Red Sox’ Izzy Wilson earns Eastern League Player of the Week honors for second time this season

For the second time this season, Izzy Wilson has been named Eastern League Player of the Week. He first earned the honors for the week of July 4-10 and did so again for the week of September 5-11, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Double-A Portland’s last series against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at Hadlock Field, Wilson went 9-for-16 (.563) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, six runs scored, two walks, and two strikeouts over five games.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the left-handed hitting outfielder is batting .207/.304/.400 with 14 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 41 runs driven in, 46 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 39 walks, and 91 strikeouts across 91 games (334 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs.

While those numbers may not seem all that impressive, Wilson has been a much better hitter as of late. In his last 45 games dating back to July 4, for instance, the 24-year-old has slashed a stout .293/.371/.592 (157 wRC+) to go along with 10 homers, 33 RBIs, 29 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 169 trips to the plate.

Defensively, Wilson has seen the majority of his playing time with the Sea Dogs come in right field. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder has logged a team-high 632 1/3 innings in right as well as 78 innings in center while leading the team in outfield assists with six.

Wilson was once regarded by Baseball America as a top-30 prospect in the Braves farm system after signing with Atlanta as an international free-agent in December 2014. The Sint Maarten native also spent time in the Rays and Angels organizations prior to inking a minor-league deal with the Red Sox back in January.

Considering that he does not turn 25 until next March, it should be interesting to see if Boston attempts to bring Wilson back on another minors pact for the 2023 season. He could potentially provide the club with intriguing outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of Izzy Wilson: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Matthew Lugo named South Atlantic League Player of the Month for August

Red Sox infield prospect Matthew Lugo has been named the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for August, Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Lugo batted .353/.405/.608 with five doubles, seven home runs, 24 RBIs, 22 runs scored, nine stolen bases, eight walks, and 21 strikeouts over 25 games (111 plate appearances) for High-A Greenville in the month of August. Since the calendar flipped to September, the right-handed hitter has gone 4-for-11 (.364) in his last three games to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Lugo has slashed a respectable .289/.344/.504 (126 wRC+) to go along with 24 doubles, nine triples, 18 homers, 76 runs driven in, 74 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 33 walks, and 90 strikeouts across 109 games (489 plate appearances) with the Drive.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Lugo ranks eighth in batting average, 29th in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS (.849), sixth in isolated power (.215), sixth in speed score (7.3), and 10th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Compared to last year with Low-A Salem, Lugo has been able to cut down on his strikeout rate (20 percent to 18.4 percent), but he is also drawing fewer walks (8.1 percent walk rate to 6.7 percent) and making solid contact less frequently (27.3 percent line-drive rate to 18.4 percent) in Greenville.

On the other side of the ball, Lugo has seen playing time at three different positions this season. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder has logged 628 2/3 innings at shortstop, 180 1/3 innings at third base, and 58 innings at second base. While the versatility is nice, he has committed a total of 26 errors.

Lugo, 21, was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 69th overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. The nephew of the former All-Star outfielder, Lugo signed for $1.1 million and is now regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Given that the minor-league season is almost over, it seems unlikely at this point that Lugo will receive a late promotion to Double-A Portland, though the Sea Dogs are scheduled to play six more regular season games after the Drive wrap things up on Sunday.

Regardless of that happens there, Lugo seems like a sure bet to break camp next spring with Portland. He may also be considered a candidate to play in the Arizona Fall League beginning next month even though he is not Rule 5-eligible until 2023.

