Red Sox’ Seventh-Ranked Prospect Jay Groome Tosses Another Scoreless First Inning in Second Gulf Coast League Start

After making his first professional appearance in nearly two years on August 21st, Red Sox left-handed pitching prospect Jay Groom tossed a scoreless first inning once again in his second start with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Monday.

Facing off against the Baltimore Orioles’ GCL squad in Sarasota, Fla., the 21-year-old had a man on second with no outs following a leadoff single and stolen base, but he managed to work his way around the jam with a three-pitch strikeout and back-to-back first-pitch groundouts to retire the side in the bottom half of the first.

In total, Groome needed just six pitches, all of which were strikes, to work his second consecutive scoreless first inning in a contest the GCL Sox eventually dropped by a final score of 5-2.

Ranked as the seventh overall prospect in Boston’s system and third amongst pitchers behind right-hander Bryan Mata and left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez, Groome is working his way back after undergoing successful Tommy John Surgery in May of 2018.

With the Gulf Coast League regular season wrapping up on August 31st and the Sox’ GCL club already eliminated from playoff contention, it looks as though Groome’s last in-game action of 2019 will come against the Minnesota Twins’ GCL team this coming Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Red Sox’ Seventh-Ranked Prospect Jay Groome Punches out Two in 2019 Gulf Coast League Debut

Red Sox left-handed pitching prospect Jay Groome tossed a scoreless first inning for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Wednesday in what was his first professional appearance in nearly two years.

Facing off against the Atlanta Braves’ GCL team in North Port, Fla. earlier Wednesday morning, the soon to be 21-year-old hurler needed only eight pitches, all of which were strikes, to punch out two and yield one hit in a nearly-perfect frame of work.

Selected by Boston with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey, Groome had been out since the 2017 campaign, where he injured his throwing elbow late into the year and eventually underwent successful Tommy John surgery in May of 2018.

Before all that went down, Groome posted a 2.70 ERA and .125 batting average against over his first three professional starts and 6 2/3 innings pitched between the GCL Red Sox and short-season Lowell Spinners in 2016.

In 2017, the New Jersey native showed some signs of struggle, pitching to the tune of a 5.69 ERA and .234 batting average against through 14 starts and 55 1/3 total innings of work between Lowell and Class-A Greenville before being sidelined.

Per his MiLB.com page, Groome is on a rehab assignment with the GCL Sox, and given how the minor league season wraps up in under two weeks, it’s hard to imagine the lefty pitching anywhere else this year.

Despite all the time he has missed, Groome is still ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system, according to MLB Pipeline.

 

 

Red Sox’ Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec Crushes First Home Run for Triple-A Pawtucket

One day after outfield prospect Jarren Duran mashed his first home run for Double-A Portland on Thursday, Red Sox infield prospect did the same for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday as part of a 3-for-4 night in a 7-6 loss to the Toledo Mud Hens.

Hitting out of the six-hole and starting at first base, the 24-year-old’s first International League homer came in the top half of the eighth inning, when with two outs and a runner at second following a Rusney Castillo RBI double, Dalbec took right-hander Austin Adams deep to center off a 1-2 fastball right down the heart of the plate.

That two-run blast cut the PawSox’s deficit down to 7-6, but that would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Ranked as the number-two prospect in Boston’s farm system behind only Triston Casas on MLB.com, Dalbec is slashing .391/.417/.565 with that one homer and two RBI over his first six Triple-A contests since being promoted from Double-A Portland on August 3rd.

He has started at both first and third base and has only hit out of the six-hole with the PawSox to this point.

Perhaps now that Dalbec has crushed his first Triple-A big fly, the home runs will start coming in bunches for the power-hitting prospect.

The International League is using the same balls Major League Baseball is using this season, so many expected that Dalbec’s offensive production would increase once he got the call up to Pawtucket.

 

Red Sox’ Fourth-Ranked Prospect Jarren Duran Blasts First Home Run for Double-A Portland

Red Sox outfield Prospect Jarren Duran crushed his first Eastern League home run as part of a 1-for-3 afternoon in a 9-0 win for the Portland Sea Dogs over the Erie SeaWolves on Thursday.

Now ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Boston’s farm system, it appears that Duran has started to figure it out at the Double-A level.

Since his promotion from High-A Salem to Portland on June 3rd, the 22-year-old is slashing .262/.320/.323 over his last 58 games.

Those numbers may not seem all that impressive when you consider how Duran tore up the Carolina League to begin 2019, but they have been on the rise in the recent weeks.

For instance, the California native came into the month of July with a .211/.279/.263 slash line to go along with three stolen bases and six RBI in his first 24 games with the Sea Dogs.

