Results tagged ‘ Portland Sea Dogs ’

Homestand Recap (6/20-6/26): All Rise as Judge Enters and Court is in Session

by Ryan Young

The longest homestand of the season at McCoy (eight games due to Tuesday’s doubleheader) featured beautiful weather as we officially entered summer. The week featured a slew of PawSox rising to and delivering in Boston, several former Portland SeaDogs (including Ryan Court) delivering for Pawtucket and a couple of top prospects surging at McCoy (including Aaron Judge). Alright, now that I’ve tried to rationalize my convoluted headline, let’s get started:

Portland to Pawtucket ✈️

For much of the week, two-thirds of Pawtucket’s starting lineup was composed of players that began the year with the Double-A SeaDogs. (Even with the rehabbing Brock Holt and Ryan Hanigan in the lineup for most of the week.)

Both infielder Ryan Court and relief pitcher Chandler Shepherd came straight from Portland on the first day of the homestand.

Court_PawSoxChiefs6202016JillianSouza_3009

In Court’s Triple-A debut, he went 3-for-4 with RBI singles in each of his first two at-bats and a triple in his final at-bat. I’m sure he’ll cherish the night he got to spend as a .750 hitter in Triple-A.

IMG_4392

Not only did Court deliver offensively, but he started at a different infield position in each of his first four games and made some terrific defensive plays.

Court was ready to play his second straight year of independent ball before getting the call that the Red Sox had signed him in early May. He was literally going to drive all his belongings to Sioux City the next day, but instead had them shipped up to Maine.

I spoke with Ryan about his remarkable journey over the last two months:

 

Meanwhile, Shepherd has not allowed a run in his first three appearances. In fact, he’s retired the last 19 batters he’s faced! The righthander shined in Double-A, sporting a 1.80 ERA in 22 games with Portland.

Here is some of my interview with Shepherd from last week where I chatted with him about his success, moving up to Triple-A and his favorite player growing up:

 

Last week can also be known as the week that Henry Ramos emerged. Ramos, who was promoted from Portland on June 6, started all eight games of the homestand and went 10-for-29 with a double, triple, two home runs and eight RBI.

And then in his first game of the road trip, he smacked another triple and tallied his second four-RBI performance in three games. Ramos, a switch-hitter who has shown power from the left side but done damage from both sides of the plate, is someone to look out for over the next month.

Pawtucket to Boston ✈️

(BTW, I know that these guys don’t generally need to fly from Portland to Pawtucket or from McCoy to Fenway thanks to their #blessed New England locations, but why don’t any of the vehicular emojis drive from left to right?!?)

Of the PawSox who have spent time in Boston over the last few weeks, nobody has made more of an impact than catcher Sandy Leon. Leon, who was recalled to replace the injured Hanigan on June 5, has made as significant an impact as possible with the Red Sox.

Leon_PawSoxBraves5152016JillianSouza_9048.jpg

He went 9-for-13 (.692) in his first five games with Boston and his currently batting .483 through 11 games. He has also caught five of eight attempted base stealers.

Leon’s biggest big league at-bat came last Friday with the Red Sox. On the 11th pitch of the AB, he doubled helping Boston’s rally along and leading to a big comeback win.

That also happened to be Bryce Brentz‘s first major league game of the season. He recorded a hit and got to partake in the famed Red Sox outfield celebration after the victory.

I asked the rehabbing Holt for his assessment of Bryce’s performance in the celebration. Holt had no criticism whatsoever, but admitted that of the recent left fielders, Chris Young is the best at doing it. Holt didn’t establish any criteria for critquing the performances but he admitted that Chris Young was easily the best of the recent left field crew that has featured both Brock and Blake Swihart.

While Brentz has taken advantage of some Red Sox injuries by hitting .467 over his first four games, Ryan LaMarre has also seen some time in the Boston outfield.

His entire team huddled around the clubhouse TV to watch his first major league at-bat of the season.

