Red Sox minor league roundup: Rafael Devers, middle-of-the-order prospect; Alex Hassan keeps streaking; Justin Haley's rise

August 08, 2014 - 4:47 am
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This is what an early glimpse of a middle-of-the-order run producer looks like. Rafael Devers did not join the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League until the season was a couple of weeks old. The GCL Red Sox have played in 42 games; Devers has participated in just two-thirds (28) of those. Yet somehow, the 17-year-old hitting prodigy finds himself leading the Gulf Coast League in runs batted in. It's an imperfect statistic, of course, one that often reflects as much upon the players in front of a hitter as it does on the hitter himself. But in Devers' case, it's nonetheless a mark that commands notice. With a 2-for-5 game on Thursday that included a grand slam, Devers now has driven in 31 in his 28 games following his promotion. He's homered in two straight games while going deep in four of his 28 contests since coming to the States. He's hitting a colossal .340 with a .400 OBP and .563 slugging mark in the GCL. With runners in scoring position, those marks leap to .450/.500/.825. There may be some randomness to those situational statistics. After all, in 28 games in the DSL, Devers hit "just" .282/.400/.486 with runners in scoring position, compared to .337/.445/.538 with three homers (and 21 RBIs) overall. Yet even removing the question of his performance with runners in scoring position from the equation, it's hard to find too many Red Sox prospects who have performed like Devers as 17-year-olds. Between his two levels, he has a combined .338/.424/.551 line with seven homers. It's been a long time since the Red Sox have had a young, inexperienced prospect performing at anything like this sort of level. Indeed, the last time the team had a player who was 18 or younger in the GCL who had a slugging percentage of .500 or better (min. 25 games) was in 2002, when an up-and-coming shortstop named Hanley Ramirez hit .341 with a .402 OBP, .555 slugging mark and six homers in 45 games in the GCL. That line is very similar to the one Devers is currently posting, but with a few noteworthy distinctions. Ramirez was 18 at the time, having already experience a first pro season in the DSL in 2001. Still, Ramirez was a shortstop at that time with the ability to steal bases, meaning that his overall ceiling was greater than Devers', which is reliant primarily on his bat. Still, that does little to detract from the enormous offensive potential that Devers is currently hinting at in his first pro summer. He is 17, and won't be in the big leagues for years. Of course, that means that there's plenty of time for the drumbeat of his progression to grow louder. TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-6 WIN AT CHARLOTTE (WHITE SOX) (BOX) -- Ryan Lavarnway, after sitting out nine days, went 3-for-5 with a double on his 27th birthday as he restarted his rehab assignment. In four rehab games with Pawtucket, Lavarnway is 8-for-14 to improve to .290/.381/.375 on the year. -- Right fielder Alex Hassan went 3-for-4 with a walk, boosting his season line to .281/.380/.423. He's reached that mark by hitting .337/.433/.529 with 22 extra-base hits, 29 walks and 45 strikeouts since his return to Triple-A from the big leagues on June 10. -- First baseman Travis Shaw had his first multi-hit game since July 25, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Both doubles came against righties; Shaw is hitting .295/.350/.514 versus right-handed pitchers. -- Right-hander Dalier Hinojosa tossed a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts. Since the beginning of July, he has a 2.04 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 17 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA for the year to 4.29. Opponents are hitting just .181 against the 28-year-old. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-3 LOSS AT BOWIE (ORIOLES) (BOX) -- Sean Coyle went 1-for-3 with an infield single but had to leave the game after suffering a leg injury that had him falling to the ground after reaching first base. Manager Billy McMillon told the Portland Press-Herald that Coyle's injury did not appear serious. -- Right-hander Justin Haley, for the second straight start since his promotion to Double-A, had a strong six-inning performance. On Thursday, he worked six shutout frames, dancing around five walks (he also permitted three hits) with four strikeouts. The 23-year-old has permitted one run in 12 innings (0.75 ERA) in Portland with eight strikeouts and seven walks since graduating from Salem, where he was 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA, 7.2 strikeouts and 2.2 walks per nine. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-2 WIN VS. LYNCHBURG (BRAVES) (BOX) -- Right-hander Jake Dahlstrand matched a career high with seven innings in which he permitted two unearned runs on four hits (a double and three singles), walking two and punching out four. Since his promotion to High-A, the 22-year-old has allowed one earned run in 13 2/3 innings, good for a 0.66 ERA with nine strikeouts and six walks. -- Carlos Asuaje launched a homer for his hit in a 1-for-4 game, his second longball in Salem and his 13th overall this year. He has 52 extra-base hits in 106 games between Single-A Greenville and Salem, with an impressive .303/.385/.529 line while showing considerable positional versatility that has seen him play at three infield positions (second, third, short) as well as in left field. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 2-1 LOSS (10 INNINGS) AT LEXINGTON (ROYALS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz had his fourth straight outing of six or more innings, dominating through six shutout frames in which he permitted three hits (all singles), walked one and struck out three. In his last four starts, the 20-year-old has a 2.19 ERA. He's been showing the ability to maintain his delivery while generating low- to mid-90s velocity (up to 96) as a starter, with an impressively low 2.1 walks per nine innings over a substantial haul of 114 1/3 innings. He still has yet to show a single knockout pitch, explaining his relatively modest (6.5 per nine innings) strikeout rates, but his overall performance suggests a pitcher who's not afraid to challenge opponents in the strike zone with enough stuff to compete. -- First baseman Sam Travis went 2-for-4, and he's now hit in all six games since his promotion to Greenville. In six games since moving up from Lowell, he's 11-for-23 with a .478/.538/.652 line, pushing his combined average between Lowell and Greenville to .351/.387/.473. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 3-2 WIN (WALKOFF) VS. STATE COLLEGE (CARDINALS) (BOX) -- Deiner Lopez authored the walkoff hit as the culmination of a 3-for-4 game that also included a steal. In a part-time role in his second season with the Spinners, the 20-year-old is hitting .276/.347/.352. -- Right-hander Chandler Shephard, a 13th-rounder, allowed one hit over three scoreless innings while punching out two. He's allowed one run in his last nine innings spanning four outings. Overall, in 12 professional appearances, he has a 4.03 ERA with 23 strikeouts and six walks in 22 1/3 innings. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 10-6 WIN VS. GCL RAYS (BOX) -- Though he doesn't have the same outlandish numbers as Devers, Luis Alexander Basabe has shown an ability to hold his own as a 17-year-old competing in the GCL. The center fielder went 1-for-3 with his first homer of 2014 and also drew a walk to boost his line to .236/.279/.345 in 16 GCL games and .271/.376/.443 in 56 total games between the DSL and GCL. An athletic switch-hitter from Venezuela, Basabe represented a raw but tools-laden player when the Sox signed him last year, and team officials speak highly about the progress he's shown in turning those tools into increasing production at a time when he's young for his level. -- Outfielder Trenton Kemp collected an extra-base hit for the third straight game. going 2-for-4 with a double. The 2014 15th-rounder with an appealing speed/power mix is 4-for-8 with two doubles and a homer in his last three games, improving in his pro debut to .215/.287/.354 with two homers and seven extra-base hits in 25 games. -- Right-hander Gabe Speier turned in his second straight outing of four innings and no earned runs (he did permit one unearned run), yielding two hits, walking none and punching out three. In 16 innings, he has 11 strikeouts, one walk and a 1.13 ERA. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 1-0 LOSS VS. DSL NATIONALS (BOX) -- Left-hander Enmanuel De Jesus tossed a season-high six innings in which he permitted an unearned run on three hits while walking two and punching out three. The 17-year-old has averaged nearly a strikeout an inning (8.3 per nine) while issuing 2.9 free passes per nine. -- Second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe went 1-for-3 with a walk and two steals. He now has a five-game hitting streak during which he's 6-for-18 with six walks and five steals. The 17-year-old, the twin brother of Luis Alexander Basabe, is hitting .225/.382/.239 in his second DSL season.

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