Once the calendar flipped to July though, Duran began to turn a corner at the plate. That much is evident by how he is slashing a gaudy .386/.421/.486 with that one homer, seven RBI, and nine stolen bases in his last 18 games going back to July 20th.

Given how much he has rose through the prospect rankings this year, it’s easy to forget that Duran is still in his first full season of professional baseball after being selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State.

Duran was the Sox’ lone representative at the 2019 Futures Game in Cleveland last month, where he went 1-for-2 off the bench with a seventh inning single.

 

Red Sox Promote Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec to Triple-A Pawtucket

The Red Sox have promoted third baseman Bobby Dalbec from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket, per the PawSox’ official Twitter account.

Dalbec, 24, is ranked as Boston’s number-two prospect behind Triston Casas on MLB.com, and has slashed .234/.371/.454 to go along with an Eastern League-leading 20 home runs and 57 RBI over 105 games with the Sea Dogs this season.

Selected by the Sox with the 118th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona, Dalbec made quite the impression in his first major league camp earlier in the year.

With the PawSox, Dalbec should have the chance to display even more of his power tool, since the same baseballs being used in the majors this year are also being used across the Triple-A level.

In what will be his Triple-A debut, the Washington native is set to start at third and bat sixth against the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, on Saturday night at McCoy Stadium.

 

 

‘Just Because You Go to Free Agency Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Want to Be Somewhere’ – Red Sox’ Mookie Betts

Before taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a pivotal 14-game stretch for the Red Sox’ season on Monday, Mookie Betts opened up a bit about his impending free agency.

Betts, set to become a free agent for the first time following the 2020 season, expressed his desire in wanting to hit the open market, but defended his reasoning for wanting to do so.

“I’ve loved it here,” the reigning American League MVP told reporters Monday. “I love the front office, my teammates, coaches. Everybody. It’s been nothing but amazing here. Just because you go to free agency doesn’t mean you don’t want to be somewhere. It’s just a part of the business.”

This comes amid speculation that Betts would prefer to play in a different market due to a certain disdain for Boston, but the 26-year-old shut that right down, saying that, “I’ve always said I loved it here. It’s been amazing to me, my family. It’s … like a home to me. It’s been all I know. And just because you exercise something in the business, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.”

There also remains the distinct possibility that Betts could be dealt before the July 31st trade deadline depending on how the next week-or-so goes for Boston, given the fact he can become a free agent in just over a year.

“I think that’s a part of it,” Betts said regarding being traded. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I have to go out and put on my uniform every day. And if that time comes, that time comes. But right now I’m here, and I’m enjoying my time here. It’s above my pay grade.”

What’s fascinating to me is how some Red Sox fans seem fine with letting the club deal Betts away for prospects. Sure, getting something in return is better than getting nothing outside of a compensatory draft pick if he does leave via free agency, but it’s not like replacing a top-five talent is easy to do.

There’s no sure thing that any of the prospects the Sox would acquire in this scenario would pan out to be an everyday player in the majors, let alone one of Betts’ caliber.

At the end of the day, the Red Sox are the Red Sox. If Betts wants to test the market and go where he feels the most desired, then principal owner John Henry and co. should be ready to pay their man.

Through 99 games this season, Betts is slashing .282/.396/.479 with 15 home runs, 47 RBI, and a league-leading 89 runs scored.

Since the start of July, the Tennessee native has posted an impressive .382/.463/.603 slash line to go along with two homers, 10 RBI, and 23 runs scored over his last 17 games played.

It’s not often a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate falls into your lap in the fifth round of a amateur draft. The Red Sox should do their part to keep Betts in Boston for the rest of his playing career and beyond.

Milwaukee Brewers Call up Former Red Sox Prospect Mauricio Dubon

The Milwaukee Brewers recalled infielder Mauricio Dubon from Triple-A San Antonio earlier Sunday, meaning another former Red Sox prospect will be making his major league debut this season.

Dubon, 24, was selected by Boston in the 26th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Capital Christian School in Sacramento, Ca.

In four minor league seasons across Boston’s farm system, the Honduras native rose to become the club’s 17th-ranked prospect before being part of the trade, along with Travis Shaw,  Josh Pennington, and Yeison Coca, that sent right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox in December of 2016.

Since then, Dubon has shined. That much is evident by his .307/.343/.491 slash line to go along with 14 home runs and 42 RBI over 82 games with Triple-A San Antonio in 2019.

Thornburg, meanwhile, has done quite the opposite, posting a 7.71 ERA and 5.34 xFIP through 16 appearances and 18 2/3 innings pitched with Boston this season.

Placed on the injured list with a right hip impingement on May 23 and sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on June 9th, the 30-year-old has surrendered 15 earned runs on 16 hits and eight walks over 9 2/3 innings and 10 total appearances. That’s good for an ERA of 13.97 and a batting average against of .340. Not great.

