As the season winds down, fewer and fewer minor league affiliates are even still playing, leading us to contemplate who will even be a part of this organization come spring. This is especially worrying when considering how many people the Red Sox will have to protect from the Rule 5 draft this offseason. These are players that are performing well in the minor leagues but may or may not be ready for a Major League roster yet — much less a roster that should have more figured out to avenge a competition for last place in 2023. Nevertheless, some of these players are suiting up for what may be the last of their action in the Red Sox organization this month, so let’s focus on that while they’re still here! Worcester and Portland were in action, Greenville had an off day after their first playoff win since 2017 before facing off against Hickory in game 2 tonight, and Salem is done for the season.
Worcester: L, 1-7 (BOX SCORE)
Worcester is on their last home stand of the year facing the Syracuse Mets. I’m not sure what was uglier: the amount of rain that fell in Central Massachusetts prior to this game or the outcome. Kyle Barraclough did strike out eight, but the game was too far gone for that to matter. Account for the fact that old friend Daniel Palka teed off for four hits against his old team, who only recorded six hits last night, and the disposition of this game was quite grey. In his pursuit of more home runs, Bobby Dalbec got two hits but, ultimately, Nick Sogard had the only extra base hit for the WooSox, a double in the 4th, and Enmanuel Valdez belted the only RBI of the night by driving Sogard in.
Most of this lineup may be playing elsewhere next year, and as someone who has frequented Polar Park quite a bit this season, I will miss them, but the reality is that the only people who could be Major League caliber on this roster at the current moment are Arroyo, Dalbec (but not here), Stephen Scott (if we get past the catcher logjam), Shane Drohan, (but absolutely not yet), Chris Murphy if he can chill with the walks, and maybe some flyers on Niko Kavadas and Corey Rosier if their forward trajectory continues. An AAA roster shouldn’t be solely a castoff of waiver wire claims, and though it helps to have some depth, there should simply be more people who are establishing themselves andready to take that next step — and succeed.
Portland: W, 16-4 (BOX SCORE)
It’s been stated that, the promotions of Roman Anthony, Marcelo Mayer (see you next year!), Kyle Teel and Brainer Bonaci to Double-A, that Greenville has the most boring roster in the organization. Well, in the meantime, that means Portland is full of exciting names... and these up-and-comers certainly hit fellow New England team the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies AA) around the ballpark, as Portland closes out their season at the end of this series.
Zack Kelly opened this one up in a rehab stint coming back from his early-season ulnar nerve transplant surgery. The only hit he gave up was a home run, and he got out of 2 innings in just 24 pitches. Efficient! On the offensive side, the Sea Dogs stole six bases in one inning off the same pitcher, including Nick Yorke swiping two bags following one of his two hits. At the end of five frames, it was 15-3, Sea Dogs. And in case you were wondering, leadoff man Roman Anthony scored three times himself, as his OPS still hovers above 1.000 and seems destined to finish that way.
The Sea Dogs drew ten walks and etched 14 hits featuring a double from Kyle Teel, who stands to skyrocket up this Red Sox organization. But, hey, that wasn’t all from Sea Dogs catchers; Nathan Hickey had two doubles and a walk himself, scoring all three times he reached base. These are guys that could theoretically be playing in Worcester very soon, including Teel, who just arrived here and was literally drafted nine weeks ago, which leaves one to wonder how the Sox will handle the catcher position, especially with the acceptable-but-only-to-a-point play of both Connor Wong and Reese McGuire in 2023. In the meantime, Portland has put together quite an exciting season and it’s culminating in a combined 37-10 effort in their last four games. It’s hard to believe Ceddanne Rafaela started here this season (and technically, so did Garrett Whitlock... ha, ha, ha) but that goes to show the power of strong play to begin a minor league season and makes one excited for guys we may see in Boston in just 12 months.