The Red Sox announced the winners of their 2008 Minor League awards on Thursday, with the recipients being honored during a pre-game on-field ceremony as Boston finishes up a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Here’s a list of the recipients:
of the Year: RHP Daniel Bard, Greenville/Portland: Combined to go 5-1 with a 1.51 ERA and
107 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in 46 relief appearances at Greenville and
Portland…Was 1-0, 0.64 with 43 strikeouts in 28.0 innings over 15 games
at Greenville and 4-1, 1.99 with 7 saves and 64 strikeouts in 49.2 innings in
31 outings with Portland…Was Boston’s April Minor League Pitcher of
the Month…Was the 28th overall pick in the 1st
round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft
Player of the Year: 1B Lars Anderson, Lancaster/Portland: Combined to bat .317 with 85 runs, 32
doubles, 18 homers, and 80 RBI in 118 games for Lancaster and
Portland…Had a .317 average with 13 homers and 50 RBI in 77 games with
the JetHawks and a .316 mark with 5 homers and 30 RBI in 41 games with the Sea Dogs…Had
the 3rd highest average and finished 2nd in runs among Boston minor
leaguers…Reached base in 36 of 41 games after promotion to Portland on
July 17…Was the Eastern League Player of the Week for period ending
August 17…Was Boston’s 22nd round selection in the 2006
First-Year Player Draft.
Player of the Year: OF Che-Hsuan Lin, Greenville: Had a .961 fielding percentage in 207
total chances in 88 games in the outfield for Greenville…Batted .249 with
5 homers and 37 RBI in 91 games for the Drive…Ranked 2nd among
Boston minor leaguers with 33 stolen bases…Was the Most Valuable Player
of the 2008 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium, going
2-for-2 with a home run…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free
agent in June 2007.
Runner of the Year: OF Wilfred Pichardo, GCL Red Sox/Lowell: Led the Red Sox organization with 43
stolen bases…Topped the Gulf Coast League with 42 stolen bases in 51
attempts, the most steals in the GCL since 1991…Batted .297 in 52 games
for the GCL Red Sox, finishing 3rd in the league in runs (36) and 5th
in hits (60)…Played in 3 games at Lowell at the end of the
season…Was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in July
League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: LHP Manuel Rivera, DSL Red Sox: Was 4-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 58 strikeouts
in 52.1 innings in 13 starts…Is participating in the Florida
League Latin Program Player of the Year: 1B Eddie Lora, DSL Red Sox/GCL Red Sox: Hit .300 with 6 doubles, 5 homers, 26
RBI, 21 runs, 34 walks, and a .455 on-base percentage in 35 games for the DSL
Advanced Single-A Salem will officially be a member of the Boston Red Sox farm system in 2009, when the Avalanche begin their 42nd season of play in the Carolina League. That’s because the Sox signed a two-year Player Development Contract with Salem on Friday, effectively ending the Avalanche’s six-year affiliation with the Houston Astros.
“Salem in an ideal fit for the Boston Red Sox,” said Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen in a team news release. “The playing surface is one of hte best in the Minor Leagues, and the area’s commitment to baseball has created a great environment for top-notch players — both on and off the field.”
Salem made two postseason appearances as part of the Astros’ organization — in 2006 an 2007 — and were 416-418 overall.
The Sox are no stranger to the Carolona League, having fielded a team there in 43 of the league’s 63-year history. Boston has been part of six Carolina League teams during that span, including the Winston-Salem Red Sox from 1961 to 1984.
“We look forward to bringing Red Sox baseball back to the Roanoke Valley,” said Salem general manager John Katz, “and continueing the proud tradition of professional baseball in Salem.”
After two years on the west coast, the Red Sox’s top Single-A affiliate moved from Lancaster, Calif., where it took a 76-64 regular season record into the postseason, falling from teh California League Championship Series to the Stockton Ports.
For a moment, it looked like Short Season Single-A Lowell were on the cusp of reaching the New York-Penn League Finals with a two-game throttling of Batavia. After all, the Spinners won Game 1 in 12 innings and led 8-2 in the sixth frame of Game 2. But that’s where things changed. The Muckdogs rallied for 11 runs in the final three innings, winning Game 2 and forcing a decisive Game 3 on Wednesday.
Batavia took advantage of its new life, defeating the Spinners, 3-2, earning the right to advance to the best-of-3 championship series against Jamestown. For Lowell, it was a season in which it dominated the NYP Stedler division by 7 1/2 games down the stretch, finishing with a 40-33 record.
The Spinners were by and large led by Mitch Dening throughout the season. Dening, the Australia native, batted .321 over the course of 62 game in 2008 while playing strong defense in the outfield. On the mound, Brock Huntzinger was 5-0 in eight starts with a 0.64 ERA before moving to play with the Greenville Drive. In the bullpen, Stephen Fife went 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 14 games — a solid start for the 2008 First-Year Player Draft pick.
Bartolo Colon made his third rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, lasting just one inning and 17 pitches before being relieved by Jose Vaquedano. Colon pitched a scoreless first, allowing just two hits before being taken out of the contest.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said prior to Boston’s matchup with Toronto that Colon was expected to throw 45-50 pitches in the outing.
Colon’s last start with Pawtucket was equally effective, allowing just three hits over three innings on Aug. 10. Colon is slowly working his way back toward rejoining Boston after a back injury forced him on the disabled list in mid-June.
Pawtucket is currently winning the contest, 4-0. They’re in the midst of chasing Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North standings, currently trailing the Yankees by 2 1/2 games.
