Noe Ramirez

Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Allen Craig homers; Aaron Wilkerson impresses again; Sam Travis on fire

Ken Laird
June 18, 2015 - 4:47 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (32-34): L, 7-5, at Charlotte (White Sox) -- The PawSox had a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning, but could not hold it as right-hander Noe Ramirez surrendered a three-run home run on the second pitch he threw in relief of Zeke Spruill. The first two Charlotte batters had reached via a walk and a fielder'€™s choice, the latter a comebacker that Spruill threw into the back of the lead runner digging for second base. Spruill was not charged with an error as second baseman Mike Miller didn'€™t initially break to cover the bag, leading to hesitation on Spruill'€™s throw. For Ramirez, a fourth-round draft choice of Boston in 2011, it was the first homer he had allowed since August 6, 2013, a span of 59 appearances and broke a string of four straight scoreless outings since he came off the DL on May 28 (right forearm strain). The updated numbers for Ramirez on the season are: 20 2/3 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 9 BB, 19 SO. Opposing hitters are hitting at just a .219 clip against him. The Charlotte long ball was the second of the game for Trayce Thompson, as he also had a two-run shot in the fourth off of Pawtucket starter Jess Todd (4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO). Thompson also had a two-homer game against the PawSox on June 8 in Pawtucket. -- Allen Craig had tied the game at four with a leadoff home run in the sixth inning, before Pawtucket then took the lead in the seventh on a Jackie Bradley Jr. double and a Bryce Brentz RBI single. For Craig, it was his third home run as a member of the PawSox since his arrival on May 12, an opposite field line drive on an outside fastball on the first pitch of the sixth. Craig has hits in 20 of his 27 games with Pawtucket with a slash line of .296/.406/.426. Craig ended the game as he was called out on strikes with a runner aboard. For Bradley Jr., his double gave him a five-game hitting streak and his fourth two-bagger in his last five games, putting his slash line at .330/.401/.494 in 44 contests with the PawSox this year. Bradley Jr.'€™s speed was on display Wednesday as he scored ahead of the throw from center in the seventh, as well as in the field as he made a running shoestring catch coming in on a shallow liner in the first. Later in the game, Brentz appeared to injure his left hand or arm sliding into the bag at second as he attempted to extend his RBI single into an extra base on the throw home. Brentz left the game and was replaced in the outfield by Garin Cecchini. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (25-40): L, 3-1, vs. Binghamton (Mets) -- The bullpen again gave Portland a chance, throwing six scoreless innings in relief of Heri Quevedo (L, 0-3, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO), but again the Sea Dogs'€™ offense could muster little as Portland'€™s June record dropped to 3-11. The Sea Dogs rank 11th out of 12 teams in the Eastern League in runs scored this year. The shutout relief effort was shared by Mike McCarthy (3 IP, 1 H, 2 SO), Miguel Celestino (2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO), and Jorge Marban (1 IP, 0 H), putting Portland'€™s bullpen total at eight earned runs allowed over its last 62 1/3 innings (1.16 ERA). For Celestino, a 25-year-old 6-foot-6 righty out of the Dominican, it was his first outing with Portland this year after his demotion from Pawtucket (0-4, 3.67 ERA). He has shown strikeout stuff again this season as he has 28 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. Last year Celestino struck out 60 in 52 combined innings between Portland and Pawtucket and was 9-for-12 in save opportunities. -- The lone Portland run came via an RBI groundout from second baseman Carlos Asuaje (1-for-3 with a walk) scoring center fielder Aneury Tavarez (2-for-3 with a run scored). Shortstop Marco Hernandez also had a single in the run-scoring frame, giving him hits in 10 of his last 11 games. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (35-30): W, 7-0, at Wilmington (Royals) -- Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson ('€™s Salem Player of the Month for May) made a convincing case to be left in the starting rotation, as Wednesday he was perfect through four innings and took a no-hitter into the sixth, helping send Salem to their 10th shutout win of the season. Wilkerson'€™s final line read: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO (91 pitches, 64 strikes). He improved to 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA, with 47 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings combined between now seven starts and seven bullpen appearances. Wilkerson, 26, told he will accept whatever role the Red Sox organization wants for him. "I'€™ve always been a starter," Wilkerson said. "Coming in this year, they moved me to the '€˜pen because, being as old as I am, they wanted to put me on the fast track to get up. As of right now, I'€™m starting. I feel like I'€™ve had some success starting, but whatever they want me to do is what I'€™m willing to do." -- Sam Travis (Boston'€™s No. 14 prospect hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season, smashing a 3-0 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run shot in the third inning that got Salem all the offense it would need. Travis, hitting cleanup as the DH, went 2-for-4 and has now reached base in every game in June with an impressive .426/.483/.667 slash line this month in 14 games played. Travis is currently among the Carolina League leaders in several offensive categories, ranking first in hits (72), third in batting average (.312), fourth in RBIs (37), fourth in on-base percentage (.373), fifth in total bases (107), sixth in slugging percentage (.463), and seventh in doubles (14). Travis, 21, was a second-round draft choice by Boston last season out of Indiana University, where as a sophomore he was named Big Ten Player of the Year after hitting .347 with 12 home runs, following up a freshman year where he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year hitting .319 with nine home runs, as well as earning MVP of the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA regional. -- Right fielder Kevin Heller reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with two walks, to raise his average to .279. Heller, 25, started the year with Double-A Portland but was demoted after hitting just .132 in 13 games. In May with Salem, Heller hit .303 (20-for-66) and reached base over 17 consecutive contests. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (35-31): L, 4-2, at Greensboro (Marlins) -- Rafael Devers (Boston'€™s No. 4 prospect, tied the afternoon affair at two in the eighth with a pinch-hit home run, Devers'€™ fourth blast of the season, but Greenville lost the lead in the bottom of the inning as reliever Mario Alcantara surrendered an RBI-double. It was Devers'€™ first homer this month, and snapped a mini 2-for-18 skid he was on over his last four games. Devers, 18, was the Greenville Player of the Month for May after a 24 game stretch of .364/.394/.576 with 16 RBIs. Devers'€™ June batting average is only .196, but he has managed nine RBIs over his 13 contests. Alcantara had struck out eight batters over four innings of relief in his previous appearance on Saturday, but on Wednesday allowed three hits and walked a batter in his two innings of work, taking the loss and raising his ERA over two for the first time this season (2.04). -- Greenville'€™s first run came via speedy second baseman Mauricio Dubon (Boston'€™s No. 29 prospect,, who singled and stole a base (his 18th) before scoring on Derek Miller'€™s RBI single. Dubon was 2-for-3 with a walk, raising his slash line to .308/.361/.438 over 55 games this season. -- Yoan Moncada (Boston'€™s No. 1 prospect and No. 7 in Top 100, was back at DH and went 1-for-4 with a stolen base to go along with two strikeouts. Moncada has hit safely in five of his last six games, but is hitting just .191 in June (9-for-47) with two doubles. Moncada, 20, has been at second base for nine of his 14 games in June, with five at DH.