Portland's season is over, but our coverage of prospects continues. We'll go through the last updates this week, and spend the rest of September looking back at Boston's farm system -- position-by-position, team-by-team.
Brandon Workman, SP
Workman's peripherals at Portland turned out well, but his ERA ballooned a bit after he gave up five runs in two innings on August 29. Overall, though, it's tough to complain about what the 23-year-old accomplished in his brief time at the level, given he struck out well over four times as many batters as he walked, while keeping the ball in the park and runners off of the bases.
Workman will begin 2013 at Double-A once more, and if he can pick up where he left off, then it won't be very long before he convinces Red Sox management that it's time for him to move up to one step shy of the major leagues. There's no guarantee he'll be ready for the bigs by 2014, but that's the current timetable he's on.
Stolmy Pimentel, SP
Stolmy Pimentel has had a rough year on the mound, but he's steadily made some small strides in his game to improve on last year's disaster. In his last 10 starts, Pimentel posted a 3.17 ERA thanks to 45 strikeouts in 54 innings, a 2.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and just two homers allowed. All of those figures are better than what he produced beforehand, as well as his overall numbers, and give the 22-year-old hope for 2013.
Like Drake Britton, Pimentel needs to continue to show progress before he can be believed in completely again. It's easy to be impatient with him because of his placement on what has been a crowded 40-man roster, but he's not a pitcher the Red Sox can just designate for assignment, as he would be snatched up immediately. At least, though, if the Red Sox decide they don't want to have him around anymore, his strong finish would likely help moving him in a trade be more plausible. If not, though, and the intention is to keep him, at least he's shown something as of late.
Aaron Kurcz, RP
Kurcz, part of the compensation package for Theo Epstein's departure, had his best full season in the minors with Boston. He moved from High-A to Double-A after the transaction, but saw his strikeout rate jump from 9.9 per nine to 12.9. His K/BB remained static thanks to an increase in walks, but if he's going to be that hard to hit, and sticking in relief, those walks don't matter that much. At least, they don't matter that much relative to if he were starting.
He's been lights out down the stretch, with 17 innings in his last 10 games, a stretch that featured 27 strikeouts and 10 walks to go along with a 2.08 ERA. It'd be good if he could get some ground outs to the mix, but this is a positive step forward for a piece that Boston was able to bring in to their farm system without drafting or signing him.