Category Archives: Portland Sea Dogs

Mitch Keller (#2 Pirates prospect) and Michael Chavis (#3 Boston prospect) in action at Portland

Pittsburgh Pirates #2 prospect Mitch Keller

Michael Chavis (Boston Red Sox #3 prospect)

I love going to Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine for a Sea Dogs game.

Why?  The atmosphere is so unpretentious.  There are no airs put on.  The players hustle and their recognition by the fans is minimal.  Top draft pick?  Who cares?  Let’s see some baseball played.

Today’s noon game had perfect summer weather to boot.

A big attraction at Portland is the concession stands.  The smell of pizza and French fries is overwhelming.  And there I am on a nutritarian diet in which such things are totally avoided!

While others fail to take note of top draft picks, I don’t.  I can trace that “noticing” back to a game I covered in New Britain (CT) in 2012.

I somehow became aware that Gerrit Cole (#1 draft pick the year before) would be at the Twins former AA site representing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Altoona team.

Shortstop Cole Tucker was the Pirates #1 pick in 2014

So I went to New Britain with a specific goal of getting a good Gerrit Cole picture.  I managed that and also added shots of Brock Holt (leading Eastern League in hitting) and Aaron Hicks (New Britain outfielder).

Therefore, with that background, my latest visit to Hadlock included prospect chasing.  Getting Rafael Devers earlier this summer convinced me that chances may end quickly.

Portland currently has 2014 first-rounder Michael Chavis on their roster while visiting Altoona has 2014 first-rounder Cole Tucker on theirs.  Portland also has Josh Ockimey (5th round) and Mitch Keller (2nd round) from the same year.

Pitcher Mitch Keller was the important one.  He is now the Pirates #2 prospect.  He started in Bradenton this season moved to Altoona on August 4th.  He is a pitcher on the rise.

Michael Chavis is a 22-year-old third baseman for Portland.  He’s rated 3rd in the Red Sox prospect list.  Where Michael fits into the Boston team of the future is a bit of a mystery.

Cole Tucker is ranked fifth by the Pirates and is a shortstop.

Josh Ockimey is Boston’s #10 prospect.

I had my first look at Boston’s Josh Ockimey.  The tall first baseman has not been in AA very long.  He’s rated the 10th Red Sox prospect.

I have now seen Michael Chavis twice.  His ability put in quality at-bats reminds me of Rafael Devers.  Neither player seems to be over-matched by pitching and both can hit the ball hard.  I did not have the same vibes last summer with Yoan Moncada.  Way too many swings-and-misses and that still seems to be the case for Yoan.

Another player who has impressed me during my recent Hadlock visits is outfielder Danny Mars.  Again, trying to imagine an outfield future in Boston with the young B’s strongly entrenched is a stretch but you never know.  Danny plays the position well and is hitting over .300 in his full season in Portland.  I figure him for Pawtucket in 2018.

The star of the game I saw Thursday was Portland pitcher Trey Ball.  Trey was a RS first-rounder in 2013.  He looked exactly like he deserved to be that high pick with a 9-strikeout, 7-inning performance in Portland’s 2-0 win.  It was likely the lefty’s best effort of the year.

The Big Event for me is always Slugger’s race against the very young.  I continue to believe that a win is in his future and I want to be there when it happens.

As today’s race unfolded I couldn’t help but think that Slugger’s life-long losing streak was about to end.  The big guy blazed around second leading by five yards.  Around first he went on the final stretch still in good shape.  But suddenly the big fellah ran out of gas.  Too fast a start, I suspect.  He just wilted near the first-base box and hit the ground.  Meanwhile, the opponent, who was so young he had to be guided by a staff member, kept a race-long even pace and won easily.  What’s the problem? It was a bit warm but it is obvious that Slugger is spending too much time walking the aisles of Hadlock greeting fans.  His legs were shot by the time the race took place.  An earlier race start would improve Slugger’s chances.  Maybe my hero is being set up to lose every time?  That would be outrageous.

More thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging Thursday’s visit.