Congratulations also go out to Mike Miller for making his major league debut this week.

While many PawSox starters have seen time with the Red Sox this season, Pat Light really deserved his recent call up. He has tossed 13 straight scoreless inning and hasn’t allowed a run in the ninth inning (in Triple-A) all season long!

On the Cusp of the Bigs

We saw two of the top prospects in baseball at McCoy last week: the Nationals’ Trea Turner and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. Both were named to the International League All-Star Team and  can’t be too far away from spending some time in the big leagues.

Turner has already had a couple of quick stints with Washington. He had a game-winning hit and a two-run home run in the final two games of the Syracuse-Pawtucket series. Before he did that damage, I asked him about what he’s been focusing on in Triple-A, how he deals with the hype around him and his favorite players growing up:

Meanwhile, Judge came to Rhode Island as the hottest hitter in the league. He then hit two home runs in the series, including one of the longest blasts at McCoy in a long time.

The fans were in hot pursuit of obtaining an Aaron Judge autograph. Fortunately for them, he was more than willing to partake in a McCoy tradition.

I obtained a few quick thoughts from Judge regarding his teammate Nick Swisher, the longest ball he’s ever hit and playing at Yankee Stadium and Fenway.

 

Other Notes and Thoughts

All-Stars

The PawSox also have a couple All-Stars of their own: Chris Marrero and Sean O’Sullivan.

Marrero has been among the league leaders in home runs and total bases all season.

O’Sullivan had his best week of the season, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (1 ER/15.0 IP), 10 strikeouts and no walks in 15 innings of work.

Light might have also had a chance to make the squad had he not been called up. There was a significant push for Light (#FightForLight) and Robby Scott (#WhyNotScott) among PawSox players and fans.

Robby Scott

Scott earned the #WhyNotScott movement thanks to his success on the mound this season. He has 32 strikeouts and no walks in his last 13 appearances. (He issued his last walk on May 7!)

But he has been even more valuable off the field. Here are three very diverse topics I spoke with Robby about: thinking about the big leagues while pitching well in Triple-A, being so passionate about his community work and watching LeBron bring a title to Cleveland as a Miami Heat fan.

 

Boys of McCoy

Finally, I must give a shoutout to our intern boy band that performed during 90’s Night on Friday. Here is a look at their final rehearsal before their big performance:

Full disclosure: my favorite Backstreet Boys song was As Long As You Love Me. Though, I don’t recall any dabbing in that music video.

There will be more fun to be had at McCoy this weekend, highlight by post-game fireworks on Friday…and Saturday….and Sunday! There will be no better place to spend the holiday weekend.

Getting Closer – Moncada Joins Benintendi in Portland

by Josh Maurer

The Red Sox have one of the top (if not the absolute best) farm systems in baseball currently.  At some of the lower levels of the organization, players like pitcher Anderson Espinoza and third-baseman Rafael Devers have the potential to be big impact players in the years to come.

The two top names among Boston prospects, however, are OF Andrew Benintendi and second-baseman Yoan Moncada.  Each is considered one of the prime “can’t miss” talents in the sport today, and each appears close to reaching Pawtucket.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Benintendi was promoted to Double-A Portland last month, while Moncada joined him earlier this week.  Yoan’s Double-A debut was a strong one on Tuesday night, as he went 1-for-5 with an RBI and several standout defensive plays.

Here is the audio of Moncada’s first press conference in Portland, held just hours before he made his debut with the club yesterday:

Benintendi, meanwhile, has turned up the offense after struggling at the outset of his Sea Dogs tenure.  Over his last 10 games, he is 15-for-41 (.366) with 3 HR, 11 RBI, and 5 doubles.

