Jalen Beeks Continues Eastern League Dominance

In a farm system notorious for developing young players, southpaw Jalen Beeks now finds himself as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. At age 23, the 5’11” hurler has done nothing but produce since joining the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs.jalen beeks

Like Andrew Benintendi, Beeks attended Arkansas. While a Razorback, Beeks also excelled, boasting a 1.07 WHIP and a 1.98 ERA in 81.2 IP his senior year. This impressive performance followed an elbow injury his junior year.

He was drafted in the 12th round in 2014. He played two-and-a-half seasons of rookie ball and A-ball. Beeks was called up to Portland in July 2016 and finished the season 5-4 with a 4.68 ERA in 65.1 innings pitched. This was after going 4-4 in 13 starts with a 3.07 ERA for High-A Salem.

But this season, he has been nothing but dominant. In seven starts, Beeks is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched. He’s averaging almost six innings per start and 1.2 strikeouts per inning. And if it wasn’t for one start against Trenton back in April, Beeks would be 5-0 with an ERA of 0.51.

Baseball Mechanics and Jalen Beeks

Scouts look to his mechanics as a way to marginalize hitters. SoxProspects.com’s scouting report says Beeks “throws from the first-base side of the rubber. High three-quarters arm slot and stiff delivery with a lot of moving parts. Utilizes a high leg kick, then trunk twist and pause as he rocks back before coming forward. He also has an arm hook behind and lands stiff on his front side.”

When combined with Trey Ball and Teddy Stankiewicz, Beeks solidifies Portland’s rotation as one of the best in the Eastern League. The three starters have combined for a 2.91 ERA this season, and have led Portland in an already tight division race.

As for Beeks, however, his performance thus far is nothing short of spectacular. And while the Red Sox may call on Triple-A journeyman for rotation help, the young lefty could soon be called up to Pawtucket.

The pride of Prairie Grove, AR will strive to continue his dominance of the Eastern League.

Sea Dogs Forced To Modify Game Schedule Frequently

After starting out 5-0, the Portland Sea Dogs have been forced to only play six games. Likewise, they have not played a game since last Tuesday, in which they defeated Portland Sea Dogs game scheduleBinghamton 2-0. Weather has not been a friend to the Sea Dogs, causing many changes to the game schedule.

Games previously set for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were postponed. The first two were away match-ups versus the Rumble Ponies while Friday’s match-up was the first of three against the Trenton Thunder. It was also set to be the start of a six-game homestand. The postponement was Portland’s second moved home game of the year. They were previously forced to move the Opening Day game against Reading.

They got the chance to resume their schedule Saturday when they played a doubleheader beginning at 1 pm. Both games were against Trenton.

Portland Sea Dogs Modified Game Schedule

According to the Sea Dogs website, “tickets for Friday’s postponed game may be exchanged for tickets of equal or lesser value to any remaining 2017 Sea Dogs home game, subject to availability. Any questions regarding rained out tickets can be directed towards the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or tickets@seadogs.com.”

The Sea Dogs played a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, April 22nd, which consisted of two seven-inning games. Tickets for April 22nd were good for both games of the doubleheader.

The Binghamton road games have been rescheduled to June and August.

Obviously, the Sea Dogs have been hard-pressed to continue what started as a historic season. Thus far, they have relied heavily on superb pitching performances—mainly from Teddy Stankiewicz and Jalen Beeks. Additionally, the Sea Dogs have benefited from the rising stardom of Rafael Devers and Danny Mars.

The grand thing about baseball is that there is usually a tomorrow.

The Sea Dogs split the doubleheader with Trenton on Saturday, 3-0 and 0-5 respectively. On Sunday, they walked off in a 6-5 thriller. Monday, Portland lost to Hartford 5-0. As for Tuesday’s game, it was moved to May 16th at 5:00 due to rain.

Sea Dogs Earn Series Victory Over Trenton

After splitting a twin bill on Saturday afternoon, the Portland Sea Dogsseries victory entered Sunday’s rubber match with an opportunity to earn the series victory against the Trenton Thunder and take over the #1 slot in the Eastern League.

