Deven Marrero, SS
Deven Marrero saw a promotion to Double-A Portland a bit earlier than expected given he was doing fine, but not great, at the plate in the Carolina League. Things have understandably not gone well for him in his introduction to Eastern League pitching, though, that matters little in the long run: it's 36 plate appearances, and he'll have plenty of time to sort himself out at Double-A. Fellow shortstop Xander Bogaerts is in the majors, possibly to stay, and while there are intriguing shortstop prospects lower in the system in Jose Vinicio and Tzu-Wei Lin, neither is a threat to challenge Marrero's place in Portland for quite some time.
In addition, Marrero doesn't need to be protected on the 40-man roster until after the 2015 season, so if it takes him most or all of two years to get to where it's hoped he'll be, time is at least on both his and Boston's side. Of course, you'd prefer it takes him fewer than two seasons to start to hit at the level he'll need to in order to be a convincing big-league shortstop someday, but at least there's room for error.
Michael Almanzar, 3B
Speaking of 40-man protection, the longer this season goes on, the less it looks like Michael Almanzar is going to need it. He's not having a bad year, but .274/.335/.427 at Double-A doesn't scream that he's someone who should be plucked from the system in this winter's Rule 5 draft. That should give the Red Sox at least one more year to see if he can take a leap and add to the system's depth at third base. He won't see much time at the position with Garin Cecchini also at Portland, but then again, Cecchini could very well be in Triple-A in 2014, especially now that Will Middlebrooks seems to have regained his hold on the third base job in Boston.
Keith Couch, RHP
Couch briefly went to Triple-A Pawtucket for a start, but only lasted an inning and faced nine batters. He's now back at Double-A Portland, where he has mostly pitched well this year. The 20 walks in his last 10 games and 62-2/3 innings is a good thing, but he's not generating quite enough ground outs to compensate for just 4.6 strikeouts per nine in that stretch. It hasn't hurt his ERA to this point, but he's also not in the majors against the game's most advanced hitters.
There are things to like about his season, though, and if he can keep the ball on the ground and walks to a minimum, there might be a solid relief arm here, or someone the Sox can move as part of a larger package this winter. He is Rule 5-eligible after all, so he could very well end up going the way of Josh Fields and Ryan Pressly if someone thinks they can have a use for him out of their pen and Boston doesn't move him first.
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