Play at the plate

3B Michael Chavis

Cole Tucker

Play at second

Danny Mars

Chad De La Guerra

Cole Tucker

Baserunner

Pitcher Trey Ball was impressive against Altoona. He is a former #1 Red Sox selection (2013)

Michael Chavis

Chad De La Guerra

 

 

 

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Filed under Altoona Curve, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Eduardo Rodriguez shelled in rehab outing at Portland

Eduardo Rodriguez in front of the Hadlock Field scoreboard before the game

ERod peers at one of the many Fisher Cat baserunners.

(Portland ME) Not hard to figure out what was going on.

It was a spring training outing for Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez at Hadlock Field on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old lefty pitched “competitively” for the first time since his knee injury in Baltimore on June 1st.

Tonight’s performance by Eduardo centered on  throwing strikes and using an assortment of pitches.  Getting outs were of secondary concern.  The score didn’t matter.

I have no doubt that those who came to see a major leaguer in action were stunned by the way Eduardo’s three innings went.  How do five earned runs and nine hits sound?

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats feasted on Eduardo’s heavy dose of strikes.  Leadoff hitter Jonathan Davis took ER out of the park on the second pitch of the opening inning.  Eduardo did end up striking out three batters in the 3rd inning but before that it was bang, bang, bang for the Manchester (NH) team.

Jonathan Davis homered on Eduardo’s second pitch.

Not sure when Eduardo will return to the Red Sox rotation.  I would have to believe that there will be more rehab starts ahead for him.

Tonight I got another look at 3B Rafael Devers.  I am stunned that he hasn’t been moved to Pawtucket yet.  Rafael is comfortable in the field and is making regular solid contact at the plate.

The times I saw celebrated Yoan Moncada last season I was not overwhelmed by him because of his lack of consistent contact.  Rafael puts the ball into play regularly.

The “other pitcher” in tonight’s game was Jon Harris.  Jon was Toronto’s #1 pick in the 2015 draft.  He pitched seven terrific innings against Portland giving up only five hits and two runs.

Jon’s 3-8 record would suggest a tough season to date but not tonight.  Jon’s last win, before tonight, was on May 23rd against Portland.

Got my first look at Michael Chavis.  Michael will be taking over 3B exclusively when Rafael heads south to either Pawtucket or Boston.  Michael was Boston’s #1 pick in 2014.  He swings hard and may strike out often the rest of this season.

How long will 3B Rafael Devers stay with Portland?

Also on hand was former Sea Dog Henry Owens.  Two years ago, Henry was on the fast track to Fenway.  However, to date he has not been too effective above Portland.  Much of the trouble was over ever-changing mechanics that led to too many walks.  Henry will seek to get a consistent handle to his mechanics in the weeks ahead at Portland.

What about Slugger?  The drizzle started after Eduardo finished his three innings.  I value my camera too much to risk damage from rain.  I wonder if Slugger ended his lifetime losing streak?

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my Hadlock visit.

(Pictures from the Portland/New Hampshire game.)  Clicking on a picture will cause it to enlarge significantly.

Eduardo Rodriguez backs up a throw home

Shortstop Richard Urena chases an infield popup

Rafael Devers at 2B

Michael Chavis batting

Winning pitcher Jon Harris

Eduardo heads for the dugout

Eduardo pitches with Rafael in the background

Henry Owens is back at Portland

Eduardo Rodriguez ready to pitch

Eduardo Rodriguez

Rafael Devers

Jeremy Barfield had a 3-run homer in Portland’s 9-5 loss

Newcomer Michael Chavis

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers in the Portland dugout.

Danny Mars made the Eastern League All-Star team

ERod stretches before the game

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Filed under Eduardo Rodriguez, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

Rafael Devers (#1 Red Sox prospect) and Gleyber Torres (#1 Yankees prospect) at Portland

Gleyber Torres

Rafael Devers

I had my first visit of the season to Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine on Saturday.  I hope it won’t be the last.

The intended plan was to get a look at the #1 prospects of both the Red Sox and the Yankees.

I had checked the Portland schedule and discovered that April 21-23 would have the Trenton Thunder in Maine.

