Red Sox minor league roundup: Will Middlebrooks goes off; Jackie Bradley's power building; milestone for Garin Cecchini; Keury De La Cruz cruising; Manuel Margot holding his own

July 04, 2013 - 9:47 am

A quick look at Wednesday's action in the Red Sox minor league system: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 11-5 WIN VS. SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had a milestone day in Pawtucket, going 4-for-5 with two homers (one down the left field line, one to right-center) and a double (to center) while matching a team record by driving in eight runs. In seven games since being sent down, Middlebrooks now has a .333/.375/.767 line with four homers and 13 RBI in 32 plate appearances. -- Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is on a home run binge of his own, having gone deep three times in his last two games after going 2-for-4 with a double, homer and walk on Wednesday. The characteristically patient Bradley appears to be amidst an intriguing stretch of more aggressive plate appearances in which he's impacting the ball with frequency. In his last nine games, he has just two walks (against nine strikeouts) while having gone deep four times and producing 10 extra-base hits. In 2012, splitting his year between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, Bradley had nine homers and 55 extra-base hits in 128 games. In 61 games this year (just less than half the contests he played in last year) split between Triple-A and the majors, Bradley has eight homers and 31 extra-base hits. -- Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk. More notably, he played his first career minor league game at a position other than shortstop, serving as the Pawtucket third baseman on Wednesday as the Sox try to get him experience at different positions in order to broaden the number of avenues for him to reach the majors. Bogaerts only had one fielding chance on the night, a pop-up that he caught without incident. -- Outfielder Alex Hassan continues to produce, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. In 15 games with the PawSox, he's hitting .340/.435/.547 with nine extra-base hits (eight doubles). DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-0 WIN VS. TRENTON (YANKEES) (BOX) -- Garin Cecchini continued his dazzling transition to Double-A, going 3-for-4 with a double and his first home run at the level. In 11 games with Portland, Cecchini is now hitting .366 with a .490 OBP and .537 slugging mark -- numbers that align with his tremendous performance in High-A Salem (.350/.469/.547) that led to his promotion. -- Drake Britton continued his recent run of dominant outings in which he's regularly worked deep into games. The left-handed tossed seven shutout frames, scattering seven hits while walking three and punching out four. His cause was abetted by the ability to elicit four double play grounders, continuing a season-long pattern in which he's kept the ball in the park. Britton continued what has been arguably his most sustained run of success in the minors. In his last six starts, he's gone at least seven innings in four of them, with a 2.68 ERA. Interestingly, his strikeout rate has been quite modest, as he's punched out 24 (5.4 per nine innings) and walked 13 (2.5 per nine innings), but he's given up just one homer in the stretch while holding opponents to a .222/.287/.375 line. He's thrown 64 percent of his pitches for strikes during the span, permitting him to achieve greater pitch efficiency than at any other point in his minor league career. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 14-6 WIN AT MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS) (BOX) --Outfielder Keury De La Cruz continued his torrid stretch, going 2-for-6 and blasting a homer (his first longball in 16 games and his fifth of the year). In 29 games from June 3 through July 3,  the 21-year-old De La Cruz is now hitting .400 with a .426 OBP and .557 slugging mark. Though he basically never walks (5 free passes in 122 plate appearances during the run), he's also struck out just 17 times in the stretch while collecting 13 extra-base hits (10 doubles, a triple, two homers) and driving in 30 runs. On the year, he's hitting .297/.328/.447 with a Carolina League-leading 61 RBI. -- Right-hander William Cuevas managed to have an impressive outing despite a five-run yield. All five runs came in the first, with his outing threatening to come to an early end. But he recovered to follow that with five scoreless frames, and finished his night with SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-2 LOSS AT LEXINGTON (ROYALS) (BOX) -- Left-hander Cody Kukuk had one of his best outings of the year, tossing five innings in which he permitted just one unearned run while punching out seven, walking two and giving up three hits. Kukuk is dominant when in the strike zone. In the six contests this year in which he's walked two or fewer batters, he has a 2.88 ERA; when walking three or more, he has a 4.54 mark. -- Mookie Betts snapped a three-game hitless streak, going 2-for-4. He also stole his 17th base in 18 attempts. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 10-3 WIN VS. CONNECTICUT (TIGERS) (BOX) -- Center fielder Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk while scoring three runs. The 18-year-old has reached base in 14 straight games, and the right-handed hitter has been dominant in the early-going against right-handed pitchers, amassing a .344/.436/.438 line in 41 plate appearances. -- Pitcher-turned-outfielder Aaron King delivered another strong offensive performance with a three-hit (3-for-5) game, improving to 6-for-11 in his first three minor league games as a position player. -- Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin went 1-for-4 with a walk and a single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. During that stretch, the 19-year-old is hitting .389 with four walks and four strikeouts. -- Outfielder Kendrick Perkins went 2-for-5 while matching a career-high by driving in four runs. The 21-year-old is tied for 10th in the New York-Penn League with 10 RBI. ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. GCL ORIOLES (BOX) -- Left-hander Randy Perez gave up his first runs of the year, permitting three runs in three innings. However, that damage was chiefly the byproduct of seven walks; the 19-year-old gave up just one hit, struck out two, and continued to get a ton of groundouts (5, compared to one fly ball). In three games, opponents are just 2-for-38 against the native of the Dominican, who has been touching 93 mph with his fastball. -- Jordon Austin, a sixth-round selection of the Sox in this year's draft, reached base three times in four plate appearances, collecting a hit and two walks while swiping a bag. In his first two games, the 18-year-old has reached in four of seven trips to the dish. DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 3-2 WIN AT DSL DODGERS (BOX) -- Right-hander Jose Almonte continues to deliver solid results in the early going. He logged four innings, giving up two runs while striking out four and walking two. The 6-foot-2 17-year-old now has 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 22 innings along with a 1.64 ERA in five starts.