This Wednesday evening, we got two wins, two losses, two of which were decisive while two came down to the wire. We got the same old names tearing up their respective leagues, speculation if guys are ready for a bigger pond, and more speculation that certain guys aren’t... so in other words, another day in the minors!
Worcester, L 10-12
I’m going to give you the box score of someone, hoping you hadn’t read the image above yet, and I want you to guess how much Major League service time this player has had.
0.2 innings, 7 earned runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, just one strikeout.
0, right? Nope. This player has been active for a total of 8 years, 151 days. You may actually have heard of him. His name is James Paxton, and we’re hoping that, after four years of nagging, injuries, he’ll be a staple of the rotation at some point mid-season.
Seem realistic? Well, neither did Worcester climbing back from an 11-0 deficit after the Taylor Broadway and Paxton show went horribly wrong... but come back they almost did.
On a day when Enmanuel Valdez made his presence felt on the Major League team, notching his first couple of hits in the show, Ryan Fitzgerald, Niko Goodrum, David Hamilton, and Bobby Dalbec made some claims that the final utility spot on the 26-man should have been theirs. Fitzy scored the first two WooSox runs in the sixth, Goodrum drew 3 walks (and scored once on two hits), Hamilton continues to thrive at short and notched a hit, an RBI, a walk and run of his own, and after striking out three times, Dalbec cracked a grand slam off of Ben Bowden to make the score a more respectable 11-8.
Unfortunately, Ryan Sherriff allowed a run to make it a four-run game in the eighth, and the WooSox could not surmount that deficit, even after a blistering eighth inning and after a Greg Allen 9th inning, two out home run made it 12-10. The IronPigs notched a W in a football score.
So, if the Red Sox have another pitching injury, who on earth do they call up? Or do they grab another reclamation project? And at a price tag of four million, which, is Paxton just going to continue to hone his craft and rehab in Worcester, even with a pitching squad that could use his depth? I want to believe he has a spot on the Boston roster because, at his best, he’s a fearsome guy on the mound. Perhaps the right solution is a relief role, but if in less than one inning of what was supposed to be relief work (he didn’t start, Taylor Broadway did) he gave up a performance like that against some Phillies AAA hitters (albeit, guys that have cracked a Major League roster) how can he be trusted in anything but an Ort-esque low leverage role at this stage? It’s a question for another day, sure, but what about in another month?
Portland: W, 3-2 (10)
As bad as the WooSox are at starting games, the Sea Dogs are good at finishing them. After doing a double-take after finding out the Fighting Phils started a player named Pedro Martinez at short, my eyes feasted upon Ceddanne Rafaela’s 2-for-4 performance with a 2-out-RBI. He’s gotten his average up to .244, though his OPS remains low. Depending on how big of an issue the outfield injury situation ends up and just how completely broken Adam Duvall’s wrist ends up being, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rafaela get the call up to Worcester by mid-season and then hear some Casas-2022-esque rumblings about him debuting in the show by season’s end. This is, of course, provided he keeps improving and keeps the incredible fielding up, but it’s looking good.
Nick Yorke went 1-for-5, which is great considering he got a hit, but not great seeing as there was only one hit in that leadoff spot, and he struck out twice. Finally, 27-year-old Brendan Nail continues to be automatic in the late inning reliever/closer spot. He allowed just his second hit of the season in six outings, his average allowed is hovering below .100, and he earned the decision in this one. I think I know a AAA club that could use some pitching...
Greenville: L, 2-3
The Drive were not as lucky, though they only allowed runs in the fifth inning of this one, but it was enough to snatch defeat from the early jaws of victory. Outfielder Bryan Gonzalez cranked a two-run shot in the second off hyped Pirates prospect, 20-year-old Anthony Solometo. Besides that, and the fact that seven Drive players recorded a hit, it was an uneventful seeming game. If you’re only concerned about Marcelo Mayer, I’ll tell you he struck out twice again, once with two men on and two outs. Again, not too promising for a player many are hailing as the descendent of the Xander Bogaerts throne, but he’s been playing better overall and we’ll give him some time.
Salem: W, 5-2
Salem was the beneficiary of four Hillcat errors in this one. Four errors. If I were the Guardians, I’d be calling the Cavaliers or Browns to see if they have any roster spots open on their practice squad.
In all seriousness, this team doesn’t hit well. The Salem Red Sox hit Hillcat starter Austin Peterson around early, getting him for nine hits in 4 2/3, and never looked back behind the strong pitching performance of Jose Ramirez (who’s been putting up some strong lines down there!) The corner outfielders raised some eyebrows Wednesday night, as Juan Chacon went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s, and Miguel Bleis continued to thrive, raising his average to .326 following three hits yesterday. He’s certainly impressed many in the organization between his play in Spring Training, and now fans are starting to notice too, including this fan here!
Overall, not a terrible day for the farm, if you consider the fact that the guys underperforming in Triple-A should be getting called up anytime now. Doesn’t that make you feel better? No? Well, try to have a good Thursday anyway!