Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster dominates; Sean Coyle streaking; Brian Johnson mixing

May 31, 2014 - 4:48 am
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-2 WIN AT NORFOLK (ORIOLES) (BOX) -- Right-hander Allen Webster, bypassed by Rubby De La Rosa for a spot in the Red Sox rotation while Clay Buchholz is on the disabled list, responded with one of his most dominant outings in Pawtucket. He delivered eight innings -- his longest outing this year and tied for his longest start with the PawSox during a tenure that dates to last year -- while allowing one run on three hits (a single, double and solo homer) while punching out seven and walking one. The one walk matched a season low, but continued a stretch in which Webster has been doing a better job of forcing opponents to put the ball in play. In his last eight starts spanning 47 2/3 innings, he's averaging 2.6 walks per nine innings (along with 7.4 strikeouts per nine). -- First baseman Travis Shaw has reached base in each of his first five games since a promotion to Pawtucket, and on Friday, he had his first multi-hit game and first extra-base hit in Triple-A, going 2-for-5 with a double. The 24-year-old is hitting .263/.300/.368 in his 20 plate appearances in Triple-A, though his one walk and six strikeouts hint at the adjustment to a new level by a player who had 29 walks and 23 strikeouts in Double-A prior to his promotion this year. -- Right-fielder Corey Brown went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer against Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman. The 28-year-old is hitting .239 with a .302 OBP but an impressive .511 slugging mark in May thanks to six homers in the month. -- Shannon Wilkerson, promoted this week to Pawtucket from Portland, had his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4, and the 25-year-old is now 8-for-22 (.364) with a pair of doubles in six games. -- Catcher Christian Vazquez went 2-for-5, threw out one of the two runners who attempted to steal on him and picked off a runner. Vazquez has thrown out 12 of 31 attempted base stealers this year, a 38.7 percent rate that ranks third in the International League. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-3 WIN AT TRENTON (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Left-hander Brian Johnson continued his seamless transition to Double-A. He worked six innings while allowing three runs (two earned), and he's now worked at least five innings while allowing no more than two earned runs in all six of his starts following his early-season promotion from Salem. Though Johnson gave up his first homer of the season (in 61 innings between two levels), he punched out seven and walked three, leaving him with 7.4 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings in Double-A. Johnson's success has as much to do with execution and sequencing as pure stuff, a notion that was underscored by how he employed his four-pitch arsenal on Friday. Aaron Bracy, writing for the Portland Press-Herald, noted that at one point Johnson quadrupled up on changeups to a hitter. '€"One thing I'€™ve learned coming through the minor leagues with the Red Sox is you have no secondary pitches, they'€™re all primary pitches," Johnson told the Press-Herald. "I want (hitters) to respect every pitch I have." -- Sean Coyle made his return to the field, playing third base for the first time since coming off the DL. Though he committed an error, he also kept raking, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Coyle has hit in all seven games since returning from the DL, posting a .464/.500/.750 line with five doubles and a homer in that time. Overall, he has an 11-game hitting streak dating to April 21, with a .450/.500/.700 line that has boosted his season stats to a .365 average, .419 OBP and .565 slugging mark with 11 extra-base hits in 25 games. -- Corner infielder Stefan Welch, 25, had his second three-hit game of the year, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. He's now hitting .274/.365/.430 in 40 games this year. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-4 LOSS (10 INNINGS) AT POTOMAC (NATIONALS) (BOX) -- Second baseman Reed Gragnani went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Though he's cooled off since his scorching start, the 24-year-old still enters the final day of May with a .310/.405/.400 line for the month thanks to a 7-for-18 run with three doubles and six walks in his last five games. -- Though starter William Cuevas allowed four runs in his five innings, he also permitted just three hits (a pair of doubles and a single) while walking three and striking out five. In six May appearances, he held opponents to a .198 average while punching out 28 and walking six (all in his last two trips to the mound) in 29 innings. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 7-6 WIN VS. HICKORY (RANGERS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Jamie Callahan threw 4 2/3 innings in which he allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits (including a triple and homer) while walking four and striking out three. Callahan cruised through four shutout innings before seeing his outing fall apart in the fifth, an inning in which he walked three, uncorked a wild pitch, hit a batter and gave up a pair of hits, including a homer. The control lapse has been a surprisingly common theme for Callahan this season, as he's walked 4.8 per nine innings this year, nearly double the 2.6 walks per nine he issued last year. The 2012 second-rounder's ERA has likewise soared to 6.55 from his 3.92 mark with Lowell last year. -- First baseman Jantzen Witte had his third straight multi-hit game and fifth in six contests, going 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk and a steal. The 24-year-old is second in the South Atlantic League in average for the season (.356) while pacing the league in both OBP (.445) and slugging (.583).