Farm Report: Taking the Good With the Bad

Posted on May 6 2016 - 10:33am by Sean Agranov



Just like the big league club in Boston there have been a mixed bag of the good with the bad going on in the Red Sox farm system.

Triple A Pawtucket  Back in spring training Roenis Elias was supposedly fighting for the major league club’s fifth starter job.   Since being demoted he hasn’t exactly set the minor leagues on fire, but he is pitching better than his current 0-2  record indicates.  Twice he has been pulled with two outs and runners on, only to have his PawSox reliever come in and  fail to get to final out, allowing all his baserunners to score.  In his brief callup to the majors, Elias came in relief and got the Red Sox out of a seventh inning jam, getting two outs with baserunners on, only to be left in the next inning, during which, he struggled against the Astros’ Altuve, Correa and Carter, before getting sent back down to Pawtucket. Elias pitched again earlier this week and had a strong 7 inning performance. He should be pitching again today (Friday), and hopefully that will give us a better look at how he really is doing this year.  You take the good with the bad.

Double A Portland  Aaron Wilkerson is one of the bright spots on this Sea Dog team. Thursday he pitched six shutout innings that included retiring the first eleven batters he faced. His seven strikeouts raised his total for the year to 38 with just 10 walks. He has now lowered his ERA on the year to 2.68, despite having a mediocre performance in a brief Pawtucket call up, and then suffering his shortest outing of the season just last week.  His manager Carlos Feebles was happy yesterday, as he was quoted:

“He was a man on a mission today, he had a bad performance his last outing and was not happy about it.”
On the flip side, reliever Simon Mercedes who is (2-2) somehow got the win Thursday with two innings of relief, in which he allowed a run on four hits and a walk.  This former top prospect for the Giants and Padres has been God awful since joining the Red Sox farm system and is lucky to still be pitching in Portland. He has come in to relieve in nine games this year and given up 21 hits and eight walks.  He is lucky his ERA is only 8.56.   If I didn’t know any better, I would think he was blackmailing the owner to let him keep pitching.  He really needs to go away at this point and let someone else get the innings.

High A Salem  Back to the Good.  Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi still are dominating the Carolina league.  Benintendi’s 22 game hitting streak,  late inning heroics, and 1.088 OPS is screaming for a call up to Portland.  Moncada, who hit his first professional grand slam on Wednesday, is hitting .340 and has reached base in all but one game this season. He also leads the Carolina league with 19 stolen bases and is making comments like this:

“I want to steal 100 bases, that’s just the way I am. I like being aggressive on the basepaths.”

The only reason to keep them both here in Salem at this point is to help their egos and confidence, cause …you know ….they both lack confidence (writers’s note…i hope you are running from the oozing sarcasm in that remark) or the Red Sox are seriously considering trading one of them and want to keep their value as high as possible before they get somewhat challenged by upper level hitting.  That would be the bad. VERY BAD.

Low A Greenville   The good-bad theme continues all way down to low A ball.  Michael Chavis had been off to a great start this April hitting .356 with only 10 strikeouts in his 59 at bats until he hurt his hand last week.  There seems to be a media freeze-out since he was put on the disabled list and everyone in the Red Sox prospect community is holding their collective breaths now, still wondering if its a torn thumb ligament or something less season crippling.

Top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza was off to a stellar season with three straight five inning starts.  He then threw two starts that caused a little worry as he has struggled to barely get through three innings.  Letting up a few more hits and walking a few baserunners that are eating away at his pre-determined max pitch counts (75) and not letting him go further into the game.  Last night, Espinoza again showed his great poise for a teenager, pitching out of a bases load jam with three straight strikeouts.  He ended up with eleven strikeouts in the 5 innings of this game, so that is obviously amazingly great.  But the facts, like loading the bases on three straight hits that inning, are ones that might make some of us that pushed his off-season rise up the prospects list want to take a gingerly small step back for now.

We take the good with bad, no mater if the results show great signs of things to come or one that makes us worry of the doom that might be coming.  Just like the big league club.