On the Farm: May 2009 report

With the minor league season in full swing, it’s time to take a look to see how the Red Sox prospects are doing:

AAA Pawtucket

How good has reliever Daniel Bard been? Here’s a fun fact: he’s struck out 50% of the batters he’s faced this year. That’s right, HALF. Bard is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings, and he’s registered almost a video game-like 29 Ks in that time against just 5 walks. He continues to induce ground balls at an astounding 60% rate, though he has given up a couple of solo home runs this season. On April 22, Bard threw an “immaculate” inning, striking out three men on just nine pitches. That’s why many in the organization think he could contribute as soon as this summer.

We’ve seen Michael Bowden briefly against the Yankees, but you should see him against Triple-A hitting. He threw nearly seven innings of no-hit ball recently, and is currently at 1-1 with a 1.01 ERA on the season. He’s uncharacteristically walked a lot of hitters (10.6% BB rate), but has yet to allow a HR this year at any level. The .162 BABIP means that things will equalize here, but it also suggests that no one has been able to hit him very well. He’s added a slider to his repertoire, which if it takes could only speed up his arrival at Fenway.

Clay Buchholz (1-0, 1.80 ERA with 18 K in 20 IP) has been holding his own after a little bit of a rough start and a slight physical setback. His walk rate is up, but he has not been well-hit (.189 BABIP), and he’s inducing a ton of grounders (59% thus far). More than anything, the front office wants him to find some consistency with his fastball command and feel comfortable in his own highly-rated prospect skin. At 25 years old, this could be a make it or break it year for him.

AA Portland

Uber-prospect Lars Anderson has not lit up Double-A ball this year (yet). We find him batting .248/.300/.386 with just 2 HR and 15 RBI. He’s not walking (7.3%) and pounding the ball into the dirt (54% ground balls) instead of squaring up well (14% line drive rate).

Josh Reddick got off to a hot start, but is currently on the DL with a strained oblique muscle. Hitting .288/.358/.644 at Portland, Reddick has posted close to a 10% walk rate and been uppercutting the ball more than usual (a mere 9% line drives), with great success. Strangely, his 6 HR (all hit at home) have yielded only 7 RBI total, but there is not much to worry about here.

Pitcher Junichi Tazawa has been very solid with the Sea Dogs, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.34 ERA in 6 starts. He’s shown good control (8.3% BB rate) and a decent 21.1% K rate in his first season here. All in all, a good debut.

High-A Salem

Ryan Kalish, moved to right to accommodate Jason Place, has been doing it all for the Salem Red Sox. The 21-year old has a .278/.431/.478 line, and leads the team with 4HR and 17 RBI. Not only that, but he’s stolen 8 of 10 bases and holds a 24 to 18 BB:K ratio. Great step for him, and I look forward to his promotion to Double-A this year.

Eammon Portice (1-3, 4.55 ERA) doesn’t have a great ERA to show you, but he’s been impressive, striking out 35 men in 29.2 IP and walking just 6. His violent, twisty delivery has scouts divided on whether he can pitch at the highest level, but he’s shown good success so far, even if he is gopher ball-prone.

A Greenville

2008 first-round pick Casey Kelly (4-0, 0.70 ERA) is really impressing in his first full season, showing he can pitch as well as he hit at Lowell last year. In 25.2 IP, he’s allowed no HR and has 23 K and just 4 BB. That’s a recipe for success if I ever saw one.

Bryan Price (2-1, 1.89 ERA) is another pitcher who’s had great success early at Greenville this year. He’s struck out 31 batters in his 33.1 IP, and walked just 7. He keeps the ball down and uses his velocity and hard slider to good effect. from what I’m seeing, he’s got a shot at developing into a pretty good pitcher.


One Response to On the Farm: May 2009 report

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    A couple of related links:

    The Sox Minor League Awards for the month of April:

    I didn’t even list Jorge Jimenez in this post, though he won Player of the Month. He did do a fine job of hitting, striking out just 10.7% of the time. He’ slumped something awful in May, however.

    Clay Buchholz turns in a dominant outing at Pawtucket:

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