With the minor league season wrapping up, Minor Details recognizes and checks in with its Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year, left-hander Brian Johnson, and Player of the Year, second baseman/outfielder Mookie Betts.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts after he goes 4-5 in the Red Sox 9-4 win over the New York Yankees.

[0:00:09] ... you the phone manners and consultative. Sanders is something you like about Yankee Stadium inside looks like do you really enjoy the big stage here many failures do I have to -- and out and oddly ...
[0:02:37] ... for. Was and congratulations the first four hit game to be a Major League career. Great place to do it here's to many more they kill -- who is ever more things that are thank you Zander ...




Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts after he goes 4-5 in the Red Sox 9-4 win over the New York Yankees.

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€œClosing Time’€ will now be called ‘€œWhy You Should Have Cared,’€ looking beyond the final score — at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) — for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€œClosing Time’€ will now be called ‘€œWhy You Should Have Cared,’€ looking beyond the final score — at a time when losses are arguably more valuable to the Sox than wins (for draft and waiver position) — for either meaningful signs for 2015 or simple aesthetic considerations.)

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts collaborated on a historically precocious feat. (Getty Images)

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts collaborated on a historically precocious feat. (Getty Images)

The revisionist fiction is intriguing.

What if the Red Sox had been carried by their rookies rather than weighed down by them? What if Xander Bogaerts had remained the elite offensive performer he looked like through the first two months of the year rather than the least productive hitter in the majors over the next two-plus months?

That concept seemed tantalizing in the Red Sox‘ 9-4 win over the Yankees on Tuesday night, when Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first pair of Red Sox rookies to homer in Yankee Stadium since 1952, and the first pair of 21-year-olds in half a century to go deep against New York in a single contest (and just the second duo — along with Jim Palmer and Curt Blefary of the Orioles in 1965 — to do it since at least 1914).

Bogaerts set one career high with four hits and matched another with two extra-base hits, going 4-for-5 with two singles, a double and homer. It was his first homer since July 29, and just his second three-hit game since the start of June.

Betts, meanwhile, had his first big league three-hit game, with singles to both left and right and a long homer to left-center that continued his dazzling performance as the everyday centerfielder with the Sox. In 15 games since his mid-August promotion for that role in the big leagues, he’s hitting .315/.413/.556 with three homers.

The leading role played by the Red Sox‘ young core may not have happened this year. But on Tuesday, Betts and Bogaerts offered a reminder of why the team will not turn its back on the potential upside of its young players going forward. The team likely will be more deliberate in how it integrates young players — and the signing of Rusney Castillo offers the team an avenue to allow Betts to spend more of next year in Triple-A — but the idea of a young, homegrown top-of-the-order hitter and a young, homegrown middle-of-the-order hitter remains a potential foundational strength going forward.

OTHER REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT TUESDAY’S GAME

Joe Kelly matched a career-high with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in which he permitted three runs, and continued to show a pitch mix that makes him an intriguing presence for next year’s rotation. Opponents have struggled to make solid contact against him since the Sox acquired him at the trade deadline for John Lackey, hitting just .203 against the right-hander. While he likely profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter, in flashes, he’s shown upside that exceeds such a projection given the action on his secondary stuff and his ability to get groundballs in bunches on his heater.

– Though Yoenis Cespedes went 2-for-4, he continued his struggles with balls hit over his head, misplaying a catchable liner by Martin Prado into a hit. While such issues had been seen with some regularity at Fenway Park (where the looming specter of the Green Monster has created an insurmountable foe for some left fielders), they’re now also showing up in some visiting parks. The Sox’ defensive evaluation of Cespedes could play a huge role in how the team decides to proceed with him this winter, at a time when there does appear to be something of a crowd in the outfield.

Daniel Nava had his first homer since April 15. He ended a 75-game homerless drought, the fourth-longest by a Sox position player this century (behind Rey Sanchez, Alex Cora and Lou Merloni).

Will Middlebrooks punched out four times in five plate appearances. He’s struck out in a career-worst 29.6 percent of his plate appearances this year.

