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Red Sox Minor Lines: Four strong starts

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Including a second straight one from Jay Groome.

Worcester W 3-1

Michael Chavis, 1B: 1-4, 1 R

Marcus Wilson, RF: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K

Franchy Cordero, DH: 1-4, 1 3B, 1 R, 2 K

Yairo Muñoz, SS: 2-3, 1 RBI

Jonathan Araúz, 2B: 0-2, 1 RBI

Raynel Espinal (SP; W): 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K (86 pitches)

Matt Hall (H): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (26 pitches)

Marcus Walden (H): 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 0 K (22 pitches)

Brandon Brennan (S): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2 pitches)

As we’ve discussed here at OTM a few times, the Red Sox are dealing with a little bit of an issue as far as their pitching depth goes, an issue that has only been exacerbated by losing Thad Ward to injury. While Tanner Houck is starting to work his way back, in the meantime they need their other depth options to step up just in case. That includes Espinal, who certainly stepped up his game in this start. This was a dominant outing by the 29-year-old righty, who has somewhat quietly put together a solid season. After this start he is down to a 3.44 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks over 34 innings. A minor-league Rule 5 pick from the Yankees from a couple of years ago, he’s likely just upper minors depth but there’s a slim chance if he keeps pitching like this that he’ll join Garrett Whitlock and Kaleb Ort as former Yankees taken in the Rule 5 Draft that potentially make an impact for the big-league team.

Portland W 7-0

Jeisson Rosario, RF: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 K

Pedro Castellanos, LF: 2-5, 1 3B, 2 R

Joey Meneses, 1B: 2-3, 1 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI

Ronaldo Hernández, DH: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

Jeremy Rivera, CF: 2-3, 1 BB

Frank German (SP; W): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (69 pitches)

Joan Martinez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (14 pitches)

Zack Kelly: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (39 pitches)

This was a very important start for German, who had been struggling mightily in the Portland rotation. Another former Yankees prospect, this one coming over in the Adam Ottavino deal, the righty looks like a future reliever and his performance this year hadn’t quieted those predictions. Coming into this start his ERA had ballooned to 8.46, and he hadn’t gone five full innings all year long. Obviously he went five here, and he dropped his ERA down to 6.55 in the process. I still see the bullpen in German’s future, but this was an encouraging outing in which he showed he can command the baseball, issuing fewer than two walks for the first time in 2021. We should also give a shoutout to Hernández, who is looking to recover from a bit of a tough start, and Castellanos, who has been red-hot this week.

Greenville L 1-3

Christian Koss, SS: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K

Tyler Dearden, LF: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 K

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 0-4, 2 K

Jay Groome (SP; L): 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K (77 pitches)

Brendan Cellucci: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (13 pitches)

There is an argument to be made that Groome’s last time out was more dominant, as he allowed just one hit in that outing (which also lasted five innings) as well as just one run. This time around he did get hit a little bit more, including allowing his first homer since his second start of the season. That said, the stuff was clearly much better, with his eight strikeouts coming in as a season-high. He did strike out seven in one other start, but he also walked four that time around so it wasn’t a combination of stuff and control. On that front, this was Groome’s best start of the season, and really his best start since back in August of 2017. He still has some questions to answer, but his last two outings show he is starting to get into some sort of groove.

Salem W 7-3

Gilberto Jimenez CF: 1-4, 1 3B, 1 BB, 3 RBI

Matthew Lugo, SS: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 K

Jaxx Groshans, C: 0-3, 2 BB, 1 R

Joe Davis, DH: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K

Nick Northcut, 3B: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 E

Nick Yorke, 2B: 2-3, 1 3B, 2 BB, 1 R

Jeremy Wu-Yelland (SP): 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (59 pitches)

All of the starters in the Red Sox system had strong outings on Thursday, and Wu-Yelland may have been the best of the bunch. The team’s fourth round pick last summer, he was an under-slot signing who did not come in with many expectations, but in a piggyback role he’s been pitching very well. The length is not there right now — I could see that being due to them thinking he’s a reliever or just trying to limit workloads in a player’s first pro season. — but the results very much are. The southpaw’s pitched to a 1.96 ERA over 18 13 innings, striking out 27 and walking nine. Control has been an issue for him at times this year, but it certainly was not this time around. We should also give a shoutout to Yorke, who now has multiple hits and multiple walks in consecutive games, and has seven hits in his last four.


Player of the Day: Raynel Espinal

Player of the Day Chart