Double-A Portland: Andrew Benintendi, CF
Benintendi tore High-A pitching apart to the point his promotion to Double-A was probably a late one, but that didn't mean he was going to similarly wreck his Eastern League opponents. The high minors are a jump from the low minors, and there is likely to be some level of adjustment between the two. Benintendi, who struck out just nine times total across 155 plate appearances at High-A, punched out six times in his first six games and 25 plate appearances in Double-A, including three in one game.
The more robust repertoires of the high minors were to blame, as Benintendi looked off in the box when breaking balls would come his way -- they even seemed up throw him off later in at-bats, as he wasn't himself against fastballs after seeing Double-A secondaries. This is a normal thing, though -- hitters fail as competition improves, then they have to adjust. It's only been a week, but Benintendi seems like he's started making those adjustments.
In his last five games, the center fielder has hit .389/.429/.500 with just three strikeouts. It's a small sample broken into two even smaller samples, so don't get too excited, but he's making better swings and better decisions already. That's a good sign if you're hoping his 2016 won't end at Double-A, but obviously it's going to take more than a good week for that to be a sure thing.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Deven Marrero, SS
It's been a rough 2016 for Deven Marrero, who seems to be taking the Garin Cecchini approach of losing all of his prospect shine at once. After a .192/.237/.232 start to 2016, the shortstop is now a career .229/.284/.302 batter over 811 Triple-A plate appearances. The defense is obviously there still, but he's 25 years old and can't solve Triple-A pitching. This isn't looking like a Travis Shaw situation, where Marrero could fix his problems with time and access to the majors and its coaching. He's not just a tweak away from making it: his usefulness in a minor league lineup is in question at this point.
Excuses could be made for Marrero previously: he wasn't putting up bad lines, even though his glove had pushed his bat through the minors faster than was good for his numbers. Between a decent approach, some doubles power, his baserunning, and his defense, there was a potential starting shortstop in the majors here. The baserunning doesn't matter if he's never on base, though, and we're now a few seasons into him having trouble against Triple-A pitchers. There's still time for a turnaround, but we're a long way from a year ago when Marrero was added to the 40-man roster.
High-A Salem: Travis Lakins, RHP
Lakins' ERA isn't showing it, but he's had a good season for Salem so far. Two poor starts in a row tanked the aforementioned ERA, though, so now he's at 4.63 for the year with a .331 batting average on balls in play. That last figure isn't as high as it sounds given BABIP in the low minors is much higher than it is in the majors, but it's still something you don't want to be seeing from a pitcher trying to stick as a starter.
Luckily, Lakins already bounced back from those two poor outings to in his latest, giving up just one run over six innings while striking out six. The right-hander didn't allow a walk and scattered four hits in his third start that went six innings. He was pretty efficient, too, as he got through six on 84 pitches. We still haven't figured out if he's going to be a starter long-term or if Lakins is a reliever waiting to happen, but he put a stop to the bleeding and got back to showing why the Sox are hoping he can start in the first place, and that's worth noting.
Low-A Greenville: Austin Glorius, RHP
As we noted about a month ago when we last looked in on Glorius, he's relatively new to pitching, so we can give him some space and not be too hard on him just yet. We also don't need to be too hard on him right now, as he's been on a pretty good run since said last look. Glorius has thrown 15 innings in relief over his last seven appearances, posting a 2.40 ERA with an 18/7 strikeout-to-walk. He's limited opponents to a .222/.311/.278 line in that stretch, and done so despite a .333 BABIP.
Don't read too much into the numbers, of course, given we're talking about a month's worth of relief production from a Low-A arm. The wildness is still a problem even during this successful run, and that's something Glorius is going to need to change if he's to find success at higher levels than this one. Still, for someone relatively new to pitching who also went undrafted, he's doing a pretty good job of it.