We've reached the midpoint of the month of June, and with the major league draft in the rear-view mirror, we will return to providing weekday updates on the status of prospects in the Red Sox farm system.
Here's how Boston's minor leaguers have done since the calendar flipped to June:
TRIPLE A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-7 SINCE JUNE 1
■ First baseman Travis Shaw had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox this weekend before returning to Pawtucket, where he has been one of the offensive leaders this season. The 25-year-old has been on a tear since May 15, with his numbers skyrocketing nearly 100 points across the board, from .190/.258/.284 to .256/.332/.384. In June, Shaw is .364/.429/.455 with 16 hits and nearly as many walks (5) as strikeouts (6).
■ The knock on Jackie Bradley Jr. is that he has struggled to consistently hit major league pitching, but he’s been hitting the pitching in Triple A just fine. Bradley had five hits in 10 at-bats in the first three games of the weekend series against Toledo, including his fourth home run of the season Friday night. In June, Bradley is batting 289./.407/.533 with six walks and eight punch-outs.
■ Deven Marrero (.263/.349/.395) broke out of a 4-for-23 slump with a pair of hits in each of the final two games against Toledo, but it’s his strikeout total that has seen the greatest improvement. The 24-year-old averaged nearly a strikeout per game in the month of May (27 games, 28 strikeouts). Midway through June, he has been rung up eight times in 11 games, though six of the eight came in two contests.
■ He’s winless in his last eight starts, but Henry Owens appears to be finding his footing. He’s 0-2 across three starts in June with a 4.50 ERA (8 earned runs in 16 innings), but he’s getting swings and misses and has been cutting back on walks. Opponents are batting .190 against him this month, and twice in his last three starts he’s tallied seven strikeouts. After posting 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 5.8 walks per nine innings in his first 10 starts through the end of May, Owens has 9.0 strikeouts and 4.5 walks per nine innings in his three starts this month.
■ Lefty Brian Johnson continues to be the most productive starter in Pawtucket, though he’s come back down to earth a bit following his nine strikeouts in six perfect innings against Louisville on May 29. After being scratched from his June 2 start to allow for some rest, Johnson is 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. He has nine strikeouts and three walks, though he did hit four batters against Toledo on Saturday – as many as he’d hit in his first 59 career minor league outings combined.
■ Jonathan Aro, 24, has not allowed a run in his last 15.1 innings pitched, a streak that dates back to May 18. Aro has nine strikeouts across eight innings in June and has not surrendered a walk in his last four outings. He’s regularly been touching 91-94 and has been getting a ton of swings and misses on his fastball despite being a bit undersized at 6-feet.
■ Edwin Escobar made his first appearances of the season after battling shoulder inflammation in his throwing arm. He started the first inning for Greenville on Tuesday and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. He was bumped up to Pawtucket and made a rehab appearance Friday, where he yielded one hit over two innings while striking out a pair against Toledo. With the successful outing, the Red Sox activated him off the major league disabled list and optioned him to Triple A Pawtucket.
■ He has the fourth-highest batting average (.294), second-best on-base percentage (.395) and third-best slugging percentage (.402) on the Pawtucket roster, but Allen Craig has struggled of late despite seeing consistent playing time. The 30-year old Craig has batted .244/.340/.341 with five walks and nine strikeouts. Prior to his home run and four RBIs on Saturday, Craig had one home run and five RBIs in his first 25 games at the Triple-A level.
■ Right-handed reliever Pat Light appeared in two contests over the weekend, his first action since moving up to Pawtucket. The 24-year old picked up the save on both Thursday and Saturday nights against Toledo, tossing two scoreless innings and accruing three strikeouts. He did not allow any hits. Light was up to 97 in those outings, but was up to 100 in Portland prior to his promotion, with a swing-and-miss splitter that has given him a legitimate out pitch for the first time in his pro career.
■ Like Craig, third baseman Garin Cecchini has been unable to find consistency at the plate. He’s batting .167 for the month with 10 strikeouts to only three walks. Cecchini is making contact (4 strikeouts in his last 36 plate appearances), but the 24-year old has little to show for it – he has a mere six multi-hit games all season and only one since May 21. For the year, he’s hitting .189 with a .259 OBP and .278 slugging mark.
DOUBLE A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-9 SINCE JUNE 1
■ Marco Hernandez has been red-hot at the plate for Portland since the start of June. The 22-year-old shortstop has 18 hits this month, including a 4-for-5 performance against Bowie on June 13 that included three doubles and a pair of runs batted in. Midway through June, Hernandez has a gaudy line of 360/.407/.540.
■ It took longer than some had hoped, but Madison Younginer is showing some signs of pitching like the player Boston thought it was getting when it paid the seventh-round pick first-round money to sign out of high school in 2009. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound righthander has given up only two hits in 9 1/3 scoreless innings in June, with opponents hitting .069 against the 24-year-old. His fastball has touched 98 mph and he’s consistently throwing strikes.
■ Despite an 0-1 record in his last two starts, William Cuevas, 24, has produced 15 punch-outs in 10 1/3 innings of work along with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:1. In his first season at the Double A level, Cuevas is averaging one strikeout per inning with Portland after averaging 0.84 and 0.81 strikeouts per innings with Salem in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
■ Keury De La Cruz, 23, has cooled since rattling off a season-best four hits and four RBIs in a 12-10 win over Trenton on May 29. Portland’s left fielder is batting .154 in his last 10 games (6 for 39) with one walk. He has 13 strikeouts in that span, or one K every three at-bats.
