<
>

SoxProspects: Betts kept heat on

8/3/2014

In the multitude of trades in the week leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Red Sox added prospects Eduardo Rodriguez, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, and traded away High-A left-hander Corey Littrell. Escobar and Hembree have been assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while Rodriguez was assigned to Double-A Portland.

Over the course of the week, we had an updated scouting report on Littrell, the book on Rodriguez and a report taking stock of the new arms, including Escobar and Hembree. The SoxProspects.com rankings were updated on Aug. 1, with Rodriguez debuting at No. 10, Escobar at No. 18 and Hembree at No. 27. Littrell was ranked at No. 36 when he was traded.

Here's a look at how the other top prospects in the system fared in July (SoxProspects ranking as of Aug. 1 in parentheses).

TOP POSITION PROSPECTS

Notes: Betts picked up where he left off after being optioned back to Pawtucket on July 19, hitting .349 in 10 games before earning a promotion back to Boston on Aug. 1 ... Swihart started at catcher in 17 of Portland's 23 games in July, and has thrown out 47 percent of would-be base stealers for the season ... Devers, 17, has torn up the rookie-level Gulf Coast League since his July 3 promotion despite being the third youngest player in the league ... Marrero was promoted to Pawtucket on July 2, finishing his time in Portland with a line of .291/.371/.433 ... Vazquez has more than held his own since his promotion to Boston on July 9 and should get an extended look for the remainder of the season, allowing the team to gauge how significant his role on the major league club might be in 2015 ... Cecchini struggled for a second consecutive month in July -- the longest cold snap of his professional career; his patience has been tested and he admits he's pressed himself into being overly aggressive ... Chavis made his professional debut on July 5, primarily playing shortstop and designated hitter, then played at third base for the first time on Aug. 1 ... 2014 second-round pick Travis was promoted to Low-A Greenville on Aug. 1 after excelling in 40 games with the Short-Season-A Lowell Spinners.

TOP PITCHING PROSPECTS

Notes: Owens was promoted to Pawtucket on Aug. 1 and is slated to make his PawSox debut on Aug. 4 ... Webster was inconsistent in his Boston debut last week, but should get an extended look in the major league rotation for the rest of the season ... Meanwhile, Ranaudo took home the win in his major league debut on Aug. 1, but was optioned back to Pawtucket after the game ... Johnson has allowed only one hit and went at least seven innings in each of his last two starts, including a 12-strikeout, scoreless performance on July 25 at New Britain ... 2014 first-round pick Kopech made his pro debut with the rookie-level GCL Red Sox on July 12 and will be on a tight pitch count for the season ... Ball's fastball has shown an uptick in velocity, his secondary stuff has looked tighter, and his command has improved from earlier in the season, but his overall control has remained far too inconsistent.

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

PawSox first baseman Travis Shaw and outfielder Alex Hassan both looked good in July, further showing off the depth of Boston's minor league system. For the month, Shaw hit .319/.404/.553 with five home runs, and now has the most home runs in the system (20) by a wide margin. Hassan hit .330/.429/.545 with four home runs in July. Both players could get a look in September.

On the pitching front, one of the top performers was DSL Red Sox lefty Jhonathan Diaz, who went 3-1 with a 0.93 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 29 innings for the month. Diaz, 17, was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in July 2013 for a $600,000 bonus. He throws a high-80s fastball with decent control and is expected to add velocity as he matures physically.

Another left-hander, Cody Kukuk, impressed in July, going 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings for High-A Salem. Kukuk, 21, mixes a 90-93 mph fastball with a solid low-80s slider and a developing changeup. He has struggled through serious control issues over his professional career, seemingly due to being unable to sustain a repeatable delivery.

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS

As of Aug. 2 (cumulative stats, minor league only, min. 250 plate appearances or 60 innings pitched for non-counting stats)

AVERAGE

1. Mookie Betts, .342

2. Sean Coyle, .315

3. Jantzen Witte, .311

OPS

1. Mookie Betts, .959

2. Sean Coyle, .924

3. Carlos Asuaje, .916

HOME RUNS

1. Travis Shaw, 20

2. Corey Brown, 15

3. Sean Coyle, 13

STOLEN BASES

1. Matty Johnson, 34

2. Manuel Margot, 33

3. Mookie Betts, 30

ERA

1. Jonathan Aro, 2.12

2. Anthony Ranaudo, 2.41

3. Brian Johnson, 2.45

STRIKEOUTS/9 IP

1. Cody Kukuk, 10.26

2. Jonathan Aro, 10.00

3. Henry Owens, 9.37

WALKS/9 IP

1. Mike Augliera, 1.26

2. Pat Light, 2.86

3. Chris Hernandez, 4.32

SAVES

1. Noe Ramirez, 12

2(t). Tommy Layne, 11

2(t). Carlos Pinales, 11

PROMOTIONS

Eight players got the call to Boston from the minor leagues from July 1 to Aug. 1: Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Alex Wilson, Webster, Ranaudo, Layne, Vazquez and Betts.

Minor leaguers who received level promotions during the same time frame included Owens, Marrero, catcher Matt Spring and reliever Miguel Celestino from Portland to Pawtucket; pitchers Justin Haley and Dayan Diaz and utility player Ryan Dent from Salem to Portland; pitchers Jacob Dahlstrand and Jonathan Aro, infielder Carlos Asuaje and outfielder Kendrick Perkins from Greenville to Salem; Travis, pitcher German Taveras and outfielder Franklin Guzman from Lowell to Greenville; outfielder Joseph Monge from the Gulf Coast League to Lowell, and Devers and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe from the Dominican Summer League to the Gulf Coast League.

Mike Andrews is the founder and editor-in-chief of SoxProspects.com and a special contributor to ESPNBoston.com.