Blake Swihart, C
Swihart has cooled a bit after a blistering start to 2014, but he's still batting .316/.328/.456 to kick off his Double-A debut. The lone walk might raise an eyebrow for you, but it's hard for me to get too upset about it considering we're talking about 14 games into his first taste of the Eastern League, as well as his low 17 percent strikeout rate. He's got the whole summer to start to see more pitches, and given Double-A pitchers are more experienced than their High-A cousins, they'll force the issue sooner than later. Swihart is a talented bat, but he's not going to get away with this forever without adjusting. He's shown the ability to adjust in the past, so we can trust him to do it once more.
On the defensive side, Swihart has tossed out 44 percent of basestealers in the young season. Christian Vazquez gets the love for his arm (while Swihart gets it for everything else), but Blake can gun down the opposition on the basepaths pretty well, too.
Mike Augliera, RHP
The 2012 fifth-round selection is still a starting pitcher because that's how the Red Sox do things with their young arms. The 24-year-old Augliera is a reliever-in-training despite his current role, and you can ignore his age here: control like his will play anywhere, anytime. Unless, of course, that time and place doesn't also feature command, but Augliera seems to have a decent handle on that since his initial introduction to the pros included some serious beat downs thanks to poorly placed pitches within the strike zone.
He's not going to miss bats, so we should just get used to that, but if he can keep the ball in the park, on the ground, and also continue to keep the free passes to a minimum, there will be something here. Consider, too, that when he finally does make the full-time move to relief, we could always see an uptick in his velocity that gives him the little bit of swing-and-miss he might need to get by in the bigs.
Travis Shaw, 1B
Shaw's first few games were a disaster, but he's picked it up over the last handful, going deep twice in his last five games and producing a 762 OPS over his last 10. The problems are the same as they've always been for Shaw, though: he's drawing a ton of walks, and he has power, but he can't tap into it often enough because he makes poor contact more often than not. On top of that, now he's 24 years old, and looks no closer to exiting Portland than he did a year ago.
It's not all bad for Shaw, though. He's punching out 13 percent of the time and has more walks than strikeouts at the moment, whereas last season he whiffed 117 times -- 22 percent -- in his 127 games with the Sea Dogs. Cutting into his swing-and-miss was step one. If he can now start to do more with these pitches he's putting into play, he can recover the shine on his prospect status from a couple of years ago. That's not a little if, though, since it's long been a concern that his bat was a bit too slow and exploitable for upper-level pitching.