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)

Red Sox’ Pedro Castellanos, Niko Kavadas earn Eastern League, Carolina League Player of the Week honors

A pair of Red Sox first-base prospects took home weekly honors from the respective leagues they play in. Earlier Monday afternoon, Minor League Baseball announced that Double-A Portland’s Pedro Castellanos and Low-A Salem’s Niko Kavadas were named Eastern League and Carolina League Players of the Week for the week of June 13-19.

Castellanos appeared in all six games of Portland’s most-recent series against the Reading Fightin Phils. In those six contests at FirstEnergy Stadium, the right-handed hitter went 12-for-28 (.429) at the plate with two doubles, one home run, five RBIs, two runs scored, zero walks, and four strikeouts.

By recording at least one hit in all six of those games, Castellanos extended his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games. On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the 24-year-old is batting .283/.307/.465 (109 wRC+) with 16 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 42 RBIs, 22 runs scored, seven walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (244 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

Among qualified Eastern League hitters this season, Castellanos ranks eighth in doubles, fourth in RBIs, ninth in batting average, 22nd in slugging percentage, 29th in OPS (.773), and 34th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-3, 195 pounder has seen playing time at first base and both corner outfield positions this season. He has logged 257 1/3 innings at first, 26 innings in left, and 113 innings in right.

The Red Sox originally signed Castellanos for just $5,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015. Always known for his ability to hit for average, the Carora native is eligible to become a free agent again this winter.

Castellanos, who turns 25 in December, becomes the first member of the 2022 Portland Sea Dogs to earn Eastern League Player of the Week honors this year.

Kavadas, meanwhile, had a monster week for Salem in its series against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Carillion Clinic Field. Over the course of six games, the left-handed hitting slugger went 9-for-17 (.529) with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs, 10 runs scored, nine walks, and just seven punchouts.

Selected by Boston in the 11th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Notre Dame, Kavadas has enjoyed a moderate amount of success in his first full professional season. Following a 2-for-3 performance on Sunday, the 24-year-old is now slashing a stout .279/.456/.570 (182 wRC+) to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 31 runs scored, one stolen base, 54 walks, and 68 strikeouts across 56 games (241 plate appearances) for the Salem Sox.

Among qualified hitters in the Carolina League this season, Kavadas ranks 15th in batting average, first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, second in OPS (1.026), first in isolated power (.291), first in walk rate (22.4%), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Kavadas has logged 343 innings at first base this year and has otherwise served as Salem’s designated hitter. The 6-foot-1, 235 pounder out of Granger, Ind. is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 44 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Given what he has done at the Low-A level this season, it seems like Kavadas could be on the verge of a promotion to High-A Greenville. He becomes the second member of the 2022 Salem Red Sox to earn Carolina League Player of the Week honors and joins fellow infielder Blaze Jordan by doing so.

(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox prospect Nick Northcut named South Atlantic League Player of the Week

Red Sox infield prospect Nick Northcut has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of June 6-12, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In High-A Greenville’s latest series against the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field, Northcut went 7-for-22 (.318) with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs, seven runs scored, three walks, and nine strikeouts over six games. All four of those homers were hit within a two-day stretch on Friday and Saturday.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, the right-handed hitter is batting .231/.286/.574 with seven doubles, a team-high 20 home runs and 46 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 12 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 50 games (210 plate appearances) for the Drive. He has put up those numbers while primarily playing both corner infield positions.

Among qualified South Atlantic League hitters, Northcut ranks first in home runs, second in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.860), first in isolated power (.344), and 17th in wRC+ (124), per FanGraphs.

Northcut, who is celebrating his 23rd birthday on Monday, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 60th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Ohio native was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Mason High School.

While power has been his standout tool this season, Northcut is working to become more selective at the plate. His 37.6% strikeout rate and 5.7% walk rate are among the worst marks in the Sally League, but the Red Sox have otherwise been pleased with what they have seen from the young slugger.

As he inches closer towards setting a new single-season home run record in Greenville, Northcut becomes the first member of the Drive to earn South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors since Ceddanne Rafaela did so on April 18.

Rafaela has since been promoted to Double-A Portland. Perhaps Northcut is not too far behind him.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Red Sox prospects Victor Santos, Juan Daniel Encarnación earn Eastern League, Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors

Red Sox pitching prospects Victor Santos and Juan Daniel Encarnacion have respectively been named the Eastern League and Carolina League Pitchers of the Week for the week of May 30-June 5, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Santos made two appearances (one start) for Double-A Portland in its most recent series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Delta Dental Stadium. In those two outings, the right-hander allowed one earned run on seven hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts over 12 total innings for the Sea Dogs.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Santos has posted a 3.94 ERA and 4.63 FIP with 42 strikeouts to 12 walks across 11 appearances (10 starts) spanning 61 2/3 innings with Portland. Among qualified Eastern League pitchers, the 21-year-old ranks sixth in walks per nine innings (1.75), seventh in walk rate (4.8%), 12th in batting average against (.232), seventh in WHIP (1.07), and first in innings pitched, per FanGraphs.