However, it did not start out looking that way. Early in the game, Trenton got to Portland starter Trey Ball. They scored two runs apiece in the second and fourth inning. In the fifth, Mike Ford doubled for Trenton to bring home Thairo Estrada, extending the lead to 5-0. That would be all for the Sea Dogs tall lefty. He was replaced by Luis Ysla.

As the innings waned, Portland’s bats emerged. In the bottom of the sixth, former Chicago Cub Mike Olt led off the inning with a solo home run. It would be a sign of things to come from the journeyman infielder. Later on, shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin also hit a towering home run; this one down the right field line.

After Heiker Meneses hit into a line drive double-play to end the seventh, Austin Maddox threw a scoreless eighth to keep the game at 5-2. However, the heart of the Sea Dogs order—Olt, Rafael Devers, and Nick Longhi—went down in order in the eighth.

Following another scoreless inning by Sea Dogs reliever, Jamie Callahan, the home team had one final chance to come back and earn the victory. To begin the inning, Lin reached first on an errant throw. Catcher, Jake DePew, then popped out. However, #9 hitter, Joseph Monge, smacked a long 2-run home run down the left field line that barely stayed fair, prompting a visit from Trenton manager. Finally, the top of the order was up with only one out and only a one-run deficit. The speedy Aneury Tavarez doubled on a softly hit ball through the left infield gap. Meneses followed with a single and advanced on a stolen base after a Cole Sturgeon strikeout. This put both the tying and winning run in scoring position with two outs for Mike Olt.

And wasting no time, Olt smashed the ball into right-center field, but it was almost caught by Trenton’s Rashad Crawford. However, the ball fell to the warning track and plated both Meneses and Tavarez, giving Portland the victory.

The fog horn blew and Portland improved to 9-5, giving them sole position of first place in the division. They opened up a series against last-place Hartford on Monday with Jacob Dahlstrand taking the mound.

Teddy Stankiewicz Emerges As Sea Dogs Ace

In 2013, Teddy Stankiewicz was drafted in the 2nd round by the Boston Red Sox, one round after fellow Portland Sea Dogs teammate Trey Ball. He played college ball at Seminole State and finished his senior year with a 2.52 ERA upon being drafted. stankiewiczPreviously, he had been drafted by the Mets in 2012.

Stankiewicz began his career in the Red Sox organization in 2013 with Lowell, where he recorded a 2.29 ERA at the age of 19. Over the next three years, Stankiewicz progressed through the ranks, spending a year at Greenville, Salem, and Portland respectively.

However, the first season in Portland was not as planned. In 2016, the 6’4’ righty went 5-9 with a 4.71 ERA in 25 starts. It was his third consecutive season with 25+ starts. That kind of consistency has been key to his progression through the minor leagues.

At one point, Stankiewicz was among SoxProspect.com’s Top 20 but has since fallen out of that list due to the constant income and outcome of prospects in the system.

But sometimes it’s the unsung heroes that contribute significantly.

So far in 2017, Stankiewicz has two no-decisions but has 13 innings pitched in two starts, a 2.77 ERA, and a 1.38 walk per nine innings ratio. Although teams spray hits against Stankiewicz, he has a 1.08 WHIP.

Stankiewicz’s Makeup

His stuff isn’t unhittable, but it gets the job done. He has a slider at about 81-84 MPH and a change-up at 84-86. His curve ball has an 11-5 break and can be thrown anywhere in the count to steal strikes. The fastball tops out in the low-to-mid 90’s and prevents him from walking hitters. Overall, he is confident on the mound and definitely has room for growth.

SoxProspects.com summarizes that Stankiewicz has the “Potential to be an emergency spot starter or long relief type. Won’t be flashy, but will throw strikes and utilize four-pitch mix to get outs. If [his] command doesn’t improve and secondary pitches don’t develop, will have to move to the bullpen. Lacks an above-average offering, which limits upside. Fastball and slider combination shows [the] most potential. Understands how to pitch. Strong makeup.”