It will be very fun and interesting to follow those two prized prospects in Portland over the weeks (and possibly months) to come.  It would not be a stretch to think that each could potentially see time with the PawSox before the 2016 season comes to an end.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Meanwhile, Pawtucket had a five-game winning streak snapped in game two of a doubleheader against Syracuse on Tuesday night in dropping a close 3-2 decision.  In the opener, lefty Henry Owens came within two outs of a seven-inning no-hitter before allowing a single to the Chiefs’ cleanup batter Matt Skole.

Henry Owens throws pitch w.crazy face

Instead, Owens settled for a complete-game one-hitter in which he struck out five and walked three batters. You can see the highlights from his dominant performance below.

On Thursday night, our friends at NESN will televise the finale of the five-game series against the Chiefs following a day game for the Red Sox at Fenway.  Will and I will be providing the TV play-by-play on a simulcast with the radio broadcast.  We are each looking forward to it!

Overall, the PawSox have won 14 of their last 21 games (dating back to May 31st). They have continued to excel with terrific pitching and solid defense. On Wednesday, Aaron Wilkerson looks to continue his Triple-A dominance as he takes the mound against a struggling Syracuse lineup.

Aaron Wilkerson pitch

First pitch on Wednesday is slated for 7:05 pm on another beautiful evening at McCoy. We hope to see you at the park. If not, Will and I look forward to speaking to you on the radio!

Josh M

No Rest for Red Sox Farmhands

After hours of rain postponed game one of the current series from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., the PawSox and ‘Pigs split yesterday’s double-header, with each team winning a one-run affair.

In total, the two teams combined for 22 runs on 45 hits over two games, spanning 14 innings (5 hours, 8 minutes). It could have been worse, the High-A Salem Red Sox dropped both games of their twin-bill last night against Myrtle Beach (Rangers) and played a total of 16 innings (5 hours, 29 minutes).

Even Double-A Portland played a pair yesterday, winning the first and dropping the second against Altoona (Pirates). After a long Saturday at the ballpark, the top-three levels of the Red Sox farm system combined for the following totals:

 

Games: 6

Innings: 44 innings

Time: 15 hours, 13 minutes

Won-Lost: 2-4

Home runs: 5

Doubles: 15

Hits: 60

Runs: 24

Of course, the odd-man left out is the Single-A Greenville Drive who got to bed early after topping Charleston 10-4 in a brisk 2 hours, 25 minutes (9 innings).

Hopefully it will be a shorter day at the yard for the PawSox, Sea Dogs and Red Sox. The PawSox and IronPigs wrestle this afternoon at 1:35 with Doug Mathis (3-3, 4.86 ERA) getting the start.

Talk with you then.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Lars Anderson Homer on SportsCenter Top 10

In the 70 year history of McCoy Stadium, no batter has ever hit the video board in right-center field with a home run.

Until last night.

Even if the video board hasn’t been there since 1942, history was still made last night in the fourth inning. That’s when PawSox first baseman/left fielder Lars Anderson unloaded on a pitch that smacked off the two-year old HD board which now needs some new parts.

It was such a blast, ESPN SportsCenter ranked it among last night’s Top 10 Plays.

“Makes me feel good, man,”  said Anderson in a post-game interview. “[Pedro] Ciriaco and I have a competition of who has the most Top 10 Plays, so that’d be awesome if I could have that as a step up on him.”

Photo taken of the video board at McCoy Stadium seconds after Anderson’s blast. (Jillian Souza)

Lost in the hype surrounding his home run is the fact that Anderson tied a career-high with five runs batted in. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the first, connected on a two-run single in the second, and then the 2-run homer in the fourth (he later struck out and grounded out).

It’s the third, five-RBI game of Anderson’s career, his first since April 26, 2009 with Double-A Portland.

Last night’s performance comes on the heels of Anderson’s two-homer night against Toledo on Sunday, May 27. It marked his third-career game with a pair of home runs, his first since May 16, 2009 with the Sea Dogs.

In related long ball news, the PawSox have homered 12 times over their last four games and now lead the International League with 57 bombs – the 5th-highest total in the minor leagues. The High Desert Mavericks, in the hitter-friendly California League, are  pacing everyone with 77 round-trippers.

