Garin Cecchini, 3B
Cecchini hasn't had quite as much power in his game after his promotion to Double-A, but it's also difficult to complain about what he's managed. He's reached base in 59 of his 61 games with the Sea Dogs, including 37 in a row, and is sporting a .418 on-base percentage that's 88 points better than the Eastern League average, with a slugging that just makes it over the same.
There remains progress to be made by Cecchini, but one wonders if his approach, which lends itself to waiting for a pitch he wants while leaving hittable pitches on the table, is something that needs to be refined against stiffer competition than what the Double-A level can provide. He needs to go somewhere where he can fail in order to learn that he needs to be slightly less selective, but without sacrificing the benefits of his eye. It's the same kind of process Kevin Youkilis had to endure in his transformation from patient curiosity to productive major-league player, and Cecchini has the talent and ability to do the same, albeit without the kind of massive power spike that Youkilis eventually found.
Christian Vazquez, C
Vazquez would likely already be in Triple-A if there were only room for him there, but between Dan Butler and Ryan Lavarnway, it makes more sense for Portland's backstop to stay put for now. His season line is promising, but what stands out is his work since the All-Star break, in which he's hit .351/.426/.425 with his stellar defense. The right-handed Vazquez has hit .274/.361/.359 against his fellow righties this year, and mashed southpaws to the tune of .327/.409/.480, so while there's a split, it's not the kind that hurts his value.
It might take him some time to adjust to Triple-A once he gets there, as it did with High-A and Double-A, but that's fine: he'll be just 23, with advanced defense at his disposal, and plenty of time to focus on bringing his bat where it needs to be. There's a very good chance Vazquez will be ready for the majors by the time David Ross' deal ends prior to 2015, and if his defense is as good as advertised, the Sox won't miss Ross behind the plate.
Travis Shaw, 1B
Shaw has had a rough season, and it's only become more problematic with time. He has a 670 OPS since the break, courtesy a .191/.294/.376 slash, with the lefty struggling against pitchers from both sides of the rubber. Next year, he'll be 24 and still at Double-A, with a career line of .218/.340/.393 at the level over more than a full season's worth of games. If he could start to hit for average, a whole lot would be fixed, but between the low batting average on balls in play he's produced there, along with striking out 23 percent of the time, it's hard to be optimistic.
Something could switch on, of course -- he could be a tad more aggressive and stop getting himself into situations where he has to swing at pitches he will either miss or hit weakly. He'll need to do that soon, though, because he's not getting any younger.
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