That sound you hear is the sound of hundreds of words being written about the future of Fenway with no mention of Andrew Benintendi or Yoan Moncada. It’s a bleak, lonely sound. It’s a sound that will almost certainly generate less clicks. Let’s give it a whirl.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Henry Owens (LHP)
Time is a flat circle. Since he last showed up in Fenway’s Future two weeks ago, this is how he’s pitched:
8/3 @ ROC: five innings, four hits, one earned run, four walks, seven strikeouts.
8/9 vs. DUR: six innings, four hits, no earned runs, four walks, seven strikeouts.
I don’t know anymore, guys. He is what he is, and he’s not what he’s not (analysis!). As is generally the name of the game with Henry Owens, I’ll pick at the silver linings. He’s allowed less than two runs in each of his last three starts while going at least five in all three. There. That’s the silver lining. Otherwise, he’s averaging almost two more walks per 9 innings than he was last year in Pawtucket, going from 4.1 in 2015 to 5.8 this season. His K/9 is up a tick, but not nearly enough to justify the walks, if that was something you were desperately trying to do. There are probably close to a half-dozen pitchers ahead of him in the September call-up line; some are intriguing (oh hey Brian Johnson) and some induce panic attacks (that’s you Noe Ramirez) and some have Great Stuff (shouts to Joe Kelly).
Also hey fun fact Rusney Castillo is hitting .425 over his last 10 games.
Double-A Portland: The offense last night (all the positions)
Portland is 45-70. The season ends in three weeks. They are smack-dab in the middle of “The Little Things” portion of their season. That’s why last night’s win over the equally terrible Eerie Sea Wolves must have been a thing of beauty for Sea Dog fans. There were five dingers, 22 hits and a team-record 45 total bases. Cody Decker had two home runs – you go Cody Decker. Aneury Tavarez went 4-4 with a double and a tripple – atta baby Aneury Tavarez! Ryan Court had five RBI – beers on Ryan Court! The Yoan-Moncada-Of-Games-Yoan-Moncada-Doesn’t-Play-in, Mauricio Dubon, had a triple and 3 RBI. It was 86 degrees with some cloud cover and the game was over in under three hours. Most importantly, they established themselves as the alpha Sea-Canine of the Eastern League. Just a terrific effort all around.
Circling back around, Aneury Tavarez has just been pretty quietly playing really well, right? He’s slashing .329/.375/.502 with a .877 OPS in 83 games at Portland this year. The highest he’s ever hit besides that was when he his .272 back in 2012. It’s nice to see him finally put it together.
High-A Salem: (Michael Kopech – RHP)
He’s pitched 33 innings in Salem and holds a 1.08 ERA. He’s striking out 13 batters per 9 innings. Additionally, I’d be remiss to mention that he once hit 105 on the radar gun. Soak it up while you can, residents of Salem, Virginia as well as residents of the other towns he makes starts in on the road. On the other hand, get excited, residents of Portland as well as residents of the other towns he’ll make starts at on the road. There’s really not much left to prove in Salem for Kopech, and with Anderson Espinoza gone the coveted yet also sort of dubious position as Red Sox top pitching prospect is up for grabs. You could argue that even without making a start, that title belongs to Jason Groome, but hey, let’s give Kopech his moment in the sun.
He went six shut out innings while allowing one run and striking out 10 on August 2nd before following that up with five shut out innings while allowing three hits and striking out seven. He’s allowed more than one run once in his last 10 starts and allowed four runs in eight starts. The hype train is in full-force and is moving right along at 105 miles per hour. Get it? Because he threw 105 that one time, so his hype train is moving 105. Whatever.