ANAHEIM CA: World Futures All-Star Stolmy Pimentel #45 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Marc is on vacation until Monday, so apologies for any statistics that are out of date. Or, in an extreme scenario, any players listed here who have been traded and are no longer Red Sox.
Is Hazelbaker's bat finally coming around at Double-A, or is this just a hot streak? Either way, be impressed by his numbers over his last 10 games (.275/.388/.750 with five homers, seven steals, seven walks, and eight extra-base hits overall) as well as the entire month of July, in which he's posted a 929 OPS to follow up on a strong June effort (899). Of his 16 homers, 12 have come in the last two months.
Remember, though, that Hazelbaker is already 24 years old, and it took him quite some time to adjust to Double-A. He's not fighting so much to be recognized as an important prospect as he is making a case that, in a major-league outfield somewhere, Hazelbaker might someday stick. It will take more than a two-month outburst at Double-A to make that truth, but he's much closer to that reality than he was two months ago.
Drake Britton, SP
The main separation between Britton's time with High-A Salem and Double-A Portland seems to be the home run rate, which has fallen in his first nine starts in the upper minors. That's somewhat surprising, but Britton has also induced 1.4 times more ground outs than fly ball outs in his time there, so it's not necessarily just a luck thing. That being said, he hasn't exactly shown himself difficult to hit when he does manage to put the ball in the strike zone, and the peripherals aren't pretty, either.
It's a step up, though, considering where he was a year ago, or even months ago, when it appeared as if a future in relief was the only path on which he could reach the majors. He hasn't quite veered off of that yet entirely, but the fact he's merely having a rough time of it at a higher level after a promotion, rather than seeing himself and his stuff destroyed on a nightly basis, is encouraging.
Stolmy Pimentel, SP
Stolmy Pimentel brought his ERA back under five for the year thanks to three strong outings in a row, in which he punched out 20 hitters in 20 innings, while walking just a pair and allowing four runs to score. This has, in turn, healed his peripherals a bit, although they aren't where they need to be in order to start getting excited about him again, 22 years old or not.
Like Britton, though, given his horrific struggles of just last summer, this is something to enjoy. Then again, like with Britton, Pimentel is consuming a precious 40-man roster spot, and the Red Sox are going to have some decisions to make soon. Does Pimentel's recent stretch mean more to Boston in the sense that he could be more viable trade bait than he was a month ago? We have less than a week to see if that's the case, but don't be shocked if one of the minor league players on the 40, and not close to the majors, is dealt next week in order to start opening up room for the likes of Chris Carpenter and Andrew Bailey, who both need 40-man spots soon.