Patience Is Key With Red Sox Young Players

The final month of the Red Sox season is upon us and if the Red Sox go 27-0 down the stretch they would finish with 92 wins, good enough for a Wild Card right? Well no one expects that to happen so for the final month the Red Sox will be looking to two things. How their younger players continue to play and the chase of David Ortiz’s 500th home run.

With the young outfield of Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. continuing to show what they are capable of the Red Sox have to be happy with what theyYoung Players are seeing. Down the stretch all three expect to get time in all three outfield positions to help figure out what is the best alignment for the BBC. Castillo has been playing left field for about a week now and has not had any Hanley Ramirez moments yet and likely will not. Betts has played center field for every appearance so far this season, but has been working in left and right the last few weeks and will likely appear in a game on the corners soon. Bradley Jr.’s defense is something that will keep him in the big leagues, but his hitting of late has kept him in the lineup after an extended stay in Pawtucket early on this season. His arm I believe is something that has him fit for right field in Fenway Park. Shane Victorino who was a center fielder for most of his career, excelled in moving to the spacious right field in Fenway.

The pitching staff is something that has handcuffed the Red Sox all season long. Eduardo Rodriguez has looked like someone who will be at the top of the rotation for the Red Sox rotation next season, of course likely below an ace they expect to acquire this off-season. Henry Owens has looked good at times, kept down his walks that he struggled with in minors this year but has had some stinkers against teams with good offenses. Both are players who started the year in Pawtucket and will be likely skipped a few times down the stretch because of an innings limit the Red Sox are looking to adhere to, but not quite a Mets Matt Harvey situation because obviously the Red Sox are not in playoff contention.

The slumps and forgetfulness of young players is something that is all over the game. Patience is something the Red Sox have not had with young players as of late as they tried to win at all costs and not allow players battle through adjusting to the big leagues. The Royals and Astros are examples of players coming up together through the system and go through the slumps together and learn how to win together with a core.

Veterans are important to every team and the Red Sox have David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia but the next great Red Sox team will likely come together and learn some lessons this September.

Blue Jays Starter Marcus Stroman Rehabs at McCoy Stadium

As the Red Sox focus on letting their young players get playing time down the stretch, the American League East leading Blue Jays are looking forward to getting back one of their key players for the stretch run. Starting Pitcher Marcus Stroman made a rehab appearance with the Buffalo Bisons on Monday at McCoy Stadium and said he is ready to return.

Stroman, 24, who is at the end of a crazy recovery after tearing his knee in Spring Marcus StromanTraining just fielding his position, seems to be done talking about his knee and ready to start for the Blue Jays. Stroman won 11 games for the Blue Jays last season in 20 starts and could take the rotation spot of Drew Hutchison, who has double digit wins but a very high ERA. Hutchison has already been demoted this season and would likely move to the bullpen if the Blue Jays decide Stroman is ready to return to the rotation.

If Stroman were to return to the rotation on regular rest, his first start of the season would come this Saturday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

In 3 innings of work Stroman had a line of 8 H, 4 ER, 4 BB and 5 K. Obviously not the line you look to get in 3 innings of work against a PawSox lineup that has been ripped apart due the Red Sox struggles and injuries but Stroman seemed upbeat and even remarked that Boston affiliates have hit him well before.

Stroman tore his knee on March 10th during fielding drills in Spring Training and began a long road to recovery. Knee injuries, most expect to take a full year but some have come back sooner, Adrian Peterson comes to mind of the Minnesota Vikings. Stroman even went back to class at Duke University to finish his degree while rehabbing.

The prolific Toronto offense is what comes to mind when most think of the Blue Jays but the pitching since the acquisition of David Price is what has been of note for the Jays. With all the moves the Blue Jays made this season it looks like they are going for it and Marcus Stroman will soon be back sooner than many thought.

Rick Porcello Gives Up 3 Runs in Rehab Start With PawSox

In what has been a wildly unsuccessful first season with the Red Sox, Rick Porcello completed what should be his final rehab outing with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Friday night before returning to the Red Sox rotation for the last five weeks of the season. Porcello will likely replace Matt Barnes in the rotation, unless the team finally decides that Joe Kelly should get an audition in the bullpen.

After a shaky first inning in which Porcello gave up two runs while hitting a batter and Rick Porcelloallowing three stolen bases, Porcello calmed down to allow just one run in the remaining 4.2 innings he went. Overall he went 5.2 while allowing 3 hits, 3 earned runs, striking out 6 including 4 of the last 5 batters he faced and walking none. Obviously the main focus for Porcello is keeping the ball down, especially his fastball which has been hammered this season when it has been left up in the strike zone. He is a sinker ball pitcher, but seems to rely on his fastball too much and looks like he over throws at times. It’s okay Rick if you can’t throw 99—the Red Sox already have Joe Kelly over throwing as it is.

The next month of the season for Porcello will be a big test as he looks to right the ship on what has been a rough start to his Red Sox career. After being acquired from the Tigers in a winter trade, Porcello signed a 4 year extension with the team paying him over $80 million before he even threw a pitch in a Red Sox uniform.

Obviously that contract is a lot to live up to, but Red Sox fans should remember that John Lackey’s first few years with the Red Sox weren’t great either and he went on to help them win a World Series in 2013. Time is on Porcello’s side to prove he is a better pitcher than he has looked this season. However, to expect him to live up to that contract may be farfetched.

Dave Dombrowski, recently named President of Baseball Operations for the Red Sox, is the man who drafted Porcello, but also the man who traded him, so we will soon find out how he really feels about Porcello. Obviously his results this season will not make it easy to move him, but maybe if he is counted on less, he will be a much better pitcher next season.

