Carlos Asuaje is four classes away from obtaining his business administration degree from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. But even if he’s not studying for one of his online courses, he’s still got a book in his hand.

“I’m a big entrepreneur and business geek,” Asuaje said, “so I like reading books on business and entrepreneur-type thinking.

“Always looking for new ways of finding solutions.”

That may well describe Asuaje the baseball player. Asuaje, 23, is the highest-rated prospect on the Portland Sea Dogs – ranked Boston’s 25th-best prospect by Baseball America. But he needs to find some solutions.

Once among the Eastern League leaders in on-base percentage at .402, he has slipped in the last three weeks to .354. His batting average has also dropped from .287 to .250.

It is all part of the process for a minor leaguer who moves through the system. Asuaje, an 11th-round draft pick in 2013, could have begun the year in advanced Class A Salem, where he finished last season, playing only 39 games.


Maybe he could have used more seasoning but the Red Sox look to challenge prospects, especially after a breakout 2014 – a .310 average and .927 OPS – and solid spring training.

Reaching Double-A Portland “was a goal of mine in spring training. I was just glad to play well enough to get a spot here.”

But the jump from Class A to Double-A might be the biggest one a minor leaguer makes.

“You face a lot of experienced guys, guys with major league time, guys who have been around a long time,” Asuaje said. “This is my second full (pro) season and these guys know how to get you out.”

So Asuaje has some figuring to do.

“If there is a particular area he’s struggling with, he has to make adjustments more readily,” Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon said. “He’s going to have to learn how to make adjustments on the fly. As you get to high levels, the pitching gets better.”


Asuaje doesn’t feel overwhelmed.

“I’ve had my ups and downs, definitely,” Asuaje said. “But overall I think I’ve been pretty consistent. From here on it’s a building process and hopefully getting better and better as the year goes.”

Asuaje, a native of Venezuela, moved to southeast Florida when he was 2. His parents, Joel and Ilsend, attended U.S. colleges on foreign exchange programs, Joel at Southern Illinois, Ilsend at Southeast Missouri State. They returned to Venezuela but when they started their family, they yearned to live in the U.S.

“They loved it here and all the opportunity America had,” Carlos Asuaje said.

One interesting note: Joel Asuaje also spent time at Boston College and became a huge Boston Red Sox fan.

Who knew his son would be drafted by those same Red Sox? Carlos played baseball for St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale and attended a couple major league workouts his senior year.


“I didn’t get picked up. I was 5-2, 130 pounds,” said Asuaje, who opted for Division II Nova Southeastern.

As a sophomore Asuaje batted .389. That got him an invite to the Cape Cod summer league in 2012, where he made the All-Star team. That put Asuaje on the radar for the 2013 draft.

The Red Sox drafted Asuaje and he played solely at second base for the short-season Lowell Spinners (.269/.735 OPS).

Then came last year, when Asuaje batted .305 in 90 games for low Class A Greenville, with a .391 on-base percentage and .542 slugging average (.933 OPS). He hit 11 home runs in the homer-friendly South Atlantic League.

Promoted to Salem, Asuaje’s power numbers went down but he batted .323 with a .398 OBP.

Combined with both teams, he had 101 RBI.


“Over 100 RBI is quite an accomplishment,” McMillon said. “Plus, he had a knack of getting on base.”

Last year the Red Sox began moving Asuaje around, including third base and the outfield. That’s continued this season. There have been some miscues – already 10 errors, compared with seven all last year.

“Defensively, we have to continue to work on that to be more consistent,” McMillon said. “He’s been playing better of late. The more he plays out there, the better for him. Being able to bounce around is going to help him out a lot.”

The numbers don’t show it yet but Asuaje can play. He knows how to get on base, is a clutch hitter and is learning different positions.

As always, consistency is the key.

“A lot of it is knowing yourself,” Asuaje said. “It’s a matter of refining your skill set.”


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