Sarasota, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox batting helmets and bats in the dugout before a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Henry Owens, SP
Henry Owens is starting to have his workload a slowed a bit as the season approaches its end. He's made three appearances in August, totaling 11 innings, and hasn't been highly effective in that run, either. The lanky lefty has allowed six runs, six walks, and 12 hits in that stretch, while punching out another 12 batters.
Despite what his ERA suggests, Owens' first professional season is a huge success. For confirmation on this line of thinking, look at that strikeout rate and K/BB, then at his age and how long he's been doing this, then give his ERA a little more thought. The supplemental first-round selection from the 2011 draft won't be rushed through the minors, but his peripherals give hope that there is a breakout in his future at the upper levels, if not sooner while with High-A Salem in 2013.
Noe Ramirez, SP
Noe Ramirez is in the midst of one of his only real rough stretches of his first season, as he's allowed 12 runs in his last 17 innings of work. At the same time, though, Ramirez has struck out 18 batters while limiting his walks as usual, so it hasn't been all bad.
The real issue with Ramirez as of late has been the long ball. He's allowed eight homers in his last 40 frames, and at least one in each of his last seven starts. While he's struck out 43 hitters and handed out just eight free passes in that stretch, the homers have raised his ERA thanks to the 4.75 he's put up in those 40 frames.
That's not to say he's broken or anything, but Ramirez, who relies on his control and command heavily, needs to work on the latter a bit more in order to keep the ball away from where hitters are going to crush it. He knows how to keep the ball in the strike zone consistently: the next step is to continually put the ball where it will do the most damage to the opposition, rather than Ramirez's line.
Jordan Weems, C
The third-round selection from the 2010 draft is even younger than teammate Blake Swihart, but has struggled far more in his second go-round in the minors. Weems played for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2011, hitting .182/.308/.227, and has put up a nigh-identical line after a promotion to Greenville. He's punching out over 24 percent of the time, and while the walk rate is solid (13 percent), there's little else that he's accomplished to back it up.
Weems has just 52 hits on the season, and eight of those have been for extra bases, all doubles. After throwing out 42 percent of runners in the GCL, he's down to 22 percent this year, nabbing just 25 of 87 runners who have gone on him. Given that he came out of the crouch to throw slowly, this slip in success was predictable.
Weems began the year as something of an odd farmhand, in that it wasn't known if he would be a catcher forever because of how his body would grow, in addition to the problems with getting the ball to second in time, but there was also concern over his bat. He's still just 19 years old, and Sox Prospects thought he was a candidate for a stint in short-season Lowell rather than Greenville, where he has since been over-matched, so don't give up on him ever becoming something just yet. Don't get too excited, either.