Originally acquired from the Phillies last July as the player to be named later in the trade that sent C.J. Chatham to Philadelphia, Santos is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 51st-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot-1, 191 pound hurler from the Dominican Republic throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph fastball, a 77-79 mph split changeup, and a 77-81 mph slider.

Santos, who turns 22 in July, can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter. Because of that, he could be a prime candidate to pitch in the Arizona Fall League later this year.

Encarnacion, meanwhile, also made two appearances (one start) for Low-A Salem in its latest series against the Columbia Fireflies at Carillion Clinic Field. Over seven cumulative innings of work, the righty allowed no runs on just four hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts.

In 10 outings (nine starts) with the Salem Sox this season, Encarnacion has produced a 4.01 ERA and 3.36 FIP with 49 punchouts to 12 walks across 42 2/3 innings. Among qualified pitchers in the Carolina League, the 21-year-old ranks eighth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.34), seventh in walks per nine innings (2.53), 10th in strikeout rate (27.2%), eighth in walk rate (6.7%), eighth in FIP, and ninth in xFIP (3.84), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally signed Encarnacion for $40,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in September 2018. The San Pedro de Macoris native is not yet regarded as one of the premier pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system, though he certainly possesses intriguing potential.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 173 pounds, Encarnacion throws from a three-quarters arm slot and works with a 90-93 mph fastball that reaches 94 mph, a 76-81 mph slider, and an 84-85 mph changeup, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Unlike Santos, Encarnacion — who does not turn 22 until next March — is not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until the conclusion of the 2023 season. So there is still a ways to go there.

(Picture of Victor Santos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story named American League Player of the Week after hitting 6 home runs during homestand

In unsurprising news, Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story has been named American League Player of the Week for the week of May 16-22, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.

Story is coming off his best stretch in a Red Sox uniform to date after feasting on two American League West opponents at Fenway Park. In seven games against the Astros and Mariners, the right-handed hitting slugger slashed a blistering .360/.452/1.120 with one double, six home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs scored, two stolen bases, five walks, and four strikeouts across 31 trips to the plate. Boston went 6-1 in those contests.

On Monday, Story came through in the clutch by clubbing a game-tying home run off Astros reliever Phil Maton in the seventh inning of an eventual 6-3 win. The 428-foot solo shot was Story’s first Fenway Park homer as a member of the Sox.

Three days later, the 29-year-old went off for three home runs and seven RBIs as part of a 12-6 blowout victory over the Mariners. It marked the second three-homer game of his big-league career and the first time a second baseman had ever crushed three homers and stole a base in the same game. He also hit a grand slam on Friday and went deep again on Sunday to bring his season total up to seven.

To go along with those seven long balls, Story is now batting .226/.310/.438 on the year with 29 RBIs, 21 runs scored, a team-leading five stolen bases, 16 walks, and 45 strikeouts across 36 games spanning 158 plate appearances.

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract with Boston in March, becomes the first Red Sox player to earn American League Player of the Week honors this season. The two-time All-Star accomplished the National League version of the feat four times in his tenure with the Rockies.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan named Carolina League Player of the Week

Red Sox power-hitting prospect Blaze Jordan has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 9-15, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Appearing in five games in Low-A Salem’s most-recent series against the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, Jordan went 9-for-22 (.409) with four doubles, two home runs, four RBIs, five runs scored, two walks, and two strikeouts.

After batting just .162 in the month of April, Jordan has turned things around for the better in May and is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak. Over the course of this torrid stretch, the right-handed hitting corner infielder has batted .367/.407/.592 (174 wRC+) to go along with five doubles, two homers, eight runs driven in, nine runs scored, four walks, and seven strikeouts across 54 trips to the plate.

Defensively, Jordan has seen time at both first base and third base with Salem this year. The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder has logged 68 2/3 innings at first and 161 innings at the hot corner thus far while recording a total of four errors and five double plays.

Jordan, 19, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top power hitter and No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the Mississippi native in the third round of the 2020 draft out of DeSoto Central High School and swayed him away from his commitment to Mississippi State University by signing him for $1.75 million.

Given the fact that he does not turn 20 until December, it seems likely that the Red Sox will take a deliberate approach with Jordan’s development. Put another way, he could spend most — if not the entirety — of the 2022 campaign in Salem before moving up to High-A Greenville.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández earns American League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Hernández becomes the second member of the Red Sox to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining J.D. Martinez — who did so in early April.

On the National League side of things, Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor — a former teammate of Hernández — was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after he posted an OPS of 1.433 in seven games against the Giants and Rockies.

In six games against the Blue Jays and Yankees this past week, Hernández went 10-for-25 (.400/.448/1.000) at the plate with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, and eight runs scored over 29 plate appearances while playing second base, shortstop, and center field.

The 29-year-old began his week with his first multi-homer game of the year in Buffalo, then came through in the clutch on more than one occasion at Fenway Park while the Yankees were in town.

On Thursday, with his side down to their final out and trailing 3-1 in the late stages of the ninth inning, Hernández laced a game-tying, two-run double off the Green Monster that scored both Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran to knot things up at three runs a piece and set the Red Sox off for a walk-off 5-4 win in the 10th.

On Sunday, Hernández took center stage in the eighth inning of Boston’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over New York, as he ripped an RBI double off Yankees reliever Zack Britton that brought in Christian Vazquez to cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run and later scored what would turn out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Including what he has done over his last six games, Hernández is now slashing .244/.322/.467 (111 wRC+) to go along with 14 home runs and 39 RBI over 84 total games (357 plate appearances) in his first season with the Red Sox.

Hernández, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston in February, has proven to be a valuable component of what the club is trying to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitter out of Puerto Rico ranks 20th among qualified American League position players in fWAR (2.4) while leading all AL center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (12), per FanGraphs.

The fact that Hernández has been as solid as he has been at center field this season speaks to just how versatile he is, as he originally signed with the Sox to be the club’s everyday second baseman.

That being said, Hernández — who turns 30 in late August — will make just his second start and fifth overall appearance at shortstop in place of Xander Bogaerts in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

First pitch between the 61-39 Red Sox and 49-46 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez named American League Player of the Week

Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez has been named American League Player of the Week for the week of April 5-11, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Over the course of five games against the Rays and Orioles this past week, Martinez slashed a sizzling .458/.500/1.125 with four home runs and 13 RBI.

The 33-year-old slugger missed one of his team’s six games as a result of being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on Saturday, but that absence would wind up being very short.

Returning to Boston’s lineup for their series finale against Baltimore on Sunday, Martinez went 4-for-6 at the plate while clubbing three home runs, collecting four RBI, and scoring four times.

By capping off his weekend with that dominant performance at Camden Yards, the three-time All-Star became just the fifth player in major-league history to put together a three-homer game for three different teams (Tigers, Diamondbacks, Red Sox).

Taking this past weekend’s showing into consideration, Martinez now owns a slash line of .472/.500/1.083 to go along with five home runs and 16 RBI through his first eight games and 38 plate appearances of the young season.

“He’s locked in, you can tell,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Martinez’s torrid start. “He is walking around talking hitting. This is a guy I saw in ‘18 and ‘19, he has an idea of what he wants to do. He doesn’t deviate from his process. I know he talked about last year and he’s on a mission to prove people wrong, but it was only 60 games. He was one month away from getting his numbers right. Right now, he’s locked in and I’m glad he’s swinging the bat the way he is.”

For as dismal a 2020 campaign Martinez had (.680 OPS in 54 games), the first week-plus of the 2021 season has been encouraging to say the least.

Despite the record-setting start in which he has recorded an extra-base hit in eight straight games, though, Martinez himself tries not to pay too much attention to it.

“Honestly, for me, I don’t even notice it. I really try not to,” he said on Sunday. “You guys know how I am. I repeat the same things over and over to you guys. I think the moment you’re aware of it, you’re no longer in it. So I try to not be aware of it and just focus on the small tasks. Focus on my game plan off certain pitchers and what I’m trying to do. That’s how I kind of control the whole thing.”

Martinez taking home American League Player of the Week honors marks the first time a member of the Red Sox has done so since Rafael Devers in August 2019.

On the National League side of things, Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history against the Rangers on Friday.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers Is Your American League Player of the Week

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been named American League Player of the Week for August 12th through the 18th.

The 22-year-old put together quite the week at the plate against the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, slashing .593/.633/1.185 with 10 extra-base hits, three of which being home runs, and 11 RBI over his last six games.

That stretch included a run of eight straight hits that began with a six-hit, four-double performance in Cleveland on Tuesday, marking the first time since at least 1908 that a major leaguer had achieved that feat, and extended into Wednesday.

Against the Orioles on Sunday, Devers became the first big leaguer this season to surpass the century mark in RBI with a two-run homer, his 27th, in the seventh inning of a 13-7 victory.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Devers leads American League third baseman in games played (123), runs scored (103), runs driven in (101), slugging percentage (.575), and is tied with Houston’s Alex Bregman atop the fWAR leaderboards (5.5).

2019 has certainly been a breakout year for Devers to say the least. In what is only his second full season in the majors, the breakout star appears to be a lock to finish in the top three for American League Most Valuable Player voting in the fall.