Manuel Margot Promoted to Portland

With a day off Monday the Red Sox made news by promoting young outfield prospect Manuel Margot to AA Portland. Margot still just 20 years old was with High-A Salem for the first two and a half months of the minor league season.

Signed as an international free agent, out of the Dominican Republic, nearly four summers ago, Margot has impressed the Red Sox brass this year with his ability to hit to all fields and make noise on the base paths. Manuel MargotWith Salem in 46 games Margot had a line of .282/3/17. A shoulder injury in late May sidelined him for nearly three weeks, but he came back strong. In his last ten games Margot is hitting .325 with 9 runs scored, and 6 steals. The eye grabber of his last ten games is that he has only struck out three times.

Margot nearly went the whole month of April without striking out, which is something the Red Sox really must like. The philosophy of the organization has lately been to work counts and get the starter out of the game with a high pitch count but not making outs is a part of that as well. Margot has also shown the ability to hit left handed pitching with an average of .391 against southpaws. The big league club has struggled against lefties all year but Margot could be part of the answer down the road.

Much has been asked of the Red Sox, in last place, will they begin to sell off spare parts or try and acquired an ace type pitcher looking for next year? My guess is it will be much like last year, the wait to sell off pieces will end after the All-Star break. This upcoming stretch of 13 straight games against division opponents will be make of break in determining if the Red Sox are buyers or sellers at the deadline.

Obviously Margot has not control over where he is playing except with his play, but do no be surprised if his name come up in a rumored deal for an ace pitcher if the Phillies price for Cole Hamels comes down. Margot I believe is the next tier of Red Sox prospects to make noise and with him dominating the lower levels, his value may not be any higher. The Red Sox have seen players struggle once they reached AAA like Bryce Brentz and Deven Marrero who could be packaged with Margot to acquire a front of the rotation starter.

For now Manuel Margot will be patrolling the outfield of Hadlock Field, but I would not be surprised if his name comes up in trade rumors come July.

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

Portland Pitchers Ready for Boston?

portland pitchers

Hadlock Field Portland, ME Photo courtesy of Kara Jackman

I took a trip up to Portland, ME to see the Portland Sea Dogs, double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. I talked to a few players, enjoyed my first experience in the press box, sharing it with NESN’s Tom Caron, and talking to the future major leaguers.

portland pitchers

NESN’s Tom Caron at Hadlock Field
Photo Courtesy of Kara Jackman

Enough about me. Let’s talk players. Specifically, let’s talk about pitching. There is something in the water in Portland, ME   Following the Portland pitchers since March, I believe the Portland starters and bullpen may be the answer to Boston’s bullpen and starter questions.  These guys are better than the laundry list of pitchers in Pawtucket. I know this is an arguable point, but it seems the writing is on the wall with regard to Portland. Others seem to feel this to be true, too.  Saturday morning, while watching The Baseball Show on the Comcast Sportsnet, a caller suggested that the Sox bring Anthony Ranaudo up from Portland. Then Sunday night Drake Britton provides pretty solid setup man work for Boston. Tonight, Brandon Workman starts against Tampa.

Let’s bring these guys up, work our system, and stop hemming and hawing about getting a closer in time for the July 31st deadline. It just seems these guys are stronger than some of the PawSox guys. I know I am crazy. I fully admit I should be committed, but I think this is the move.  The other Portland pitcher to watch is Matt Barnes. He may need some more time at Pawtucket. He just needs to tweak accuracy and he knows that; he told me as much. Barnes does his homework, charts batters, so he has the mindset and mental fortitude to do it.

Back to my point, let’s work the system. Guys like Cliff Lee, Matt Garza, and Jake Peavy, are a gamble.  I think we should continue to drink the waters in Portland, ME.