You always wonder about what April weather will bring.  It was supposed to rain early in the day but then clear off.  What I ended being in was 40’s and occasionally misty.

The good news?  The players weren’t wearing sunglasses.  The bad news?  The players covered parts of their faces to protect from the cold.

When Mookie Betts briefly came through Portland two years ago my pictures had him wearing what looks like a red ski mask.  It can be that cold in Maine in April.

Jalen Beeks was the winning pitcher

I overheard one of the Trenton players say that he hated to come to Hadlock except in August because it is always too cold.  I would agree with that assessment if he had left it to April. May into September can be very pleasant in Maine.

I wanted pictures of Rafael Devers (Red Sox) and Gleyber Torres (Yankees).  These 20-year-olds are considered the best in each system.

Gleyber was a problem because I learned on Thursday night that he was on the 7-day DL.  I wondered if he would be traveling with the team.  I also did not know what he looked like even if he was with the team.

Rafael was a different story: He was active and in the starting lineup.  The Sea Dogs also have their names on the back of their uniforms.  Trenton had no names on the back and no number on the front.

I decided to concentrate my efforts on discerning Gleyber’s whereabouts.  I thought I had him spotted in front of the Trenton dugout.  Finally realized that I was shooting Dante Bichette.  He looked familiar because he looks just like his father the former major leaguer!

I was helped in my Gleyber search by Yankee autograph seekers.  Several of them were nearby and they started yelling into the Trenton dugout for Gleyber.  I heard one of the “yellers” say that Gleyber was sitting in the dugout.  Sure enough, it was him.  He was out of uniform trying to keep warm.  I got several shots of him.  Trenton is back in Portland the end of May.  Hopefully, Gleyber will not have been promoted to AAA or to the Yankees.

Rafael signed autographs so he was out in the Portland dugout area early.  I was impressed by the size of him.  He is broad and looks strong.  I had the chance to get shots of him before game time.

Game time changed from 1 to 1:30. The infield was covered and it was misty.  Off came the tarp.  I think that I could have helped them roll it up if I had moved in quickly enough.

Proposal accepted

It is a routine at Hadlock to have a collection of folks throw first balls.  Within that collection today was a college student (Husson?) and his girlfriend.  Unbeknownst to the girl, the guy had written, “Will you marry me?” on the ball that was going to be tossed.  When his turn came to throw the ball, he presented it to his girlfriend as he got down on his knee.  He asked the Big Question and got a positive response.  Whatever works!

In a 7-inning game (first half of a double-header) the Sea Dogs won 3-0.  Jalen Beeks, Portland starter, was in serious bases-loaded trouble in first inning but escaped it.  The lefty was impressive in his six innings.

Aneury Tavarez, who is way too good for AA, had two hits and scored the first Portland run.  He wouldn’t have scored if the Trenton leftfielder (Billy McKinney) hadn’t bobbled a single that came his way.

Nick Longhi in dugout after homer

Boston’s #11 prospect (Nick Longhi) is also with Portland.  Nick is a first basemen.  He homered over the Hadlock monster to get Portland’s second run.  His full face is still a rumor to me but I did get him heavily covered in the Sea Dog’s dugout after the long one.

Rafael was very good at 3B.  He made a terrific stop on a ball to his left.  His arm is strong.  He was not cheated at the plate.  His swing looked long to me but he did make contact.  How well the left-handed batter does against lefties may well determine how fast he moves to Pawtucket.

I also got my first look at outfielder Danny Mars.  It is extremely hard to imagine a bright future for an outfielder in the Red Sox farm system with youngsters Bradley, Betts, and Benintendi already at Fenway.  Danny looks like a pretty good hitter.  Injuries happen.  Trades happen.  We’ll see how Danny’s future plays out.

Miguel Andujar

I did not see Prospect 7 (Justin Sheffield) or Prospect 8 (Chance Adams) as both are Yankee pitchers.  With numbers on the front of their uniforms, I would have a chance when they came from the clubhouse.  Minus the numbers, I’m in trouble, unless they’re starters.  Maybe in May?

