Low-A Greenville: Yoan Moncada, 2B
You've probably been a little impatient with Yoan Moncada's debut season. It's okay, that's expected considering the hype attached to his record signing bonus and the number of teams who were willing to sacrifice the next two years of international signing periods in order to get him into their system. The teams going for him -- Red Sox included -- weren't promising him a large bonus for what he'd do over the first month of his pro career, though: they were trying to sign Moncada because of what he could become once he his tools were able to translate into on-field production.
We might be seeing the beginning of that now at Low-A Greenville, as Moncada has hit .311/.402/.432 with 13 steals in 13 attempts over the last 28 days, and is batting .478/.536/.696 with four extra-base hits in the last week. Just like his early scuffles didn't mean he was doomed, this stretch doesn't mean Moncada is finished learning at this level. If he keeps it up for much longer, though, you might see him finishing out his season in High-A, in preparation of hoping he won't have to spend much time there in 2016.
Moncada's development doesn't need to be rushed, though. The position he'll ultimately play is still up for debate, and his recent play is more flashes of what he can be than what he is already, given he's just 19 and is just a couple months into his pro career. As the Sox always do with their promising young players, they'll move Moncada up when they feel he's solved the level he's at, regardless of what his overall numbers look like. The time for the next challenge might be later this month, but Moncada has to keep on mashing for that to occur.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Garin Cecchini, 3B
It's been a rough 2015 for Garin Cecchini, as his patience devolved into passiveness, causing him to strike out looking far too often for his approach to be tenable. This isn't an exaggeration, either: It's July 10, and Cecchini has struck out looking 24 times already through 284 plate appearances, after doing so on just 22 occasions in his 458 last summer at Triple-A. Why does this matter? Cecchini is letting pitchers control his plate appearances, and he's not going to see pitches he can do something with when that happens.
On the bright side, the rate of those strikeouts has decreased, as Cecchini had sat down looking 18 times in 165 plate appearances when we last checked in on him over a month ago -- that was 11 percent of all of his times to bat. In the 119 plate appearances since, he's walked back to the dugout looking just four times, or three percent of the time, which is even ahead of his 2014 pace of five percent.
Now, we're not saying Cecchini needs to be super aggressive in order to succeed, but we have been saying that he needed to strike that balance between patience and aggressiveness: Cecchini needed to rediscover his plate discipline and adjust it according to the competition. He's not completed fixed, not when he's hit .248/.313/.381 since our last check-in, but kicking the nasty strikeout habit is a start.
Double-A Portland: Marco Hernandez, SS
The Red Sox acquired Marco Hernandez as the player to be named later in the Felix Doubront trade with the Cubs. The 2015 season is Hernandez's first in the organization, and the 22-year-old shortstop is making the most of it. He's batting .323/.345/.485 over 64 games, and while there are obvious problems with that line even before we dive into the context of it, you should know that Hernandez was previously known for his defense at short.
The expectation is that Hernandez could be a big-league utility player, and since he plays a solid shortstop, he could actually be a good one. He'll need to hit a bit to make that a reality, but he's off to a good start in his first stop at Double-A ball. He doesn't strike out all that much, but it's because he's aggressive, which costs him some walks. He's also getting a huge boost from a .382 batting average on balls in play, so expect his line to fall back at some point, but there are still some things to like about him even with that.
Don't get too excited, but Hernandez at least seems like he's still on pace to be a utility player someday. We'll have to see that BABIP falls before making any definitive judgments, but at least the glove is legitimate.
High-A Salem: Wendell Rijo, 2B
Wendell Rijo's season looks like such a huge disappointment, but you have to remember a few things. He's still just 19 years old and in High-A -- he's about three years younger than your average position player at the level, and hasn't faced a single pitcher who is younger than he is. You also have to recall that his 2014 was mostly great through the lens of his youth as well: he had a huge April and a huge July, but was otherwise just okay if you ignore that he was 18.
So, don't give up on Rijo just yet, because he's playing as well as you could expect a non-elite 19-year-old to play while on an aggressive assignment. If he hasn't made some additional progress by year's end, you can begin to wonder if he'll be with Salem again in 2016, but he's young enough where that wouldn't be the worst thing for his development, either.
Short-season Lowell: Jake Cosart, RHP
Jake Cosart, younger brother of Marlins' pitcher Jarred Cosart and Boston's third-round pick from the 2014 draft, threw a gem on Wednesday night, allowing zero hits through five innings of work. He did walk four batters, and against just a pair of walks, so it wasn't a spotless start, but hey, the Sox let him get through 85 pitches and five frames, and he worked out of it. That's impressive for a pitcher who is absolutely a long-term project, one Boston won't be pushing hard through the system.
Cosart wasn't even a pitcher until basically right before he was drafted, as he was an outfielder at Duke then transferred to Seminole State to pitch. You can do the math, as he's still now only 21 years old, and was drafted 13 months ago. His ceiling is lofty for a third-round pick -- there is a belief he can someday be a number three starter -- but he has a long, long way to go before he can get there. Hence the whole short-season Lowell thing the year after he was drafted.