Results tagged ‘ Jackie Bradley Jr. ’

Three Men Up: Bradley, Marrero and Aro Get The Call

by Josh Maurer

On Thursday morning the Red Sox promoted three Pawtucket players – Jackie Bradley, Jr., Deven Marrero and Jonathan Aro – to replace Dustin Pedroia (disabled list), Joe Kelly (optioned) and Erik Kratz (designated for assignment).  So today I thought I’d take a close look at the season all three of those players have put together for PawSox.

Jackie Bradley, Jr.:

Jackie Bradley dives for ball

Simply put, Jackie has been an MVP candidate in the International League (and perhaps the favorite for the award).  He is the overall IL leading vote getter (among position players) for the Triple-A All-Star Game.  Bradley is currently second in the league in batting average (.322), second in on-base percentage (.398) and fourth in slugging percentage (.468).

Mix all of that in with his usual gold glove-type defense and you can make an easy argument that Jackie has been the best player in the IL this season.  Check out the catch Bradley made at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday night:

UPDATE: Here is a great column from terrific baseball writer Richard Justice speaking about Bradley’s promotion.  I agree with just about all of his points.

Here are the bullet points on Bradley from the PawSox game notes:

Had 6th 3-hit game of season on 6/23 vs. ROC…Has started 27 of team’s 28 games since return from MLB (5/25-pres, day off 6/14), those 27: 32-for-106 (.302), 14 BB, 3 HR, 9 2B…Hit walk-off RBI 2B in 12th in on 6/12 vs. TOL…Had 19-game on-base streak & 9-gm hitting streak snapped 6/6 in SYR…15-game stretch from 4/27-6/2: 9 multi-hit, 26-61 (.426), 3 HR, 5 2BHit HR and 2B on 5/27 vs. M. Tanaka (SWB) in 1st 2 inn of game…Promoted to BOS on 5/10, played in 6 games, went 0-for-11 w.2 K, optioned back 5/22 (R. Castillo recalled)…Promoted to BOS on 4/28, optioned back 4/29 (DNP)…Hit leadoff in 18 of first 19 games (4/9-4/27).

Deven Marrero:

Marrero flipping ball playing D

Marrero has had somewhat of an up-and-down campaign, both with his bat and his glove.  He has gone through some extreme hot and cold streaks offensively, and at the time of his first big-league promotion was just 4-for-23 (.174) with five strikeouts in his last six games played for Pawtucket.

Deven has also made a PawSox-leading 15 errors, most of which have come at shortstop.  It’s interesting – Marrero has the ability to make spectacular plays at short but this season has shown some very atypical lapses in being able to complete the routine ones.  I don’t think the error totals are anything to worry about long term; I assume his recent defensive issues will be temporary.

Here is Marrero’s in-season summary from the PawSox game notes:

Snapped a 0-for-8 with a 3-for-4 night on 6/23 vs. ROC; Has 5 multi-hit games over last 14 games played (only had 1 multi-H gm from 5/16-6/6)…Had 8 SBs on 5/16, only 1 since…6/7 at SYR: 3-for-4, BB, HR off D. Fister…9-game stretch from 5/29-6/6: 4-for-29, 2 BB, 4 K…Batted 2nd in 5 straight games from 6/1-6/6IND/LOU trip 5/18-5/24 (5 games): 3-for-22, BB, 8 K…7-game stretch from 5/9-5/15: 10-for-23 (.435), 4 BB, HR, 2B, 4 RBI…Started 19 str games before off day 5/18 in Indy (4/28-5/17)…9-game stretch from 4/29-5/8: 3-for-32, HR, 2 RBI, 11 KBatted above 6th in batting order for 1st 2 times in Triple-A career on 5/2 & 5/6 (2nd)…Played 3B for the first time in career 5/6 at TOL…Played first career game anywhere other than at SS when started at 2B on 4/25 at SWB…Reached base safely in 1st 9 games (4/9-4/19, .321 BA).

Jonathan Aro:

Aro is the most interesting promotion of the bunch.  At this time last season the right-hander was pitching for Low-A Greenville in the South Atlantic League.  After beginning this year with Double-A Portland, he earned a quick promotion to Pawtucket in May and after a couple of shaky early outings Aro has been unhittable.

