Aneury Tavarez

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: 17-year-old Anderson Espinoza debuts for Greenville in playoff chase; Manuel Margot hits homer and steals 3 for Portland

Ken Laird
September 06, 2015 - 11:20 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (58-84): W, 6-2, vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays) -- Right fielder Aneury Tavarez hit his first Triple-A home run in his fourth game with the PawSox, a two-run shot to center field in the sixth that increased Pawtucket'€™s lead to 4-0. Tavares, 23, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as he'€™s started 4-for-12 in Triple-A with hits in three of his four games played. On the season, combined between High-A Salem (39 games), Double-A Portland (67 games) and Pawtucket, Tavarez is slashing .249/.308/.397 with eight homers, five triples, 22 doubles, 35 RBIs and 36 runs scored. -- RHP Zeke Spruill pitched seven scoreless innings to earn his first win as a starter this year (5-10, 3.94 ERA overall) with a final line of: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO (112 pitches, 64 strikes). Spruill, 25, allowed single baserunners in each of the first four innings, but he induced a double play and stranded the other three as he retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. The 6-foot-5 Spruill has started 14 games this year for Pawtucket, including 10 in a row and 13 of his past 14, for an ERA of 3.81 with 47 strikeouts and 20 walks in those 78 innings. Spruill has seven quality starts in his last nine outings, with 16 earned runs allowed over those 55 innings pitched (2.61 ERA). -- RHP Pat Light (Boston'€™s No. 22 prospect at relieved Spruill in the eighth and was charged with two runs as he allowed four singles in two-thirds of an inning while recording two fly outs. Light, 24, had made three straight scoreless appearances coming into Saturday'€™s action. -- RHP Dayan Diaz earned his fourth save as he replaced Light in the eighth and stranded a runner at second, then stayed on to pitch a scoreless ninth as he induced a double play to end the game after a walk and two singles had loaded the bases. Diaz, 26, has made four straight scoreless appearances with back-to-back converted saves as he improved his numbers to 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA over 57 innings of work with the PawSox, striking out 49 and walking 28. -- Shorstop Marco Hernandez (Boston'€™s No. 23 prospect at reached base four times as he went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored, batting in the two-hole of the order. Hernandez, 23, has hits in nine of his last 10 games with three multi-hit games in his last five. On the season with Pawtucket over 44 games, Hernandez is slashing .262/.293/.384 with three homers, two triples, eight doubles, 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (51-89): L, 11-9, vs. New Britain (Rockies) -- Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston'€™s No. 3 prospect at went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, a walk, three stolen bases (to give him 19 on the year with Portland) and two runs scored from his leadoff spot of the batting order. Margot, 20, turned on a 2-0 pitch in the second inning and sent it deep over the Hadlock Field Monster in left to pull Portland within 3-2 on the scoreboard, Margot'€™s second homer of the year with the Sea Dogs and his first since June 27. Margot walked and scored in the first, after a steal of second base, adding a single and a steal of third base in the fifth inning and an RBI-single in the seventh with another steal of second. Signed by Boston during the 2011 international signing period for an $800,000 bonus, the 5-foot-11 Margot is now slashing .258/.316/.379 with Portland over 62 games played. Margot has 39 stolen bases this season (caught 12 times) over 108 combined games between High-A Salem and Portland, good for second-most among Boston minor-leaguers. Margot also has five homers, eight triples, 24 doubles, 44 RBIs and 71 runs scored in total on the year. -- First baseman Sam Travis (Boston'€™s No. 12 prospect at reached base in five of his six plate appearances, going 1-for-2 with three walks, a double, an RBI, and a run scored to go with a stolen base (his ninth). Travis, 22, doubled home Margot in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1, driving a 1-1 change up over the head of the center fielder as the ball one-hopped the fence. Over 65 games with Portland, Travis is slashing .300/.384/.436 with 38 RBIs and 35 runs scored. Combined over 131 games played this year between High-A Salem and Portland, Travis is at .307/.381/.452 with 78 RBI and 70 runs scored with nine homers, six triples, 32 doubles, and 19 stolen bases. -- Portland set a team record by committing eight errors in the field, with three charged to shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, leading to three unearned runs. The biggest damage came during a four-run eighth for New Britain, as Portland blew a 9-7 lead. On a single to left field, Keury De La Cruz bobbled the baseball for the first miscue of the inning and a run scored. The next batter struck out, but on a steal attempt Lin dropped the ball at second base, allowing a runner to break from third and score to tie the game 9-9. Two singles, a balk, and a wild pitch later charged to RHP Kyle Martin and New Britain had the 11-9 lead. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (64-73): L, 6-2, at Potomac (Nationals) -- RHP Ty Buttrey made his final start of the season and took the loss (8-10, 4.20 ERA) with a final line of: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO. Buttrey, 22, allowed two runs in the second inning on three consecutive hits and then allowed three more in the fourth frame on a home run, RBI triple, and a sacrifice fly as Potomac built a 5-2 lead. Buttrey rebounded to pitch a scoreless fifth inning before being replaced by reliever Mike Adams. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of high school in North Carolina, the 6-foot-6 Buttrey finished the year with 115 2/3 innings of work with Salem over 21 starts, with 81 strikeouts and 45 walks as opposing batters hit .268 against him. Buttrey lost seven of his last eight games despite four of those being quality outings. -- The Salem offense managed just two runs on eight hits on the night, scoring a run in the first as shortstop Mauricio Dubon (Boston'€™s No. 21 prospect at and second baseman Wendell Rijo (Boston'€™s No. 15 prospect at singled and Dubon scored on a double-play groundout by DH Kevin Heller. Rijo would score a run in the eighth as he reached on a strike-out wild pitch and later scored on a wild pitch after Heller singled him to third. Dubon, 21, finished 1-for-4 with a run and stolen base (his 11th) and now has hits in 13 of his past 14 games. On the year, Dubon is slashing .271/.337/.319 with 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored over 60 games with Salem. Dubon spent the first 58 games of the season in Greenville where he slashed .301/.354/.428 with 29 RBIs and 43 runs scored. Rijo, 20, finished 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored and has hits in seven of his last eight games, with four of them multi-hit games. On the season, Rijo is now slashing .257/.320/.380 with 47 RBIs and 44 runs scored over 106 games with Salem. Heller, 25, finished 2-for-4 and has a four-game hit streak as he raised his slash line to .295/.408/.430 with seven homers and 16 doubles to go with 50 RBIs and 39 runs scored over 91 games with Salem this year. Heller'€™s .408 on-base percentage leads the Carolina League, while his .430 slugging percentage is fifth best. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (71-67): L, 4-3 and W, 5-4, vs. Savannah (Mets) -- RHP Anderson Espinoza (Boston'€™s No. 9 prospect at was activated by Greenville and made his debut in Game 1 of a doubleheader, taking the loss (0-1, 8.10 ERA) with a final line of: 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (68 pitches, 43 strikes). Espinoza, 17, relied mostly on fastballs throughout the day, with velocities varying between 93 and 97 mph as he pitched into the fourth inning. Greenville shortstop Javier Guerra acted as a translator during visits at the mound from catcher J.T. Watkins. After a perfect first inning, with two flyouts and a groundout, Espinoza allowed a run in the second after a single, stolen base, advance on a groundout, and wild pitch to the backstop which allowed the runner to score from third. Espinoza recovered to end the second frame with his second strikeout of the inning on a looping breaking ball. In the third, a leadoff walk on five pitches would lead to a run after back-to-back steals and an errant throw from Watkins to third which brought the run home to make it 2-0 Savannah. The 6-foot Espinoza then allowed a double but stranded the runner with consecutive whiffs, one on a 2-2 fastball that caught the batter looking and the other on a 1-2 fastball sinking down in the zone. Finally, in the fourth, Espinoza allowed his third run on a pair of singles and was removed with one out in the inning. Signed by Boston during the 2014 international signing period for $1.8 million out of Venezuela, Espinoza made 10 starts this year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox where he went 0-1 with a 0.68 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 40 total innings of work. Over those 10 outings, Espinoza struck out 40 and walked nine, with an opposing batting average of .190. -- LHP Jake Drehoff relieved Espinoza and allowed just one run over 3 2/3 innings, but it proved to be the difference maker in the 4-3 defeat as Savannah made it 4-2 in the fifth on a leadoff double and ensuing single. Drehoff, 23, allowed five hits and struck out three while walking none as he held Savannah scoreless final two innings of the seven-inning affair (the minor-league doubleheader standard). Selected by Boston in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi, Drehoff