I did see Miguel Andujar (#10 Yankee prospect) again.  He was playing shortstop last year but with Gleyber Torres on the team he has switched to third.  The 22-year-old will make the majors in time.

I may be the only one who looks forward to it but the Slugger race is big to me.  I want the big guy to win.  I want that losing streak ended and I want to see it when it happens.  I wish I could coach Slugger.  Today he rounded second, his opponent was going in the opposite direction, with a nice lead.  Stay the course and grab the W would have been my coaching encouragement.  But not today.  Slugger felt a breeze (It was a windy day) and raised his arms and got blown off course.  While he’s trying to re-navigate his course, his chance for a victory dissolves.  His opponent had another gear from third to home and won handily.  Slugger, even in defeat, tried to be friendly afterwards but the young winner did not appear to reciprocate.

I enjoyed the visit and thank Chris Cameron for arranging it.  There is good baseball at affordable prices at Hadlock Field in Portland.

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Aneury Tavarez scores first Portland run

Dante Bichette jr

Rafael Devers

Danny Mars

Rafael Devers

Rafael swings

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

Slugger has the early lead

Slugger caught in a draft

Post-race confrontation

 

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Filed under Portland, Portland Sea Dogs, Trenton Thunder

Yoan Moncada, Mauricio Dubon, and Aneury Tavarez shine in Portland win over Trenton

Yoan Moncada (left) and Aneury Tavaraz (right) in the Portland dugout

Yoan Moncada (left) and Aneury Tavaraz (right) in the Portland dugout

Yoan Moncada playing third

Yoan Moncada playing third

(Portland ME) Any win over the Yankees is a good win.  And Portland got one, 4-3, over Trenton on a nice Thursday evening at Hadlock Field.

I was surprised that Yoan Moncada was still with the Sea Dogs so I opted for one last look at Boston’s #1 prospect in action.

Yoan is playing third these days so I chose the edge of the Trenton dugout as the spot where I would take pictures from.  I saw him make a real nice fielding play from that location.

Ronald Herrara (21) started for The Thunder

Ronald Herrara (21) started for The Thunder

I had good feelings about the pitching matchup between Portland’s Mitch Atkins and Trenton’s Ronald Herrera.  Both pitchers are in the top four of the Eastern League in strikeouts so there were plenty of missed bats in this one.

Mitch ended up with ten K’s and the win.

I came to see Yoan Moncada, and I did, but the more I see of shortstop Mauricio Dubon the better I like him as a prospect.

Kevin Thomas (Portland Press Herald) had an interesting comparison between Mauricio and Mookie over a similar sampling of games at Portland.  The numbers put up by both players are very, very similar.

But we’re talking about a shortstop.  What are Mauricio’s chances of moving up with Xander and Marco Hernandez ahead of him?  Maybe Mauricio will start to work out at 3B??

Back to Yoan.  Having seen Andrew Benintendi at Portland I can tell you that their hitting styles are very different.  Andrew was patient.  Yoan is aggressive.  There are lots of strikeouts in his future unless he gets more selective.

Mauricio Dubon has dazzled at Portland

Mauricio Dubon has dazzled at Portland

The win was a sweet one for Portland because it sets Trenton’s playoff hopes back a bit.  The Thunder still have a very nice 81-50 record.

I noticed that Trenton has really gone with young players.  The four top prospects on their roster are 22-years-old and younger.

Portland has a few young players but many of the other starters are 25+.

I mentioned Mauricio Dubon and I also must mention Aneury Tavarez.  The Portland rightfielder is leading the Eastern League in batting average and looks to have a bright future.  Expect him at Pawtucket to start 2017.

The most fortunate person at Hadlock tonight was Mike Davis of Falmouth.  Mike bought a ticket and came through the gate as fan #9 million.  That got Mike a Sea Dogs’ jersey with a “9” on it plus nine years of season tickets.  His daughter, Wagner, threw out the first pitch of the game.

