Minor League Games to Watch: Part 1- Lowell and Greenville

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are still 79 days until pitchers and catchers report. That means plenty of time to watch your favorite Sox prospects, right? Isn't that what it means?

Nothing drives home the fact that it is winter like that first run of grey, windy days with temperatures hovering around freezing. Every year the first such set leaves me looking to the calendar and dreaming of the day that pitchers and catcher report and baseball returns to the world.

This year, however, I'm taking a different approach. After all, it's 2013 not 1930. I don't have to stare out the window and wait for spring, like I'm Rogers Hornsby. I have the awesome power of the internet at my disposal. With said awesome power, a person can shell out $20 and get MiLB.tv, so that is what I've done. Saturday mornings this winter, I'll be flipping pancakes and watching the Red Sox prospects I read about playing actual baseball, while the world outside tries its best to be totally uninhabitable.

To this end, I've put together a list of Red Sox farm system games from the MiLB.tv archives, ranging from short-season A-ball all the way to Triple-A. I've listed Sox prospects to watch for each game and their rankings from Soxprospects.com and searched the 2013 Baseball America Prospect Handbook for notable players on the other teams. Now, it's time to bunker down and watch some baseball already.

Lowell

The Red Sox NY-Penn League club doesn't get much television coverage, so the number of games available is very limited. The quality of the broadcasting is several steps down from major league coverage and you should expect far more limited angles and fewer close-ups. The league itself isn't prospect-central, but it is the first stop for many players just starting their pro careers and a few of the bigger names on the Red Sox farm saw time their in 2013.

August 11: Spinners 3, Yankees 1

Prospects to watch: Tzu-Wei Lin (37), Daniel McGrath (36), Jamie Callahan (24)

Notable opponents: None

What to watch for: Spinners' starter Daniel McGrath shows why he was the Soxprospects.com Rookie of the Year for 2013 here, with five perfect innings and six strikeouts. The Australian native is far from a household name at this point, but as a projectable, 6'3 lefty he is definitely someone to watch.

August 8: Yankees 1, Spinners 0

Prospects to watch: Tzu-Wei Lin (37), Ty Buttrey (23) Simon Mercedes (33)

Notable opponents: None

If watching the Yankees- even the Staten Island version- win is too much for you, skip this one. If you can bare it, however, you will get to see two of the top arms in the Red Sox system toss four innings a piece. Power righty Ty Buttrey starts things off with five strikeouts over, giving up one run on three hits and two walks. Simon Mercedes then blows that performance out of the water with seven Ks and just one hit and one walk allowed.

Greenville

Unlike Lowell, all of Greenville's home games are available on MiLB.com so there are tons more games to choose from here. Like the players, the broadcasts are just starting to figure things out and while they show some skill, they still have a lot of work to do. As for prospects, the 2013 Drive doesn't compare to the 2012 or 2011 team, but there are some big names to watch, including Soxprospects.com's Offensive and Breakout Player of the Year, Mookie Betts.

April 25: Drive 12, BlueClaws 1

Prospects to watch: Mookie Betts (10) Jose Vinicio (NR), Cody Kukuk (28)

Notable opponents: Roman Quinn, Larry Greene

This isn't much of a game in terms of drama. The Drive took an early 1-0 lead and as soon as Lakewood tied things up, the Drive pulled away again for good. Instead, this game offers a good look at Top-30 prospect Cody Kukuk, who goes five innings allowing just one hit and one run with two walks and two strikeouts. Mookie Betts draws four walks in five trips as well.

June 1: Drive 9, Tourist 3

Prospects to watch: Mookie Betts (10) Jose Vinicio (NR), Pat Light (35) Luis Diaz (22)

Notable opponents: Max White

This is a strange one. Prospect pitcher Pat Light is injured after one batter, so Luis Diaz takes over and pitches remarkably well, especially considering he wasn't scheduled to start that day. Diaz goes 6 1/3 innigns allowing seven hits and one run with three walks and five strikeouts. It's not a bad day for Betts either. He goes 2-4 with a walk and an RBI and two runs scored.

June 22: Drive 8, Suns 0

Prospects to watch: Mookie Betts (10) Jose Vinicio (NR), Cody Kukuk (28)

Notable opponents: Estarlin Martinez

This could be consider another under-dramatic pick, since Betts and Vinicio, both 3-4 on the day, help power the Drive to an early 7-0 lead, but watching Cody Kukuk work around his own wildness adds a bit of spice to this blowout. Kukuk goes five innings without allowing a hit but he walks seven, producing several solid chances for the Suns.

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