Aro has not given up a run since May 18th, tossing eight straight scoreless appearances that spanned at total of 19 innings.  Most impressive has been his strikeout/walk ratio: which in 22.1 innings pitched has been 30 punch outs and just 3 bases on balls.

He has shown the ability to miss a lot of bats despite not generally throwing his fastball harder than 92-93 miles per hour.  Aro has advanced through the Boston system about as quickly as any player in recent memory.  It will be interesting to see how fast he adjusts to MLB hitters.

Here are the Aro vitals from the PawSox game notes:

Last 8 appearances (5/21-pres): 0-0, SV, 0.00 ERA (19.0 IP, 10 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 27 K)…Recorded first Triple-A save with 3.0 scoreless IP on 6/19 at GWN (2H, 1BB, 5K)…Pitched multiple innings in his first 9 appearances with PAW…Made Triple-A debut on 5/15 vs. COL and allowed 3R and 4H in 2IP (inherited 5-0 lead in 7th inn)…Promoted to PAW on 5/14…Appeared in 8 games with Portland (all in relief) and went 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA (22.1 IP, 15 H, 12 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 19 K)…Held opponents to a .181 batting average.

So there you have the information on the three newest members of the Boston roster.  In other news, Pawtucket has announced that recently-optioned pitchers Steven Wright and Joe Kelly are going to join the PawSox rotation.

Steven Wright pitch2

Wright will start on Friday night at McCoy Stadium against Gwinnett, while Kelly will make his Pawtucket debut on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 versus the G-Braves.  They join Brian Johnson, Henry Owens and Zeke Spruill in the five-man rotation, with Jess Todd moving to the Pawtucket pen.

Thursday night is Armed Services Night at McCoy; one of the most moving and inspirational nights to be held at the ballpark annually.  Make sure to get your tickets at pawsox.com, or come in person to the box office prior to the contest – first pitch is slated for 7:05pm.

Hope to see you at McCoy this weekend.  If not, as always, Will and I will speak to you on the radio with all the broadcast coverage.  Thanks for reading!

Josh M

It’s Draft Day, PawSox Play Home Run Derby, My Brother and POTUS

by Will Flemming (@WillFlemming)

Draft Day

It’s Draft Day in Major League Baseball.  Assuming Kevin Costner doesn’t take over for Ben Cherington tonight (which would mean the Sox will have drafted Mike Trout with the 7th pick, packaged their 10th and 12th round picks to move up and pick Gerrit Cole, and swapped an organizational bullpen arm for Andrew McCutchen), Boston will pick 7th in the first round of the amateur draft.  Baseball is so different from the other major sports in two main regards: first, it is far more difficult to project what impact any of tonight’s selections will have (since the body of work against high-level competition is so much smaller than in football or basketball); second, it will take much longer for tonight’s draftees to make a measurable impact in MLB (on average, three to five years).

The difficulty of projection and longer incubation period does not mean we can’t have some fun considering whom the Sox may take later tonight.  Most of the speculation has centered around three main players: Andrew Benintendi, a centerfielder from Arkansas some describe as “a Jacoby Ellsbury clone with a strong power/speed combination”; Alex Bregman, the LSU shortstop who is a close friend of Blake Swihart’s (who attended Blake’s Boston workout in 2011) and the player most evaluators view as the safest pick in the top 10 with the longest track record of proven success; and Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer.  Here’s Keith Law’s report on Fulmer:

“There are three guys from Vanderbilt who have a chance to go in the top 10 this year: the Walker Buehler, Dansby Swanson and Fulmer. Of those three, Fulmer has the most volatily, possessing the most explosive stuff/tools but the most question marks as well. Fulmer’s arm is lightning-quick, and he uses his natural arm strength to sit 92-94 mph and touch the high 90s. The curveball is a swing-and-miss pitch, a power curve with very hard spin that he buries down in the zone. He also has better command of it than he does his fastball.”

Cherington spoke earlier this week about the nuance involved in the draft and the club’s approach, saying “I think the draft is really difficult. I think one of the hardest things we do is try to project amateur talent and (director of amateur scouting) Mike (Rikard) and his staff have been working hard, really hard, to do that all spring. “So whatever our selection is on Monday night, as Mike said before, is going to be based on what we feel is the best player for the Red Sox, not with any particular vision on when that player might get there.”

