Farm report: It’s good to struggle

Posted on May 13 2016 - 8:27am by Sean Agranov


The Red Sox are doing some crazy, once-in-a-generation type things with the bats this week. Homers in 13 straight games; thee straight games with 13 runs or more and 50 runs scored in 4 games–not to mention a .344 BABIP. How did these hitters get so good?

Well that’s easy,  they struggled.   Just like all the guys in the minors are struggling right now.   You pay your dues and learn by failing.

Greenville Manager Darren Fenster said.

“Believe it or not, we do want to see guys struggle.”

At some point or another, whether its in the GCL when a kid first comes over, or here, or Portland–it’s the nature of baseball that you will hit a wall. I think the sooner a guy can hit that wall, the sooner a guy can figure out the way to get back on the right track. It’s a positive thing. So the next time a kid struggles, he knows it’s part of the game and he needs to work and compete to get back to where he needs to be.

Triple A Pawtucket  As I wrote prior to the season, there is a nice rotation of guys coming and going to and from the big leagues.  Henry Owens pitched seven shut out inning for a PawSox win this week but still needs work on his command, as he gave five walks.  Eduardo Rodriguez got the loss this week but his pitch count hit 93 in almost six innings of work; he  probably is still two more rehab starts away from making his Fenway debut this year.  Brian Johnson is almost fully back from his elbow issues as he threw a season-high 103 pitches, now he needs to fine tune so he doesn’t give up five runs on nine hits. Hopefully they all are getting better by failing down in Pawtucket where it doesn’t count as much.

Double A Portland The Portland offense is pitiful!  Their 96 runs is one of the lowest totals in all of minor league baseball.  Hitting coach Jon Nunnally is trying to keep things positive.

“Keep preparing, keep getting your work in and take one at-bat at a time, keep them upbeat, keeping them going, getting them to understand they have a lot of season left” Nunnally said.

Catcher Jake Romanski is hitting .333. But the next highest batting average was from outfielder Aneury Tavarez at .258. At least, it was the next highest until Ryan Court was signed from an independent league.   At age 27, coming originally from the Diamondbacks system he still has hope that one day he can crack the majors.  He is batting .310  after 9 games.

Aaron Wilkerson is still improving and should be ready to head up to AAA for good.   He added another six inning  five strikeout performance this past week.  His brief call up a few weeks ago was a failure but he has shown since that he ready for the that challenge full time by his stellar performances since being sent back down.

High A Salem Every week I sound like a broken record: Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi  are still dominating the Carolina league.  Both need to be called up  so they can be challenged as they obviously aren’t be subdued at this level.

After an awful April, fellow top prospect Rafael Devers is finally turning  it on as he is batting .324 for the month of May.  This really doesn’t’ surprise me since his BABIP this season is only .205, which is over a hundred points lower than previous seasons.

Low A Greenville

Anderson Espinoza  really failed this week according to many pundits as his 1.2 inning start was the shortest of the season.  He totaled 57 pitches but got too deep into each batter as they worked him from the get go. That said, he is coming off of his longest outing to date on a short rest period as the Sox seemed to have pushed him harder than usual to be in a position to struggle.

They also took him out with the bases loaded this week and some of those runners scored after he left–this is after he had got himself out of bases load jams with no outs three times early this season.

Learn by failure,  it is what the minors are all about.