Slugger?  Of course he lost.  That’s what he always does.  Sometimes the big guy gets up against a little kid who isn’t sure what bases to run to.  Not tonight.  This kid was a dart and he knew exactly what was going on.  By the time Slugger reached second this kid was close to third.  It was no contest.  Slugger even tried some aerodynamics but it was futile.

horseback trouble

horseback trouble

The inflatable horse race was interesting.  One of the contestants was too short and her feet didn’t touch the ground.  There was no way she was going to be able to get that horse to go anywhere.  So one of the Sea Dogs’ staff members pulled her toward the finish line.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for arranging tonight’s visit.  Hadlock continues to be a great spot to visit to seeing rising baseball stars as well as to get entertained.  Tickets are a bargain.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Mark Payton touches them all after a 2-run homer

Mark Payton touches them all after a 2-run homer

Yoan Moncada heads for third

Yoan Moncada heads for third

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

Pitcher Kevin Couch

Pitcher Kevin Couch

Wagner and Mike Davis

Wagner and Mike Davis

Slugger futilely tries to fly

Slugger futilely tries to fly

Miguel Andujar is the Yankees' #8 prospect

Miguel Andujar is the Yankees’ #8 prospect

Tyler Wade

Tyler Wade

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Ryan Court

Ryan Court

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Aneury Tavarez leads the EL in batting average

Aneury Tavarez leads the EL in batting average

 

Mauricio Dubon caught in a rundown after driving in a run

Mauricio Dubon caught in a rundown after driving in a run

 

 

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Filed under Portland Sea Dogs, Trenton Thunder

#1 Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada has three errors in Portland loss to Akron

Five errors, including this one by Nate Frieman, doomed the Sea Dogs. (The ball is on the ground.)

Five errors, including this one by Nate Frieman, doomed the Sea Dogs. (The ball is on the ground.)

Kevin McAvoy was let down by the Portland defense.

Kevin McAvoy was let down by the Portland defense.

(Portland ME) The Sea Dogs’ Kevin McAvoy picked a bad night to be pitching.

Why?  The Portland infield defense fell apart five different times worth five unearned runs and the home Dogs lost, 8-2, to the Akron RubberDucks on a sunny/windy Friday night.

The last-place Sea Dogs (42-69) have struggled to put up the W’s all season.  Some losses have been over a combination of deficiencies.  Not tonight.

The biggest culprit?  #1 Boston prospect 2B Yoan Moncada.  Three times the 21-year-old fumbled grounders.

Yoan Moncada emerges from the Portland dugout

Yoan Moncada emerges from the Portland dugout

My primary reason for getting to Hadlock Field was for a last look at Yoan before he was promoted to Pawtucket or even to the Red Sox.  After tonight, I have a feeling he’ll be staying in Maine for a while.

Interesting that there is talk of Yoan learning a new position because 2B in Boston belongs to Dustin Pedroia for the next five years.  One game is a small sample but there is fielding improvement needed before any transitions by Yoan are made.

Also with Yoan there continues to be hitting struggles from the right side.  He is often linked to Andrew Benintendi but Andrew was hitting well and fielding well when he was called up.  I am not certain at this point that Yoan has the handle necessary on either of those.

2B Yoan Moncada finishes a DP throw to first

2B Yoan Moncada finishes a DP throw to first

BUT as Manager Carlos Febles suggested afterwards,
“Teams have games like this.  We’ll put it behind us and prepare for the next game.”  We are talking about the minors where scores and championships are minimized.  The RubberDucks “lost” their top two prospects in the past two weeks via promotion.  Tied for the top of the Eastern League West before the promotions, they are now six games back in the standings.

Also memorable in this game was that Yoan was injured during a caught-stealing at third base.  It appeared to be quite serious because he hit the bag hard but there was a collective sigh of relief in the Red Sox organization as Yoan was able to walk off with only a sore left ankle to deal with.

Rob Kaminsky - pitched well for Akron

Rob Kaminsky – pitched well for Akron

Akron’s top remaining prospect, Rob Kaminsky, was their pitcher in this game.  He was a #1 pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014.  The lefty limited Portland to three hits.

