Brian Johnson

Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Brian Johnson, Jantzen Witte among top players in May; Jackie Bradley Jr. has eventful night for PawSox

Ken Laird
June 03, 2015 - 5:04 am
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday, along with the WEEI.com picks for May Players of the Month: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (27-26): L, 3-2, at Scranton/Wilke-Barre (Yankees) After an impressive 14-8 record in April the PawSox had their share of team struggles in May with a 12-17 record. The squad hit just .229 with 19 home runs. Despite taking 17 defeats, however, the pitching staff did collectively have a 3.30 ERA with just 13 home runs allowed. The WEEI.com PawSox Player of the Month for May, pacing the starting rotation, is Brian Johnson. In six starts, Johnson (Boston'€™s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) had a 3-2 record with a collective line of: 34 1/3 IP, 14 R, 14 ER, 33 SO, 8 BB, good for a 3.67 ERA. The first start of the month was a clunker for Johnson as he allowed seven runs on May 3 and lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Over his final five outings, however, Johnson'€™s ERA was just 1.99, including finishing with six perfect innings in his May 29 start in a nine-strikeout performance. May honorable mention: Henry Owens, P (1-2, 2.43 ERA, 6 starts, 33 1/3 IP, 23 SO, 18 BB, .209 BA against) Dana Eveland, P (1 Save, 0.00 ERA, 11 2/3 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 11 SO, 2 BB, .178 BA against) Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (.400/.438/.600, 11 games, 2 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 7 R) Allen Craig, RF (.328/.431/.443, 16 games, 1 HR, 4 2B, 4 RBI, 6 R) Travis Shaw, 1B (.255/.336/.402, 27 games, 4 HR, 3 2B, 15 RBI, 13 R) -- Tuesday certainly was an interesting night for Jackie Bradley Jr., as he was involved in four failed Pawtucket scoring opportunities. In the first, Bradley had a leadoff double to extend his hit streak to seven games, but he was stranded. In the third, Bradley popped out with runners on second and third. Bradley singled but was stranded at third base in the sixth after Pawtucket had loaded the bases. And in the seventh with two aboard and two outs, Bradley was called out on batter'€™s interference as he picked up a ball in play off the catcher'€™s mitt that Bradley thought he had fouled off. Over his hit streak, Bradley is 12-for-28 (.428) with two home runs and two doubles. -- Bryce Brentz crushed a two-run home run to right-center on a 2-0 count in the eighth inning to pull Pawtucket within a run. After hitting .297 in April with 10 extra-base hits, Brentz struggled in May as he hit just .175 with four hits for extra bases. Tuesday'€™s home run was the first for Brentz since May 18. Brentz, Boston'€™s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com and a first-round draft pick in 2010, has had strikeout problems as he'€™s whiffed at least once in 40 of 45 starts this year. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (22-30): L, 4-3, vs. Richmond (Giants) Portland had a 7-13 record in the month of April en route to a 12-22 start through mid-May, but he did finish the month on a 10-7 stretch for a final monthly record of 15-16. The Sea Dogs hit .260 in May, averaging 4.3 runs per game, while the pitching staff had a collective 3.60 ERA. The WEEI.com Portland Player of the Month for May goes to first baseman Jantzen Witte. Leading the team with 16 RBIs, Witte had a slash line of .312/.394/.486 in 29 games, to go along with 11 doubles and two home runs. In the field this season Witte has played 37 games at first and nine at third, while anchoring the three-hole in the Portland batting order. May honorable mention: William Cuevas, P (4-1, 2.36 ERA , 6 starts, 34 1/3 IP, 33 SO, 12 BB, .192 BA against) Pat Light, P (3 Saves, 0.63 ERA, 14 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 19 SO, 9 BB, .106 BA against) Oscar Tejeda, 3B/LF (.322/.346/.446, 29 games, 1 HR, 1 3B, 10 2B, 16 RBI, 17 R) Carlos Asuaje, 2B (.257/.350/.438, 28 games, 3 HR, 1 3B, 8 2B, 16 RBI, 18 R) -- Portland climbed out of an early 4-0 deficit to within a run in front of the home fans at Hadlock Field, but the Sea Dogs stranded the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the ninth as Jonathan Roof was called out at first on a very close play. A 3-2 pitch was pulled by Roof into the hole at shortstop, and the throw was deemed to have beaten Roof for the game'€™s final out. A 26-year-old Michigan State alum, Roof has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games and has raised his average 53 points since May 13 as he'€™s gone 14-for-50 (.280) after a tough start to his year. Primarily a right fielder this year, Roof also has started games at second, third, left field and DH. -- Portland starter Justin Haley dropped to an ugly 1-7 record with yet another tough-luck loss, as he gave up three earned runs or less for the sixth straight start. Haley is just 1-4 over that stretch. Haley'€™s ERA in May was 3.27 after a dreadful 9.42 ERA in four  Apri starts. A 23-year-old righty, the 6-foot-5 Haley was Boston'€™s sixth round draft pick in 2012. