A brief and, frankly, incomplete look at Thursday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 WIN (WALKOFF) VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)
– Though he threw just 58 of 96 pitches (60.4 percent) for strikes, left-hander Henry Owens made the strikes he did throw count, matching a season- and career-high with eight innings during which he gave up two runs on five hits (including a two-run homer and double) while walking one and punching out six. He secured 10 more outs via groundball. While Owens has given up three homers in his first four Triple-A starts, his performance since his promotion has otherwise been strong. He has 27 strikeouts and six walks in 25 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .226 average while forging a 3.51 ERA.
– Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 with a homer and for the first time since he was sent down, he didn’t strike out. Bradley is now 4-for-19 with the homer (.211/.211/.368) in four games with the PawSox.
– Outfielder Corey Brown, who returned to the PawSox after clearing waivers following his designation for assignment, hit a walkoff homer in his first game back on the field. He leads the PawSox with 17 homers on the year, though his plate appearances have yielded all-or-nothing results, as Brown is hitting .226/.294/.459.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 1-0 WIN AT HARRISBURG (NATIONALS)
– Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been nothing but dominant since coming to the Red Sox from the Orioles in exchange for Andrew Miller at the trade deadline. The 21-year-old allowed five hits (one double) while walking two and punching out five in matching a season-high with seven innings in which he shut out Harrisburg. Rodriguez has allowed one or no runs in each of his four starts since moving at the deadline, forging a sparkling 0.74 ERA. His strikeout rate has ticked up from 7.6 to 10.4 per nine innings, while his walk rate has dropped from 3.2 to 2.2 per nine.
He’s left-handed, young (nine months younger than Owens), has power stuff (a 90-97 mph fastball, swing-and-miss change, flashes a swing-and-miss slider) and right now is throwing strikes and figuring out how to provide regular innings. (He’s thrown at least six innings in each of his last three starts.) Rodriguez has a chance to emerge quickly as one of the top Red Sox pitching prospects, as in an organization that features primarily pitchers (save for Owens) whose most likely project is as back-end starters, he has mid- to front-of-the-rotation stuff. That said, his track record is also uneven, given that he went 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA in 16 Double-A starts before the trade.
– Though outfielder Keury De La Cruz saw his seven-game hitting streak end, he walked twice, continuing a month in which he’s demonstrated unusual plate discipline. After he walked three times in 43 games in June and July, he has nine free passes this month en route to a .373/.449/.627 line in August for the 22-year-old.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 2-1 WIN AT WINSTON-SALEM (WHITE SOX)
– For the first time in his career, right-hander Simon Mercedes worked into the seventh inning, logging 6 1/3 frames in which he allowed one run on four hits and three walks while punching out three and getting eight outs on the ground. The 22-year-old has submitted his best outings of the season in consecutive starts, as Thursday’s effort backed up six shutout innings on Aug. 14. Though Mercedes’ strikeout rate (7.3 per nine) has been more modest than his stuff — a mid-90s fastball that he can use for grounders, an above average changeup and a curve that flashes average to above-average — his 51.4 percent groundball rate suggests a pitcher who uses his size to work downhill and create mis-hits.
– Though his 17-game hitting streak came to an end on Tuesday, Matty Johnson has bounced back with back-to-back multi-hit games. The 26-year-old went 2-for-3 with a double to improve to .278/.376/.376 for the year.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 12-0 LOSS VS. CHARLESTON (YANKEES)
– Danny Mars collected his first hits following his promotion from Lowell, going 2-for-4. It was the switch-hitter’s 18th multi-hit game in 46 contests this summer in his pro debut.
– One start after his best outing of the year (six shutout innings), right-hander Ty Buttrey got shelled for eight runs (five earned) in four innings while walking six, punching out one and allowing seven hits (including a homer). The 21-year-old is now 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in nine starts in Greenville with nearly as many walks (24) as strikeouts (27) in 35 innings.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 6-5 WIN (WALKOFF, 10 INNINGS) VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS)
– Shortstop Mauricio Dubon had his third straight three-hit game, going 3-for-6 and driving in a pair of runs. The 20-year-old native of Honduras, who moved to California in high school to pursue his dream of playing pro ball, is rapidly emerging as one of the most interesting under-the-radar prospects in the Sox system. He has the defensive tools and athleticism to play shortstop and the hand-eye coordination to make solid contact with flashes of power. He’s taken a swing-early-and-often approach, drawing just eight walks, but he shows the bat-to-ball skills to be productive even if he is less selective than the Red Sox prototype.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 8-3 WIN AT GCL RAYS
– The Red Sox drafted first-rounder Michael Chavis in no small part based on his power potential, and he’s been showcasing that trait in recent games. He went 2-for-4 with a double and triple on Thursday, giving the 18-year-old a .353/.421/.529 line with eight extra-base hits in 15 games in August.
– Right-fielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 3-for-4 with a walk. The 17-year-old is holding his own at a young age in the GCL, hitting .265/.330/.337 through 25 games.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 6-1 WIN AT DSL ROCKIES
– Catcher Isaias Lucena went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. The 19-year-old is hitting .272/.390/.374 with 14 extra-base hits in 41 games.