Congrats to Lars. Now we just need to see Ciriaco hit one a foot higher.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

Anderson has hit three of his six home runs this season over his last three games. He hit a career-high 18 homers in 2008 between Lancaster and Portland. (Kelly O’Connor)

Goodbye, Ft. Myers

My first Spring Training was a blast.  I saw nine different games, met some terrific people, and learned a lot. I’m timing things right because this morning it’s raining for the first time all week.

Yesterday I went to the PawSox game at the Twins’ facility with my friend Mike Antonellis, the “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs.” Here are some pics from yesterday’s game.

Former PawSox and Red Sox player, Aaron Bates. Now with the Twins, Aaron was the first player I ever covered to get called up to the big leagues.

Aaron talking with Mike after the game.

Red Sox outfield prospect Alex Hassan playing in his first minor league game since being sent down from big league camp.

Billy Buckner, no relation to Bill Buckner, pitched yesterday for the PawSox. The 28-year-old has appeared in 36 major league games (21 starts) since 2007 with Kansas City and Arizona.

Jeremy Kehrt appeared in seven games (two starts) for the PawSox last year.  The righty pitched for Scottsdale in the prospect-driven Arizona Fall League this past off-season.

The PawSox fell to Rochester 6-2 yesterday with Kehrt getting the start, pitching two innings, and suffering the loss. Both of Pawtucket’s runs came on RBI groundouts in the fifth inning. The only real offensive highlight was a sixth-inning triple by J.C. Linares to right-center. The ground shook when he slid into third base.

This will do it for me from beautiful Ft. Myers.  Today is a camp day for the PawSox (no games), but tomorrow they’ll host Rochester at 1:00 p.m. EST. My broadcast partner Steve Hyder will be down here for a week starting  tomorrow and will have lots of coverage on his blog which can be read here.

Thanks for your terrific readership this week – it’s been a privilege writing for you each day. I’m sure Spring Training 2013 will be even better, but before then, I’m counting down the 11 days until Opening Day 2012 on April 5th at McCoy Stadium.

Hope to see you there.

-AG

@aaronmgoldsmith
agoldsmith@pawsox.com

PawSox Fan of the Week

If this beacon of health enters, he will automatically win (baltimoresportsreport.com)

The thing I love most about working in the Red Sox farm system is the fans.  There’s a good chance that you love your minor league teams more than any other fans out there.  I experienced this firsthand during the 2009 season when I worked for the Portland Sea Dogs and we had fans in the ballpark for all nine innings during those cold, rainy April nights.

I’ve been told that fans here in Rhode Island are just as passionate as those in Maine and I’m wanting to see it first hand.  That’s why we’ve created a new contest where we’re seeking out the PawSox Fan of the Week.

It’s pretty simple: send me a picture showing why you are the biggest PawSox fan out there.  We launched this contest yesterday and I’ve already received about 15 emails.  While some of the pictures are good, none have blown me away.  Although pictures of you, the fan, from  McCoy Stadium cheering on the PawSox are nice, what I’m really looking for is a picture taken specifically for this contest.  Deck yourself out in all your PawSox gear.  Dress your brother and sister up like Paws and Sox.  Build a replica McCoy Stadium in your backyard (too much?).  Bottom line, do something over the top.

If Matt Damon enters, he'll also automatically win (Man Crush).

What will you win if selected?  The winner receives four tickets to the PawSox double-header on April 7. Plus you’ll be entered to win the GRAND PRIZE of 4 tickets to an upcoming 2012 Red Sox game at Fenway Park with a limo ride to and from the game!  Of course, you’ll also get your picture posted to our Facebook wall.

Email your (over the top) picture to me at agoldsmith@pawsox.com with the headline “PawSox Fan of the Week.”  Tell me you heard about the contest from this blog and you’ll get extra credit points.

The winner will be announced Friday afternoon.

