High-A Salem: Yoan Moncada, 2B
Yoan Moncada isn't quite lonely in the Salem lineup -- Rafael Devers is still there, as are intriguing prospects like Nick Longhi and Mauricio Dubon -- but he's now without Andrew Benintendi around, who was promoted to Double-A Portland over the weekend. Moncada will be there soon enough, too: he's batting .328/.463/.508 in 35 games and 164 plate appearances as a 21-year-old.
It's going to take a little bit longer for Moncada for two reasons: one, the Red Sox want him to be a more effective second baseman before he can call it quits on that position, as he needs some kind of defensive base to work with. Second, Wendell Rijo is at Portland, and he's a second baseman who could use the playing time to develop. Now, the Sox aren't going to hold Moncada back because of Rijo, but they probably have to figure out how they want to go about making sure both are in the lineup getting the reps they need on both sides of the ball.
Will a promotion come with a position change? It's maybe a lot to ask considering the difference in the quality of competition in the Eastern League versus the Carolina League, but at the same time, Moncada has proven himself an effective and smart hitter with a plan, so maybe his landing won't be so rough. Moving him around the diamond at the same time as a promotion might help the Sox figure out just how far or near Moncada is to joining the big-league team, and it'll avoid the complication of tossing Rijo and his potential aside to boot.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Kyle Martin, RHP
With the way the Red Sox have been going through relievers to help them bridge between the starters and the setup trio at the back-end of the bullpen, guys like Martin have become harder to miss. He's striking out 11 batters per nine at Triple-A -- in his first stint at the level, too -- and doing so without walking many batters or giving up homers. Martin hasn't allowed a long ball yet, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the equal of his strikeout rate.
He's not on the 40-man roster, so the Sox would likely turn to relievers who are before they try Martin out, but the longer he succeeds like this, the better the chances that he gets a shot in the bigs before the year is out. Maybe just a call-up in September -- he's eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter, anyway, so putting him on the 40 if there's space at year's end wouldn't be the worst plan -- but that's more than most expected out of him when he was drafted as a ninth-round reliever back in 2013.
Double-A Portland: Tzu-Wei Lin, SS
It's not all good news in this update, as Tzu-Wei Lin seems to have forgotten how to hit once again. He showed some promise last summer -- well, promise as far as a defensive-minded shortstop goes, anyway -- but his promotion to Portland rendered his bat useless, and he's done little in his 29 games this year to change that notion.
Lin is hitting .200/.257/.229, a dreadful line across the board. He's not striking out much -- just 15 percent -- but he's also not drawing many walks nor making quality contact. Lin might need to show a bit more plate discipline, as it seems he's overcompensating a bit for his lack of power at the moment by attacking early. This isn't a lack of strikeouts from a great eye or wonderful pitch selection: Lin is beating himself far too often, and he might need to slow things down so he can learn how to speed them back up again in his favor.
Low-A Greenville: Marc Brakeman, RHP
Brakeman's first full season as a pro isn't going great, at least in the ERA department. He's striking out 2.6 times more hitters than he's walking, but he's giving up homers in Low-A ball, and it's showing in his 5.84 ERA, as are the 10.6 hits per nine he's allowing. Brakeman will need to refine his command if he wants to cut into those earned runs: if he makes better decisions (and then executes on them) about where to put the ball in the strike zone or just out of reach, the strikeouts should climb and all the negative aspects should go down.
It's still early, though, both in this season and his career, so don't read too much negativity into this. It's just where Brakeman is at the moment: with better command will come better performances, and then we'll see why the Sox picked Brakeman last summer.