On the Farm 4-30-2010: Anderson, Tejeda lead the top performers

Now that we’re at the end of April, let’s take a look down on the farm and see what’s going on with the talent at each level.

AAA Pawtucket

There’s not been a whole lot of excitement at Pawtucket since Darnell McDonald was recalled earlier this month. Their pitching has been poor, but their hitting has been even worse. 27-year old OF Daniel Nava has been the next best hitter at .309/.397/.426, but hasn’t really distinguished himself in any meaningful way.

2B Tug Hulett has shown a lot of patience, drawing 16 walks en route to a .175/.342/.365 line. He’s smacked 7 XBH along the way, which is probably why Boston felt comfortable letting Kevin Frandsen leave on waivers yesterday.

RP Robert Manuel has been impressive since joining Pawtucket from the Reds Organization, throwing 14 scoreless innings in 9 games. He’s struck out 11 and walked just 3 allowing just 7 hits in that time, and finished off three games for the Paw Sox; he’s quickly turning into a trusted late-inning option on that staff.

AA Portland
This is one of the most talent-laden teams at this level, with many of Boston’s future regulars toiling here. With his back finally healthy again, 1B Lars Anderson was just promoted to Triple-A following his .355/.408/.677 month. 5 HR and 16 RBI show why he was considered the top prospect in this system as recently as one year ago.

OF Ryan Kalish has not done much actual hitting at .220/.377/.458, but has taken his mastery of the strike zone to another level, posting a team-leading 16 walks against just 7 strikeouts. And when he has made contact, he has really made it count, with 2 doubles and 4 HR to his credit.

2B Ray Chang is slashing .302/.393/.472 with 6 doubles, a home run and 7 walks against 5 strikeouts. The 26-year old is a well-traveled minor leaguer who played in Pittsburgh’s system last year; he’s always hit pretty well at this level, so no surprise here. His play is helping to support the Sea Dogs thus far.

The Red Sox are taking it slow with SP Casey Kelly in his first season as a full-time pitcher, but he’s eaten up everyone at Double-A and looks ready for more. 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts, he’s given up 14 hits over his 10.2 IP, but supported that with a solid 10 K and 3 BB. Not bad for a 20-year old at this level.

High-A Salem
Scouts are starting to get really high on 20-year old SS Oscar Tejeda, who’s tearing up the league for the Salem Red Sox. He’s gotten off to a torrid .382/.385/.658 start, with 10 XBH and 16 RBI in his first taste of this level. It could be that he’s starting to develop some power in that 6-1 frame. Still, he’s struck out 17 times in 78 PA (21.8%), and he’s walked just once in that time. So I’d still take this kind of sample with a grain of salt.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway has shown some stick to begin the year, slashing an impressive .360/.407/.667 in 81 PA in his first go at High-A. The power is no surprise for the 6-4 22-year old, but he’s shown pretty good plate discipline, with 5 walks versus just 11 strikeouts thus far. He’s only been fielding the position part-time so far, so we’ll see if he can keep it up once he gets pressed into more catching duty.

22-year old RHP Caleb Clay may have learned how to throw strikes, if his April has anything to say about it. After a mediocre showing for Greenville last season (6-7, 4.01 ERA, 67 K, 38 BB), Clay has earned the right to start for Salem, and has walked only one batter over 19.1 IP. He has a knack for avoiding hard contact, and has also pitched well against lefties, which is a good sign developmentally.


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