Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Matt Barnes out of gas; Garin Cecchini in overdrive on the bases; Bryce Brentz en fuego

August 27, 2012 - 4:58 am
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A brief look at the doings in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday . . . TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN AT CHARLOTTE (WHITE SOX) (BOX) -- Interestingly, left-hander Chris Hernandez has been getting more strikeouts since his promotion to Triple-A than he did at any other time in his first two full seasons of pro ball. After punching out 5.7 per nine innings last year in High-A Salem and 5.2 per nine innings in Double-A Portland, he is punching out 7.1 per nine innings in his first seven Triple-A outings, having struck out six (and walked one) in six innings on Sunday. He gave up two runs -- the sixth time in seven outings that he's permitted two or fewer runs -- to lower his ERA to 3.44. -- Daniel Bard threw eight of 11 pitches for strikes, giving up a run on a pair of singles while striking out win. He picked up the win in the process. He now has made three straight appearances without a walk, though he is giving up more hits of late, as opponents have a .314 average against him (though no home runs) in August, a month in which he has a 9.35 ERA. -- Second baseman Ivan De Jesus, in his first game since being acquired in the deal with the Dodgers, went 2-for-3 with a walk. The 25-year-old has a combined .300/.340/.419/.759 line in 61 Triple-A games this year, all but one of which came with the Dodgers' affiliate in Albuquerque. -- Josh Fields recorded one out for the save. The 27-year-old is up to seven scoreless appearances since his promotion to Triple-A, with 14 strikeouts and two walks in 9 2/3 innings. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-3 LOSS (10 INNINGS) VS. BINGHAMTON (METS) (BOX) -- Jeremy Hazelbaker launched a pair of homers in four at-bats, and he now has a 10-game hitting streak during which he's hitting .370/.383/.696/1.079 with eight extra-base hits. On the year, he's up to 19 homers to go along with his 33 steals, with an overall line of .273/.338/.479/.818. His average is essentially unchanged from last year, but he's exhibiting less patience and more power. The 19 homers, in fact, represent a new single-season career high. -- Bryce Brentz went 2-for-4 with a double, giving him six straight multi-hit games, during which he is 15-for-28 (.536) with two homers and four doubles. He's bumped up his average by 16 points (from .284 to .300) and his OPS by 39 points (from .809 to .848) in the process. -- On the one hand, Michael Olmsted now has a 0.00 ERA in 11 appearances since his promotion to Double-A. On the other, he's given up five unearned runs in his last five innings (spanning four outings), yielding two runs on a hit, two walks and an error on Sunday in an inning of work. Still, he punched out two more batters, giving him 27 in 17 innings in Double-A, a rate of 14.3 per nine innings that is in line with his 14.1 Ks per nine in 56 1/3 innings overall this year. -- While Jackie Bradley Jr. was initially expected to miss just a couple of days after twisting his ankle on Aug. 20, he's now missed six days due to the injury. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 9-5 WIN AT CAROLINA (INDIANS) (BOX) -- Matt Barnes was knocked around for four runs on six hits (four singles, two doubles) in four innings, striking out three and walking two. He's winless in his last 11 starts dating to June 23, going 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA in that span. He hasn't thrown more than five innings in any of his last 12 starts. The right-hander, just over a year since signing as a first-round pick, is now at 116 2/3 innings for the year, and his results look like those of a first-year professional who is spent. That's not an atypical trajectory for a pitcher one year out of college, but it does temper expectations that Barnes was ready to leapfrog a normal player development path to blaze a fast track to the majors. Instead, he'll likely be assessed next spring training to determine whether he will start the year in Double-A Portland (likely) or open the year at High-A. -- Sean Coyle went 3-for-5, his second three-hit game of the weekend, while also stealing his 14th base in as many attempts this year. Since the All-Star break, the 20-year-old is hitting .310 (fourth in the Carolina League) with a .374 OBP (8th), .470 slugging mark (11th) and .844 OPS (9th), recovering from a dreadful first half to reassert his prospect status as an advanced 20-year-old. -- Outfielder Brandon Jacobs went 2-for-5, his first multi-hit game in 15 contests. After a strong July, he's seen his contact rate plummet while struggling this month, hitting .123 with a .275 OBP (thanks to 14 walks in 91 plate appearances), .205 slugging mark and .480 OPS. He's struck out in 31 percent of his plate appearances this month, and given that diminished frequency of putting his bat on the ball and the fact that he's stopped hitting for extra bases (three doubles and a homer this month), it would appear that -- as Chris Mellen of SoxProspects.com has suggested in scouting him -- the wrist injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks in May has caught up to him at the end of the season (when fatigue is common even in the absence of an injury), resulting in his struggle down the stretch. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 5-4 WIN VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES) (BOX) -- Garin Cecchini went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks on Sunday, while also stealing his 46th base in 50 attempts. Of the 24 minor leaguers with 40 or more steals this year, Cecchini's 92 percent success rate ranks second to Shawn Payne of Single-A Augusta (also in the Sally League). He's stolen one base in each of his last three games. He's also continuing to hit for average (.311 in August) and get on base at a high rate (.408), even as he puts up modest power totals (.377 slugging in August, .421 for the year). -- Jordan Weems, who had been 0-for-16 in his previous five games, went 2-for-3 with a double. The 19-year-old, a third-round pick in the 2011 draft, is hitting .190/.299/.222/.521 in 82 games during his first full pro season. The numbers look rough, though in fairness, the fact that he's remained in Greenville all year -- as opposed to following a more typical trajectory of starting the year in extended spring training before going to Lowell -- undoubtedly has impacted his numbers considerably. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 2-1 LOSS (10 INNINGS) VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS) (BOX) -- Supplemental first rounder Pat Light bounced back from perhaps his worst line of the season last Tuesday to turn in three shutout innings in which he allowed two hits, punched out two and walked none. Light has now walked just one batter while striking out 17 in his last six outings, spanning 16 1/3 innings. -- Raynel Velette allowed just one run on five hits in six innings, though he walked three in the process. After walking just one batter in 10 1/3 innings in June, he's issued 39 free passes in 59 innings over the past two months. Despite his high walks rate, he's held opponents to a .207 average to keep his ERA at 3.38. ROOKIE LEVEL GCL RED SOX: 1-0 WIN (10 INNINGS) AT GCL TIGERS (BOX) -- Austin Maddox, a third-round pick out of Florida, tossed three scoreless innings while allowing two hits and striking out two. He's given up one run in eight innings thus far in his four starts as he's transitioned from the closer in college to a starter as a pro, a move that the Red Sox commonly make in order to allow pitchers to hone a full pitch mix.