The Red Sox invited their minor league award winners to Fenway Park Saturday, along with their families.
Most years, the event passes without a lot of media attention. But with the Red Sox experiencing one of their worst seasons in years, the status of their best prospects has become magnified.
Is there another player like third baseman Will Middlebrooks who can emerge to help the team next season?
Two of the leading candidates are Offensive Player of the Year Xander Bogaerts and Defensive Player of the Year Jackie Bradley Jr.
The 19-year-old Bogaerts hit .307 for High A Salem and Double A Portland with 20 home runs, 37 doubles, 3 triples, and 81 RBIs.
“I feel I’m pretty good right now after the good season that I had,” Bogaerts said. “I just enjoyed it very much. It was also a learning experience for me, going through struggles and going through slumps.”
Bogaerts, who is from Curacao, said he may play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic in March.
Bradley, a center fielder with Salem and Portland, hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, 87 walks, and 63 RBIs in 128 games.
“My only expectations were to stay healthy and play as hard as I can,” said Bradley, 22. “I think it was a pretty decent season. I’ll try to reap the benefits later.”
Bradley didn’t duck a question about whether he could advance to the majors next season.
“I like that plan,” he said. “It’s always good hearing that, but I’m going to continue to work hard. I feel like I got a long ways to go and I want to get better every day.”
Righthander Brandon Workman was the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He was 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 138⅔ innings in 25 starts for Salem and Portland.
Garin Cecchini was named Baserunner of the Year. The third baseman was 51 of 57 in steals for Single A Greenville. The former sixth-round pick also hit .305.
“I was at 49 the last game and I stole four times and got caught twice,” Cecchini said. “I was wanting to get . It was one of the goals I set in my head.”
Righthander Keivin Heras and outfielder Manuel Margot were named the Latin Program’s Pitcher and Player of the Year.
Daniel Nava won the Lou Gorman Award for dedication and perseverance.
Ellsbury out again
Jacoby Ellsbury missed his second straight game with an injury the team will not disclose. Indications are that Ellsbury, who did play catch before the game, has a lat strain. “Oh, gosh, I have no idea,” said manager Bobby Valentine when asked if Ellsbury would play Sunday. “Probably be conservative and cautious. When he’s ready to play, we’d love to have him play.” Ellsbury has missed 231 of the last 477 games while injured or resting . . . Valentine said Daisuke Matsuzaka is being lined up to start the final game of the season, Oct. 3 against the Yankees in New York. The righthander has not faced the Yankees since Oct. 2, 2010. Matsuzaka, who is 1-6 with a 7.68 ERA, will be a free agent after the season.
The Red Sox will pay tribute to the late Johnny Pesky after Sunday’s game. The ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. and is open for fans who attend the game and to the general public at no charge. Pesky died Aug. 13 at the age of 93. He spent 61 seasons with the Sox as a player, coach, manager, and broadcaster . . . The Orioles had gone 114 innings without an error before rookie third baseman Manny Machado let a ground ball off the bat of Cody Ross go between his legs in the third inning . . . Pedro Ciriaco was 15 of 15 on stolen base attempts before getting caught by Matt Wieters in the third inning . . . Former world welterweight champion Tony DeMarco threw out a first pitch, along with Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. DeMarco, a Boston native, fought at Fenway in 1954. Thornton played in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway.