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Cultivating the Farm: Portland finishing with a flourish, PawSox with best playoff chances

Posted by Craig Forde  August 23, 2012 12:56 AM

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for PawSoxlogo.gifPawtucket (71-61, 2nd in IL North – AAA) – Only 12 games remain on the schedule for the PawSox who grip tightly to a one-game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. They cap the season with four games at McCoy against the Yankees first place Travelin’ Wilkes-Barre-ies, giving Pawtucket the slightest chance of defending their I.L. North crown…In the ten starts since RHP Zach Stewart was traded from the Chicago White Sox he has allowed 24 runs, all of them earned, for a 4.13 ERA. He has struck out 38, walked only 14 in 52 1/3 innings and has gone five-plus frames in eight of his starts while stretching back into a starting role after 17 relief appearances with Chicago…RHP Daniel Bard’s roller-coaster ride continues, as he proceeds to put together two solid outings, then couples it with three straight bombs. However, his ride with the PawSox has been pretty even-keeled when it comes down to numbers. He has made 29 appearances, throwing 30 innings, allowing 27 hits, 28 runs, 29 walks to go with 30 strikeouts…SS Jose Iglesias has as many hits (24) so far in August as he had in all of July. He has also scored more runs (14) and has more extra-base hits (5) than in any other month this year…3B/1B Andy LaRoche has hit safely in ten straight games, a span in which he has four home runs, 11 RBIs, six runs, and four doubles. He is hitting .274 in 44 games with the PawSox after hitting .234 in 46 games with Columbus (Cleveland Indians, Triple-A).

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SeaDogslogo.gifPortland (63-66, 4th in EL Eastern – AA) – The SeaDogs have won eight of their last nine games, are 14-4 in August and 33-25 in the second half of the season. They will need to make up a five-game deficit and chase down both Reading (Phillies) and New Britain (Twins) over their last 12 games in order to make their first playoff appearance since 2008. They do finish the season with four games at home versus the Rphils…OF Bryce Brentz is in the top-20 of many categories in the Eastern League, including games played (10th – 115), hits (10th - 124), batting average (11th - .290), slugging percentage (6th - .480), doubles (7th - 28), home runs (6th - 17), runs (14th - 58), RBIs (7th - 69), strikeouts (3rd – 123) and total bases (5th - 205)…RHP Stolmy Pimentel leads the team with nine quality starts on the year. On Wednesday night he picked up his first Double-A road win, allowing one earned run in six innings against New Britain…OF Jeremy Hazelbaker is second in the Eastern League with 33 stolen bases. He has been caught 11 times, as have two others in the top-five…RHP Jason Urquidez is 4-2 with a 1.98 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 13 appearances, 2 starts. He has not a run in his last 18 innings of work.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SalemSoxlogo.gifSalem (21-37 second half, last in CL Southern – High A) – It’s been a second half to forget for the Salem Sox as they continue to lose top-ranked prospects and games at about the same rate. They are 3-9 since the promotion of Xander Bogaerts. Salem has long since been eliminated from playoff contention, but will play out the remaining 12 games of the season with pride on their minds…RHP Keith Couch became a ten-game winner for the first time in his career. He has picked up a decision in 19 of his 26 appearances this season (20 starts). His 102 strikeouts are sixth most in the Red Sox organization…Leading the farm in strikeouts is RHP Matt Barnes with 130 over 112 2/3 innings. In his last ten starts he is 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA and has pitched less than five innings in six of those outings. Barnes has not picked up a win since June 14th…After collecting twenty or more hits in each of the first four months of the season, OF Brandon Jacobs has only six hits in August. HE is 2-for-26 over his last ten games, with eight strikeouts and one RBI. Jacobs 118 total strikeouts are fifth most in the Carolina League.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Drivelogo.gifGreenville (24-34 second half, Tied 5th in SAL Southern - Low A) – Just 2-8 over their last ten games, and 6-14 in August, the Drive are looking to put this season in park by this point. Eleven games remain for Greenville who are 58-70 overall on the year…OF Keury De La Cruz continues to be a model of consistency at the plate, with a team high .311 batting average that is good enough for sixth in the Sally League. He is third in the league in hits (142), fifth in doubles (33), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (79)…RHP Tyler Lockwood has made a team-high 41 relief appearances this season, notching 8 saves, also a team-high. He made 39 appearances with Greenville last season and walked only 9 batters over 69 innings. This season Lockwood has allowed 25 free passes in 59 innings with the Drive this year...SS Jose Vinicio has 15 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases in 70 games for Greenville. The 18-year-old from the Dominican boasts a .924 fielding percentage in 331 chances at his position.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Spinnerslogo.gifLowell (29-33, 2nd in NYPL Stedler - Short Season A) – The Spinners have cooled a bit following a red-hot start to the month. Tri-City sprinted away with the Stedler Division title and Lowell is still nine games back and would have to climb over four other teams to earn a wild card spot. Stranger things have happened, but with just 14 games remaining it looks as if the Spinners will miss out on the postseason for the third straight season…Despite batting .221 in the month of August, SS Deven Marrero has reached base safely in his last ten games. He is second in the league with 21 stolen bases and has only been caught 6 times…1B David Chester hit his 9th home run of the season on Wednesday and is second in the league behind Staten Island Yankees’ 1B Saxon Butler (10). Chester led the Gulf Coast League in home runs last season with nine in 46 games…INF Mookie Betts has driven in a team-high 15 RBIs in 20 games in August after having 11 in his first 38 games…RHP William Cuevas continues to shine in the piggy-back starters role, going 7-1 in his last 8 games. His 1.36 ERA is second lowest in the NYPL and his 0.93 WHIP is fifth…LHP Brian Johnson visited the team on Sunday after being discharged from the hospital after suffering multiple orbital fractures in the left side of his face. Johnson was hit with a line drive on the second pitch of Saturday’s game at Fenway Park. He is headed back to his home in Florida and should be ready to go at the start of next season.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Red Sox logo.gifGulf Coast (32-25, 1st in GCL South – Rookie) – The GCL Sox cling to their one game lead over the Twins with just three games to be played. Two of those games will be against the Twins…LHP Cody Kukuk, a 2011 seventh-rounder, has allowed only one run over seven innings in four relief appearances. He has stuck out ten and allowed only one hit and three walks…LHP Robby Scott has allowed just one earned run over 20 1/3 innings of relief work. He has struck out 23 and walked five. Over two seasons (between GCL Sox and Spinners) Scott has posted a 1.16 ERA in 20 appearances…The Gulf Coast Sox have used four catchers thus far – David Sopilka, Miguel Rodriguez, Beau Bishop, Carlos Coste – and they have combined for a .182 batting average and nine extra-base hits.

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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