Don’t let me down.

-AG

State of the (Red Sox) Farm System

In light of last night’s State of the Union Address, I thought it might be good timing to examine the State of the (Red Sox) Farm System.  And don’t worry, much to the displeasure of my office-mate, Rick Medeiros, there will be no further talk of politics.

I was an avid follower of the Red Sox farm system in 2009 when I was the No. 2 broadcaster with the Portland Sea Dogs (best summer of my life).  For the last two years I’ve done my best to check up on things while I was broadcasting games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A, Texas Rangers).  I’ll share with you some of my findings over the last month on how the “experts” believe the Sox system looks heading into 2012.

Tejada played in 123 games last year for Portland, hitting .249 with five HRs and 41 RBIs (Kelly O'Connor)

1) MiLB.com recently ranked the Top-10 prospects at each position (LHP, RHP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF).  Of these eight positions, the Sox had a Top-10 prospect in the following four:

  • Second Base: Oscar Tejada, ranked 4th
  • Catcher: Ryan Lavarnway, ranked 8th
  • Third Base: Will Middlebrooks, ranked 6th
  • Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, ranked 10th
Four other teams had four prospects ranked within the Top-10 at any given position (CHC, PIT, SD, STL).  Only one team, Seattle, had five prospects ranked within the Top-10.  Of the 30 major league clubs, two were not represented by any Top-10 prospects: Chicago (AL) and Los Angeles (NL).


2) Former Bill James research assistant and current SB Nation minor league guru John Sickels ranked the Sox farm system as the 11th best among the 30 major league teams.

“Large group of B- types who can improve. Hitting stronger than pitching at this point.”
According to Sickels’ rankings, Toronto has the top system, followed by San Diego and then Texas. Milwaukee, Miami, and Chicago (AL) round out the bottom three.

3) Who is the Red Sox No. 1 overall prospect entering 2012?  Well, pretty much everyone agrees.

  • Baseball America: 3B, Will Middlebrooks

    Middlebrooks figures to spend much of 2012 in Pawtucket (Kelly O'Connor)

“Middlebrooks could use a full 2012 season in Triple-A, after which the Red Sox will face an interesting decision.  They hold a $12 million option for 2013 on Kevin Youkilis … Middlebrooks figures to push Youkilis to DH or out of town at that point, and has the tools to blossom into an all-star.”
“Middlebrooks is the top prospect [in the system], but could be the furthest away. Look for the 23-year-old third baseman to get the call to the big club in August or September, but any injury to Kevin Youkilis could require an earlier promotion for the third baseman. “
“The 2007 draftee started to turn some of his strong tools into performance in the Carolina League in 2010, setting highs in average, slugging percentage, doubles, homers and RBIs. There’s more power to come and with his good glove; he has the chance to be a prototypical all-around third baseman.  “
“Bogaerts is seemingly on the track for stardom.  He still has to prove he can hit at the upper levels, and he may not stay at shortstop, but the scouts agree on one thing: Xander Bogaerts has the highest ceiling in the Red Sox system.”

According to SoxProspects, “the key story to watch in 2012 may be how Bogaerts fares against more advanced pitching, especially pitchers with refined off-speed offerings. Fans may also want to keep an eye on him in the early spring, to see how much he’s physically matured during the offseason. If he continues to grow, he could end up moving to third base or right field down the line.”

Red Sox fans will enjoy plenty of interesting minor league story lines throughout 2012 thanks to some promising young players.  Some will be seen on a nightly basis here at McCoy Stadium, others at Hadlock Field in Portland, and many more at the lower levels.

There’s no doubt Boston has invested heavily.  According to Baseball America, “For the third time in four years, the Red Sox set a new franchise record for draft spending, upping the ante to $11 million in 2011.”

As a result, on paper there’s a good group of minor league talent  in the system – especially offensively. Now it’s up to the coaches and the work ethic of these young teenagers and twenty-somethings to truly develop.

-AG

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