Looking at the crowded dugout and bullpen for the Boston Red Sox, you know it’s time for roster expansion.

Who figured infielder Marco Hernandez would be suiting up at Fenway in September, or reliever Robby Scott, let alone outfielder Andrew Benintendi and infielder Yoan Moncada?

Pleasant surprises.

But not everyone in Boston is still on the fast track. While Infielder Deven Marrero is in Boston, he is there for his glove. He batted .198 in Pawtucket.

With the Red Sox minor league season officially over – now that Salem and Lowell were eliminated in the playoffs – here is a look at the big jumpers in the system; plus those who made a name for themselves; those who stalled; and the players in reverse.

BIG JUMPERS: Benintendi, Moncada, Hernandez, Scott and Mauricio Dubon.


This is the easy list to comprise. Both Benintendi and Moncada began in advanced Class A Salem and ended up in Boston. Moncada shows he has work to do on his raw edges, while Benintendi became the everyday left fielder before an injury. He could be a factor, once recovered from his sprained knee.

Both Hernandez and Scott were Eastern League All-Stars last year, but no one was talking about their big-league potential. But they put up solid numbers in Pawtucket; Hernandez .309/.787 OPS and Scott 2.54 ERA/0.91 WHIP.

Dubon played in the shadow of Benintendi and Moncada in Portland, but he is looking more and more like he’s close to the big leagues (.339/.909 in Portland).

MAKING A NAME for themselves: starting pitcher Justin Haley, outfielder Aneury Tavarez, catcher Jake Romanski, third baseman Rafael Devers, reliever Jake Cosart and starter Roniel Raudes.

Haley may be the comeback player of the year. After a 5.15 ERA in Portland last season, Haley combined for a 13-10 record and 3.01 ERA in Portland and Pawtucket.

In Portland, Tavarez broke out with .335/.886 numbers, and Romanski was consistent all year (.308/.748). Tavarez could use polish with his defense, and Romanski is working on his receiving.


Devers was already a big name, but he is only 19 and played all year in Salem. He started slow and finished .282/.779 (.326/.906 in the second half).

Cosart, 22, a third-round draft pick in 2014, moved to the bullpen this year and had a combined 1.78 ERA/1.12 WHIP with 104 strikeouts in 702/3 innings at Greenville and Salem. The high 90s fastball works in relief.

Raudes does not have a blistering fastball (88-90 mph) but the kid (age 18) can pitch, with a 3.65 ERA/1.19 WHIP in Greenville and 104 strikeouts in 1131/3 innings.

IN A SMALL sample, these three shined: starting pitchers Michael Kopech and Jason Groome, and third baseman Bobby Dalbec.

Kopech, 20, may be the top pitching prospect for now. Starting the season late because of injury, Kopech made 12 starts for Salem, hitting triple digits on the radar gun. He was 4-1, 2.08 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 561/3 innings.

Groome, 18, was the 2016 first-round draft pick. In only four brief starts in the Gulf Coast League and with Lowell, Groome had a 2.70 ERA, 13 strikeouts and six walks in 10 innings.


Dalbec, 21, another 2016 draft pick, batted .386/1.101 in 34 games with Lowell.

STALLED IN 2016: Starting pitchers Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Teddy Stankiewicz, Trey Ball and third baseman Sam Travis.

Owens (135 strikeouts/81 walks) had some solid starts in Pawtucket but struggled with command, which really showed in the majors (18 walks in 171/3 innings). Johnson (5-6, 4.09) took time off to deal with anxiety issues. Next season is a do-over.

Stankiewicz was 5-9 with a 4.71 ERA. The silver lining is that Stankiewicz was durable (25 starts) and had 14 quality starts (a least six innings and three or less earned runs).

Ball (8-6, 3.84) stayed in Salem for a second straight season. He showed positive signs, but needs command (1.61 WHIP).

Travis looked on the fast track after a good spring training. But he played only 47 games in Pawtucket (.272/.765) because of a knee injury.


GOING IN REVERSE: Marrero, outfielder Bryce Brentz, reliever Williams Jerez, and infielder Michael Chavis.

Since batting .291 for Portland in 2014, Marrero has not adjusted to Triple-A. He may be taken off the 40-man roster if Boston needs room the offseason. The same can be said for Brentz and Jerez.

Brentz played 25 games for Boston this year (.279/.690) but it is telling that he did not get a September call-up. Jerez, the converted outfielder, has potential but he took a step backward (4.71 ERA/1.54 WHIP).

Chavis, 21, the first-round draft pick in 2014, spent a second season in Greenville (.244/.711). He faded in the second half (.201/.616).

ONE MORE NAME to mention in the Sox system is former Sea Dogs infielder and first-year Lowell manager Iggy Suarez. Lowell won a franchise-record 47 games. Impressive for Suarez, 35, who was Lowell’s hitting coach last year.

“Managing is something I always wanted to do” Suarez said. “I didn’t think it would be this quick.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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