A little on Mike Rikard – in his first year as the Red Sox’ director of amateur scouting – from NESN’s draft preview:

“Rikard, who was promoted to Red Sox director of amateur scouting over the offseason when Amiel Sawdaye was promoted to vice president of amateur and international scouting, is entering his first draft in his new position. He, like Cherington, noted Boston’s open-mindedness, saying the Red Sox are “still considering a lot of options” with their first-round selection. “I think this draft class may be a little non-typical, just because there still is some uncertainty in front of us,” Rikard said. “There maybe hasn’t been those guys at the top of the draft that have kind of solidified themselves. So there is some gray area as far as what maybe the teams may do in front of us, but we’re trying to just continue to weigh out all the options and we’ll continue to do so for the next few days.”

No matter what happens tonight, remember this: pay no attention to the immediate grading of drafts.  In my opinion, nothing could be less valuable – we simply DO NOT know what these players will become.  A quick glance back at knee-jerk draft grades uncovered a B- grade for Oakland selecting Addison Russell (who has emerged as a young star for the Cubs), and an A+ for the Mariners after they selected Dustin Ackley with the second pick in 2009 (Ackley is a career .242/.305/.342 player who has faced demotion back to AAA).  Having said all that, one scout reviewing the 2009 draft 3 hours after the completion of the first round certainly nailed on thing:

25. Los Angeles Angels — Mike Trout (OF) from Millville Senior High School (NJ); Trout hit .531 with 18 HR’s this season, and is an extremely good switch hitter that could possibly turn into the best position player of the draft in 5 years. At this pick in the draft, Trout is an absolute steal.

Grade: A+

One other thing to remember: As hard as it is to project and develop young baseball players, you need look no further than yesterday’s box scores to underscore the impact the draft can have on big-league teams.  Gerrit Cole (the first pick in 2011) pitched the Pirates to a series win; Kris Bryant (the Cubs’ top choice in 2013) has set the NL ablaze and was a homer shy of the cycle yesterday; Joe Panik (the Giants’ first choice in 2011) extended his hitting streak to 12; and Matt Wieters (the 5th overall pick in 2007) came back from Tommy John and hit his first homer since May.

Homer Happy 

Even though the PawSox won just two of six on their most recent three-city roadtrip, the ballclub enjoyed a tremendous power surge.  Pawtucket blasted ten homers in the six contests (including two three-homer games).  If you missed any of the homers, here is a mashup of all ten radio calls:

If you include the final two games of the last homestand, the Sox have ripped 13 big flies over an eight-game stretch. Pawtucket leads the International League with 46 homers, but has scored the fourth fewest runs in the circuit (209).  Ten of the Sox’ 44 hits in June have been homers, including four two-run shots, Cecchini’s slam and five solo blasts.

Kevin Boles has to be particularly encouraged by Cecchini, who hadn’t homered (or driven in a run) since April 13th and has now left the yard in consecutive games.

Last week also featured Allen Craig’s first homer of the season, and the continuation of his surge since he was outrighted to Pawtucket.  In the 21 games Craig has played with the PawSox, he has at least one hit in 17 and two hits or more in eight.

I had a chance to sit down for an extended conversation with Allen over the weekend.  You can listen here:

In spite of all the homers, the best play of the week came when the PawSox were in the field.  We’ve grown accustomed to special defense from Jackie Bradley, Jr.  But this play took our breath away:

One last thing: my brother David – the voice of the PawSox from 2001-3 and now a broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants – had a special week.  For the third time in five years, he had the honor of visiting the White House with the World Champion Giants.  I thought Pawtucket fans might enjoy a couple shots from his day.

The voice of the PawSox from 01-3 stands behind Matt Cain in the East Room as the Giants get ready for the President

The voice of the PawSox from 01-03 stands behind Matt Cain in the East Room as the Giants get ready for the President

David and his Hall of Fame partner Jon MIller (courtesy: Jon's Instagram feed)

David and his Hall of Fame partner Jon MIller (courtesy: Jon’s Instagram feed)

The PawSox begin a seven-game homestand tonight at 7:05 with the Charlotte Knights in town.  Josh and I look forard to talking to you then.

