Pat Light Promoted to Pawtucket

As the Red Sox finish up their draft responsibilities as they look to pick up some future All-Stars in the draft, a pitcher in their minor leagues has been making noise this season, after a move to the bullpen. 2012 draft pick Pat Light has been promoted to AAA Pawtucket after a hot start at AA Portland this season.

The Red Sox chose Light as the 37th pick in the 2012 Draft, a draft that includes current Pat LightPawSox players Deven Marrero and Brian Johnson. Marrero and Johnson were both more known that Light among the fans I feel the past few season as they both progressed much faster than Light. Light was a starter in 2013-2014 where he struggled with getting batters out.

Born in New Jersey, Light attended Monmouth University, Light looks to be another arm PawSox manager Kevin Boles can use out of the bullpen. Boles has not seen Light pitch yet, so his first appearance with the PawSox will hopefully be an eye opener. Light’s switch to the bullpen this season has had a great impact on his stuff as he only has to go through a lineup maybe once a game, so they are not seeing all of his pitches.

Before this season Light had never appeared in a game above AA, and now he is one more step to the big leagues, where the Red Sox bullpen continues to look for reliable arms past Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa. Light excelled in Portland with an ERA 2.43 in 21 games with the Sea Dogs collecting 3 saves. The stat that sticks out is only 8 earned runs in almost 30 innings of work with a WHIP of 0.98. Last year as a starter Light had an ERA of 4.83 in 25 starts.

Many players from the 2012 MLB Draft are already making noise in the big leagues including Carlos Correa and Joey Gallo just in the last week. Michael Wacha was taken in that draft as well and looks to be the next ace of the Cardinals right now with Adam Wainright down for the year. The game Pat Light pitches in will be his first in AAA, and soon could be pitching on the mound at Fenway.

Steven Wright Back On Track In Latest Start With PawSox

Steven Wright PawSox

After not pitching in an official game in eight days Steven Wright took the mound Thursday afternoon at McCoy Stadium against the Syracuse Chiefs and had his best outing of the year and was more of what the Red Sox expect out of the knuckleballer.

After being called up on Monday after the Red Sox bullpen was taxed this weekend in Steven WrightBaltimore, Wright never appeared in a game. He was, however, warming up in the bullpen on Monday in the early innings before Joe Kelly calmed down and got through six innings for the Sox. Wright was subsequently sent down to start Thursday afternoons game for the PawSox. Wright rejoined the PawSox rotation giving more rest for starters Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez who will pitch against Durham this weekend.

Wright was dominant in the early innings striking out three of the first five batters he faced, all looking at the dancing knuckler. On the day Wright finished with seven strikeouts, five looking and allowed no runs, on four hits in seven innings of work earning the win in a 4-0 game. The most encouraging sign in my opinion was Blake Swihart who seemed to struggle catching the knuckle ball in recent outings but Thursday Swihart had one passed ball but recovered nicely for the rest of the game.

Red Sox starters have struggled getting out of jams of late with innings starting with hits ending in runs and a lot of them. Wright battled out of a bases loaded one out jam in the 5th inning, caused by himself by walking two batters, but got a key ground ball to shortstop Deven Marrero, who stepped on second and threw to first for the double play. This encouraging start by Wright could push the Red Sox to make a decision on a starter soon if they continue to struggle. Ben Cherington has said he is not bringing up any starters from the minors at this time, but most would assume Wright is not part of that group Cherington is referring to.

Other highlights on the afternoon were solo home runs for Travis Shaw and Deven Marrero. Marrero continues to get better with the bat and his hitting .281 after the first month of the season. Blake Swihart got on base three times, twice walking and legging out an infield single. Swihart has been on base in seven straight games and is hitting a robust .338 good for ninth in the International League. He will continue to catch everyday for the PawSox but at some point this summer expect him to make his way up Interstate 95 to Fenway Park.

PawSox Set Opening Day Roster

PawSox

While the Red Sox opened their season on Monday afternoon with a win in Philadelphia their full season minor league affiliates all open with night games on Thursday.  The PawSox will open the season in Lehigh Valley, against the interestingly named Iron Pigs, the Phillies AAA affiliate.

On Tuesday it was PawSox media day, which was moved inside due to inclement weather—something to always be expected during April in New England. The PawSox players, staff, and new owner James Skeffington, were all on hand to answer questions regarding the upcoming season. PawSoxThe PawSox, coming off a Governor’s Cup Championship, have another loaded roster. Eight out of the top ten Red Sox prospects according to MLB.com are on the PawSox opening day roster, with many who made appearances in the big club last September.

The expected starting rotation for the PawSox early on this season will be lefties Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Eddie Rodriguez, and righties Matt Barnes and Keith Couch. All five made starts with the PawSox last season while Barnes was with the team for most of the season. Barnes, who was working in spring training as a reliever, was one of the final roster cuts and will be stretched out as a starter. Brian Johnson will have the privilege of the Opening Day start after an eye opening spring, where he quite possibly declared himself next in line, should an injury occur in the big clubs rotation.