— Mark Remme
Triple-A Pawtucket lost its second consecutive game Sunday to the Charlotte Knights, a 5-4 home decision. The defeat put the PawSox 1.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League North standings. But perhaps the bigger loss for manager Ron Johnson’s crew came with news that starter Charlie Zink will replace Tim Wakefield in the Red Sox’s starting rotation as the veteran knuckleballer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his throwing shoulder.
Zink is proving to be rather valuable to Pawtucket this season, and his 13-4 record matches teammate David Pauley for the league lead in wins. Match that with his 2.89 ERA and his 5-2 mark over his last 10 starts, and he’s been more than a formidable asset in the PawSox’s rotation. That presence will likely be missed over the next two weeks, as Zink is inked to make two starts for Wakefield during this stint on the DL.
The catch? Though it might not matter to the young knuckleballer, he’ll be making this first start with Boston on four days rest.
— Mark Remme
Less than four days after being optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket from the Red Sox to make room for David Aardsma coming off the 15-day disabled list, Chris Smith was back in the Fens participating in a PawSox game against the Charlotte Knights at Fenway Park.
Smith, along with Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey, are among several PawSox players this season that have taken the trip back and forth between the two squads. Newly traded Brandon Moss as well as Red Sox current shortstop Jed Lowrie come to mind as others who are/were in the same boat.
Prior to the International League tilt on Saturday afternoon, Smith talked about the transition between the two squads. It’s certainly different, he says, but the camaraderie between the teammates is very consistent.
“It’s different but still fun,” Smith said. “These guys are just as fun as the [the Red Sox clubhouse], it’s just a different crew.”
Smith is 1-3 with a 2.24 ERA this season with Pawtucket, including 13 saves. But he hasn’t pitched for the team since being recalled to the Red Sox on Aug. 1.
He said it’s tough moving between squads because with both teams playing at once, it’s hard to keep track of teammates in the other clubhouse.
“It’s hard to keep in touch,” he said. “That’s the one things that sucks is that when we’re playing, they’re playing. We’re in different time zones, too. Like now, they’re in the Central (playing the White Sox in Chicago) and we’re in the Eastern.
“It’s a roller coaster. You just need to put your hands up and enjoy the ride.”
Lowell shows poise in win
There’s something to be said about the way the Spinners earned a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Hudson Valley on Saturday at Fenway in the first of two Futures at Fenway contests. The Spinners looked more than ready to win in nine, but a late-inning rally sent the game into extras.
That’s where Lowell really took charge. Despite taking till the 12th to get the ‘W’, the Spinners threatened in three consecutive innings and, had it not been for stellar play by center fiedler Anthony Scelfo, Lowell likely would have won even earlier.
The two strongest peformances on the night were Will Middlebrooks and Mitch Dening — both went 3-for-6 while Middlebrooks earned three RBIs.
And while both did their parts — Dening scored the winning run — each did it in separate ways. Middlebrooks worked the count and came up with a big, game-winning hit. Dening, well, he was short and sweet in his plate appearances — much like his reasoning for it.
“I don’t take a lot of pitches,” he said. “I like to get that first pitch fastball and do something with it. A good way to hit the curveball is to hit the fastball. I don’t want to go deep into counts. I just like to take that fastball early in the count and drive it.”
— Mark Remme
On a night where the Red Sox are looking to avoid their eighth consecutive sweep to the Angels, Boston is holding their annual Cape Cod League Recognition Night at Fenway Park. The team will honor the members of the 2008 All-Star teams, and the crew has been circulating the ballpark since about 3 p.m. this afternoon throughout the concourse.
Donning blue polo shirts, the crew is easy to identify.
Sometimes on a night like this, it’s fun to look back and identify who took their trek to the big leagues through Cape Cod, an amateur league in its 114th year. In fact, on average one in seven Major League players went through the Cape — 212 were in the Majors last season, ranging from Craig Biggio to Barry Zito.
Ten current Sox went through the Cape before arriving at this Fenway Park destination: David Aardsma (Falmouth, 2002), Sean Casey (Brewster, 1994), Kevin Cash (Falmouth, 1999), Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth, 2004), Craig Hansen (Harwich, 2004), Javier Lopez (Falmouth, 1997), Mike Lowell (Chatham, 1994), Justin Masterson (Wareham, 2005), Jason Varitek (Hyannis, 1991, 1993), and Kevin Youkilis (Bourne, 2000).
Triple-A Pawtucket starter Charlie Zink became the International League’s first 13-game winner on Tuesday, tossing seven innings in the PawSox’s 5-3 win over Rochester. Zink is currently 13-3, and his 2.76 ERA is third best in the league.
Chris Smith closed out the game against the Red Wings, earning his 13th save. Smith has allowed six runs in nine appearances since being optioned back to Pawtucket from the Red Sox, but he hasn’t allowed a run in each of his last four outings.
Portland closing the gap
Double-A Portland ponied up a four-run 10th inning against New Hampshire highlighted by a two-run homer by Jorge Jimenez. The Sea Dogs are now five games behind Trenton in the Eastern League Northern division.
Kelly has big day against GCL Reds
Sox first-round pick Casey Kelly had his first big game Wednesday for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. Kelly went 3-for-5 against the GCL Reds in Sarasota, Fla.
Kelly recorded his first professional home run in the game and knocked in two RBIs. The Red Sox took the game 8-7 on the road against a team managed by Kelly’s father, Pat. A regular shortstop, Kelly played DH in the game and batted third.
In eight games this season, Kelly is batting .182 with a double, homer and two RBIs.
— Mark Remme