Deven Marrero, SS
If you're wondering how Marrero still has just 60 plate appearances despite being the starting shortstop for the Salem Red Sox and one of Boston's better prospects at the position, wonder no more. He's been on the disabled list with a hamstring injury since April 23, and has missed the last couple of weeks because of it. There's no exact timetable for his return as of yet -- as with most minor-league injuries, details are scarce and besides the fact the injury is in his hamstring, no one outside the organization even knows what it is.
It'll be good to see him back, not just so that you know he's healthy, but also because he was hitting very well in the Carolina League before injury interrupted him. Marrero's glove is an unquestioned strength, and likely the primary source of his production if he makes it to the majors. However, his bat has a few more risks attached, so seeing him draw walks, avoid strikeouts, and show some doubles power is a huge positive in his favor. Hopefully, whenever he does return, he's able to pick right back up where he left off.
Swihart's line might not be as obviously good as Marrerro's, but there's a lot to like in the catcher's 760 OPS. For one, he's hitting .286/.375/.543 with six extra-base hits and more walks than strikeouts in his last 10 games -- he wasn't able to achieve these sorts of stretches very often in 2012, his first full season as a pro, and it resulted in an overall mediocre campaign. The fact he's got five triples is a good sign for his athleticism, even as a catcher, and given he's all of 21 and expected to develop a bit more power, also works towards believing he can achieve that.
He's hit better against lefties than rights, not that this means much with about a month's worth of splits to look at. It is something to watch, though, given he's a switch-hitter who not only has to worry about learning the ins and outs of catching, but also has to refine two different swings as he moves up the organizational ladder.
One of the best things that could happen in Boston's system this summer is for Swihart to hit his way into Double-A by year's end, while Christian Vazquez does the same but in order to gain entrance to Pawtucket. Their future catching situation is uncertain at present, and with Ryan Lavarnway entrenched in Triple-A at present, neither of Swihart nor Vazquez might see a promotion. Still, though, if their seasons can force the issue, then that's a good thing for the Red Sox and their potential future behind the plate.
Noe Ramirez, RHP
Ramirez continues to pitch in relief, but as he has more than twice as many innings as appearances, you can see he's still pitching with some length to his outings most of the time. He has yet to give up a home run, and while that means little by itself in 16-2/3 innings, it's the number to pay attention to in his 2013. Ramirez allowed 10 homers in his final nine starts of 2012, and as he only gave up two homers total in his previous seven starts, you can see why it's hard to take his current zero too seriously.
If he can keep the ball down, then the homers should relent, at least relative to how he ended his previous campaign. If that's the case, then there is a useful reliever with a quality change-up in here somewhere, one who could take a step forward at Salem so long as his command is in place.
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