Blake Swihart

Red Sox minor league roundup: Jackie Bradley Jr. starts road back; Blake Swihart adjusting to new level; Michael Kopech overpowering

August 19, 2014 - 10:32 am

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Monday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 2-0 LOSS VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES) (BOX) -- In his first Triple-A game since being sent down from the big leagues Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. Manager Kevin Boles described the day -- which did feature a loud fly ball -- as having offered "some good signs." Bradley said that he was responsible for the team's decision to demote him. -- Left-hander Edwin Escobar, in his fourth start since being acquired from the Giants, threw just 55 of 96 (57 percent) of his pitches for strikes, matched a season-high with four walks and struck out just two. He did show increased velocity from his prior PawSox outings, registering as high as 94 mph on the radar gun, but even with that power, he seemed reluctant at times to attack with his fastball (perhaps because of some issues keeping it in the strike zone). Still, while his stuff generated few swings and misses, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitters had a difficult time squaring him up, as evidenced by the fact that he permitted just four hits (all singles) while recording 13 outs on the ground, including a pair via double play. -- Catcher Blake Swihart went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, showing a somewhat overaggressive approach at times (from both sides of the plate) in which he chased balls both up and away and down and in. Thus far, he has one walk and 12 strikeouts in 10 games since moving up to Pawtucket, though it's worth noting that he exhibited a similar pattern of early aggressiveness in Double-A Portland to start the year before he became increasingly selective, ultimately posting solid walk rates after April. -- Though he allowed four baserunners (single, double, two walks) and threw just 14 of 30 pitches for strikes, left-hander Drake Britton worked around the traffic to post two scoreless innings. He snapped a stretch of three straight outings in which he'd given up runs. Indeed, the two shutout innings represented his longest scoreless appearance since he tossed two shutout innings on April 25. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF DAY SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: OFF DAY SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: OFF DAY (ALL-STAR BREAK) ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 2-1 WIN VS. GCL RAYS (BOX) -- First-rounder Michael Kopech fired a pair of scoreless innings, working around two hits and two walks partly on the strength of his three punchouts. The 18-year-old has shown impressive power stuff in his early career (much as he did in his amateur career), working in the mid-90s with a wipeout slider that largely has been overpowering against GCL opponents, who are hitting .190 against him with 13 strikeouts and eight walks in 11 2/3 innings. -- Catcher Ben Moore, who is transitioning back behind the plate after spending the last two years at Alabama as an outfielder, went 2-for-2 with a walk, improving to .303/.432/.364. His experience in the Southeastern Conference suggests that, offensively, he'd have been more appropriately assigned to a higher level. However, because of the work he'll need to do behind the plate, he was sent to start his career in the GCL. -- Left-hander Javier Rodriguez allowed one run on three hits and two walks in three innings while punching out four to improve to 8-0, though with his ERA rising to 0.92. The run snapped a string of four straight scoreless outings (19 innings) for the 6-foot-2, 19-year-old left-hander, who has shown a fastball at up to 93 mph in the GCL this season. -- Third baseman Rafael Devers, in his first professional season, may have hit a wall. He went 0-for-4, making him 0-for-16 in his last four games to drop his GCL totals to .294/.353/.476 -- all still extraordinary for a 17-year-old, but less so than when he was dominating the level out of the gate following his promotion from the DSL. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 7-1 WIN AT DSL GIANTS (BOX) -- Center fielder Yoan Aybar had his second straight three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a double and steal. His 6-for-9 stretch has pushed the athletic, potential five-tool outfielder up to a line of .280/.327/.425. -- Left-hander Jhonathan Diaz had his seventh straight five-inning outing, earning the win by allowing a run on three hits and three walks while punching out a batter. The 17-year-old is now 6-2 with a 1.63 ERA, 7.3 strikeouts and 2.2 walks per nine, with the three-walk yield having been somewhat uncharacteristic (it matched a season high).