Thanks for reading,
Will

JBJ Destroying IL Pitching

by Josh Maurer

While casual Red Sox fans may not have noticed based upon his limited at-bats at the big league level in 2015, Jackie Bradley, Jr. has made incredible offensive strides since last season.  He is, at present, one of the best hitters in the International League and I think a candidate for league MVP.

Jackie Bradley dives for ball

In 31 games played for Pawtucket, Bradley is hitting a robust .349 with three homers, ten doubles, 17 runs scored and 12 driven in.  He is only two plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league leaderboard in batting average, in which he would currently rank third among all IL hitters.

In recent weeks Jackie’s offensive numbers are even better.  Since April 25th, Bradley has reached safely in 16 consecutive games he has played for Pawtucket.  During his last 14 PawSox games (beginning 4/27, with a two-week MLB stint mixed in the middle) he has gone 24-for-57 (.421) with eight multi-hit efforts, 4 walks, 3 HR, 4 doubles, 6 RBI and 9 runs scored.

What’s been perhaps most impressive recently has been the rejuvenation of Jackie’s power stroke.  Bradley belted his third home run of the season on Monday night in Scranton.

Just a few days earlier, he took MLB-rehabbing Masahiro Tanaka deep on an impressive swing at McCoy Stadium. He also doubled against Tanaka in that outing on May 27th during which he collected one of his five three-hit games for the season.

As always, Bradley is playing a gold-glove caliber centerfield that is a joy to watch.  Despite two largely unsuccessful MLB call-ups thus far in 2015, Jackie has kept a great attitude about him during his time in Pawtucket and the results are speaking for themselves.

Jackie Bradley makes catch

Bradley has proven just about everything he can at the minor league level.  Now the next step is for him to get another regular shot in the Majors and to produce to his potential.  Only time will tell if and when that happens, but I’m betting that it will sooner rather than later.

Here are a few other notes as the PawSox get set to play game two of a seven-game road trip Tuesday night in Scranton:

-Kudos to Allen Craig for his great offensive work since being optioned to Pawtucket.  Craig has hit safely in 14 of 17 games played since joining the PawSox on May 12, with multiple hits in 6 of those games.  In his last 10 games (5/21-pres), the MLB veteran is 13-for-32 (.406) with 9 walks, a home run and 3 RBI.

Allen Craig in batters box

Craig has really turned on some pitches over the past few days.  He has found a home in the Pawtucket cleanup spot in the order where has batted the past four games.

-Veteran Luke Montz has come back this year from missing nearly two full seasons due to injuries.  After showing a bit of rust at the outset of the year, Montz’s bat has sprung to life recently.  In his last 8 games (5/20-pres), Luke is 8-for-28 (.286) with 4 BB, 1 homer, 4 doubles and 8 RBI.

Here is an interview I did with Montz for last week’s PawSox Insider show, in which he discusses his long road back to full health:

Couch pitching

Tuesday night Keith Couch takes the ball for the PawSox at PNC Field in Moosic, PA.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm, while our radio coverage begins at 6:20.  Talk to you on the radio!

Josh M

Pitching Changes A-Plenty, Rusney Returns!

by Josh Maurer

Happy Wednesday everyone!  The PawSox have won back-to-back games at McCoy against Syracuse and are back with the best record in the International League at 13-7.  The squad continues to win despite some serious roster turnover over the past few days.

With the announcement that relievers Tommy Layne and Dalier Hinojosa have been promoted to Boston on Wednesday, the PawSox pitching staff has seen five players called up to the Majors in the past five days.  Overall six players have been promoted since Saturday.

mattbarnes2

Matt Barnes was optioned back to Pawtucket on Sunday after pitching two scoreless innings for Boston Saturday in Baltimore

Matt Barnes (Saturday), Heath Hembree (Sunday), Steven Wright (Monday) preceded Layne and Hinojosa, who is making his first foray to the big leagues.  Hinojosa allowed three runs in his first appearance this season, then pitched three straight scoreless outings of exactly two innings from April 15-24th.

It was only a one-day stint with Boston for Barnes, Hembree and Wright as each hurler was promptly optioned back to the PawSox the following day (Barnes and Hembree are back active, Wright should be on Thursday).  We’ll see how long Layne and Hinojosa can stick in the Red Sox bullpen – one that could certainly use some fresh arms.