Tommy Layne recorded four outs without permitting a run or a hit. The 29-year-old is making a strong case for a big league role in 2015 on the strength of a 0.66 ERA and .156 opponents’ batting average.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

NEW YORK — The Red Sox added a pair of players to their roster on Tuesday, with right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (the scheduled starter for Wednesday) and catcher Dan Butler

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

NEW YORK — The Red Sox added a pair of players to their roster on Tuesday, with right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (the scheduled starter for Wednesday) and catcher Dan Butler joining Steven Wright. But at a time when teams can carry rosters of up to 40 players (as opposed to the standard 25) for the final month of the season, there was a notable omission in the group coming up from Pawtucket to the big leagues.

When Jackie Bradley Jr. was sent to Triple-A a couple of weeks ago, manager John Farrell said that his expectation was that the center fielder would be back in the majors at some point in September. That point has yet to arrive. And so, Farrell was asked, has anything altered with regards to the idea of bringing back Bradley?

“Nothing has changed in that way,” said Farrell.

Still, Bradley has been struggling in Pawtucket. In 14 games since being sent down, he’s hitting .212 with a .246 OBP and .273 slugging mark with three walks and 18 strikeouts. His ability to make some of the adjustments that the Sox hoped to see has been inconsistent.

“Jackie was well aware when we sat down and described what needs to be the focal point. I don’€™t know that has necessarily needs to be repeated right now. The reports have been mixed,” said Farrell. “There have been days as he’€™s executed between the lines as he’€™s been working on but it’€™s still a work in progress.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Rusney Castillo may have been the recognizable name in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League championship game. But there may come a day when he’s the footnote rather than the headliner.

Shortstop Javier Guerra launched a homer in the GCL Red Sox' championship victory on Monday. (WEEI.com)

Shortstop Javier Guerra launched a homer in the GCL Red Sox‘ championship victory on Monday. (WEEI.com)

After all, Castillo — who went 0-for-3 with a walk, two groundouts and a flyout — batted in front of Javier Guerra, an attention-grabbing shortstop who looks the part of a big league defender and whose unusual pop for his position was evident in the homer he smoked to right, his lone hit in a 1-for-4 day that also included a walk. Batting behind Guerra was the Sox’ top pure hitting prospect in years, Rafael Devers, who went 1-for-5 as the final note of a year that saw him lead both his DSL and GCL teams in homers at the age of 17. Devers was hitting in front of first-rounder Michael Chavis, who launched a two-run homer to left, a final display of what became a regular display of precocious extra-base power that started in August as an 18-year-old making his pro debut.

Behind Chavis was second baseman Victor Acosta, a slight player whose strong wrists allow him to generate unlikely pop. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, a 17-year-old with speed and athleticism as well as an approach that proved surprisingly advanced this year, permitting him to move from the DSL to the GCL, went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Left fielder Trenton Kemp, an 18-year-old who was taken in the 15th round for his intriguing power/speed combination, went 2-for-5 to wrap up an 8-for-17 postseason that included a homer. The lineup was rounded out by a huge player with huge power potential in Josh Ockimey and an 18-year-old catcher (Devon Fisher) who helped navigate through a number of wins.

It will be years before some clarity is achieved with that group of prospects, before it is known whether Devers and Chavis and Guerra emerge as potential stars or regulars or what-happened-to’€¦ busts. But for now, between a DSL team that is competing for a championship and a GCL team that won one with an 8-1 victory over the GCL Yankees on Monday, there’s burgeoning strength in the lower levels of the Red Sox system, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in years. There is now a very distinctive wave behind the current upper levels wave, with potential high-impact players such as Devers (a potential middle-of-the-order masher at third base), Guerra (who draws uniform raves from team personnel) and Chavis (potential middle-of-the-order power at second, third or even in left) leading the charge, and some outfielders with big upside like Yoan Aybar in the DSL and Basabe and Kemp in the GCL.

Castillo will make his mark in the big leagues this year. But in five or 10 years, it’s possible that he will prove something other than the most important player to have taken the field in the GCL Sox’ championship victory on Monday.

Here’s the box score.

A brief look at the rest of the action in the Red Sox system:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-1 LOSS VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX)

– Blake Swihart went 1-for-3, wrapping up the season on a 5-for-14 note that improved his Triple-A line to .261/.282/.377 in 18 games. There were flashes of offensive impact even as there were markers to suggest that the 22-year-old was very much amidst a rocky transition to a higher level. Foremost, his two walks and 15 punchouts suggested that advanced pitchers could get him to chase pitches out of the zone. Swihart’s at-bat management early next year, then, will become a key marker of his ability to sustain his reputation as perhaps the top two-way catching prospect in the game.