■ Carlos Asuaje’s difficulties of late have come both at the plate and in the field. In the batter’s box, he’s producing averages of .195/.250/.317 despite having hits in 7 of his last 10 games. Defensively, the 23-year old leads the Sea Dogs with 10 errors while moving around the field. For the year, he’s hitting .248/.350/.386.
HIGH A SALEM RED SOX: 7-5 SINCE JUNE 1
■ ■ ■ No batter in the Red Sox farm system is currently hotter than Sam Travis, who is raking at a clip of .452/.511/.690 while accruing nearly as many walks (5) as strikeouts (6) this month. For the season, the 21-year-old leads Salem in nearly every major offensive category, including games (59), hits (68), home runs (4), and RBIs (34).
■ Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin has also started to come around after a bit of a slow start. The 21-year-old has registered multi-hit performances in five of his last eight contests, upping his numbers for the month to .333/.388/.467. In Tuesday’s 12-0 drubbing of Lynchburg, Lin was 4 for 5 from the No. 2 spot with a triple and an RBI. Lin has two homers this season – as many as he had entering the year – and his .389 slugging mark is nearly 100 points north of the back-to-back .296 slugging percentages he posted in both 2013 in Lowell and 2014 in Greenville.
■ Williams Jerez was recently promoted to Salem and has been nothing short of sensational out of the bullpen. In three games, Jerez is 1-0 and has not allowed a run in 9 1/3 innings of work while striking out 10 and walking two. A converted outfielder, the 23-year-old lefthander Jerez has morphed into a potential Rule 5 pick this winter.
■ Centerfielder Manuel Margot has been hitting for average (.288/.288/.365) since returning from a shoulder injury May 30, including 11 hits in his first 28 at bats of June. However, he has yet to take a base on balls since his return from the disabled list, and he’s now gone 18 straight contests without a free pass, hinting at an aggressive approach that could lend itself to streakiness.
■ Starter Teddy Stankiewicz has given up 17 hits across his last two starts (10 2/3 innings), as the right-hander has an 0-2 record and a 6.75 ERA in that span. Opposing batters are hitting a staggering .395 against Stankiewicz in June.
SINGLE A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-9 SINCE JUNE 1
■ Nick Longhi, 19, has reached base in every game in June, including three times in a 3 for 5 performance against the Rome Braves on Sunday. The left fielder from Venice, Fla., has been bit by the strikeout bug of late (10 strikeouts in 42 at bats), but has still compiled a remarkable .357/.438/.429 across his last 12 games.
■ Mauricio Dubon, 20, is tied with Rafael Devers for the team lead in hits with 65, and has a six-game hit streak entering Monday night’s game with Rome. His 93 total bases lead the Drive, while he has hit.317/.391/.439 since the start of the month.
■ Mario Alcantara, 22, an All-Star for Greenville, is having a bit of a breakout season. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound righty throws in the mid-90s and has developed into a go-to reliever for the Drive. In 7 1/3 innings this month, Alcantara has allowed only one earned runner and four walks while ringing up 12. For the year, he has a 1.62 ERA with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings
■ Yoan Moncada, Boston’s $31.5 million switch-hitting second baseman of the future, has had a tough time transitioning thus far in his first professional season. The 19-year old Moncada is hitting .208/.296.306 with Greenville and .162/.279/.189 in his last 43 plate appearances with five walks, 11 strikeouts, and only one extra base hit. He has four errors in the field in June, though he just went three straight games at second without an error for the first time in his career.
■ Third baseman Rafael Devers, 18, closed out May with a .364/.394/.576 line, but has stumbled to a line of .225/.273/.275 in his previous last 10 games. His walk total has been low (only 3 in June) but so has his strikeout rate – he’s only been punched out six times in 44 trips to the plate.
■ Javier Guerra, 19, continues to display noteworthy pop for a shortstop weighing in at 155 pounds. Across 50 games in his first season with Salem, the Panamanian has 7 home runs and 30 RBIs, including his first multi-home run game against Rome on June 12. His numbers this month, however, have been down from the start of the year: .220/.256/.439 with 10 strikeouts.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX 1: 5-7 SINCE JUNE 1
■ Junior Espinoza, a 17-year-old righty from Venezuela, has a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings, striking out 13 and issuing only three walks. While his ability to strike out hitters has been notable, he’s also given up three home runs, which is as many as the entire DSL Sox 1 team has hit.
■ One of Boston’s first signings out of Nicaragua in recent years, Roniel Raudes displayed a very good breaking ball and heat in the mid-80s when the Red Sox signed him. Across three starts this season, the 17-year-old holds a 3.29 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. He has 10 strikeouts and has yet to allow a walk.
DSL RED SOX 2: 7-5 SINCE JUNE 1
■ Baseball America’s top overall international prospect when Boston signed him for $1.8 million last August, 17-year-old Anderson Espinoza has looked comfortable in his first professional season. In 11 innings, the Venezuelan has a 0.82 ERA and 14 strikeouts compared to just three walks while touching 99 mph and showing an unusually developed three-pitch mix for his age.
■ Denyi Reyes, 18, picked up a pair of wins last week, going five innings in each appearance and giving up only one run while striking out 10. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound righthander has 14 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA. He has not given up any walks in 14 innings pitched.
■ Catcher Marcos Martinez, 17, has reached base 14 times in 30 plate appearances this season – six hits and eight walks. He has struck out only twice on the season and is batting .286/.467/.286.