In the bullpen the PawSox will feature a good chunk of players with major league experience, some with the Red Sox. Right handers Miguel Celestino, Heath Hembree, Dalier Hinojosa, Noe Ramirez, Zeke Spruill, and Brandon Workman are joined by the lone lefty Dana Eveland. Workman was moved to the bullpen by the Sox this off-season and was quoted saying, “I’ll pitch when they tell me to warm up.” The uptick in his velocity is seen to be a reason for the move, and the 2013 postseason was an example of his success out of the pen.

It is rare a roster features three catchers—never mind four—but the PawSox start off the season with four on their roster. Humberto Quintero accepted his assignment to AAA and will likely be the backup for  #1 Red Sox prospect Blake Swihart who will start the season in Pawtucket after making a good impression this spring. Matt Spring and Luke Montz join Swihart and Quintero as the backstops to start the year.

The infield has its own set of veterans with Travis Shaw, Garin Cecchini, and Deven Marrero returning from last season, joined by major league veterans Jeff Bianchi and Jemile Weeks. Newcomer Sean Coyle spent all of last season in AA Portland and was added to the 40 man roster this winter.

The outfield is what Bryce Brentz referred to as the “no fly zone.” Brentz returns to the PawSox and will be joined by Jackie Bradley Jr., Quintin Berry, and the highest paid player in the minors Rusney Castillo. All outfielders have major league experience and one has to believe Castillo will not be with the PawSox for long. Brentz introduced a new leg kick to his swing this off-season, which took much of spring training to get comfortable with. The Red Sox have depth in the outfield in the major leagues, but these outfielders are all serviceable should an injury occur.

Many Red Sox fans recognize a lot of the names on this PawSox roster and, I predict, will see a lot of these players appearing in Boston at some point this season. The PawSox home opener is Thursday April 16th against the Rochester Red Wings.

Rusney Castillo Contributes Big in Sox 3-2 Extra Innings Victory

rusney castillo

After replacing Shane Victorino in right field to start the seventh inning in Sunday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park, Rusney Castillo furthered his argument as to why he should be a starting outfielder come Opening Day.

With one out in the top of the 10th inning, he made a brilliant diving catch in foul territory, then came up firing to catch the runner trying to score and end the frame.Rusney Castillo

“It turned out to be a good play,” Castillo stated in an interview with Ian Browne of MLB.com. “I’m always kind of anticipating that kind of thing to happen. When you have a man on third in a big situation, you hope you can make a play like that and execute it. Fortunately it went our way.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell seemed equally impressed by Castillo’s skill in right field.

“I don’t know that you can make a play better than the one he made — diving play in foul territory, he gets up, sets his feet, and then he throws a 150-foot strike,” Farrell told Browne. “A dynamic player, when you consider the skill set that he has. If there was any question on whether he could play right field, he’s certainly answering those for us in camp here.”

With JetBlue Park sharing the same right-field dimensions as Fenway, the 27-year old Cuba defector is showing he is having no problem transitioning from center field, where he has spent most of his playing time since coming to America, to a right field known for being difficult to defend.

Castillo then lead off the bottom of the 10th inning with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball, then tagged up and went to third on a fly ball from Allen Craig. Shortstop Deven Marrero drilled a two-out walk-off single off the Green Monster, driving in Castillo for the winning run.

Deven Marrero: Shortstop Of The Future?

deven marreroIn the first round of the 2012 MLB draft the Boston Red Sox selected Deven Marrero, a shortstop out of Arizona State University. Marrero, 23, has progressed nicely and is on a tear for the Portland Sea Dogs. In 61 games for the Sea Dogs this season, the Miami native is hitting .292 while boasting a .372 OBP. His power is also worth noting as Marrero is an impressive doubles hitter. Approximately 1/3 of his hits this year are for extra bases. In the field, Marrero plays superb defense at shortstop booting just six balls this year.
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As of late, Marrero is heating up at the plate. In his past ten games, Marrero is hitting .444 in 36 at-bats while drawing four walks. For Marrero, this is a great sign since he is not really known for his bat and hit just .227 fanning 32 times in the month of May. Many project Marrero as a number nine hitter at the big league level, but with his impressive plate discipline and constant improvement at the plate, he could end up being better than that.

In the Boston Red Sox organization, it is pretty clear that Xander Bogaerts is the shortstop of the future. Deven Marrero is a great prospect and all with a bright future, but does he really stand a chance against a protege like Xander Bogaerts? Probably not to be completely honest. What Marrero can do is play superb defense at shortstop and he handles the position well. There is no question when it comes to defense for Deven Marrero.
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With this being said, Marrero is athletic enough to play any position on the diamond. To put it this way, Marrero is much better defensively than Brock Holt was at the same point in his career, and Brock Holt can handle every position with the exception of the two batteries. If Holt can do it, Marrero most certainly can as well.

Deven Marrero is proving his worth at the plate. His defense was already up to par, and his only question was the bat. If Marrero keeps playing the way he does, he has a bright future ahead. Though he is blocked in the Red Sox organization, Marrero could definitely prove himself valuable at shortstop in Boston or elsewhere if it comes down to it. He could be a valuable trading block to the Red Sox if there is no room for him so, Boston has plenty of options when it comes to him. It will be interesting to see how the whole Deven Marrero situation plays out.