Minor League Teams Teem with Talent

 

minor league teams

I never thought that I would be all that interested in minor league teams. I have gone to games at Pawtucket and loved the atmosphere, so I started there and looked into the A and AA teams as well. The Portland Seadogs, the AA team, have some promising talent yet to get the attention of the folks in Pawtucket and Boston. Others, (see also: Jackie Bradley Jr.) skyrocketed to the top. He is reason enough to take a look at the talent that resides at the farm level. Players like Brandon Workman, who we saw throw a few innings during spring training, are the future of the organization. Anthony Ranaudo is another standout pitcher that will hopefully have a stronger year with the Seadogs than he did last year, as he had some difficulty with injuries.  Scouts say he has a perfect build for the game, and he has a bright season ahead of him this year.

At the AAA level in Pawtucket, players like Drew Sutton and Justin Henry add value with strong fielding and at bats. Henry, with a .300 batting average last year, placed 7th best average in the league. Sutton bounced around with four different clubs last year, but maintained a batting average in the mid .200s.  Where Pawtucket shines is its depth of pitching. Players like Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and knuckleballer Steven Wright will make this a team to watch. Some of these guys were able to play in Spring Training. I would love to see them come up and play at Fenway during the summer.

So long as these players stay healthy, and stand out where and when they are able, the franchise will be better for it. As a franchise, they need to cultivate these players into major league material. Raw talent can only take you so far, which is what we see with Bradley Jr. as of late, and John Farrell’s concern about him hitting poorly against left-handed pitchers. There are weaknesses to address to make each player a bit more polished. Each player is different, but if trained the Red Sox way, their assets will be accentuated, and utilized for that special skill that brought them to the table in the first place.  Ultimately, the Red Sox have a strong farm system, filled with players ready to be molded.

What other Sox prospects are you looking forward to seeing at the minor league parks this summer?

Jackie Bradley Jr. Watch

Jackie Bradley Jr

There is just something about Jackie Bradley Jr. He steps up to the plate on Monday, March 11th and in the first inning, within moments of the start of the game, he hits a home run. Then later, he gets up again, and hits a RBI. Tuesday he had a solid outing making contact with the ball and getting on base. His defensive work has been consistent and laudable by many reliable sources.

jackie bradley jr.

Jenny Dell of NESN interviews Jackie Bradley Jr. Courtesy of nesn.com

He is causing quite the stir on Twitter with a hashtag campaign #KeepJBJ, trying to send a message to John Farrell to keep him up in the majors. The jaded Boston media are even falling in love with this kid. The people have spoken. They keep speaking since he is simply undeniable. Yes, I want him to come to Boston, too, but I also want money to grow on trees. I don’t believe it is going to happen, so Rhode Island better get ready for him. They may have to push back the state borders because this kid is swinging, batting .536 (15-for-28). June could be the month that he comes to Fenway. Everyone looking to buy tickets to watch a game at Fenway, go in June. The weather is more stable by then, and the organization may just give Bradley Jr. the playing time that he deserves.

If the powers that be take their time, and he comes up in late May or June, (here I am already pushing the date up), he will achieve the same height of fandom that Jacoby Ellsbury enjoyed in 2007. They were right with their timing with Ellsbury, and that is what they should do with Bradley Jr.  Clearly, this is my measured, logical side talking. My emotional side wants him in the starting nine.

In the meantime, run don’t walk, to Pawtucket and buy those tickets. You can get great seats at reasonable prices, not to mention eat without breaking the bank, while watching this well-rounded up and comer.