is 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA over 24 outings this year with the Drive, striking out 65 over 71 2/3 innings to go with 15 walks. -- The Greenville offense got two runs in the fourth inning as third baseman Michael Chavis (Boston'€™s No. 11 prospect at led off with a double down the line in left, coming home to score on a double by DH Rafael Devers (Boston'€™s No. 2 prospect at that was ripped down the right-field line on a 3-2 pitch. Center fielder Andrew Benintendi (Boston'€™s No. 6 prospect at followed with an RBI single but was later thrown out in a rundown between third base and home as Guerra attempted a steal of second and Benintendi broke for the plate. An RBI double in the sixth inning by first baseman Nick Longhi (Boston'€™s No. 20 prospect at scored Devers to cut the deficit to 4-3 but Greenville missed opportunities to bring home a runner from second as Guerra grounded out to end the sixth and both right fielder Joseph Monge and second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston'€™s No. 1 prospect at struck out to end the seventh. Devers had the lone multi-hit game for Greenville in Game 1 as he finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. -- In Game 2 of the doubleheader Greenville did erase a 4-3 deficit with a comeback, walkoff win in the bottom of the seventh inning. Moncada led off the inning with single to center, stole second base (his 48th steal of the season) despite a pitch-out, advanced to third on an errant throw, and scored on a Devers sacrifice fly deep to right to tie the game 4-4. After an intentional walk to Benintendi, Longhi reached on an error by the Savannah shortstop and Guerra drove in the game winner on a one-out, bases loaded grounder to first base that allowed Chavis to score. Benintendi, 21, finished 2-for-3 in the nightcap with a walk and a run scored and now has an 11-game hit streak, raising his slash line to .343/.423/.567 over 17 games with Greenville. Since joining the team on August 17, Benintendi has seven multi-hit games and has reached base safely in 16 of the 17, with hits in 15; Benintendi has four homers, 15 RBIs, and 14 runs scored with the Drive. -- With the win and with an Asheville loss at home to Greensboro, Greenville moved back within 1/2 game for the final playoff spot in the South Atlantic League with two games remaining in the season. Both Greenville and Asheville host home games on Sunday that begin at 7:05 pm, before final Labor Day games on Monday at 2:05 pm. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (36-38): L, 12-6, vs. Vermont (A'€™s) -- Tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, Vermont erupted for four run in the seventh and five more in the eighth to blow the game open at LeLacheur Park to officially eliminate Lowell from postseason contention. RHP Travis Lakins started and made his Lowell debut and second professional appearance, pitching two scoreless and hitless innings with three strikeouts and one walk. Selected by Boston in the sixth round of this year'€™s draft out of Ohio State University, the 6-foot-1 Lakins pitched one scoreless inning of relief during the Gulf Coast League playoffs before getting the promotion to Lowell. RHP Daniel Gonzalez relieved Lakins and allowed two runs in the fourth before running into more trouble in the seventh, allowing a leadoff home run and then a single before being replaced by RHP Daniel Zandona. All told, Gonzalez pitched four innings and allowed four runs on six hits with a strikeout. Zandona allowed two runs, one earned, and in the eighth LHP Javier Rodriguez walked three batters and did not record an out. RHP Enfember Martinez pitched the final two innings, allowing two doubles and a walk in the eighth and a home run in the ninth. -- Four members of the Lowell offense delivered multi-hit games, with DH Josh Ockimey driving in three runs on two doubles. Catcher Tyler Spoon went 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Center fielder Tate Matheny also went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while third baseman Victor Acosta was 2-for-4 with a double an a run scored. Ockimey, 19, has multi-hit games in four of his last seven games as he'€™s batted .344 (10-for-29) over that span with three doubles, seven RBIs, and four runs scored. Spoon, 22, has a seven-game hit streak and hits in 12 of his last 13 games as he'€™s raisied his average from .154 to .262 over that span, hitting .288 (15-for-52) with a homer and five doubles to go with eight runs scored and six RBIs. Matheny, 21, has three straight multi-hit games and hits in seven of his last 10 contests, raising his average 19 points to .182 after bottoming out at a season-low .161. Acosta, 19, has a four-game hit streak and is now slashing .254/.310/.354 over 56 games on the season with 25 RBIs and 28 runs scored. For more, check out the latest WEEI Farm Report Podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable, with this week'€™s special guest Jim Callis of