Salem Red Sox update: Cody Kukuk, Pat Light, Luis Diaz

MLB.com

Kukuk is struggling, Light's success has a caveat, and Diaz is what you'd expect.

Cody Kukuk, LHP

The promotion to High-A ball still isn't working out in the 21-year-old lefty's favor, as the dominance he showed at the end of his Greenville tenure has not shown up for more than an inning or two in Salem. He's seven starts into opponents batting .296 off of him, part of which could be bad luck and minor-league defenses, but his 21 walks against 25 strikeouts over 27 innings is on him.

He's shown some flashes, like when he punched out five batters in six innings while limiting opponents to a single walk and run, or in one start that went south but looked like it was more of that kind of success until the end. He's inducing loads of grounders, which is a positive, but it's hard to be too excited about that when everyone else is going to hell.

Right now, his splits with runners on feature the far worse ERA, but are otherwise superior to his stats with the bases empty: opponents are batting .356 against him in this scenario, and he's walking the rest of them. There might be something mechanical going on here that needs to be straightened out, or it's just Kukuk failing to adjust to the tougher difficult of High-A after a month-plus at the level. Lefties sometimes take some time to figure things out, especially if they have control issues, and Kukuk is no stranger to those.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA GS IP BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 21 Greenville SALL A 1.88 5 24.0 96 1.250 6.8 0.4 4.5 10.9 2.42
2014 21 Salem CARL A+ 6.18 7 27.2 131 1.916 10.4 0.3 6.8 8.1 1.19
3 Seasons 4.27 36 168.2 748 1.464 6.9 0.4 6.2 9.8 1.56
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/12/2014.

Pat Light, RHP

Things aren't perfect for Light, not even close, but he did string together a quality set of starts from May 6 through June 2: the right-hander tossed 28-2/3 innings over five starts, posting a 3.77 ERA while throwing 67 percent strikes. The problem is that he also only struck out 11 batters in that stretch, and got away with it because he held opponents to a .234 batting average on balls in play.

It's a bit painful watching Light struggle, but he clearly needs the work that starting in the minors will give him, even if his eventual home is the bullpen. He's been so much better without runners on that it's hard not to notice that his real problems might be from the stretch, but since we're talking about a split taking place over 40 innings or so, it's hard to do anything but keep an eye on it going forward.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA GS IP BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 23 Greenville SALL A 4.15 3 17.1 70 1.096 7.8 0.5 2.1 9.9 4.75
2014 23 Salem CARL A+ 5.23 8 43.0 185 1.349 9.6 0.6 2.5 4.4 1.75
3 Seasons 4.97 35 125.0 538 1.384 9.8 0.6 2.7 7.3 2.73
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/12/2014.

Luis Diaz, RHP

Diaz is still rolling along as expected, with the occasional high-quality start mixed in with plenty of mediocre or outright poor efforts. It's averaged out to a 3.65 ERA, but with peripherals significantly less exciting that his Greenville ones, should you have been looking at them sans context, anyway. Diaz isn't being challenged enough just yet to the point where he would struggle more often than not, but it's still fair to think that he's on the same kind of path that Noe Ramirez, Mickey Pena, Keith Couch, and others are on, in that he'll start until there's no longer space for him to do so, which will begin his move to the bullpen, aka his shot at the majors.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA GS IP BF WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 22 Salem CARL A+ 3.65 12 61.2 266 1.297 9.3 0.4 2.3 6.3 2.69
6 Seasons 3.50 73 419.2 1786 1.251 8.8 0.4 2.5 6.3 2.55
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/12/2014.

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