I was impressed with Akron first baseman Nellie Rodriguez.  Only 22, he has a history of good numbers.  Led the Midwest League in hits and homers in 2014.  Led the Carolina League in homers and RBI in 2015.  Nellie is currently 4th in the Eastern League in homers and extra-base hits.  What will slow his rise to the majors?  150 strikeouts.

Portland’s Aneury Tavarez must be getting the eye of higher up’s in the Boston front office. The Sea Dogs’ right fielder is near the top of the EL batting leaders at .323.  He had three hits this evening against Akron.

Slugger loses his opponent

Slugger loses his opponent

Disappointed in Slugger tonight.  I always root for him at the start of each race.  He is always the underdog because he runs against kids.  For some reason on this night the big guy chose to impede the progress of the speedy girl he was up against.  He squared himself to block her path near second base but the clever opponent darted through his legs.  The move dazzled Slugger.  In fact, for a second or two he had no idea where she had gone!  That momentary confusion, plus the girl’s significant running skills, doomed Slugger.  I just never thought he would even consider cheating to win but I saw it with my own eyes.  Shame on him!

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging the visit.  Not too many home games left and they are all in August.  Good take.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Rainel Rosario, Mauricio Dubon, Yoan Moncada

Rainel Rosario, Mauricio Dubon, Yoan Moncada

Ryan Court

Ryan Court

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Nellie Rodriguez breaks a bubble

Nellie Rodriguez breaks a bubble

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith

Nellie Rodriguez and Nate Frieman

Nellie Rodriguez and Nate Frieman

Force at home

Force at home

Trouble riding a horse

Trouble riding a horse

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Nellie Rodriguez

Nellie Rodriguez

Aneury Tavarez is hitting .323 for Portland.

Aneury Tavarez is hitting .323 for Portland.

Look at the strings hanging off Yoan's glove

Look at the strings hanging off Yoan’s glove

Play at the plate

Play at the plate

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Portland catcher Jake Romanski

Portland catcher Jake Romanski

 

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Filed under Akron, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Dominic Smith (New York Mets) and Yoan Moncada (Boston Red Sox) in action at Portland

Top prospects Yoan Moncada (Boston Red Sox) and Dominic Smith (New York Mets) together at Hadlock Field

Top prospects Yoan Moncada (Boston Red Sox) and Dominic Smith (New York Mets) together at Hadlock Field

Mets #2 prospect Amed Rosario

Mets #2 prospect Amed Rosario

(Portland ME) Irresistible collection of baseball prospects at Hadlock Field in Portland on Thursday night.

The local Portland Sea Dogs, however, lost 4-0 to the Binghamton Mets and continue to have the worst record (35-62) in the Eastern League.

I arrived at Hadlock 1 ½ hours early in time to see long lines of folks outside the park ahead of the 7PM start.  Didn’t imagine that the fan passion was over the prospects I hoped to see……..and it wasn’t.

Turns out that the first 1000 fans were going to receive a free Travis Shaw bobblehead.  The lure for a $3 item featuring the former Sea Dog drew that crowd and I’m guessing that there were more than the 1000 in the lines.

Anyhow, the lure for me was a look at the New York Mets’ top two prospects as well as yet another look at Red Sox prospects Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi.

Red Sox #3 prospect Andrew Benintendi

Red Sox #3 prospect Andrew Benintendi

There was clearly a sense of urgency.  All four players could well be in triple A very soon, they’re that good.  In fact, I checked the Eastern League transactions regularly while the Sea Dogs were on the road to see if any of them had been moved.  I remembered how quickly Xander and Mookie came and went from Portland.

But none of the four had moved up and when I checked the starting lineups all four were there.

I had seen Andrew twice and Yoan once, so spotting them for pictures was easy.  The tough part in shooting them was the setting sun which necessitated sunglasses for some players.  Andrew is one of those.

The two Mets were a different problem.  I had never seen them before in person.  I did have numbers but in the Eastern League the numbers are only on the back. So I didn’t expect to get any early shots of #1 Amed Rosario or #22 Dominic Smith.

