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Red Sox Minor League Players of the Week: Tyreque Reed heats back up

And Jay Groome has a big week on the mound.

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Jay Groome (2020)
Kelly O’Connor

Welcome to a new feature here at Over The Monster in which we will be looking at the best players on the farm from the past week. With the new minor-league schedule being implemented this year that has teams playing six-game series every week with Mondays off, there are no Minor Lines on Tuesdays. We figured rather than just leaving that timeslot blank every week, we’d hand out some fake, virtual hardware. Each week, we’ll pick players of the week for both position players and pitchers, as well as an honorable mention in each category. (See Previous Winners Here)

Position Player of the Week

Tyreque Reed (Greenville)

Tyreque Reed has been a presence in this Red Sox farm system all season, making himself known right away and producing runs in the middle of the Greenville lineup. He did end up hitting a little bit of a snag as we got into June, but the minor-league Rule 5 Draft selection did not stay down too long. He bounced back in a huge way this week as the best hitter of the system. Reed came to the plate 27 times over the last week, hitting .391/.481/.957 with four home runs.

As I said, this has almost entirely been a big season for Reed. Both the power and the patience have been there for the entire season, and after this monster week the slugger is hitting .295/.395/.596 on the season with 13 homers in 185 plate appearances. To put that into context, if he kept up this pace over 550 plate appearances he’d hit 39 out of the park. Reed’s .301 Isolated Power (SLG - AVG) is topped by only two in the Red Sox farm system (Johan Mieses and Jarren Duran) and by only 26 qualified hitters in all of affiliated baseball. He’s combining that power with a 13.5 percent walk rate, which comes in at number five in the farm system.

Nicholas Northcut
Kelly O’Connor

Reed was available to everyone this past winter in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft from the Rangers, and the Red Sox took a chance on the power. It’s certainly paying off so far, and the 24-year-old is likely reaching the end of the time he needs to be spending in Double-A. With Triston Casas off to the Olympics soon and Joe Davis knocking down the door in Salem to come up to Greenville, this could be the time to push Reed up a level. He’s certainly playing like he deserves it.

Honorable Mention: Nicholas Northcut (Salem)

We have two corner sluggers as our position player representatives this week, with Northcut not quite having the kind of season we’re seeing from Reed. The Salem third baseman did have a big week, finishing with a .368/.500/.895 line to go with three homers, but that has not been in line with his season-long performance. So far this year, the former 11th round pick is hitting .217/.328/.422. He’s been showing off the power and patience, but there is still a bit too much swing and miss to feel totally comfortable with the profile right now. Hopefully this week launches him into a big second portion of the season.

Pitcher of the Week

Jay Groome (Greenville)

This was a week on the Red Sox farm where we got a handful of good outings, but nothing really great. But among the good, Groome gets the nod for his start this week as the lefty and former first-round pick continues to make pride toward making some good on his promise. His first step was just trying to get on the mound consistently, but of late he’s been doing a better job of actually starting to put strong starts together. His latest was his best of the season, going six strong innings in which he allowed two runs on two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts.

It’s been particularly encouraging to see the swing and miss from Groome in this start, and just over the last few starts in general. Coming into this season, the two concerns surrounding the 22-year-old were durability and stuff. The former you can only wait and see what happens, but with the latter the stuff was trending down heading into this season. It took him a little while for him to get it all the way back, but he’s seemingly there now, or at least close. Groome has 32 strikeouts over his last four starts spanning 22 innings.

Overall, the results have been a little up and down this year for the lefty, and even after this strong showing he’s still at a 5.36 ERA. The inflated ERA isn’t necessarily a reason to be overly concerned, though. As we just discussed, the stuff is ticking up of late and by all accounts he’s still healthy. The goal for this season should be to get him at least a taste of Double-A if possible, but really Groome just needs to stay healthy and get a full season of pro ball under his belt. After that, we can figure out the rest.

Honorable Mention: Chih-Jung Liu (FCL)

It’s been a rough first week for the players down on the complex playing in the FCL, formerly known as the GCL. But there was one standout performance from Chih-Jung Liu, making his professional debut. Signed out of Taiwan after the 2019 season, Liu didn’t get a chance to pitch last year due to COVID and the team kept him in extended spring training for the first part of this year. He tossed five innings of two-run ball on three hits and no walk with six strikeouts in his outing this week, which was enough to already get him bumped up to Salem, where he’ll make his next appearance. Liu has an interesting ceiling from the right side, but there are still some kinks to work out.