Jose Vinicio, SS
Jose Vincicio's 2013 has been pretty depressing, as he's taken steps back offensively. It's hard to imagine, given he's hitting .216, that he just came off of his strongest month of the year, but it's true. Hopefully, it's a sign of things to come for the still-teenaged shortstop.
Vinicio hit .271/.301/.357 in June, and while that's not impressive, it beats the hell out of his line prior to that: Vinicio managed OPS of just 543 and 503 in April and May, respectively, so June, comparatively, was Bondsian. Things really picked up for him in the month's final 10 contests, when he actually hit without caveats, putting up a .359/.375/.487 slash with fives doubles and a pair of steals.
He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, as someone without any pop really needs to be putting the ball in play as often as possible if for no other reason than the chance of a dinky hit here and an infield single there to help prop things up. He's only in Low-A, so that sort of knowledge will come to him eventually -- Jose Iglesias didn't completely get that until arguably this year, and he's four years older than Vinicio.
Francellis Montas, RHP
Montas has just not had it lately, at least in terms of keeping runs off of the board. He posted a 9.35 ERA over four June starts, but also struck out over a batter per inning. The walks weren't great, but eight in 17-1/3 innings isn't outright terrible, either, and he gave up just two homers, the fewest he's allowed in a month this year. The problem had more to do with hits than anything, as Montas allowed 28 of them, or nearly 15 per nine innings. That's no way to win baseball games.
It's likely a command thing, and, as with everything else involving a 20-year-old in his first year of full-season ball, it's something he's here to work on. It's just very, very ugly while those issues are being ironed out. He's getting strikeouts because he can find the strike zone, but he's clearly not finding the right places in the zone often enough, and it's resulting in silly opponent hit rates. Sure, some of it is probably on the developing defense behind him, but you can only blame so much of it on that when eye-popping numbers like those above come into play.
Montas has a lot of potential, and his future is likely as an impact reliever. He's got a lot of work to do before he can assume that kind of role, though. Thankfully, since he's just 20, he could come back to Greenville again for 2014 if things don't get sorted out before then, and it won't be much of an issue for either Montas or Greenville's rotation.
Justin Haley, RHP
Haley's June was his best month to this point, as the 22-year-old right-hander managed to strike out 20 batters in 22 innings while walking 13, and came away with a 3.27 ERA for his troubles. Obviously, over five walks per nine is an issue that needs rectifying, but when you're talking about someone who came into the month handing out free passes to nearly eight batters per nine, you take those baby steps. Haley has remained difficult to hit to this point, even if part of that comes from his inability to remain consistently in the strike zone. It's helped him escape having to deal with the fallout from walking all these dudes, though, and, hey, at least it's teaching him to pitch out of trouble.
Something to watch going forward, though, is that this was also the month where Haley saw the lowest rate of ground outs. It might be a byproduct of allowing fewer baserunners -- fewer batters faced where the goal was simply to induce a grounder and get out of trouble, for instance -- but Haley is going to work best when he can miss bats and induce grounders, so it's worth paying attention to if he's helped his walk rate but at the expense of another skill.
Read more Red Sox:
- Is Boston's bullpen overused? Or are we all just crazy?
- Red Sox scouting Matt Garza before trade deadline
- Red Sox trade targets: Cheap relievers
- The Celtics, the Red Sox, and two franchise-saving trades
- John Lackey finally living up to his contract