Corey Littrell, LHP
Littrell has only had the one rough start all season, and while it's only High-A competition he's facing, it's still a good sign to see him transition from college to short-season ball to skipping Low-A Greenville so effortlessly. He's not a pitcher with plus stuff, but he is a pitchability guy who knows how and where to throw strikes. Lower-level opponents shouldn't be able to handle that, so Step 1 of the Corey Littrell Plan seems to be going well. Step 2 will take place in the upper levels, against smarter and better hitters who might not be fooled by Littrell's sequencing as much. That's for later, though. We can just be happy the 2013 fifth-round pick has been as advertised to this point.
He's been very good against right-handed batters, another good sign, with a 33-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The one concern is that all four of the homers he has allowed have come against right-handers, so there is still work to be done in terms of command, but if that's his most significant concern about two months into his first taste of full-season ball, then things are going well.
Kyle Martin, RHP
Martin has dialed back on the strikeouts significantly this month: after whiffing 26 batters in 16-1/3 innings in April, he's set down just seven in 9-1/3 frames this month. He's been inducing more grounders, though, and he has a 19-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio against his fellow right-handers, so he's still coming along nicely for a ninth-round pick whose best hope for a big-league career was always going to relief.
He's years away from getting there, of course, if ever, but when you consider he had some weird splits in college that made him seem like a future ROOGY, his performance as a pro is encouraging. We'll see if he can continue to keep his opponents' hit rate down, something he failed to do in April: if he can miss some bats and induce grounders without showing much in the way of splits, he keeps his name in the potential up-and-down reliever conversation, at least.
Reed Gragnani, 2B
Gragnani is another 2013 draftee, selected in the 21st round. He split the rest of that year between short-season Lowell and Low-A Greenville before arriving in High-A Salem for his age-23 campaign. He's doing well enough, batting .331/.408/.429 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (17), but don't get too excited yet: he is a 21st-round pick, after all, and was selected as a college senior. He's exactly the age for the Carolina League -- not even necessarily to be a prospect, just the average age of a player there -- and Baseball America didn't bother to give him a write-up after he was selected last year.
They did years prior, though, when the Sox selected him out of high school. He was a shortstop expected to switch to second base then, considered an average runner, and had a line drive swing and the ability to make contact. All of that seems to still be the case, but given his age, the fact so much of his line is based on his batting average, and the lack of scouting attention paid him, we'll consider him a curiosity until more is needed.