(Picture of Matthew Lugo: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Eddinson Paulino named Carolina League Player of the Week

Red Sox infield prospect Eddinson Paulino has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week for the week of August 29-September 4, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Low-A Salem’s last series on the road against the Augusta GreenJackets, Paulino went 8-for-20 (.400) with two doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs, eight runs scored, two stolen bases, four walks, and three strikeouts over five games. All three of those homers came within a two-game span on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the left-handed hitter is slashing .265/.358/.469 to go along with 34 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs, 66 runs driven in, 94 runs scored, 27 stolen bases, 63 walks, and 27 strikeouts across 112 games (531 plate appearances) for Salem.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Paulino ranks 24th in walk rate (11.9%), 15th in strikeout rate (19.4%), 15th in swinging-strike rate (11%), 14th in batting average, 18th in on-base percentage, fifth in slugging percentage, sixth in OPS (.828), fifth in isolated power (.204), fourth in line-drive rate (25.6%), sixth in speed score (8.5), and sixth in wRC+ (127), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Paulino has proven to be a versatile weapon for Salem this season. After making his 11th start of the season in center field on Sunday, the 5-foot-10, 155 pounder has now logged 98 1/3 innings in center, eight innings in left field, 243 2/3 innings at second base, 275 innings at third base, and 301 innings at shortstop.

Paulino, 20, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 18 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the native Dominican for $205,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Santiago in July 2018.

Fast forward a little more than four years, and Paulino is now slated to become Rule 5 eligible for the first time in his career this winter. The Red Sox would need to add Paulino to their 40-man roster by the November deadline in order to protect him from December’s Rule 5 Draft.

In a recent conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Boston’s director of player development Brian Abraham noted that these kinds of decisions are tougher to make since international players such as Paulino begin their careers much earlier than other prospects.

“Their clock starts a lot earlier and we’re having these conversations a lot sooner,” Abraham said. “I think you try to look at other players, and you’re always trying to compare where (other) guys were, body type physically, areas that we feel they can improve upon or have improved upon, vs. areas where we feel they might fall short. These decisions are always tough because there’s a limited number of spots.

“But I think, on our side (in player development), we are developing these players like they’re going to be with us for the long haul,” he added. “It’s always a balance in terms of the Rule 5, but some of the stuff with our staff and our coordinators and our (coaches), we’re not necessarily focused on that or worried about that. We’re just trying to get these guys ready for the next level.”

Barring a late-season promotion, Paulino is set to end the year in Salem. If he remains in the organization through the winter, he will likely break camp next spring with High-A Greenville.

(Picture of Eddinson Paulino: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Blaze Jordan named Carolina League Player of the Week for second time this season

For the second time this season, Red Sox power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week. He first took home the award for the week of May 9-15 and does so again for the week of June 20-26, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Low-A Salem’s latest series against the Fredericksburg Nationals at Carilion Clinic Field, Jordan went 12-for-24 (.500) at the plate with two doubles, two home runs, five RBIs, five runs scored, three walks, and just one strikeout over the course of six games.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the right-handed hitting corner infielder is batting a stout .311/.364/.502 (139 wRC+) with 20 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 42 runs driven in, 39 runs scored, two stolen bases, 19 walks, and 44 strikeouts across 63 games (275 plate appearances) with the Salem Sox.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Jordan ranks seventh in strikeout rate (16%), seventh in batting average, 25th in on-base percentage, fifth in slugging percentage, sixth in OPS (.866), 17th in isolated power (.191), and eighth in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder has logged 164 1/3 innings at first base and 315 innings at third base so far this season. He has committed a total of seven fielding errors and has also appeared in seven games as a designated hitter.

Jordan, 19, was selected by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2020 amateur draft out of DeSoto Central High School. The Southaven, Miss. native forwent his commitment to Mississippi State University by signing with Boston for $1.75 million. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect and the top power hitter in the organization’s farm system.

It is believed that the Red Sox will take a deliberate approach with Jordan’s development given that he does not turn 20 until December. He therefore could spend the rest of the year in Salem, though a late-season promotion to High-A Greenville is certainly possible under the right circumstances.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Who is Joey Stock? Red Sox pitching prospect has posted 2.20 ERA in first 7 appearances with Low-A Salem this season

Not including Juan Daniel Encarnacion, Red Sox pitching prospect Joey Stock currently leads Low-A Salem in innings pitched a little less than four weeks into the minor-league season.

