The Red Sox got back at Minnesota for their loss earlier in the weekend, getting the win back on Sunday. It was an all-around good day for the Red Sox, with a pair of impressive appearances from two of their top prospects. Some of the pitching was a little rough, but that’s normally going to be the case in early spring training.
Michael Chavis goes deep. Again.
So, this Michael Chavis fellow can hit, yes? We knew Boston’s former first round pick had a sweet stick, as he’s crushed minor-league pitching for two consecutive seasons before this. Still, it’s a very different thing to be able to watch it in action against something approximating major-league pitching. Chavis is lighting the world on fire down in Florida, and just continued on that path on Sunday. In the fifth the righty got a hanging breaking ball belt-high over the outer half and he was able to get his arms extended and in front of the ball. You don’t want him to do that if you’re a pitcher. Chavis drove one way out to straightaway center field for his whopping fourth homer already this spring. He now is up to a 1.480 OPS on the spring. Chavis is going to start the year in Triple-A, but if there’s an injury or this offense needs a shot in the arm, he is going to get a chance in 2019. The one question for him is his defense, and in this one he played first base. Alex Cora said prior to Sunday’s game that the team was going to let Chavis and Dalbec concentrate on the two corner infield spots, which is significant because Chavis had been playing a little second. Him in the middle infield never made too much sense to me, though. As long as he keeps hitting, they’ll find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
Darwinzon Hernandez shines in start
Boston’s top pitching prospect got the start on Sunday, and while most expect the future for Darwinzon Hernandez to be in the bullpen that is the role in which he’ll start 2019. The big southpaw showed why so many are so excited about him, and also a little glimpse of why he’ll probably end up in the ‘pen. He came out blazing in the first inning, getting an easy 1-2-3 inning with a ground out, a strikeout and a pop out. The second was a bit more of a struggle as he loaded the bases on two walks and a single, but escaped the jam with a huge strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed. Hernandez has huge stuff and we got a glimpse on how imposing his fastball can be on Sunday. Unfortunately, we also got a look at how he can be without control. If he can consistently find the strike zone, he’s going to be a weapon in whatever role he finds himself in, but it’s still a work in progress. Hernandez, added to the 40-man this past winter, has been impressive all spring, though, now up to six scoreless innings in three outings (including the one against Northeastern) with eight strikeouts and five walks. As I alluded to above, he will start 2019 in Portland’s rotation, but most expect him to be a reliever, likely in Boston, by the end of the year.
Mookie Betts gets on track, too
The reigning American League MVP got off to a bit of a slow start this spring, by which I mean he had only one single to his name through his first three spring games. Panic in the streets! Mookie Betts got back to it on Sunday, getting his first extra-base hit of 2019 and adding another one on for good measure. Both of his doubles were, unsurprisingly, laced to left field off the wall. There’s really not a whole lot to add here. Mookie Betts is very good at baseball.
- The Red Sox got another home run on Sunday besides the one from Chavis, this one coming off the bat of Tony Renda. The veteran minor-league infielder hit a big three-run shot out to left field as part of a huge seven-run sixth inning for the Red Sox. It was Renda’s second homer of the spring.
- Mitch Moreland made his first appearance of the spring on Sunday, hitting third and slotting in as the DH. The veteran got himself an RBI single in his first game back with a strikeout in his other at bat.
- Andrew Benintendi, meanwhile, hit out of the leadoff spot for the Red Sox and continued what’s been a rough start of the spring for him. The left fielder went 0-3 with a strikeout, knocking his spring OPS down to .455.
- On the pitching side, Tyler Thornburg gave up a double and a single for a run in his one inning of work, mixing a strikeout in there too. It’s been an uneven start to 2019 for the righty, who in an ideal world will step up and be a big help in the Red Sox bullpen. It’s not something I’m betting on at this point, though.
- The Twins scored two more runs off right-handed Erasmo Ramirez, who Boston signed to a minor-league deal this winter. Ramirez was a solid addition with plenty of major-league experience, much of it solid. He figured to be a sleeper as a swingman for this team, but he’s had a rough start to his Red Sox career.