Sea Dogs’ Jantzen Witte Making Transition from Third to First Look Easy

Jantzen Witte sea dogs

Jantzen Witte has been one of the Portland Sea Dogs best hitters to this point in the season, posting a .348/.392/.500 line with seven extra-base hits, 19 runs batted in, seven runs scored and six walks in 18 games.

He began his transition from third to first base in Spring Training last sJantzen Witteeason, and so far has made the job look easy, posting a .996 fielding percentage at first base over 960 career innings.

“Last year I kind of got moved over there the last day of Spring Training, and then played the majority of my games at first,” Witte told Yawkey Way Report. “I actually felt okay with it.

“As far as ground balls and things like that, I don’t think it’s a huge adjustment, but as far as my footwork around the bag and picks and things like that, it looks so easy, but there’s a lot of stuff going on. A lot of moving parts that I think a lot of people don’t realize. That’s something that I am still working on.”

Witte was selected by the Red Sox in the 24th round of the First-Year player draft in 2013 out of Texas Christian University. He was named to the 1st-Team Academic All Big-12 Team his senior year, when he hit .293 with 15 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 34 runs batted in.

The 25-year old talked about how his college baseball career has helped ease the transition into professional baseball, although there are some major differences.

“I think anybody that played college baseball, they have so many more reps than these guys [that come out of] high school,” he said. “The earlier levels of [professional baseball] we have so much more experience in close ball games, and so many AB’s [while] facing some pretty good arms.”

“I think the hardest thing to do is be consistent in pro ball, [because] you play so many games—[Double-A] is where the level is that everyone is at an even playing field.”

So far this season, the New England weather has had little effect on the Ft Worth, Texas native.

“In college we played in places like Air Force in Colorado in the snow. When we were in the Mountain West, BYU, you know we’re up in the snow, it’s icy, so it’s something I have played in before,” he said. “It might take an extra one or two sprints to get loose, but you know, you just got to play the game regardless of what the temperature is like.”

In 181 career minor league games, Witte is hitting .293/.361/.457 with 13 home runs, 54 doubles, eight triples and 122 runs batted in while splitting time between third and first base.

Witte Goes 4 for 5, as Sea Dogs Unable to Complete Sweep of Phils

Sea Dogs

Jantzen Witte had a big day Sunday for the Portland Sea Dogs, going 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, three runs batted in and two runs scored, but they were unable to complete the three-game sweep of the Reading Fightin Phils, losing by a final score of 6-5.

Luis Diaz got the start for Portland, lasting 5 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. The loss is Diaz’s second of the season, bringing his record to 0-2. Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs made things interesting heading into the ninth down 6-3, when Jantzen Witte hit a two-out, two-run double to make the score 6-5. Oscar Tejeda was unable to keep the rally going, however, striking out on three pitches to end the game.

Portland opened the series on Friday with a 3-0 victory, with William Cuevas earning his third win of the season by tossing five shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. Relievers Pat Light and Dyan Diaz combined for four shutout innings in support of Cuevas.

First baseman David Chester got the scoring started for the Sea Dogs in the top of the second inning, drilling a two-run home run to left-center field. They added another run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from catcher Luis Martinez.

Justin Haley took the mound for Portland in the middle-game of the series, but left after just 1/3 of an inning with what appeared to be a right groin injury. Simon Mercedes provided strong relief after coming in to replace Haley, allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings, Keury De La Cruz was able to drive in the first run of the ball game on a single to right field which scored Oscar Tejeda. Portland added three more runs in the eighth, on RBI hits by De La Cruz and Luis Martinez to make the final score 4-1.

The Sea Dogs will head to Binghamton, NY on Monday night for the first time this season to take on the 2014 Eastern League Champion Mets, with the game one of the series scheduled for 6:35 PM.

Photo Credit: Forrest Mulheron Photography

Sea Dogs Swept By Binghamton Mets

Portland Sea Dogs

After splitting their four-game weekend series with the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder, the Sea Dogs were swept in three games by another New York affiliate, the Binghamton Mets.

New England Patriots’ hero, Malcolm Butler, attended the series opener on Monday night, Sea Dogsthrowing out the first pitch, and was available to the fans for pictures and autographs. The game, however, was suspended after two innings due to inclement weather and resumed as part of a double-header on Tuesday.

Luis Diaz got the start in the opener, allowing two earned runs on a single hit and three walks over two innings. Jonathan Aro took the mound when play resumed on Tuesday, taking the loss after allowing seven runs, six of them earned, on six hits and a walk.

The Sea Dogs scored seven runs on RBI hits by Oscar Tejeda, Kevin Heller and Jantzen Witte, but that was not enough against the Mets’ 11-run attack.

Mike Augliera took the loss, bringing his record to 0-4 on the season, in the second game of Tuesday’s double-header, lasting only 3 1/3 innings while allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and a base on balls. The Sea Dogs’ lone run in the 7-1 loss came on a strikeout and wild pitch by Mets’ pitcher Beck Wheeler, allowing Reed Gragnani to score from third.

Portland dropped the third and final game of the series by a score of 8-3 on Wednesday night, with Sea Dogs’ starter Mike McCarthy taking the loss to bring his record to 2-2. McCarthy allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks over four complete innings.

Portland took their only lead of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a run scoring wild-pitch by Mets’ starter Rainy Lara, allowing Mike Miller to score. First baseman Jantzen Witte followed that up with an RBI ground out to give the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead going into the second. Portland’s catcher, Luis Martinez, added an RBI double which drove in Keury De La Cruz in the fourth, but that was all the offense the Sea Dogs could muster.

