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.

Josh Ockimey Looking to Impress in 2015

josh ockimey

Last year in the MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox snagged two of the top power hitting first baseman available— Sam Travis and Josh Ockimey. While Travis established himself as a first baseman by playing well in the Cape Cod League and at Indiana, Ockimey was a little more unknown, drafted out of high school.
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Arguably possessing the best raw power tools in the Red Sox farm system, Boston swooped up Ockimey in the fifth round after hearing about his 420-foot home runs in high school while hitting from the left side of the plate.josh ockimey

A top recruit of Indiana University, Boston not only took away their star first baseman, but their first baseman of the future. Attending high school in Philadelphia, it makes sense why Josh Ockimey drew comparisons to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.

“I think I have always been considered a power hitter,” Ockimey told Yawkey Way Report. “Even throughout my little league and high school days.”

At 6-foot-3 230 pounds now, Ockimey has the frame of an excellent power hitter and could even stand to put on more weight over the years to build power.
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Playing high school baseball in the north, Ockimey was forced to make a huge jump to professional baseball when the Red Sox assigned him to the Gulf Coast League.

“The toughest part of the transfer from high school to professional baseball was realizing that it’s an ‘everyday job,'” Ockimey said reflecting on the season. “I mean that as that it is my profession I chose to ‘live it’. Also consistency— in order to move higher in the minor leagues you have to be more consistent in your game.”

Making the transition to the pros was challenging for Ockimey, like it is for many young talents who struggle at first. Hitting .188 this past summer, he did manage to draw 14 walks, showing the potential for plate discipline.
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The first year of professional ball is never easy for young prospects. For example, Bryce Brentz hit .198 in the Lowell Spinners back in 2010 and the next season, he hit 30 home runs. Typically, pro players fare much better in their second pro seasons. Putting in extra work in the off season allows them to compete at such an elite level.

“What I worked on most this off season was overall body strength and conditioning. Also, I worked on consistency in my swing.”
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For Ockimey, it is his bat that will carry him through the ranks of the Red Sox farm system. Possibly slated to begin the 2015 season in short-season Lowell, he will have a chance to prove himself there and Boston is confident that he could develop into an excellent big league power hitter down the road— if all goes according to plan.

“My goals this season are to improve my game offensively, defensively and mentally. Offensively by being more consistent with the bat, defensively by making more plays and being quicker around the bat and mentally by having a more experienced professional approach to the game.”

Henry Owens Sharp As Paw Sox Clinch Playoff Birth

henry owensIt certainly was not a conventional baseball game Sunday at McCoy Stadium. A three-and-a-half hour game with a two-and-a-half hour rain delay, it was a long one to say the least. Henry Owens took the hill for Pawtucket earning the win, his 17th win on the year between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket. In the end, the Paw Sox came out on top 10-4 as they clinched a Wild Card spot in the Governor’s Cup playoffs.
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Luck did not appear to be on Owens side, who gave up four runs over the course of six innings despite allowing just five base runners. He struck out nine while walking a pair, showing flashes of dominance at times while looking shaky at others.

“Tonight was kind of a back-and-forth outing,” Owens said following the win. “I didn’t have the best command on all my pitches. Giving up back-to-back walks in that third inning kind of killed me, but we put up a lot of runs so I was pretty happy — it kept us in the game”.
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For example in the fifth inning, Owens gave up a solo shot to Eric Farris, his fourth of the season.

“If I’m going to give up dingers, I’ll accept the solo ones,” he said. “But again, walking two guys before I get an out usually ends up with a crooked number on the board”.

As for the adjustment from AA to AAA Owens does not see too much of a difference.

“I feel like it’s the same thing, just trying to limit mistakes in your outings, trying to stay in the strike zone, but not over the plate and tonight I was probably over the plate a little too much,” he added. “I mean, the two walks then I threw a change-up and a guy hit a double. I threw another change-up and another guy hit a double. I just got to finish my pitches a little bit better”.
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Rated as the third best Boston Red Sox prospect, there is plenty of hype about Henry Owens already. Earning Eastern League Pitcher of the Year only added to that hype as have his outings in Pawtucket. In six outings, he owns a 4.03 ERA totaling 38 innings and is showing impressive command, walking 12 while striking out 44.

When asked if he could contribute at the Major League level right now, Owens kept his answer short and clear.

“Absolutely…”