– Shortstop Deven Marrero went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, and in his final two games of the regular season, he was 0-for-7 with four punchouts. The 24-year-old hit .210/.260/.285 in 50 games with the PawSox after hitting .291/.371/.433 in Double-A. He had 12 walks and 37 punchouts with the PawSox, or more than three strikeouts per walk, nearly double his rate of 1.7 strikeouts per walk in Portland.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-0 LOSS VS. HARRISBURG (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

– Sean Coyle went 1-for-3 with a double and walk. While he matched his 2013 total of 13 homers, some in the Sox organization felt that the more significant stat was that Coyle nearly doubled his doubles total of a year ago, going from 12 (in 60 games) in 2013 to 23 in 97 contests in 2014. The doubles suggested a player who was looking to let his power play with a solid approach rather than selling out with a max-effort swing in order to try to clear the fences. After he hit .241/.321/.513 in High-A last year, Coyle hit .295/.371/.512 in Portland this season.

– Carson Blair went 2-for-3 with a double, closing out the year with a .266/.387/.481 line that included marks of .288/.394/.525 in 17 games following the 24-year-old’s promotion to Double-A. While those marks all represented career bests, perhaps the most significant milestone for Blair was playing in 84 games, nearly double his prior career high of 44 contests. For the first time since being drafted in 2008, he was on the field enough to show the ability to open up a potential path forward to the big leagues.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 7-6 LOSS AT WILMINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Manuel Margot went 2-for-5 with a double while driving in a pair of runs. The tools 19-year-old wrapped up his 16-game regular season stint with Salem with a .340/.364/.560 line with seven extra-base hits in 16 games. In 29 games from August 1 through the end of the year, Margot had 15 extra-base hits. He hadn’t exceeded eight extra-base hits in any prior month. The regularity with which Margot impacted the ball offered the first sustained glimpse of the teenager as a potential game-changer since he started playing in the States. Between Greenville and Salem from August 1 through the end of the season, Margot hit .396/.431/.632 with four homers and 10 steals (albeit with seven caught stealings also in the mix). Those kinds of offensive numbers — particularly when accounting for the dual attributes of power and speed — at a premium position underscore why Margot has asserted himself as one of the Sox’ top 10 prospects, and perhaps as a candidate for the top five.

– Carlos Asuaje went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. The extra-base hit seemed a fitting conclusion to a season that saw the 22-year-old collect 65 extra-base knocks in 129 games — or roughly one in every two games he played this year. He hit .310/.393/.533 with 15 homers on the year while showing enough positional versatility — second, third, short, left — to give him a number of pathways to the big leagues. While his offensive performance in Greenville wasn’t sufficient to label him a prospect given his age (22), size (he’s 5-foot-9) and a home park that is a favorable offensive environment, his sustained excellence in Salem (.323/.398/.516) coupled with the fact that he hits left-handed — a rarity for the infield positions he plays — have forced evaluators to take notice.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-4 LOSS VS. LEXINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

– Sam Travis went 2-for-5 with a double, closing out his first pro summer with an impressive .316/.351/.467 line that included seven homers and 25 extra-base hits in 67 games, including a .290/.330/.495 line in Greenville. Travis, who just turned 21 last week, has a chance to emerge quickly as the sort of corner infield bat with plus power that is ill-represented in the upper levels of the Red Sox system.

– Second baseman Wendell Rijo went 2-for-4 with a walk and a steal to close out a strong overall age 18 performance. Rijo showed a solid offensive approach in hitting .254/.348/.416 with nine homers and 42 extra-base hits along with 16 steals in 22 attempts. He has the skill set of an above-average offensive second baseman (though his glove lags behind his bat right now, with his 21 errors at second telling part of that story) with a chance to be a No. 2 or No. 6 hitter in the big leagues.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 9-8 LOSS AT CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)

(BOX)

– Third baseman Jordan Betts slammed his 10th homer of his debut summer, going 2-for-5. The 18th-rounder out of Duke hit .269/.333/.479 with 29 extra-base hits in 64 games. Though his strikeout rate (he fanned 76 times) raises questions about his ability to hit against advanced pitching, his raw power grades as clearly above-average should he define an approach that can permit him to get to it with regularity. He became the first Spinners player with 10 or more homers since Luis Sumoza in 2008.