Per MassLive.com, Thornburg’s rehab assignment expires on July 8th, so the Red Sox will have to decide what actions to take with the reliever over the All-Star break. Whether its to add him back to the active roster or designate him for assignment has yet to be determined.

Red Sox Promote Seventh-Ranked Prospect Bryan Mata to Double-A Portland

For the second time in less than two weeks, the Red Sox have promoted a top right-handed pitching prospect within their organization, this time with right-hander Bryan Mata getting the call up from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland on Monday, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Mata, 20, is currently ranked as Boston’s seventh-best overall prospect and second among right-handed pitchers on MLB.com.

Signed as an international free agent as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela, Mata began the 2019 campaign with the High-A Salem Red Sox, where he posted a dazzling 1.75 ERA and .201 batting average against over 10 starts and 51 1/3 innings of work.

Selected as the Red Sox’ lone representative in the 2018 Futures Game in Washington D.C., Mata has done a great deal to cut down on walks since then.

In 72 full frames with Salem last year, the young hurler handed out 58 free passes, or averaged 7.25 per nine innings.

This year, in those aforementioned 51 1/3 innings pitched, Mata has allowed just 18 walks total, or 3.16 per nine.

According to his SoxProspects.com profile, Mata features a four-seam fastball that hovers between 94-96 MPH and tops out at 98 MPH, a slider/cutter hybrid he added this season that hovers around 86-90 MPH, a curveball that hovers between 78-80 MPH and has an 11-5 break, and a changeup that hovers between 84-86 MPH.

Mata will join fellow right-handed prospect Kutter Crawford (No. 19), who was promoted on June 21st, in Portland’s starting rotation and will also make his Eastern League debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Trenton Thunder on Tuesday.

 

Red Sox’ Ninth-Ranked Prospect Jarren Duran Selected for 2019 MLB All-Star Futures Game

Rosters for the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game were announced on Friday, and the Red Sox will be sending just one representative to Cleveland next month in outfield prospect Jarren Duran.

Ranked as Boston’s ninth-best prospect on MLB.com, Duran will join 24 other prospects representing the American League in the Futures Game in Cleveland on July 7th.

For the last 20 years, the showcase was formatted so that the rosters were divided between U.S.-born and international-born players, but that all changes in 2019, as former Cleveland Indians great Jim Thome will be managing the American League side and long-time right-hander Dennis Martinez will be doing the same for the NL.

This honor is a first for Duran, who was promoted to Double-A Portland on June 3rd after a torrid start to the season with High-A Salem, where he led the Carolina League in hitting with a .387 batting average.

Initially, that promotion led to some struggles for the speedy 22-year-old, as he went just 6-for-38 (.158) with two doubles, one triple, and two RBI in his first 10 games with the Sea Dogs, but has since picked things up a bit over his last 11 contests, batting .250 (11-for-44) with one double and three runs driven in over that span.

Granted, Duran’s on-base percentage has fallen from .304 to .286 in that stretch, but that comes as his slugging percentage has slightly risen from .263 to .268 as well.

The call up to Portland has surely been a period of adjustment for the Sox’ 2018 seventh round draft pick out of Long Beach State, but to be named to the Futures Game in your first full season of professional baseball is pretty impressive nonetheless.

Red Sox Promote No. 19 Prospect Kutter Crawford to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted right-handed pitcher Kutter Crawford to Double-A Portland, per SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Crawford’s MiLB.com page appears to indicate the promotion as well.

d9002fe5-50bf-47c8-a00f-0f06212142a6

Ranked as Boston’s 19th best overall prospect and seventh among right-handed pitchers, Crawford put together a first half of the 2019 season worthy enough of a Carolina League All-Star bid with High-A Salem, where he posted a 3.39 ERA and .262 batting average to go along with 77 strikeouts and 30 walks over 14 starts and a total of 69 innings pitched.

A 16th-round selection out of Chris Sale’s Florida Gulf Coast University back in 2017, the 23-year-old’s pitch arsenal includes a 91-94 MPH fastball, an 85-87 MPH cutter, a 77-78 MPH curveball, and a changeup.

Per MLB.com’s and SoxProspects.com’s scouting reports, Crawford seems to best profile as an option out of the bullpen rather than the starting rotation once he hits his ceiling. There’s still plenty of time for the young righty to prove otherwise, though.

In other minor league promotion news, right-hander Thad Ward was promoted from Class-A Greenville to Salem to take Crawford’s spot on the Red Sox’ roster, while right-hander Eduard Bazardo was promoted from Salem to Portland after also being named a 2019 Carolina League All-Star.