Red Sox minor league roundup: A teachable moment for Matt Barnes; Christian Vazquez's aggressiveness; Heri Quevedo dominates; Sean Coyle returns

September 08, 2013 - 10:01 am
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system in Saturday's playoff games: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-1 LOSS VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS); BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES TIED, 2-2 (BOX) -- Right-hander Matt Barnes, after an excellent Triple-A debut at the end of the regular season (in which he threw 5 1/3 scoreless frames), struggled in his second outing at the level on Saturday. He yielded five runs (four earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out three in just four innings, throwing just 44 of 75 pitches (58 percent) for strikes. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reported that Barnes hit 97 mph on the McCoy Stadium gun -- with his increased velocity and diminished command offering suggestions that he may have been too amped, with consequent diminution in location and touch as well as, ultimately effectiveness. Of course, from a player development perspective, that suggests that there was considerable value to the outing in the increasingly consequential setting of a playoff start. Barnes has now experienced increased adrenaline and the challenge of regulating it, something that he will need to do when he is exposed to the big league setting. As such, even in defeat, there was career value to the experience. "He was overthrowing a little bit,'€ DiSarcina told MacPherson. '€œHe was missing arm-side with his fastball. When he was in the zone, he was missing his spot. It was more of a command issue as well as overthrowing, but it'€™s a tremendous learning experience for him.'€ Katie Morrison offers a tremendous look at the player development experiences afforded by minor league playoff opportunities. -- Catcher Christian Vazquez went 2-for-4, and he's now 3-for-7 in the playoffs. He also committed a passed ball -- one aspect that the otherwise-spectacular defender will have to make progress in regulating. He had 23 passed balls this year in Double-A. No one else had more than 17. Still, that high passed ball total reflects in part on one of Vazquez's foremost assets, chiefly, his aggressiveness in trying to shut down the opponent's running game not just on stolen bases but also on pickoff attempts. And so, one of his foremost developmental challenges in Triple-A next year will be to maintain his aggressiveness but avoid letting it translate into the occasional misplay. -- Alex Wilson was roughed up for three runs on four hits (two doubles, two singles) while retiring just one batter (on a strikeout). HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-3 WIN AT POTOMAC (NATIONALS); LEAD BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES, 1-0 (BOX) -- Right-hander Heri Quevedo was dominant, throwing a career-best seven innings in which he didn't allow a run, scattered five hits (all singles), walked just one and punched out four. Quevedo, signed last summer as a 22-year-old in the Dominican, has had a sneaky impressive pro debut. Though he entered the system with no profile, the Sox pushed him to High-A in his pro debut based on his stuff (power fastball and slider), physical maturity (he's listed at 6-foot-2, 211 pounds) and ability to repeat his delivery and hence command. The fact that he's gotten better as his first pro season progressed -- in his final 13 outings including the playoffs, he had a 2.37 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 27 walks in 64 1/3 innings -- represents a promising sign going forward. -- Sean Coyle, who missed the first round Carolina League playoff series due to elbow soreness, was activated for the championship series. While leading off and serving as DH, he went 1-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts. Though 5-foot-8, Coyle puts a consistent charge in the ball when he makes contact. Of his 48 hits with Salem, 25 (52 percent) have been for extra bases. -- Outfielder Keury De La Cruz went 2-for-4 with a homer, his 10th overall in Salem in 2013. He's 4-for-12 with a homer, four strikeouts and no walks in the postseason. -- Mookie Betts went 0-for-2 but reached twice, once with a walk and another time while getting hit by a pitch. He also made an error at second base.

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