Red Sox minor league roundup: Shane Victorino back on comeback trail; Anthony Ranaudo keeps cruising; Perk up; Speier wins

July 11, 2014 - 9:32 am

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Thursday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-2 WIN AT TOLEDO (TIGERS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo became the second 10-game winner in the International League, allowing one run on six hits (one double) and a walk in five innings while punching out four to improve to 10-4 with a 2.62 ERA. The outing marked the seventh straight in which Ranaudo has allowed two or fewer walks. One evaluator noted that he's been pitching with less slightly less velocity (typically 92-94 mph) this year than he did a year ago in Portland, but speculated that he might be doing so intentionally as he becomes more comfortable with the craft of pitching. -- Outfielder Corey Brown went 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks and a steal. He has four homers in his last seven games and 13 on the year with a .222/.293/.435 line. -- Jonathan Herrera went 3-for-6, and he's now 7-for-15 with a double since the Red Sox optioned him to Pawtucket. He has multiple hits in each of his three games with the PawSox. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 13-3 LOSS AT BINGHAMTON (METS) (BOX) -- Right-hander Luis Diaz matched a career-high (achieved twice in 2013) by punching out nine batters in his 5 2/3 innings of work, though he also took the loss while allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits (two doubles) and two walks. Still, the strikeouts -- six of which were of the swinging variety -- represented an intriguing new development for a year that has been characterized mostly by consistency. Entering the game, Diaz had averaged just 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. Still, even without strikeouts, Diaz's steady, strong results dating to last year in Single-A Greenville had made him an interesting performer. The 22-year-old is now 9-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 18 starts between two levels this year, averaging just under six innings a start. His level-by-level ERAs in the States: 2011: Lowell - 2.53 (74 2/3 innings) 2012: Greenville - 6.01 (91 1/3 innings) 2013: Greenville and Salem - 1.96 (101 combined innings) 2014: Salem and Portland - 3.05 (100 1/3 combined innings) So, he's had one poor performance across levels, but otherwise has shown the ability to compete effectively while moving up the ladder. Where that takes him remains to be seen -- even with velocity that can bump the mid-90s, Diaz doesn't get many swings and misses -- but his track record suggests the possibility of a big league future. -- Catcher Blake Swihart went 2-for-4 with a double (which came against a left-handed pitcher). Through 73 games, the switch-hitter is hitting .295/.349/.475, numbers that suggest similar overall success with some increased power over a 2013 campaign in Salem that saw him hit .298/.366/.428. Swihart drove in a pair of runs on Thursday, continuing his considerable success this year with runners in scoring position, a circumstance in which he's hitting .366/.413/.610. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-4 LOSS VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES) (BOX) -- Noteworthy headline of the day, courtesy of the Salem website: "Yastrzemski ruins Red Sox again." Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of the Red Sox Hall of Famer, went 2-for-5 with a key ninth-inning double for Frederick. -- Outfielder Kendrick Perkins went 2-for-3 with a walk in his Salem debut. The 22-year-old, a 2010 sixth-round pick, earned the promotion with a strong .296/.353/.473 line in Single-A Greenville. If he can carry those results forward to a more age-appropriate level, Perkins could represent an intriguing talent given his tremendous size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and athleticism (he was a football recruit at Texas A&M). However, his approach will require further refinement if he is to succeed as he moves up. He walked 10 times and whiffed 71 times in Greenville prior to the promotion. -- Right-hander Pat Light had his third straight strong start, allowing one run on six hits and a walk in six innings. He punched out two and elicited 11 groundball outs. In his last three starts, the 23-year-old has allowed two earned runs in 17 innings (1.06 ERA) with seven strikeouts and five walks. -- Carlos Asuaje, playing second base, went 1-for-4 with his 11th homer of the year. The 22-year-old is leading the South Atlantic League with a .554 slugging mark to go with his .310 average and .397 OBP. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 8-2 LOSS VS. AUGUSTA (GIANTS) (BOX) -- Center fielder Manuel Margot went 0-for-4. He's now hitting just .152/.243/.273 in July, though the fact that he has four walks and just three strikeouts suggests that his stats for the month are likely lagging behind the competitiveness of the 19-year-old's at-bats. -- Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz was knocked around for five runs (four earned) on nine hits (including a homer and a double) while walking none and striking out three. He did, however, get eight groundball outs, and four of the hits he allowed were on groundballs. Still, after a solid first half that saw him post a 3.71 ERA, the 20-year-old -- a 2013 second-rounder -- has struggled to a 6.41 ERA in five second-half starts, even if his strikeout-to-walk rate of 18-to-4 in 26 2/3 innings typically accompanies a more successful stretch. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 11-0 LOSS VS. STATEN ISLAND (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Shane Victorino went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts while playing five innings in right field. The Sox had planned for Victorino -- who has played just 21 games in the big leagues this year -- to build up his innings load gradually while playing five straight games before being re-evaluated. -- Nick Longhi keeps hitting. The 18-year-old extended his hitting streak to 12 games by collecting two of Lowell's three hits, boosting his season line to .354/.379/.476. -- Seventh-rounder Reed Reilly had a tough pro debut, as the Cal Poly right-hander allowed three runs on five hits including a homer. The 22-year-old struck out a batter without issuing a walk. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 7-1 WIN VS. DSL RAYS (BOX) -- Third baseman Rafael Devers had his first hitless game in the five contests since his promotion from the DSL. The 17-year-old was 0-for-3, dropping his line to .529/.579/1.000. -- Second baseman Victor Acosta went 2-for-4 with a double. Seven of the 18-year-old's 11 hits have been for extra bases. Though hitting just .196/.292/.357, Acosta is tied for fourth in the GCL with 13 RBIs. -- Right-hander Gabe Speier, a 19-year-old taken by the Sox in the 19th round of the 2013 draft with the understanding that he'd probably need Tommy John surgery, tossed a scoreless inning in his first official outing since undergoing the procedure last summer to earn his first victory as a professional. The right-hander allowed a hit and struck out a batter in his scoreless inning of work. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 5-2 WIN AT DSL YANKEES (BOX) -- Right-hander Daniel Gonzalez improved to 7-0 by tossing five shutout innings in which he allowed two singles and a walk while matching a season-high with six strikeouts. The 18-year-old has a 2.48 ERA with 29 strikeouts and nine walks in 40 innings, and he's worked at least five innings in seven of his eight starts. Gonzalez primarily worked out of the bullpen in the DSL last year, forging a 0.97 ERA with 42 strikeouts and three walks in 46 1/3 innings. -- Roldani Baldwin went 2-for-5 as the DH, giving him three multi-hit games in his last four contests while elevating his line for the year to .263/.323/.381. -- Outfielder Yoan Aybar went 1-for-4 but was caught stealing. Though he runs well, Aybar is just 1-for-6 to this point in stolen base attempts.