Mookie Betts, 2B
We've done an awful lot of talking about Mookie Betts lately, and with good reason. Rather than rehash it all here, I suggest you check out two recent looks at him: the first is on his last calendar year in the minors and a major turnaround we (sort of*) saw coming, and the second is on Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks changing his mind on Betts. I'm biased obviously, but they're worth your time.
As for his on-base streak, Betts is batting .410/.475/.618 during what is now a 64-game stretch, dating back to early August of 2013 and including his five postseason games with the Salem Red Sox. The record is 71, held by both Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis -- that's the overall minor-league record, it just happens to be held by two former Sox, both of whom also happened to play for Portland at different times in their careers.
*Listen, no one thought he was going to do what he's doing to this extent. No one. There's no shame in admitting that, so I'll take "sort of" and be satisfied with that.
Henry Ramos, OF
Ramos has been on a tear lately, batting .405/.436/.703 with a pair of homers and six extra-base hits in his last 10 games. He's also managed to cut back on his strikeouts a hair during this stretch, and while it's a 10-game sample we can't exactly point to as evidence of a turnaround there, we can sure hope it is. Ramos has talent at the plate, but the plate discipline and quality approach just aren't there for him yet. He has excellent at-bats on occasion, but not consistently, as you can likely glean from his total of six walks in 120 plate appearances against his 27 whiffs. He should also probably just give up on trying to steal bases, as he wasn't very good at it against lesser competition, and he's now been caught 37 times against 50 successes in his career as a whole.
He needs a sustained run through the league and for his power to not just be a thing that shows up on occasion to repair a singles-heavy line before we can believe in him too much, but he's certainly capable. Capable isn't always enough, though, so for now, we watch and wait.
Brian Johnson, LHP
Johnson was recently promoted from High-A, and the 23-year-old lefty did well enough in his first exposure to the Eastern League by throwing 5-1/3 scoreless without allowing a walk. If not for injuries in 2013, he likely would have already been in Portland, but he's here now with just a handful of 2014's starts behind him so it barely matters so long as he stays healthy going forward.
It was clear he needed the jump in level, too, as he was dominating High-A hitters, striking out over 10 per nine without allowing a homer over seven starts. There's no need for that kind of rush through Double-A, as the competition finally gets to a point where steamrolling isn't something that just happens easily, but it made sense to bump a college product like Johnson out of High-A the moment it seemed like he was wasting his time there. Whether he can keep setting down hitters with regularity post-promotion remains to be seen, but he was always expected to move quickly through the system thanks to a polished repertoire and his background in highly competitive amateur environments.
It's unclear who Johnson is replacing in the rotation, as Mike McCarthy is the only non-prospect and all of Mike Augliera, Keith Couch, and Mickey Pena are considered future relievers: Johnson joins Henry Owens as the only other starting pitching prospect on the roster. The 26-year-old McCarthy is a good bet to be bumped, unless Boston thinks they've seen enough of Augliera as a starter and are ready to transition him full-time to the pen starting now.