The Sox just botched 3 out of 4 to the second place Orioles and looked pretty bad doing it. I bet you're looking for some good news. Well, you can take a little bit of comfort in the fact that Curt Schilling worked a scoreless 9th inning last night for Pawtucket. He struck out 1 without letting up a hit or a walk and according to Baseball Tonight he needed only 7 pitches to do it, 6 of them for strikes. I haven't heard anything official, but my guess is that Schilling will be with Boston very soon after the All-Star break.
In other news, Dustin Pedroia is back in the line up after missing more than a week from a sore wrist. Pedroia was hit by a pitch, but he's back in the line up and he says that the wrist feels fine. Heading into the All-Star break, three days without baseball, those two items of good news are going to have to hold you over because we all know that the big league club isn't giving us much to smile about.
Former Red Sox prospect, Matt Murton made his major league debut on Friday and is 2-4 with a walk and a double as a major leaguer. The Red Sox were desperate to move Nomar last year at the trading deadline. When the deal started to fall apart Boston didn't hesitate to include Murton, a solid prospect, into the deal. The Sox went on to win the World Series so obviously no matter how good of a player Murton turns into, the trade was well worth it. Murton made his AA debut earlier in the year and probably isn't ready for the major leagues despite a .342/.403/.498 line in AA this year, but the Cubs are doing anything they can to shake up the team and shake off their sub-par performance so far this year. Murton could be someone to watch.
I'm continuing with the trend of introducing the Sox prospects after taking a look at the top prospects at a position. This week I talked about second basemen and our very own Dustin Pedroia made the list. The rest of the minor leaguers in the system aren't exactly at that level, but the Sox do have quite a few young guys in the lower levels of their system. None of them, with the exception of 2005 first round pick Jed Lowrie, really stand out, but they are all still young enough to possibly develop into at least a utility player.
Dustin Pedroia - Second baseman of the future. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? It's been quite a while since we've been able to say that some guy is the player of the future. Nixon and Youkilis are the only real homegrown talent and they've both been up and down over their careers. We've never really known since day one that they were going to contribute for the team. With Pedroia we know. We know that sometime, maybe as soon as this September, he's going to be our starting second baseman. And so the debate begins again. The Yankees have their middle infielder of the future up one year before the Sox. Next year it's no longer "NOMAH!!!!....JETAH!!!!!". Next year it's "PEDROIA!!!!...CANO!!!!"....doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?
Luis Figueroa - He was brought in for a little bit of emergency depth and so far we have, luckily, not reached that emergency. He's 30 years old with only 2 major league at bats under his belt. He's mostly a utility fill-in who can make contact with the ball, but he has little in the way of speed, power, or plate discipline. He'll likely never see Boston, but he'll keep some positions warm in Pawtucket.
Kenny Perez - There might be some utility work in Perez's future, but I think that's about the best he can hope for. At the age of 24 he's shown an ability to make decent contact with the ball and take a few walks, but he has no power and little speed. He's the type of guy that you can keep on your team as a back up, but if you're starting him then your team is in trouble. He made the Eastern League all star team this year, but with a .299/.340/.390 line I think that was an accident more than anything else.
Zach Borowiak - The 24 year old Borowiak is all glove, no bat. Supposedly he has amazing range and a very strong arm. He's played some third and short for Wilmington this year, but his main position is second base. His offensive numbers are struggling to even be mediocre with a .246/.312/.379 line. He's walked 19 times, but struck out 43 in 272 AB's. He has decent speed, but with only 4 steals and 3 times being caught, you wouldn't know it.
Scott Youngbauer - Youngbauer has a little bit of power and a little bit of speed, but he's 26 and has never played a game above the AA level. I think it's safe to say that this guy isn't going to make it. After coming over the Wilmington from the Cleveland system about a month ago he has been on fire with a .351/.407/.581 line in 74 AB's, but those numbers are way over his head. When you're 26 and you're blocked from even making it to AA by a singles hitter like Kenny Perez then maybe it's time to hang up the cleats.
Tony Granadillo - The 20 year old utility man was taken from STL in the 2004 AAA phase of the Rule V draft. Granadillo has, so far, shown an ability to get on base, but the power that he displayed in rookie ball last year hasn't carried over to Greenville this year. He's not a prospect, but he's young enough that he can develop any number of ways so he might be someone to keep an eye on.
Dirimo Chavez - After struggling a little bit with a .228/.308/.351 line in Wilmington, the 22 year old Chavez found himself as a bench player in Greenville. He takes some walks and doesn't strike out an unusually high amount, but he hasn't even been able to find a start job this year so chances are that the Red Sox organization doesn't think too highly of him.
Chuck Jerolman - Jerolman, 22, batted .170 in 158 AB's in his pro debut last year and he was never able to put up a high average in college. He has the ability to take a walk, but he strikes out a lot and doesn't have very much power. He has solid defense, but little speed and not much else in the way of ability.
Jed Lowrie - Lowrie was taken in the first round, 45th overall, in this year's draft. He still hasn't played pro ball, but he was very impressive while in college at Stanford. He has great defense, very good power for a middle infielder, and he's a switch hitter. The 22 year old has the ability to move pretty quickly through the Red Sox system.
Jeff Natale - 23 year old Natale slipped to the 32nd round in 2005, but so far he's off to a very hot start in his professional career with a .412/.459/.529 line in 34 AB's in Lowell. He has a good eye to go along with good speed and we'll find out more about him after he gets more than just 34 AB's. Already a little bit old for someone in the lower levels, he's going to have to advance pretty quickly.
Zak Farkes - Farkes was drafted in the 39th round in 2003, but opted to finish his time at Harvard before following a career in baseball. He was undrafted this year and the 22 year old has gone hitless in his first 16 professional at bats, striking out 6 times. As a Harvard grad I'm sure he'll do just fine, but his success probably won't come in baseball.
Richard Santana - Santana is 19 and playing in rookie ball for the Gulf Coast Red Sox. So far in his professional career he's had a pretty good knack for getting on base and with 49 stolen bases last year, you know the guy can fly. He's only 1-3 in stolen base attempts this season, but the year is still young. He has a .333/.375/.444 line in 45 AB's.
Carl Lipsey - Lipsey, a 23 year old middle infielder with great tools, was drafted in the 23rd round in this year's draft. The guy is fast, stealing 55 bases in 64 attempts last year in college and his defense is a plus. He doesn't have much in the way of power.