Garin Cecchini, 3B
This was previously Xander Bogaerts' sport in the Portland updates, but as he's been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, Garin Cecchini can slot right in. Cecchini has only been in Double-A for a handful of games, but he's off to a solid enough start by drawing walks and hitting singles. This seems a more age-appropriate level for him in some ways, though, let's be honest: there are plenty of players his age and older, right out of college, in lower levels, so it's not as if he's been way behind the curve in that regard in the past.
Where Cecchini goes from here is somewhat up in the air. He just got to Double-A, so we have to wait and see how he produces, but even if he does manage to hit right away, does that mean the next stop is Triple-A as it was for Jackie Bradley Jr., or will he end up stuck in Double-A for a bit until this time next year, a la Bogaerts? It doesn't matter all that much in terms of his value to the Red Sox, given Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and Jose Iglesias look to be clogging up the hot corner discussion in the immediate future. That's good for Cecchini, though, as it alleviates some of the pressure of having him push through the system, and gives him a bit of room for growth and error in his development.
Vazquez has had a poor June, hitting just .157/.200/.255 on the month. To be fair, Vazquez plays a lot less often than other positional players, so a small sample is made even smaller, but he definitely hasn't made the most of the start of summer. What's odd is that it followed a May in which he was great at the plate, so between that and his poor follow-up, he's simply ended up back around where Christian Vazquez is expected to be, minus 10-15 points of batting average.
The walks are there, as they always are with Vazquez, and his defense is the true key, anyway. But you would like to see him maybe bring up that batting average on balls in play, which has sat in the .230s for the entirety of his multi-season Portland stay. Of course, he's still just 22, and is dealing with the every day efforts of being a professional catcher, so we can cut him some slack and see how things progress in a sample that's bigger than 274 plate appearances.
Travis Shaw, 1B
Shaw showed no power in April, and showed even less of everything in May, but June has been coming along quite nicely of late, at least in a relative sense. He's hit .308/.357/.513 with two homers and four extra-base hits in his last 10 games, but has also struck out 12 times in that stretch. It hasn't saved the month as a whole, but it's a start, and he's managed to push that OPS back up over 700.
It's oddly encouraging to see Shaw walk a little less lately, if only because he's going to need to learn to balance patience with aggression in order to leverage his eye into production -- big-league pitchers would eat him alive for his passive nature, so figuring out when to attack is the key to avoiding that.
Read more Red Sox:
- MLB All-Star Game 2013: Two Red Sox prospects named to Futures Game
- Farrell: Red Sox "better team" with Jose Iglesias at third base
- The Kevin Youkilis trade, one year later
- Shane Victorino providing value in multiple ways
- Ryan Dempster: The model of stability