The Sea Dogs will have an off-day Thursday, before resuming play in Reading, PA against the Fightin’ Phils on Friday night at 7:05 PM.

Robby Scott Looking Impressive So Far for Sea Dogs

Robby Scott Portland Sea Dogs

Robby Scott continued his hot start to the season against the Trenton Thunder on Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field; tossing two innings of relief and allowing just a single unearned on one hit, while striking out two.

Scott has not allowed a run in four of his five appearances this season, including four shutout innings against the New Britain Rock Cats last Tuesday, only the second start of his professional career.Robby Scott Portland Sea Dogs

So far this season Scott is 0-0, with a 2.70 ERA and nine strikeouts in 10 innings.

The 25-year old Miami, FL native is coming off a strong 2014 campaign in which he owned a 8-2 record to go with a 1.96 ERA and 51 strikeouts.

Those numbers were good for a trip to the 2014 Mid-Season All-Star Game for the Eastern League. Scott was also voted to the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Star team in October.

“Between being in the All-Star game last year in the Eastern League and then having the opportunity to play in the All-Star game in the Fall League was awesome, two opportunities, two accolades that I will remember when my playing career is over,” Scott told Yawkey Way Report.

“It’s one of those things where you get to reward yourself for something for your efforts, for the work you put in throughout your time. It’s not the last time I want to be on an All-Star team, and hopefully can be on an All-Star team at [every] level.”

Despite a shortened off-season because of the Arizona Fall League, Scott felt no ill effects during Spring Training this year.

“I [actually] felt better, just because I didn’t have that extended period of time off. My arm felt a lot better getting ready to go for Spring Training because I didn’t have that extra month and a half off, so I felt actually a lot better the first time I started throwing,” Scott said.

Robby Scott also realizes that with his recent string of success, his promotion could be just a phone call away.

“That’s what it’s all about, seeing guys have that opportunity. You got to be able to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed and be ready for that opportunity when your name is called, and hopefully that opportunity comes,” he said.

“A year ago now Mookie Betts was in this locker room. Now seeing him doing what he’s been doing [for the Red Sox] it’s been awesome. It’s exciting for us and exciting for the entire organization.”

Sea Dogs Manage Four-Game Split With Trenton Thunder

Portland Sea Dogs

After two straight wins, the Portland Sea Dogs dropped the series finale to the Trenton Thunder by the score of 8-2 on Sunday, giving them a split in the four-game series at Hadlock Field.

Justin Haley was handed his third loss on the young season, as he failed to getSea Dogs through the fifth inning after allowing six earned runs on eight hits, including two home runs, and four walks, bringing his ERA on the season to 9.42.

Keury De La Cruz, who was playing in his first contest in over a week after suffering a leg injury, provided the lone offense for the Sea Dogs. After back-to-back singles by Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda, De La Cruz drove them both in with a fly ball double to left field.

One bright spot in the series came on Friday, when the Sea Dogs were able to hand the New York Yankees number one prospect, Luis Severino, the worst loss of his Double-A career, after tagging him with six runs, three of them earned, on eight hits and three walks over five innings.

They were able to chase Severino in the bottom of the sixth inning, after he committed a throwing error on a Jonathan Roof bunt with two men on which allowed a runner to score, then gave up an RBI single to Sea Dogs’ right fielder Kevin Heller. The Sea Dogs added an RBI single by second basemen Carlos Asuaje in the inning, followed by a two-run double off the bat of left fielder Oscar Tejeda.

Portland added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and won by a final score of 10-2.

The Sea Dogs will host last year’s Eastern League champions, the Binghamton Mets, for a three-game series at Hadlock Field beginning at 6:00 PM on Monday night. The New England Patriots Super Bowl hero, Malcolm Butler, will be in attendance, throwing out the first pitch, as well as signing autographs and taking pictures.

Sea Dogs Split Doubleheader With Rock Cats

Sea Dogs

After weather postponed the series opener on Monday night, the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs managed a split with the New Britain Rock Cats, at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.

Justin Haley took the mound for the Dogs in the first game of the twin bill, surrendering four earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three over 3 1/3 innings.Sea Dogs Justin Haley The loss is the second of the season for Haley whose ERA now stands at 8.38.

Ryan Carpenter started opposite Haley for the Rock Cats, and held the Sea Dogs to just two hits over seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just two hits and a single walk.

The score remained tied at zero until the bottom of the fourth, when Juan Ciriaco hit a fly ball single to center field to drive in the first two runs of the game. Rockies top position prospect David Dahl then reached on an error which scored a run, before Tyler Massey drove in Ciriaco with a single to left field.

The Sea Dogs were able to end the rally there, but unable to generate any offense and lost by a final score of 4-0.

Portland’s offense wasted no time getting started in the second game, scoring four times in the first on a pair of two-run doubles by Reed Gragnani and Blake Tekotte. They added another run on a Jantzen Witte sacrifice fly in the second and three more on RBI hits by Witte and Oscar Tejeda in the fourth.

Robby Scott got the start for the Sea Dogs in the nightcap, tossing four shutout innings and allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out four. Boston’s 22nd prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, Simon Mercedes, completed the final three innings for the 8-1 victory, his first ever in Double-A. Mercedes allowed just one run on one hit, while walking two and striking out five, including his final batter of the game.