Triple-A Pawtucket: Sam Travis, 1B
Sam Travis is still far away from being a definitive solution for the Red Sox at first basee in 2017. After all, it's only May, and hitting Triple-A pitching is different than hitting major-league pitching, even if, like Travis, you're doing well at the former at just 22 years old. The fact he's started out so well, though, and already seemingly adjusted after some early struggles -- this is becoming something of a pattern for Travis -- bodes well for the future. And maybe even the near-future.
Travis hit just .235/.297/.412 with 10 strikeouts in his first 37 plate appearances at Triple-A (a 27 percent strikeout rate). First, he started making more contact, hitting .302/.333/.415 over the 13 games and 57 plate appearances that followed, and in his last 20 games, he's looked like he's got a handle on International League pitchers. Travis has hit .301/.386/.521 over those 20 games and 83 plate appearances, with a strikeout rate (14 percent) nearly half of what it was over his first month at the level.
Again, these are small samples, and none of them is exactly who Travis is. Progression is a big part of time in the minors, though, and Travis appears to be progressing the more he sees of this new level of competition. Does it mean he's going to succeed in the majors in 2017? Does it even mean he'll continue to succeed at Triple-A for the rest of the season? We can't tell for sure, not from breaking up less than two months of numbers into little bits, but you can feel better about Travis' chances at either goal today than you did two months ago.
Double-A Portland: Wendell Rijo, 2B
At some point, it seemed likely there would be a need for the Red Sox to figure out how to get Wendell Rijo and Yoan Moncada into the same lineup in Double-A. The longer the season goes on, though, the more likely it seems that Rijo is going to have to take a step back to find himself at High-A when Moncada gets promoted from that level: Rijo is hitting just .168/.231/.252 on the season, and has somehow been even worse than that in May.
He's all of 20 years old, so don't panic or think there is nothing to his prospect status just yet. He's not playing well in the coldest climate he's ever played baseball in, and while he played decently for High-A Salem as a 19-year-old, it wasn't the kind of numbers you'd be impressed by if he weren't 19. A step back now could lead to two steps forward in the future, and with the bonus of not having to juggle Moncada around the diamond just yet, not while he's still trying to figure out second base.
High-A Salem: Jordan Procyshen, C
Procyshen was on the disabled list the last time we checked in on him, but the backstop has returned to the field. He's hitting .313/.343/.375 on the season, but the thing you'll want to pay attention to is his defense. It's what is going to get Procyshen to the majors if anything will. While it's hard to know just how good his framing, blocking, and game calling are at 23 in High-A ball, his arm is certainly working for him, with a 43 percent caught stealing rate in his limited time in 2016.
Procyshen isn't a guy whose bat is going to carry him to the majors, but it could be the thing that stops him from getting there. Basically, you just want runs like this where he's not struggling to make contact or get on base, and you hope it keeps up enough as he climbs the ladder.
Low-A Greenville: Kyri Washington, LF
Kyri Washington has tools, but whether they translate into performance is going to be the question with him for a while. He's showing some early power, slugging .523 with six homers and three triples over his first 31 games of full-season ball, but he's also sporting a .273/.290/.523 line overall and most of that pop came from April. In May, Washington is without a homer, has just four extra-base hits in 13 games, and is batting .240/.255/.340.
You knew there would be times like this -- the most surprising thing about Washington's season is that he started out hot. Basically, now we sit back and wait to see how he adjusts to how pitchers adjusted to him. It could take months, it could take weeks, it could take little time at all. Either way, we're waiting to see.