July 18, 2011

On Baseball: Keeping an eye on pipeline from Salem to Portland

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Since the start of the season, three prospects have moved from advanced Class A Salem to Portland, not counting the others who have stopped by on a temporary, fill-in role.


(Statistics through July 14)

Ryan Baker
, Portland, catcher (Yankees): Is on the disabled list for Double-A Trenton of the Eastern League.

Charlie Furbush, South Portland, pitcher (Tigers): Won his first game back with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, striking out six in 62⁄3 innings.

Ryan Flaherty
, Portland, Inf/OF (Cubs): Doubled in his Triple-A debut Thursday with the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League.

Andrew Giobbi
, Portland, catcher (Mariners): Remains on the disabled list for advanced Class A High Desert of the California League.

Mike MacDonald, Camden, pitcher (Blue Jays): Is 5-4 with a 6.56 ERA in 19 games (15 starts) with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Ryan Reid
, Portland, pitcher (Rays): Has allowed five hits and two runs in three games (five innings) since rejoining Double-A Montgomery.

Mark Rogers, Orrs Island, pitcher (Brewers): Has allowed five hits and three runs in 42⁄3 innings on a rehab assignment in the rookie Arizona League.

NOTES: Baker came off the DL for one game last week. ... Detroit sent Furbush back to Triple-A on July 10. ... Flaherty was promoted to Triple-A after a .907 OPS in Double-A. 

– Kevin Thomas


Jeremy Hazelbaker is patrolling center field, Chris Balcom-Miller joined the rotation and Reynaldo Rodriguez took over at first base -- until an emergency appendectomy sidelined him last week.

Is anyone else coming?

Before the season, we heard the names of Drake Britton, Anthony Ranaudo, Dan Butler, Michael Almanzar, Derrick Gibson and other outfielders. Some are still too young or inexperienced. Others are not producing. In some cases, it is a combination of the two.

Britton, 22, was a big prospect in 2007. After Tommy John surgery in 2008, he looked good coming back and had a 2.97 ERA with Greenville last year. Named the Red Sox No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, Britton is 1-8 in Salem with a 7.03 ERA.

Ranaudo, 21, a right-handed pitcher, signed for $2.55 million last year out of Louisiana State. Baseball America tabbed him Boston's No. 2 prospect. The Red Sox did not rush Ranaudo, starting him in Greenville (4-1, 3.33). In Salem (1-4, 4.46), he looks dominant sometimes but has been inconsistent.

Butler, 24, a catcher, was the Cinderella story last year, an undrafted player who hit a combined .314 in Greenville and Salem. He's batting .250 in Salem this year.

Almanzar, 20, a third baseman, received a lot of hype when he signed for $1.5 million as a 16-year-old in 2007. But since batting .348 in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, Almanzar has struggled. He was hitting .182 for Salem when he was demoted last month to Greenville.

Gibson, 21, a shortstop, was a second-round pick in 2008. After playing well in the rookie leagues for two years, he stumbled in Greenville last year (.230) and is hitting .211 in Salem this season.

Outfielders David Mailman, 22, and Pete Hissey, 21, were both top prospects coming out of high school.

Mailman is in his third year in Salem (he missed much of last year with a broken wrist). He is batting .232.

Hissey, in his second year in Salem, is on the disabled list with an oblique injury. He was batting .239 in 60 games. 

SALEM HAS RECEIVED other players from Greenville besides Ranaudo.

Outfielder Bryce Brentz, 22, a supplemental round draft pick last year from Middle Tennessee State, is a slugger. He hit .359 with 11 home runs in 40 games with Greenville, and is at .289 with nine home runs in 25 games with Salem.

First baseman Miles Head, 20, batted .338 with 15 home runs in Greenville. In 15 games with Salem, he's batting .272 with two home runs.

The best bet for a promotion to Portland in the near future is left-hander Chris Hernandez, 22, a seventh-round draft pick last year out of the University of Miami. Hernandez is 8-5 with a 2.94 ERA. 

SALEM ALSO GOT two players from Portland. First baseman Jorge Padron, 25, struggled with the Sea Dogs (.247) but is batting .339 for Salem.

Pitcher Stolmy Pimentel left an 0-9 record and a 9.12 ERA in Portland. He got rocked in his first Salem start (four runs on five hits and three walks in two innings). 

TWO OTHER FORMER Sea Dogs are not faring well in Triple-A. So many catchers are playing well in the Red Sox system, but Luis Exposito is batting only .218.

Jose Iglesias, 21, is considered Boston's shortstop of the future because of his glove. But the Red Sox likely would want him to bat better than his current .227 average. Iglesias has been on the disabled list since last week because of a concussion, suffered when he was hit on the helmet by a pitch. 

ONE OUTFIELDER is again looking for work. Jason Place, the Red Sox first-round draft choice in 2006 ($1.3 million signing bonus), played for the Sea Dogs for parts of the previous two seasons. He was released in spring training and signed with the Yankees.

Sent to Double-A Trenton, Place batted only .148 in 14 games. He was released in late June.

His last game for Trenton was June 22, against the Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:


Twitter: ClearTheBases


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