(Portland ME) I went to Hadlock Field on Thursday night to get a first look at the Red Sox’s #1 prospect Yoan Moncada.
The bonus was the seeing the AA debuts of shortstop Mauricio Duban (Boston’s #13 prospect) and starter Jalen Beeks.
A good crowd was on hand for a Thursday night game. I guessed at first that watching Yoan Moncada in action was the motivation. Later there was mention that there would be fireworks after the game. The latter is the best explanation for the crowd size.
The last-place Sea Dogs lost the game 5-2 to the Harrisburg Senators.
The atmosphere at AA games is so different from the majors. Players on either team are hardly known by the typical spectator. Why do they come? Tickets are inexpensive and the entertainment between innings is watch-worthy. You also have the mascot, my friend Slugger, roving through the grandstand interacting with fans especially the young ones.
My goal was to get pictures of Yoan Moncada and I succeeded. The sun was tough so it was difficult to know for sure what I had for quality. I used the Portland dugout in the early going and then switched to the Harrisburg side when I knew that left-handed Yoan would be batting.
I had hoped to get Yoan handling something at second base but it never happened while I was there.
I did catch the 20-year-old coming off the field several times.
Yoan attempted a bunt in his second at-bat and but for a terrific play by Harrisburg pitcher Phillips Valdez would have beaten it out. His speed is impressive. He leads all of the minor leagues with 36 stolen bases. In this game he didn’t reach base to show off that speed.
I saw him interact with some of his former Salem (VA), A ball, teammates before the game but there was little interaction beyond that. Could be a language issue.
Lefty starter Jalen Beeks gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings. The big stat for him was striking out ten Senators during those five innings.
Shortstop Mauricio Duban had a triple and later scored a run. I look at a player like Mauricio and the word “shortstop” is the first thing that gets my attention. Where would he play at the next level? The same is true for second baseman Yoan Moncada. Dustin is signed through 2021.
Realistically, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, now at Portland, would seem to have the best shot in Boston. The Boston GM, however, said that Andrew’s hitting needs to improve. I was impressed with Andrew’s patience batting during this game. He was taking pitches and I know that the Red Sox want their hitters doing that. I predict that Andrew will be in Pawtucket before the other three.
Slugger had another mascot working with him tonight. At times I wasn’t sure which one was which!
Slugger really had me scratching my head on this night. I have known him as a dog of many talents just based on his speed on the base paths. I discovered tonight that Slugger does NOT have a future in boxing. Why? Someone got it into his head that with a fancy bathrobe and some king-sized boxing gloves he could put on a good show. It didn’t happen. The opponent, on this night, was a young girl who could hardly reach Slugger’s waist. But this kid had moves. While Slugger danced around she did too. It appeared that Slugger was so impressed with her footwork that he lost sight of the boxing glove on her right hand. She delivered a shot to Slugger’s midsection and back he went on his back in a complete fog. I expected the Sea Dog’s medical staff to get involved but they didn’t. I thought that the young lady would check Slugger out but she didn’t. I was going to get involved but I was in front of the Harrisburg dugout and the action was in front of the Portland dugout. Slugger did eventually recover enough to get to his feet. I did notice that he walked off as if he wasn’t sure if he was on foot or horseback!
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)