the other hand, seemed a bit distant; he was slow in getting the ball to first and didn't look as sharp as I would have liked. Maybe he was feeling under the weather or something, but he didn't really shine during the game. Concepcion turned a nice double play an inning or two after GIDP himself, and overall looked solid and reliable. John Lester had a few tough luck hits off of him, but otherwise looked decent.
Thanks for the input. I definately need to go on a road trip to Portland sometime this summer. Pawtucket is the only minor league stadium I've seen.

Maybe Ramirez has let his talent get to his head? He's been referred to as the best in the system so much that maybe he's just not trying. I know he did have discipline and maturity issues a couple of years ago. Maybe those issues are still there.
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