In seven appearances (one start) for Salem so far this year, the right-hander has posted a 2.20 ERA and 3.80 xFIP to go along with 19 strikeouts to seven walks over 16 1/3 innings of work.

Among Carolina League pitchers who have accrued at least 10 innings on the mound to this point in 2022, Stock ranks 23rd in batting average against (.161), 22nd in WHIP (0.98), 29th in ERA, and 40th in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

Stock, 24, originally signed with the Red Sox as an undrafted free agent coming out of Division III Saint John’s University (Collegeville, Minn.) in August 2020. The Cold Spring native was slated to attend Division I University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to pursue his master’s degree beginning in the fall, but instead opted to go pro then and there.

After being used as a two-way player in college, Stock transitioned strictly to the mound with Boston. He made his organizational debut in the rookie-level Florida Complex League last summer before being promoted to Salem in mid-August.

Since that time, Stock has produced a 2.15 ERA and 4.01 FIP with 34 punchouts and 13 walks across 16 outings (29 1/3 innings) at the Low-A level. The 6-foot-5, 210 pound hurler has yielded such results while working with a 91-93 mph fastball that can reportedly reach 96 mph, a 79-81 mph curveball, and an 80-81 mph changeup, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Stock, who turns 25 in September, is older for his level and seems to be taking advantage of that by pitching well for Salem. Because of this, one has to wonder if the righty could be on the verge of a new challenge in the form of a promotion to High-A Greenville sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Joey Stock: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox pitching prospects Jeremy Wu-Yelland, Shane Drohan strike out 9 batters in respective starts for High-A Greenville, Low-A Salem

The two pitching prospects the Red Sox selected in last year’s amateur draft certainly showed out for their respective affiliates on Thursday night.

Jeremy Wu-Yelland, taken by the Sox in the fourth round out of the University of Hawaii, and Shane Drohan, taken in the fifth round out of Florida State University, each struck out a season-high of nine batters in their starts — which took place at the same time, but approximately 260 miles away from one another.

Wu-Yelland, who was just promoted to High-A Greenville earlier in the day, made his debut for the Drive a memorable one by tossing five scoreless, no-hit innings against the Asheville Tourists (Astros affiliate) at Fluor Field.

In addition to not allowing a run or hit, the left-hander worked his way around four walks and a hit batsman while striking out those nine batters.

Two of those four walks — and the HBP — issued by Wu-Yelland came in consecutive order to begin things in the top half of the third inning, thus loading the bases with no outs for Asheville.

The 22-year-old southpaw did not buckle under the pressure, however, and instead locked in by punching out Freudis Nova on three pitches before getting Shay Whitcomb to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

From there, Wu-Yelland struck out the side for the second time in the fourth and followed that up by retiring the final three hitters he faced in the fifth to end his outing on an encouraging note.

Of the 72 pitches Wu-Yelland threw on Thursday, 43 went for strikes. Six of his strikeouts were swinging, two were looking, and one was on a foul tip.

The Greenville bullpen took over for Wu-Yelland in the sixth and ensured that the lefty’s efforts would not go to waste as relievers Jose Espada, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Jacob Wallace saw the combined no-hit bid through to its completion.

In helping the Drive throw their fourth no-hitter in team history, Wu-Yelland was able to earn his first victory at the High-A level in his very first start there.

Prior to getting promoted on Thursday, the Seattle-area native had spent the entirety of the 2021 minor-league season with Low-A Salem, where he had posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP to go along with 77 strikeouts to 36 walks over 20 starts spanning 67 innings pitched.

Listed at an imposing 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Wu-Yelland — who was signed as a junior out of Hawaii by J.J. Altobelli — is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 27 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking 12th among pitchers in the organization.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Wu-Yelland “is one of the most explosive, powerful pitchers in Boston’s system” as he operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-octane fastball, a slider, and a changeup.

