Do you like Johnny Damon? Well then, you'll love the sequal. In Jacoby Ellsbury you'll get all the ability, but none of the comments about bullpen usage. The first player taken by the Red Sox in the 2005 draft has been signed and he made his professional debut last night for the short-season Lowell Spinners. He went 0-2 from the leadoff spot, but walked 2 times and scored a run. Ellsbury May not hit as many home runs as Damon has in the past, but as far as speed, defensive ability, body type, and the ability to get on base the two match up pretty well. Ellsbury is 21 and if he has a strong debut this year he'll be pretty high up on the Red Sox prospect charts next year.
As far as other draft picks go, Clay Buchholz, the 3rd player the Red Sox picked (42nd overall) has already had 4 starts for Lowell. He's only gone 11 IP and in that small sampe he has a 4.09 ERA with 6 K's and 3 BB's. Jed Lowrie is off to a slow start in his first 3 games at second for Lowell going only 2-13, striking out 2 times, with no walks and got caught stealing once. Second rounder Jonathan Egan has a .211/.348/.237 line in 38 AB's for the rookie level GCL Red Sox. He's walked 8 times, an impressive number, but has also struck out 8 times. He has only one extra base hit, a double.
Wednesday was the Eastern League All-Star game held in our backyard in Portland at Hadlock field. The North won the game 9-6 thanks to help from Portland second baseman, Kenny Perez. Perez hit a two run double in the 8th inning to help the North rally from behind. The Portland players did a great job representing their team going a combined 4-11 and scoring 3 runs. Hanley Ramirez led off and went 2-3 before coming out of the game in favor of Perez who hit that double in 2 at bats. Brandon Moss started the game and went 1-2. The out he made was, of course, by way of the K. Chris Durbin, recently back from the DL, was healthy enough to get in a couple of AB's, but he went 0-2 with 2 strikeouts. Jared Sandberg also started the game and went 0-2 with a K, but he did manage to score a run.
By now we've all heard that Kevin Youkilis was the odd man out when Curt Schilling came back. Youk once again took the ride down 95 and is playing in Pawtucket. In his first game back he went 3-5 with 2 doubles while batting third and playing third. At least we know that Ron Johnson will give him some playing time even if Francona wouldn't. I'm starting to wonder if the organization has any faith in Youk's abilities.
Cla Meredith has struggled so much for the Paw Sox lately that he was sent down two levels to Wilmington. After dominating AA competition the Red Sox called him up to the majors and I'm sure we all remember the pummeling he took. After pitching only 2.1 innings and posting a 27.00 ERA in the majors, Meredith was sent down to Pawtucket. He did have a few good games in AAA, but lately he hasn't been able to get anyone out. In 27.2 innings he has a 5.20 ERA. He's struck out 28 batters, walked 9, and allowed 2 home runs. The demotion to Wilmington is a setback for the reliever, but it's a setback that I think he'll be able to overcome and by this time next year I believe he'll either be dominating once again in Portland or he'll be putting up solid numbers in Pawtucket.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks have been struggling in the second half of their season with a 6-14 record, good enough for last in the Carolina League. The Greenville Bombers have a 9-10 record, good enough for the middle of the pack, but they are 3-7 in their last 10 and they're riding a 3 game losing streak. The Lowell Spinners have been the organization's top low-level club since the draft with a 13-10 record, good enough for second place in the NYP Stedler division.