Even though the Red Sox will obviously resort to Henry Owens or Brian Johnson before him for spot starts, Stankiewicz has emerged as the ace of the Double-A club. If he continues to improve his stuff and keep the ERA down, he could find himself in Pawtucket.

Devers Showing Signs of Maturity And Stardom With Portland

Since Dave Dombrowski took over the reigns in August of 2015, the Boston Red Sox have traded over a dozen minor league players. While adding “power pitchers” will deverscontribute to team success, one can only look back if a prospect becomes a major league superstar. But there is one prospect who has remained in the farm system throughout the entire tenure. His name is Rafael Devers.

In 2013, the Dominican infielder was signed to his first pro contract and began playing in the Red Sox farm system in early 2014. At the time, Boston already had Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Deven Marrero, Xander Bogaerts, and Garin Cecchini ahead of him on both the organizational depth chart and top prospect lists. (As of today only Bogaerts and Marrero remains on the big-league roster.)

Ascending the Ranks

As his bat developed and some of those players left the system, Devers began to ascend the ranks. By 2014’s end, Devers was already in the conversation for the top five Red Sox prospects. This was during a time when Blake Swihart and Henry Owens were still highly regarded in the minor leagues. Theoretically, the only thing keeping Devers from being major-league ready was his age, physical maturity, and defense.

However, as 2017 begins, Devers finds himself as the #2 prospect in the Red Sox farm system. He started the season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs and belted a home run in his first at-bat. As of Thursday night, he’s 10-25 with three doubles in addition to the homer. This already surpasses his April hit total from 2016 with Salem.

SoxProspects.com projects Devers as having “All-Star potential regardless of position due to his value at the plate.”

Their report continues to say: “Potential to be a plus hitter for average with plus-to-better power. Fluid, easy swing. Natural hitter. Strong, quick wrists. Future plus hit tool. Easy plus bat speed and an advanced approach for his age. Solid swing mechanics and separation in stride. One of the most exciting young players in the system in years. Mature approach for his age and has shown the ability to handle aggressive assignments. Will stick at third base for the foreseeable future, but if his bat develops as projected, it would profile at first base.”

Considering third base has been a revolving door for the Red Sox, Devers could be the answer at the hot corner. This is especially true when taking into account fellow Red Sox prospect and first baseman Sam Travis. In the meantime, the 20-year-old slugger will continue to dominate with the Eastern League’s best team.

Sea Dogs Opening Day Postponed Due to Rain

Portland, Maine- Thursday’s Portland Sea Dogs Opening Day game against the Reading Fightin Phils at Hadlock Field has been postponed due to rain.  The Sea Dogs are now set to open the season on Friday, April 7th at 6:00 PM against Reading.
Thursday’s postponed game will be made-up as part of a single admission doubleheaderPortland Sea Dogs Opening Day on Friday, May 5th at 5:00 PM.  The doubleheader will consist of two seven inning games.
Tickets for the April 6th postponed game, can be exchanged for tickets of equal or lesser value to any 2017 Sea Dogs home game, subject to availability.  Any questions regarding rained out tickets can be directed towards the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or tickets@seadogs.com.
This is the fifth time in the Sea Dogs 24-year history that Opening Day has been postponed but the first time due to rain.  The previous four postponements (2001, 2003, 2007, & 2015) have been due to snow or field conditions due to melting snow.
“It’s disappointing to have Opening Day postponed,” stated Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa.  “However, I’m very proud of the job that our grounds crew and front staff did preparing the field and stadium to open.  We were ready, despite having eight inches of snow on the field on Sunday morning.”
Kevin Youkilis was scheduled to throw-out the ceremonial first-pitch in honor of the Sea Dogs’ 15th season as a Red Sox affiliate.  His appearance at Hadlock Field will be rescheduled for a date later this season.
Tickets are available for all 2017 Sea Dogs home games.  Book your nine inning vacation by calling the Sea Dogs ticket office at 207-879-9500 or online at www.seadogs.com.