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (26-25): Suspended due to rain in second inning, losing 3-0 at Winston Salem (White Sox) After a 9-10 April, Salem had a solid record of 17-14 in May. As a team this past month they hit .255 a with a 3.19 staff ERA. The WEEI.com Salem Player of the Month for May goes to pitcher Aaron Wilkerson. A 26-year-old righty who pitched three years of Independent League baseball before being signed by Boston in July of 2014, Wilkerson pitched mostly out of the bullpen this year with Low-A Greenville before being promoted to Salem in early May. After relieving for 3 1/3 scoreless innings on May 5, Wilkerson was placed in the rotation and in four starts went 2-0 while allowing just two earned runs in 25 1/3 innings pitched. Opponents hit just .133 against Wilkerson in May, and he struck out 34 batters against just six walks. May honorable mention: Jose Vinicio, SS (.333/.357/.395, 22 games, 0 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 16 R) Tzu-Wei Lin, 2B (.306/.367/.418, 26 games, 1 HR, 2 3B, 4 2B, 14 RBI, 15 R) Kevin Heller, LF (.303/.403/.470, 19 games, 2 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 10 RBI, 12 R) Sam Travis, 1B (.297/.355/.423, 30 games, 1 HR, 2 3B, 7 2B, 19 RBI, 11 R) Ty Buttrey, P (4-0, 2.40 ERA, 5 starts, 30 IP, 24 SO, 12 BB, .243 BA against) -- Tuesday night'€™s game was suspended after a 51-minute delay due to rain with Winston-Salem leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. A makeup date and time for resuming the suspended game have yet to be determined. Salem travels back home to take on Potomac on Wednesday. -- The three Winston-Salem runs came in the second inning against Salem starter Ty Buttrey on four hits, including a double, and a walk. When the game resumes, runners will remain on first and second. Since his promotion from Low-A Greenville in early May, the 22-year-old Buttrey had gone 4-0 in five starts and had allowed just eight earned runs in 30 innings pitched. The three earned allowed on Wednesday are tied for the most allowed by Buttrey in a game this year. Buttrey, a 6-foot-6 righty, was a fourth-round pick of Boston in 2012. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (31-21): L, 9-4, vs. Kannapolis (White Sox) May was a great month for Greenville, with top prospect Yoan Moncada'€™s arrival and a record of 18-11. The Drive have the best offense in the South Atlantic League on the season with a league-best .275 batting average and 32 more runs scored than their next closest competitors. The staff ERA of 3.32 is fifth best in the league. The WEEI.com Greenville Player of the Month for May is Rafael Devers. With a slash line of .364/.394/.576, Devers had three home runs, one triple, 10 doubles, 16 RBIs and 22 runs scored. The 18-year-old third baseman, Boston'€™s No. 2 prospect at ESPN.com, had 11 multi-hit games for the month. He leads the South Atlantic League with a .331 average on the season. May honorable mention: Javier Guerra, SS (.308/.402/.513, 23 games, 2 HR, 1 3B, 8 2B, 13 RBI, 15 R) Jalen Beeks, P (4-1, 2.81 ERA, 5 starts, 32 IP, 15 SO, 3 BB, .238 BA against) Michael Kopech, P (1-1, 3.32 ERA, 5 starts, 19 IP, 27 SO, 9 BB, .271 BA against) -- Starter Michael Kopech (Boston'€™s No. 13 prospect, MLB.com) was pulled by Greenville manager Darren Fenster with two outs in the second inning and Greenville trailing 2-0. Kopech never could find his rhythm on the night as he threw 55 pitches and labored, giving up two hits, a walk and three stolen bases to go with a hit batsman, a wild pitch and a fielding error covering first base in his 1 2/3 innings of work. Fenster and Kopech had a long talk at the mound with the infield gathered around before the call to the bullpen was made. Kopech took the loss and fell to 2-3 on the year to go with a 2.62 ERA. -- Mike Meyers crushed a sixth-inning home run over Greenville'€™s Green Monster in left, a no-doubter that was Meyers'€™ first long ball since May 3 and his third on the season. Meyers, a 21-year-old outfielder, was 2-for-4 to raise his average to .273. In his last six games Meyers is 8-for-23 (.347) and has an RBI in five of his last seven. Meyers was selected in Round 12 of the 2012 draft out of high school in Nevada.

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