– Right-hander Kevin McAvoy, the Sox’ fourth-round pick this year, fired three scoreless innings to run his scoreless innings streak to 18 to close out his first pro summer. The sinkerballer recorded six of his nine outs on the ground, struck out one and allowed three hits to close out his summer with a 1.91 ERA, 23 strikeouts and just three walks in 28 1/3 innings.

– Shortstop Mauricio Dubon went 1-for-4 with a single and sac fly. The 20-year-old finished second in the New York-Penn League with a .320 average, along with a .337 OBP and .395 slugging mark.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-1 DEFICIT (SUSPENDED, 8TH INNING) VS. DSL RANGERS (GAME 2, BEST-OF-FIVE DSL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES, UP 1-0)

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

David Ortiz says he likes living for the moment, not the future. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brian Butterfield doesn't personally know Tom Brady.



ROB BRADFORD

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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

The Red Sox will start the last series of their 10-game road trip when they face the Yankees on Tuesday night, sending Joe Kelly to pitch opposite Shane Greene in the first game of the series.

Kelly (0-1, 3.86 ERA) still is searching for his first win in his sixth start since joining the Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline. His last time out, Wednesday against the Blue Jays, the right-hander allowed two runs and struck out four in six solid innings. He was removed from the game after 86 pitches because of shoulder concerns stemming from his five-inning start against the Mariners on Aug. 26.

The Red Sox held a one-run lead at the time of Kelly’€™s exit, but reliever Junichi Tazawa allowed two crucial runs to score in the seventh inning, costing the Red Sox the game.

“After he came out of the last game, we had every intention to hold his pitch count down in the 85 range. He pitched exceptional tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Kelly after the game. “He was very good. He and David Ross worked well together. But we felt like in light of five days ago, we were going to hold him shorter than normal, and knowing we were going to have to match up through the bottom of the order, it didn’€™t work out the way it looked like we could match up.”

Tuesday’€™s start will be Kelly’€™s first-ever matchup against the Yankees.

Greene (4-1, 3.09 ERA) will be making his second start of the season against the Red Sox. The rookie, who spent over two months in the minor leagues this year, did not factor in the decision in his Aug. 2 start against Boston, a game the Yankees won 6-4. The 6-foot-4 right-hander went 4 2/3 innings that afternoon, allowing just three runs, all of which came in the second inning. Greene settled down enough after a rough start to the game to strike out five hitters before exiting.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was impressed with Greene’€™s perseverance during that outing.

“You’ve got to remember, he is a young kid and a lot of this is all new for him,” Girardi said after the game. “The most impressive thing for me was that he made the adjustment, and that’s what you want to see.”

Shane Greene

Shane Greene

Greene, a Florida native, was supposed to pitch for the University of West Florida on a scholarship, but an elbow injury and the subsequent Tommy John surgery forced him to forgo attending the school. After his rehabilitation at Daytona Beach Community College, Greene saw his fastball velocity jump from the low 80s to 93 mph. His rehab was successful enough that the Yankees selected him in the 15th round of the 2009 draft.

After spending his first four years in the minor leagues between rookie ball and Single-A, Greene made the jump to Double-A in 2013, where he flourished with an 8-4 record and a 3.18 ERA. His performance earned him the Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees’€™ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The 25-year-old made his major league debut this season against the Red Sox when he allowed three runs and three walks in 1/3 of inning in relief on April 24.

In his most recent outing, Wednesday against the Tigers, Greene allowed two runs on five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in seven innings of an 8-4 victory.

Red Sox vs. Greene (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (4 career plate appearances): .250 AVG/.250 OBP/.250 SLG, 1 strikeout

Yoenis Cespedes (3): .333/.333/.333

Brock Holt (3): .333/.333/.333

Mike Napoli (3): 1.000/1.000/4.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks

David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Xander Bogaerts, Daniel Nava and Christian Vazquez each have two plate appearances against Greene, with only Vazquez reaching base against the right-hander with a walk.

Yankees vs. Kelly (RHP)

Brian McCann (6): .333/.333/.333

Martin Prado (4): .500/.500/ 1.500, 1 home run, 1 double, 2 RBIs

Stephen Drew (3): .333/.333/1.000, 1 triple, 1 strikeout

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano