Former Red Sox prospect Jay Groome named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week; left-hander has posted 3.48 ERA since being traded to Padres

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of September 12-18 on Monday.

In his last start for Triple-A El Paso, Groome scattered three hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts across six scoreless innings in a 13-0 win over the Round Rock Express.

Since joining the Chihuahuas’ rotation last month, Groome has posted a 3.48 ERA and 4.52 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 18 walks over eight starts spanning 41 1/3 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .277 with a .777 OPS off the left-hander.

A former first-round selection of the Red Sox in 2016, Groome was dealt to the Padres in exchange for veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer and fellow prospects Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier at the trade deadline.

At that time, Groome was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 24-year-old southpaw is now ranked by the publication as the No. 10 prospect in San Diego’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Groome operates with a 90-94 mph fastball that touches 95-96 mph, a 76-80 mph curveball, a 79-82 mph changeup, and an 85-87 mph slider. The New Jersey native is already on the Padres’ 40-man roster and will have just one minor-league option remaining after this season.

Taking that into account, MLB Pipeline notes that the Padres could elect to use Groome out of the bullpen if they no longer believe he has starter potential.

(Picture of Jay Groome: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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’ Xander Bogaerts named American League Player of the Week

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of August 29-September 4, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

In seven games against the Twins and Rangers, Bogaerts went 15-for-28 (.536) with five doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, eight runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and just two strikeouts.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the right-handed hitter is batting a stout .317/.384/.469 to go along with 37 doubles, 12 homers, 63 runs driven in, 77 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 48 walks, and 104 strikeouts over 129 games and 544 plate appearances.

By going 2-for-5 in Monday’s loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field, Bogaerts tied a franchise record with his ninth consecutive multi-hit game. The 29-year-old became just the fourth player in Red Sox history to accomplish that feat and now owns the longest multi-hit streak in Major League Baseball this season.

Among qualified American League shortstops, Bogaerts ranks first in hits (153), first in doubles, first in runs scored, first in batting average, first in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.853), first in wRC+ (140), and first in fWAR (5.7), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Bogaerts is on pace to have one of the better defensive seasons of his major-league career. Coming into play on Tuesday, the native Aruban has posted four Defensive Runs Saved and an Ultimate Zone Rating of 4.0 across 1,089 2/3 innings at shortstop. His four Outs Above Average also rank in the 90th percentile among MLB players, according to Baseball Savant.

Bogaerts last earned AL Player of the Week honors in 2018. He becomes the second member of the Red Sox to receive the honor this season, joining fellow infielder and double-play partner Trevor Story, who won the award back in May.

As he continues to chase his first batting title, it is worth mentioning that Bogaerts — who turns 30 next month — can and most likely will opt out of the final three years and $60 million of the six-year, $120 million extension he signed with Boston in April 2019.

Assuming he hits the open market, Bogaerts would undoubtedly be one of the most sought-after free-agents in baseball this winter. It remains to be seen just how interested the Red Sox are in retaining his services.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Enmanuel Valdez takes home International League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox infield prospect Enmanuel Valdez was named the International League Player of the Week for the week of August 29-September 4, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Triple-A Worcester’s last series against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park, Valdez appeared in all six games and went 10-for-24 (.417) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 10 RBIs, eight runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and four strikeouts. He finished a single shy of the cycle on Sunday.

Since making his WooSox debut on Aug. 3, Valdez has batted .236/.325/.500 (114 wRC+) to go along with six doubles, one triple, seven homers, 27 runs driven in, 22 runs scored, two stolen bases, 15 walks, and 31 strikeouts over 28 games (127 plate appearances). Among those in the International League who have made at least 120 trips to the plate this season, the left-handed hitter ranks 51st in slugging percentage and 16th in isolated power (.264), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Valdez has seen playing time at three different positions in his time with the WooSox. After starting at second base on Sunday, the 5-foot-9, 191-pounder has logged 213 innings at second, 15 innings at third, and 17 innings in left field.

Valdez, 23, was originally signed by the Astros for $450,000 as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. The Red Sox acquired the San Juan de la Maguana native and fellow prospect Wilyer Abreu from Houston in exchange for catcher Christian Vazquez ahead of last month’s trade deadline.

Now, Valdez is regarded by Baseball America as the 16th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The publication describes him as “a bat-first infielder with a good combination of power and contact.” While there are some defensive concerns, he is “a tough out that grinds out at-bats, can hit for contact and punish mistakes.”

Valdez, who turns 24 in December, can become eligible for this winter’s Rule 5 Draft if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November deadline. Unlike Eddinson Paulino, who has yet to play above Low-A, Valdez seems like more of a lock to be added given his experience and level of production at Triple-A.

“If he were going to get called up tomorrow, I think his ability to play [multiple] positions would be very valuable for a major-league clubhouse and a major-league bench,” Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said of Valdez in a recent conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “He can play infield. He can play a corner (outfield) spot. And he can run into baseballs with power. So, I think the skillset lends itself really well to being an impactful major-league player. We’ve seen athleticism, and we’ve seen some areas that can be improved upon. I know our Triple-A staff already feel they’ve made some strides ins some of the smaller motor learning skills that he can improve upon while being in the infield, whether that be first-step quickness or the way he moves from left to right. And same thing in the outfield, some of the first step and quickness, I think he’s shown improvement on.”

“But, I think we’ve got a twitchy guy who has power, who drives the baseball, and the better he’s able to have an understanding of the strike zone and what he needs to do to consistently drive the baseball to all fields will allow him to be more impactful,” added Abraham. “But I think in a lot of ways he’s someone who’s incredibly unique, who can do all of those things (that profile well as a utility man) and still be someone who can play one position and play there for a consistent amount of time. I think that’s incredibly valuable these days. As we know, our Major League team has a bunch of those guys, our Triple-A team has a bunch of those guys. Getting yourself in the lineup to make an impact is really important.”

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: 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 outfield prospect Roman Anthony earns Florida Complex League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox outfield prospect Roman Anthony has been named Florida Complex League Player of the Week for the week of August 15-21, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Appearing in four games for the FCL Red Sox last week, Anthony went 9-for-16 (.563) with one double, four RBIs, four runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and zero strikeouts.

Following another multi-hit showing for Boston’s rookie-level affiliate on Monday, the left-handed hitting Anthony is now batting a stout .469/.500/.531 to go along with two doubles, six runs driven in, five runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and three punchouts over nine games (36 plate appearances) to begin his professional career.

On the other side of the ball, Anthony has already made multiple starts at all three outfield positions. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has logged 23 innings in left field, nine innings in center field, and 13 innings in right field.

Anthony, 18, was selected by the Red Sox with the 79th overall pick in last month’s amateur draft out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Boston swayed the Florida native away from his commitment to the University of Mississippi by signing him for an over-slot $2.5 million on July 29.

Prior to the draft, Anthony was ranked by Baseball America as The No. 72 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class. He is now regarded by the publication as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

“He’s a tremendous athlete. We think he’s got a really good shot of sticking in center field,” Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni said last month. “He’s got this profile where he’s going to get on base. He sees the ball well. He’s got tremendous power potential. That’s a pretty rare combination to find for a center fielder.”

Although some evaluators believe Anthony may be better suited for an outfield corner, there is no doubt that the reigning Florida Gatorade Player of the Year is talented.

Given that he does not turn 19 until next May, it seems likely that Anthony will remain in Fort Myers through the end of the 2022 campaign. If all goes well during the winter and spring, he could be on track to make the jump to Low-A Salem for the start of his first full professional season.

(Picture of Roman Anthony: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Matthew Lugo named South Atlantic League Player of the Week

Red Sox infield prospect Matthew Lugo has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the week of August August 15-21, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In High-A Greenville’s last series on the road against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Lugo appeared in five games and went 8-for-21 (.381) with two doubles, four home runs, 10 RBIs, nine runs scored, two stolen bases, one walk, and six strikeouts. All four of those homers came during a two-game stretch on Friday and Saturday.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the right-handed hitter has batted .273/.328/.504 (119 wRC+) to go along with 23 doubles, nine triples, 17 home runs, 70 runs driven in, 66 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, 29 walks, and 84 strikeouts across 97 games (437 plate appearances) with the Drive. That includes a .303/.370/.636 slash line in the month of August.

Among qualified South Atlantic League Hitters, Lugo ranks 12th in strikeout rate (19.2%), 16th in batting average, third in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS (.832), fourth in isolated power (.231), ninth in speed score (7.3), and 15th in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Lugo has seen playing time at every infield position besides first base while in Greenville. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder has logged 626 2/3 innings at shortstop (his primary position), 94 innings at third base, and 58 innings at second base. He has committed a total of 24 errors.

The nephew of former All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, Lugo was originally selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. The Manati native signed with Boston for $1.1 million.

Now 21 years old, Lugo is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system. Before the season started, Baseball America hypothesized that Lugo may spend the majority — if the not the entirety — of 2022 in Greenville.

Given that there are now only a few weeks remaining in the minor-league season, that could very well be the case. With that being said, though, Double-A Portland is scheduled to play six more games in Somerset, N.J. after Greenville’s season ends on September 11.