Steven Wright pitch2

Steven Wright should be back in the PawSox rotation in the next few days

It was also just a one-day stay with the big league club for Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was recalled on Tuesday and optioned back Wednesday afternoon.  Jackie has played so well early in the season – both offensively and of course with his glove – but John Farrell said he would only be used as a reserve in Boston.  It makes sense to have him in Pawtucket playing every day.

There is some more good news for the PawSox outfield, as Rusney Castillo has been activated off the disabled list.  The electrifying native of Cuba had missed the previous 17 games after injuring his right shoulder during the third game of the season in Lehigh Valley.  Castillo adds some serious thump to the order.

Rusney Castillo in dugout in jacket

Rusney Castillo is expected to be back in the lineup for the PawSox on Wednesday night

The PawSox have welcomed several newcomers this week.  Relievers Jess Todd and Robby Scott joined in time to help lead the PawSox to a 4-1 win over Syracuse on Tuesday night.  Todd made a spot start (his first since 2008!) and threw four scoreless innings, while Scott made a trip for Portland in the morning and then earned a win at McCoy with three innings of one-run ball.


Jonathan Roof, a veteran utilityman who had been in Portland to begin the season, came before the start of the homestand and made his PawSox debut on Monday night.  He made a very nice defensive play at second base to help the team to a 3-1 victory.

Finally, Kevin Boles’ squad has lost two players to the disabled list in the past two days. Valuable reliever Noe Ramirez has been placed on the DL Wednesday (retroactive to April 27th) with tightness in his back. Utilityman Jeff Bianchi went on the DL Tuesday with a left shoulder problem.

Got all that?  Good!

If you didn’t get to listen over the weekend, check out my interview with International League President Randy Mobley in which we discussed at length the new pace of play regulations in Triple-A baseball:

Also, a heads up for those of you who live in Central Mass: our PawSox broadcasts on Charter TV 3 are scheduled to begin on Thursday afternoon with a 12:00 matinee against Syracuse.  Check out the complete schedule of games that Charter will air this season right here.

Game three of the seven-game homestand is scheduled for Wednesday night at 6:15 as the PawSox try to take three in a row from visiting Syracuse.  It will be Henry Owens’ fourth start of the season, and he’ll look to improve upon some command issues he has battled over the first three.  Owens has not walked fewer than four batters in a start thus far in 2015.

Henry Owens pitching

Henry Owens is on the bump for the PawSox on Wednesday night

Looking forward to speaking to you on the radio at 6:00pm tonight!

Josh M

2013 Red Sox Top-10 Prospects

Although it’s not yet 2013, it’s never too early to take a look at the Red Sox top-10 prospect list published by Baseball America.

What first caught my eye is that while only three of listed prospects are pitchers, all three rank within the top-five — and none are yet to reach Pawtucket.

It might be hard to find a more promising top-three in any other farm system entering next year. No surprise shortstop Xander Bogaerts is ranked No. 1 overall. Only 20-years-old, Bogaerts split 2012 between High-A Salem and Portland where he combined to hit .307 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler, who spent some time around Bogaerts at the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City, commented later that his talents reminded him of Hanley Ramierez.

Like Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. split 2012 between Salem and Portland where he led all Sox farmhands in runs scored (89), walks (87), and on-base percentage (.430). He was second in the system in batting average (.315) and doubles (42). Add to his numbers the fact that Kevin Thomas (@ClearTheBases) of the Portland Press Herald told us on PawSox Insider that Bradley’s defensive abilities in center field surpass even the great Che-Hsuan Lin.

At No. 3 on the list, right-hander Matt Barnes has a good chance of seeing Pawtucket in 2013 — just like Bogaerts and Bradley. Barnes topped the Red Sox system with 133 strikeouts and was third in ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.05). In his first pro season after being taking 18th overall by the Red Sox out of the University of Connecticut, Barnes walked just 29 batters over 119 2/3 innings pitched.

To read the entire online article from Baseball America, click here.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Bogaerts’ pro career began in 2010 as a 17-year-old playing in the Dominican Summer League. (Kelly O’Connor)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers