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Minor Lines 5/23/23: Is David Hamilton Ready?

Four minor leaguers, including the 25-year-old shortstop, hit multiple home runs Tuesday night as every affiliate came away with a win.

MiLB: MAY 18 Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Worcester Red Sox Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s an irony to every affiliate team winning on a day that would not normally be a day I do these Minor Lines, but I guess I have the Angels being on the West Coast and me working a day job to thank here. It was a fantastic day offensively for the farm, let’s get into it!

Worcester: W, 13-3 (BOX SCORE)

It was bat day in Scranton today as the WooSox absolutely teed-off on the Rail Riders (Yankees AAA.) This was a feel-good statline. Worcester had six home runs on the day, led by David Hamilton and Niko Goodrum, who both had two, along with Nick Sogard and Daniel Palka. Five of these six home runs came in the first two innings, leading Worcester to a, early 7-2 lead. Matt Darmody pitched a pretty efficient 7 innings, throwing 66 strikes in 99 pitches that got him through seven, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits, and striking out eleven. He’s looked really quite good his last few starts for Worcester, and I really can’t jinx Boston’s depth of spot starters by saying anything further. Eight WooSox hitters had at least one hit in this game; five had two.

While many had been clamoring for Jorge Alfaro’s services on the Major League squad in Spring Training, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but McGuire and Wong have been more than serviceable. And now, having Jorge and his locks and his power tool on the roster is not a major bone of contention to me. My hill to die on may, in time, become giving David Hamilton his chance at some point this season. He’s quick on his feet, is always a speed threat, (he set Portland’s single-season stolen bases record in 2022 and led the minors with 70, while already stealing 23 stolen bases on the season), has an .891 OPS which is quite respectable for a middle infielder, and knocked both his 10th and 11th home runs of the season Tuesday, which, since he had 14 all of last season in Portland, is higher than expected.

It may be worth seeing what he can do in the majors until Story returns, should Valdez or Reyes falter enough to justify an option, and it may clear up something of a playing time logjam lower in the organization. Hamilton has certainly earned it; his tinkering with his swing has led to much more contact, and even his defensive arm has appeared to be much less of a liability than it was in Portland. The blessing and an almost immediate curse of moving Hamilton up would be that Kiké Hernandez, who for some time led the majors in defensive errors at shortstop, would be able to move to center field, where there is about to be another logjam, since Jaren Duran is playing quite well this season, Raimel Tapia is playing acceptably, and Adam Duvall might be back in roughly a month. But Cora has always loved those versatile players, and Hamilton has shown enough potential in his tools to draw some interest at the Major League level.

P.S. Hello, old friend, Franchy Cordero!

Portland: W, 6-4 (BOX SCORE)

Portland has looked like a world-beater as of late, as they hosted the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays AA) in a game that saw them come from 4-1 down in the ninth inning to win 6-4. Birthday boy Stephen Scott made a case for this article to be called “The Stephen Scott Game”, as he hit two home runs in this one, including the go-ahead knock in the 9th. He’s another player suffering from an organizational logjam at his position; Scott, who turned 26 today, is playing DH quite often, allowing Nathan Hickey to do the catching, and that’s not even considering Alfaro, himself relegated to a regular designated hitter, Caleb Hamilton, and Ronaldo Hernandez in Worcester, and Matt Donlan joining Scott and Hickey in Portland. The only clear weakness of this team last night was that they went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Chih-Jung Li went 5 23 allowing just one hit (one run but only one hit!) He walked four, but struck out eight. He has 47 strikeouts in 41 innings of work, with an ERA of 2.85. Might be worth taking a 40-man look near the end of the season. In the mean time, plenty to feel good about in this game despite having to pull out some heroics in the ninth.

Greenville: W, 9-0 (BOX SCORE)

Talk about dominance. The Drive got to the Rome Braves pitching staff early... and late... and often in this one. Angel Bastardo pitched a good one despite only lasting four innings, and yes, to create a point of discussion, Marcelo Mayer hit two home runs. If only Brainer Bonaci could something besides strike out so that those long balls weren’t both solo shots... oh well, can’t look a nine-run win in the mouth. Can we look our organizational depth chart in the eye though and say that Marcelo, who has an OPS of .963, better be up in Portland soon? How about Blaze Jordan, who had two hits in this game?

Salem: W, 4-3 (BOX SCORE)

The Abraham Liendo game? Maybe. He sure looked great tying this game up in the ninth inning. So did Roman Anthony, walking the game off against the Fredericksburg Nationals. The Nationals looked like they had this game won in a shutout before the bottom of the ninth, holding the Red Sox to five hits all game, and Salem matched that in the ninth inning alone. Always good when every affiliate pulls off a win in the same night, a more coincidentally good feeling when three of the four come from behind in the 11th hour!

Have a good Wednesday, everyone! I’m back on Minor Lines tomorrow.