Andrew Benintendi Earns Quick Promotion to Greenville

As the Red Sox begin the Dave Dombrowski era, the catalyst of the most recent draft this past June has already started his ascent up the ranks in the Red Sox minor league system. This week outfield prospect and first round pick Andrew Benintendi was promoted from Short-A Lowell to Low-A Greenville.

Benintendi is joining a team with Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and Javier Guerra, who Andrew Benintendiare all in the Red Sox top ten prospect list according to MLB.com and ESPN’s Keith Law. Benintendi just two months ago was playing in the College World Series and was named the SEC Player of the Year as well as the College Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Benintendi signed with the Red Sox on June 30th and was assigned to Lowell on July 1st. In 35 games with Lowell he hit 7 home runs and knocked in 15, while walking an amazing 25 times helping him achieve a .408 on base percentage. He also only struck out 7 times during his time in Lowell, showing a great deal of patience for a player with the pressure of being a top ten pick. Benintendi is only 21, but is already older than some of the Red Sox top prospects which has helped him make a jump to Greenville so quickly. With drafting players out of college, those players get the extra seasoning that players drafted out of high school do not get, likely helping them avoid an extended stay in the lower minors.

Benintendi’s first game with the Greenville Drive he continued his hot start hitting two home runs. With Greenville not looking like they will make the South Atlantic Playoffs, Benintendi’s season will be done around Labor Day, but the Red Sox will likely send him to winter ball. With Benintendi showing patience and power and hitting from the left side, he is something the Red Sox should value as an outfield prospect. Obviously the outfield right now is full of younger players as well but Dave Dombrowski will likely need to make some moves from positions of redundancy to address some weaknesses most notably starting pitching.

Mookie Betts Injury Gives Jackie Bradley Jr. Opportunity

Mookie Betts has proven that athleticism is not something he is lacking this season. He has quick bat speed and learned to play center field very well. Tuesday night he made a great catch running full speed but flipped over the bullpen in right center field. The catch did not count as it was a home run after Betts flipped over the wall, but Betts was diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on the 7 days disabled list on Wednesday and the team called up Jackie Bradley Jr.

Manager John Farrell said Bradley Jr. will be playing center field everyday while Betts is Mookie Betts injuryout. The extent to Betts concussion is not known but the Red Sox should not rush Betts back as it already is a lost season, while Betts has been one of the few bright spots.

Obviously no one wants to wish someone to get injured but Bradley Jr. has to relish this opportunity as it looks like Rusney Castillo will be in right field for the remainder of the season. Bradley Jr. has proven he can hit minor league pitching this season as he has been one of the best hitters in the International League for the PawSox. He has also shown power as of late having two, two homer games in the past week. The defense has never been the question with Bradley Jr. it has always been whether he can hit major league pitching.

With Betts on the disabled list this could be the last test Bradley will get with the Red Sox. When Shane Victorino went down with an injury earlier this season the Red Sox acquired Alejandro De Aza instead of bringing up Bradley Jr. obviously not what he wanted and although De Aza has played well in his stint with the Red Sox, they should be playing Bradley, as De Aza will likely be gone after this season.

With the trade deadline Friday afternoon it is likely now Bradley will be still with the Red Sox after he built up some value at Triple-A. With an outfield likely full for next season unless Hanley Ramirez changes positions, this is will an opportunity for Jackie Bradley Jr. to prove he can be a piece off the bench next season.

John Farrell Calls Out Pablo Sandoval’s Weight

The 2015 Red Sox cannot be summed up in just a sentence of phrase. The frustration from the fan base and players has now a visible effect on manager John Farrell. Farrell is usually a stay the course, the players will figure it out, type manager but over the last week he has not shied away from holding his players accountable.

David Ortiz did not run out a ground ball last week and Farrell went out of his way to Pablo Sandovalmention it. You can now see Farrell has grown frustrated with the pitching staff he was handed as well. Rick Porcello who continues to trot out to the rubber every fifth day and continues to not get out of the fifth inning almost every start. John Farrell has floated out the idea that Brian Johnson and Henry Owens will get a look in the rotation and soon. Farrell seemed to float out the idea of roster moves coming as well, although that is necessary when your starter only goes two innings.

The main frustration that was picked up from John Farrell’s press conference last night was Pablo Sandoval’s weight problem. Sandoval left the game due to dehydration and Farrell said his weight needs “addressing”. The Red Sox knew what they were getting into Sandoval this off-season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was a continued critic of Sandoval’s weight during his time in San Francisco. He would continue to show up to spring training over the weight the Giants wanted him at, but he would continue to perform in October so they took the good with the bad.

This year Sandoval has not looked like a $19 million player because he is not a $19 million player. It made sense for the Red Sox to sign Sandoval, but to expect him to be a middle of the order force was wrong, he is simply not that player. His career high in home runs is 25, and has been in the teens in home runs the last three years.

There is no question Sandoval’s weight is a problem but the elephant in the room, no pun intended, has rarely been brought up this season. If you watched the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN commentator Curt Schilling brought up the fact that Sandoval has definitely gained weight this season. Maybe motivation is a problem, with the team losing. He is said to be with his friends Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz, so that should help him no?

The Red Sox need to figure out Sandoval’s weight problem before the end of this season. It will be on the minds of many this off-season. What will Sandoval look like come spring training? Will he be moving to first base? Those questions need to be answered soon and Sandoval needs to react the to comments of John Farrell.