Rusney Castillo punctuated his 11-game minor league stint with his first pro homer. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

Red Sox minor league roundup: That's a wrap

September 17, 2014 - 7:54 am
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A wildly successful season in Triple-A Pawtucket came to an anticlimactic conclusion, as the PawSox (three days removed from their International League Governor's Cup trophy) lost to the Omaha Storm Chasers, 4-2, in the Triple-A Championship Game on Tuesday night. While the Pawtucket lineup was held largely in check, the contest featured a few prospect performances of note: -- Rusney Castillo closed out his minor league warmup with a bang, lining a homer over the fence in left on the first pitch of the bottom of the first, wasting little time before jumping on the offering. Castillo showed a situational penchant for ambushing first-pitch fastballs in some at-bats, underscoring the view of him as an aggressive hitter (not necessarily the prototypical leadoff hitter) who looks to drive the ball rather than merely remaining content to put the ball in play and use his considerable speed. Here's what the homer looked like: Castillo, who went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts (one swinging, one looking on a curveball that appeared outside) in Tuesday's championship game, concluded his 11-game minor league tuneup by hitting .293 (12-for-41) with a .370 OBP, .463 slugging mark, five walks, nine strikeouts and five extra-base hits (four doubles and Tuesday's homer). Castillo is slated to make his Sox debut in center field on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Here's a primer on the 27-year-old based on the limited opportunity to evaluate him in his three-level tour of the minors. -- First baseman Travis Shaw closed out his year on a high note, going 3-for-4 with a homer. Shaw had a tumultuous postseason. He was 6-for-13 with a homer, two doubles and five walks through his first four games, then went 3-for-22 with one walk, 11 strikeouts and no extra-base hits in his next four games before Tuesday's finale. Shaw closed out the year with 23 homers, most among Sox minor leaguers. The 24-year-old likely needs more minor league seasoning to see if he can make the adjustments to lower his strikeout rate (he whiffed in 22.0 percent of plate appearances following his promotion from Double-A to Pawtucket), but his offensive profile -- with the raw materials to combine extra-base hits and solid on-base percentages -- is intriguing enough that he'll represent a very interesting subject of conversation for protection on the 40-man roster to keep him from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft. -- Right-hander Dalier Hinojosa, 28, completed his first pro season with a scoreless inning in which he walked a batter but did not give up a hit. Hinojosa offers a reminder that, the performances of players like Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu notwithstandig, there can be transitional challenges for players going from Cuba to the big leagues. Through the first half of his debut, he struggled to a 5.93 ERA, experiencing adjustments to both the level of play and to subtler elements such as the weather, as he was learning to pitch in a cold-weather climate for the first time. But he found a groove starting near the end of June, and in his final 40 1/3 innings of the year (including the postseason), he had a 1.79 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 15 walks. Opponents hit just .179 against him. -- Left-hander Edwin Escobar showed powerful stuff before a lengthy rain delay forced the starter from the game after five innings. The 22-year-old allowed two runs on six hits (three singles, two doubles and a homer) and two walks in five innings, during which he punched out six. The two walks ended a string of three straight starts spanning 18 innings in which he hadn't walked a batter. In eight starts with the PawSox following his acquisition from the Giants in exchange for Jake Peavy, Escobar had a 3.38 ERA with 38 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 48 innings. EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last of 155 more-or-less-daily minor league roundups for the 2014 minor league season. There will be semi-regular coverage of the minor league system and Red Sox prospects, including detailed analysis of any transactions involving prospects, and of both Fall and Winter League performances throughout the coming months. More immediately, there are a couple of Minor Details podcasts to come in the next couple of weeks, including an opportunity for Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett to answer your questions about Red Sox prospects and the farm system. Submit questions either by sending an email to aspeier@weei.com or by contacting me on Twitter at @alexspeier. Thanks for reading!