So, if the Red Sox wanted to, they could promote Lugo from Greenville to Portland in the coming days or weeks so that he could get a taste of the Double-A level since that is likely where he will open the 2023 campaign.

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

Red Sox infield prospect Brainer Bonaci earns Carolina League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox infield prospect Brainer Bonaci has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week for the week of July 25-31, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Low-A Salem’s last series against the Fredericksburg Nationals at Virginia Credit Union Stadium, Bonaci went 8-for-18 (.444) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs, 11 RBIs, two runs scored, three walks, and four strikeouts over five games. Seven of those 11 runs driven in came in a career day at the plate last Tuesday.

On the 2022 season as a whole, the switch-hitter is batting a solid .265/.395/.378 with 17 doubles, five triples, those two homers, 36 RBIs, 59 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 64 walks, and 68 strikeouts across 80 games (365 plate appearances) with the Salem Sox.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Bonaci ranks fourth in walk rate (17.5%), 15th in strikeout rate (18.6%), eighth in swinging strike rate (8.2%), 22nd in batting average, fifth in on-base percentage, 22nd in OPS (.772), 18th in speed score (7.6), ninth in line-drive rate (25.3%), and 17th in wRC+ (124), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Bonaci has seen playing time at four different positions so far this season. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder has logged 425 1/3 innings at second base, 134 innings at shortstop, 34 innings at third base, and even one inning in right field back on April 17.

Bonaci, who celebrated his 20th birthday last month, originally signed with the Red Sox for $290,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2018. The Catia La Mar native is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Given that he has stepped it up with Salem as of late (1.029 OPS in July), one has to wonder if Bonaci could be working his way towards a promotion to High-A Greenville sooner rather than later. Bonaci can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter, so the Red Sox may want to see him go up against a stiffer level of competition before determining if he is worthy of a 40-man roster spot come late November.

(Picture of Brainer Bonaci: Gary Streiffer/Flickr)

Red Sox’ Izzy Wilson earns Eastern League Player of the Week honors

Portland Sea Dogs outfielder Izzy Wilson has been named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week of July 4-10, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Double-A Portland’s last series against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at Mirabito Stadium, Wilson went 9-for-19 (.474) at the plate with two doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBIs, seven runs scored, two walks, and two strikeouts over the course of games.

Wilson, 24, originally signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox back in January after spending last season with the Angels organization. The 2022 campaign has not been all that kind to the left-handed hitter, who even after last week’s performance is batting just .160/.269/.278 (56 wRC+) with three homers, 16 RBIs, 24 runs scored, and three stolen bases through 51 games (186 plate appearances) for Portland.

Defensively, Wilson has seen the majority of his playing time with the Sea Dogs come in right field. The 6-foot-3, 190 pounder out of Sint Maarten has logged 310 1/3 innings in right while also making nine starts in center field. He has recorded three outfield assists, which currently is tied for the most on the Sea Dogs.

Wilson, who does not turn 25 until next March, becomes the second Sea Dog to earn Eastern League Player of the Week honors this season and joins the likes of Pedro Castellanos by doing so. He is eligible to become a minor-league free-agent again at the end of the year. In the meantime, he is presumably aiming to join Castellanos in Triple-A Worcester before the 2022 season comes to a close.

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

Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer earns Carolina League Player of the Week honors

Top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week for the week of June 27 – July 3, Minor League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

In Low-A Salem’s last series on the road against the Lynchburg Hillcats, Mayer went 10-for-23 (.435) across five games with five doubles, two home runs, five RBIs, seven runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and six strikeouts. On the 2022 season as a whole, the left-handed hitting shortstop is slashing a robust .291/.376/.522 with 21 doubles, seven homers, 29 runs driven in, 32 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 58 strikeouts over 44 games spanning 210 trips to the plate.

Among qualified Carolina League hitters, Mayer ranks eighth in batting average, 10th in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, third in OPS (.898), fifth in isolated power (.231), and third in wRC+ (145), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Mayer has unsurprisingly seen all his playing time on the field this season come at shortstop. The 6-foot-3, 190 pounder has logged 336 1/3 innings at the position and has committed a total of six errors.

Mayer, 19, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the California-born infielder with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista.

As encouraging as Mayer’s first full season in pro ball has been thus far, it has not come without its bumps. A sprained right wrist required a stint on Salem’s 7-day injured list and resulted in Mayer being limited to just five games in the month of May.

Since returning from the IL on May 30, though, Mayer has posted a .903 OPS over his last 27 games. He also becomes the third consecutive Red Sox prospect to earn Carolina League Player of the Week honors, joining the likes of Niko Kavadas (now in Greenville) and Blaze Jordan.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)