When the future meets the past …
Triple-A Pawtucket: Joe Kelly (RHP)
Hey. I’m here to talk about Joe Kelly. No I’m not thrilled about it either. He’s 28, so it’s not really a Fenway’s Future thing as much as it is a Fenway’s Please Help In The Present thing. The Red Sox bullpen struggles of late have been both completely predictable and borderline unbelievable, which would seem like a pretty hard duality to achieve.
Enter Joe Kelly’s Great Stuff. In 34 innings at Triple-A, Kelly has a 1.58 FIP and a 1.08 WHIP. He’s averaging 11.1 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. If you want to be skeptical of how useful Joe Kelly can be for a major league team, fine – there’s more than likely a very strong argument there. But what do the Red Sox have to lose? He’s pitched well in Pawtucket and it’s not like the Sox are drowning in bullpen help. Here were are, guys: hoping Joe Kelly can save the bullpen.
Double-A Portland: Yoan Moncada (3B)
Ohhhhh it’s finally happening. I know that there are probably at least a dozen interesting prospects or storylines from Portland this season that should be talked about, but Yoan Moncada is getting called up to the majors so that’s what we’re going to talk about.
Travis Shaw is slashing .189/.268/.360 with a .629 OPS in the second half. Aaron Hill has been even worse, hitting .185/.267/.247 with a .514 OPS in the second half as well. Maybe he’s not as ready as everyone would like him to be, but he’s clearly not going to play everyday unless he is the next Andrew Benintendi (miss you, man). He’s proven himself a capable hitter in Portland, so it’s hard to see the risk in doing this. At the worst, he’s a pinch runner, though his ankle injury may compromise his top-end speed for now. Anything more than that is gravy. And like many people have pointed out, even if everything goes wrong this September, at some point the Sox will throw out a lineup with Betts, Bogaerts, Benintendi, Bradley, and Moncada, and that’s super exciting.
Single-A: Rafael Devers (3B)
There is nothing new to add to the Devers narrative. He’s continuing to crush the ball in the second half. He’s hitting .335/.376/.567 with a .944 OPS in the second half, including hitting .474/.500/632 with a 1.132 OPS over the last week. He has seven home runs in the second half of the year, and at this point it any sort of struggles are a distant memory. He was also named a Carolina League Post-Season All Star, so that’s cool too.
Bonus Jason Groome Update!
He’s already been promoted to Lowell and that noise you hear is the sound of my expectations for him soaring to unrealistic heights. In his second pro outing he threw two innings while allowing two hits, one run and striking out five. He reported to Lowell yesterday and will make his first start for them on Friday.