30 picks after taking Wu-Yelland in the fourth round of last summer’s draft, the Red Sox selected a fellow left-hander in the fifth round in the form of Drohan, who was also sharp for Low-A Salem on Thursday in the first game of their seven-inning doubleheader against the Fredericksburg Nationals at Haley Toyota Field.

Over five quality innings of work, Drohan surrendered just one earned run while scattering just four hits and no walks with a season-high nine strikeouts on the night.

Drohan, also 22, faced all of 14 batters — just two over the minimum — through his first four frames, but ran into some trouble in the top half of the fifth when he yielded back-to-back one out doubles to Jaden Fein and Jose Sanchez, resulting in Fredericksburg plating their first run.

A wild pitch allowed Sanchez to move up to third, though Drohan managed to strand him there by sitting down the final two hitters he faced to retire the side in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (53 strikes), the Florida State product was able to pick up his sixth winning decision of the season while also lowering his ERA on the year down to 3.89.

Through 20 starts with Salem now, Drohan has pitched to the tune of a 3.89 ERA, a .241 batting average against, and a 1.40 WHIP to go along with 75 strikeouts to 40 walks in 78 2/3 total innings of work.

A former 23-round draft pick of the Phillies out of high school who opted to honor his commitment to Florida State in 2017, Drohan is not regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system.

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound Florida native is, however, regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 32 prospect in the Red Sox organization, as his pitch arsenal is currently comprised of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a 77-79 mph curveball, and 80-83 mph changeup.

Both Wu-Yelland and Drohan can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after the 2023 season, so there is no rush for the Red Sox to add either hurler to their 40-man roster at the moment.

(Picture of Jeremy Wu-Yelland: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Salem Red Sox general manager Allen Lawrence joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Allen Lawrence, the general manager of the Salem Red Sox.

Among the topics Allen and I discussed were how he got his start in the sports industry, how his role differs from what a major-league general manager does, how the Salem Red Sox got creative during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, his relationships with members of the Red Sox front office, such as Chaim Bloom and Brian O’Halloran, his thoughts on how the Salem Red Sox are playing this season, who he would like to see the Red Sox draft on Sunday, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Allen for taking some time out of his Thursday morning to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Allen on Twitter (@AllenWLawrence) by clicking here. You can learn more about the Salem Red Sox by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote minor-league outfielder Johan Mieses, who leads organization with 11 homers, to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted minor-league outfielder Johan Mieses from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Mieses, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league contract with the Sox back in November 2019, but did not play at all in 2020 on account of the minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Re-upping with Boston on another minor-league pact this past fall — after not receiving an invite to the team’s alternate training site or fall instructional league — the Dominican native opened the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland and has done nothing but mash since then.

Over 23 games with the Sea Dogs, Mieses slashed .286/.368/.714 (188 wRC+) to go along with three doubles, a team-leading 11 home runs, 22 RBI, 19 runs scored, nine walks, and 19 strikeouts in 95 trips to the plate.

While primarily batting cleanup in his time in Portland, the 6-foot-2, 185 pound right-handed hitter played 11 games in right field, three games in left field, and nine games at designated hitter.

A former top prospect of the Dodgers organization who was signed out of the Dominican at 17, Mieses was part of the trade that sent infielder Breyvic Valera from the St. Louis Cardinals to Los Angeles in April 2018.

In his tenure with the Cardinals, Mieses appeared in 22 games for Triple-A Memphis across multiple stints with the affiliate during the 2019 season. In those 22 games, he hit .339/.414/.677 with six homers and 17 RBI.

Throughout his professional career, the slugging outfielder has shown a propensity for hitting home runs. That much is made evident by his 120 career homers at the minor-league level.

“It’s real power. The homers are legit,” Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “His ability to drive the baseball and overall production at the plate has been consistent all season for Portland in the middle of their lineup. We felt now was a good opportunity to challenge him at the next level.”

As he prepares to embark upon this next phase of his career with the WooSox, one has to wonder if Mieses — who will be donning the No. 40 — will be able to take advantage of the way the ball has been flying out of Polar Park so far this season.

(Picture of Johan Mieses: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Who is Johan Mieses? Red Sox minor-league outfielder currently leads Double-A Northeast with 11 homers in 22 games

When thinking about which Red Sox minor-leaguers may lead the organization in home runs slightly less than a full month into the 2021 minor-league season, one might guess it’s either one of top prospects Triston Casas or Jarren Duran, or maybe even slugging first baseman Josh Ockimey.

The truth is, neither of those three lead the Red Sox farm system in long balls to this point in the minor-league season. That honor would fall to perhaps a less recognizable name in the form of outfielder Johan Mieses.

Through 22 games with Double-A Portland this spring, Mieses is slashing .288/.374/.725 (190 wRC+) to go along with two doubles, a team-leading 11 home runs, 22 RBI, 18 runs scored, nine walks, and 17 strikeouts over 91 plate appearances.

In six games this past week alone, Mieses went 9-for-23 (.391) at the plate in the process of hitting two doubles, clubbing four home runs, collecting 10 RBI, and scoring five times to be named the Double-A Northeast League Player of the Week.

Mieses, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league deal with Boston back in November 2019 after spending the first seven years of his professional career between the Dodgers and Cardinals organizations.

While he did not spend any time at the team’s alternate training site or fall instructional league last year in the wake of the 2020 minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dominican native did re-sign with the Sox in November.

A former top prospect of the Dodgers who was involved in the trade that sent infielder Breyvic Valera from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2018, Mieses hits from the right side of the plate, throws with his right hand, and is listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds.

Among the top hitters in the Double-A Northeast (formerly the Eastern League), Mieses comes into play Tuesday ranking fifth in runs scored, 11th in hits (23), first in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage, and third in OPS (1.099).

In addition to primarily batting out of the cleanup spot, Mieses has seen the majority of his playing time come in right field with some left field and designated hitter mixed in there as well.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization two falls ago, the right-handed hitting outfielder had played 22 games at the Triple-A level while with the Cardinals in 2019. In those 22 games, he posted a .339/.414/.677 slash line with six homers and 17 RBI in 70 plate appearances.

Considering the fact that he is performing well in Double-A this season and has a solid — albeit small — track record of success at the next level, one has to wonder if Mieses could be on the verge of earning himself a promotion to Triple-A Worcester sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Johan Mieses: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana to continue rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday, Alex Cora says

Danny Santana will take the next step in his rehab assignment this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced before Monday’s game against the Orioles in Baltimore.

Per Cora, Santana will continue his rehab with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Worcester after beginning the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Greenville.

“Danny is in Worcester now,” Cora said during his pregame media availability. “He’s doing protocol, the intake… He’s supposed to play Tuesday in Worcester.”

The WooSox will host the Syracuse Mets in their home opener at Polar Park on Tuesday afternoon. Santana is expected to be in Worcester’s starting lineup.

In three games with Greenville this past week, the 30-year-old went 4-for-10 with one double, one home run, and two RBI over 12 plate appearances. He played second base, shortstop, and centerfield in that brief stretch.

Santana originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox back in March but missed an extended period of time in spring training due to a right foot infection that required a stay in the hospital. He also underwent an ulnar collateral ligament repair and augmentation procedure last September.

Before signing with Boston, the switch-hitter had spent the previous two seasons with the Texas Rangers, where he played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

In 2019, he clubbed 28 home runs, collected 81 RBI, and stole 21 bases en route to being named the Rangers’ Player of the Year.

After being limited to just 15 games last year due to multiple stints on the injured list, Santana was non-tendered by Texas in November, which made him available for the Red Sox to sign in the first place.

The expectation seems to be that once Santana is fully ready to go, he will be added to the Sox’ major-league roster, which would also require him to be added to the cub’s 40-man roster.

Until then, how Santana performs with Worcester should be something to monitor these next few days/weeks.

As an added bonus, the WooSox’ home opener on Tuesday will be broadcast on NESN. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)