I was wrong about that because both players stopped and interacted with Portland players so that I was able to see the numbers on the back.  The Portland players have names on the back as well but not Binghamton.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith

Since I had pictures of Yoan and Andrew from a previous visit I concentrated on being sure I had some of Dominic and Amed.  I started the game on the edge of the Binghamton dugout because those two players would come towards me at the end of innings.  I was also aware that switch-hitting Yoan would be facing my way while batting.

I had to adjust my settings on the Binghamton side because the sun was blocked by the height of the stadium as it set.  Not so on the Portland side.

I would have loved to have had another camera available with a small lens because I was very close to the Binghamton players.  That Nikon I made an offer for during a recent yard sale might have been the ticket.

Yoan Moncada batting

Yoan Moncada batting

Despite all the hype (in my head), the four promising ones were all hitless for the night.  Yoan reached on a walk and I hoped that the minor league’s leading base stealer might run but he didn’t.

Dominic Smith was a Mets first-rounder in 2013.  Not tall (6’) but big (250 pounds).  The twenty-one year old Binghamton first baseman was the MVP in the Florida State League last season.  Going into last night’s game he had 12 homers, 67 RBI, and a .294 batting average.

Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario is only twenty.  The Dominican was signed by the Mets as a 16-year-old.  The 6-2 shortstop has played a good part of this season with St. Lucie in the Florida State League.  With Binghamton so far, after 23 games, he has 33 hits, 14 RBI, and a .379 batting average.

The two Mets players should reach AAA Las Vegas in August.  Yoan and Andrew should see Pawtucket shortly.  Andrew may make it to Fenway.  I will be very pleasantly surprised if I return to Hadlock and Yoan and Andrew are still on the Portland roster.

Speedster speeds past tightly-dressed Slugger near second

Speedster speeds past tightly-dressed Slugger near second

It was disco night at Hadlock and that may well have been why Slugger continued his losing streak.  His pants were seriously tight and I think he was afraid that he might rip them out so he didn’t take any chances.  On this night he faced a little kid with plenty of jets.  This kid was so fast that he was able to stop at second and allow Slugger back into the race and then blow the big guy away.  I am not sure that looser pants would have made a difference now that I think of it.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith

Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario and Mauricio Dubon

Amed Rosario and Mauricio Dubon

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Mauricio Dubon (#11 Red Sox prospect) triples

Mauricio Dubon (#11 Red Sox prospect) triples

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

20-year-old Amed Rosario

20-year-old Amed Rosario

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Kid torches Slugger

Kid torches Slugger

 

 

 

 

 

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Yoan Moncada (#1 Boston Red Sox prospect) now at AA Portland

Boston's #1 prospect (Yoan Moncada) is now playing for Portland

Boston’s #1 prospect (Yoan Moncada) is now playing for Portland

Mauricio Dubon and Yoan Moncada

Mauricio Dubon and Yoan Moncada

(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.

Jalen Beeks started for Portland and had ten strikeouts in five innings of work

Jalen Beeks started for Portland and had ten strikeouts in five innings of work

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 Moncada out at first on a close play after a bunt attempt

Yoan Moncada out at first on a close play after a bunt attempt

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.

Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada

Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada

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 loses track of his opponent's right

Slugger loses track of his opponent’s right

Slugger sent flying

Slugger sent flying

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.)

Mauricio Dubon tries on his new Portland Sea Dogs' hat

Mauricio Dubon tries on his new Portland Sea Dogs’ hat

Mauricio Dubon

Mauricio Dubon

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Harrisburg catcher Spencer Kieboom

Harrisburg catcher Spencer Kieboom

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Rafael Bautista (#16 Washington National's prospect) about to cross home

Rafael Bautista (#16 Washington National’s prospect) about to cross home

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Mauricio Dubon had a triple vs Harrisburg

Mauricio Dubon had a triple vs Harrisburg

Yoan Moncada in Portland dugout

Yoan Moncada in Portland dugout

Yoan Moncada throwing

Yoan Moncada throwing

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Wilmer Difo (#6 Washington National's prospect)

Wilmer Difo (#6 Washington National’s prospect)

Yoan Moncada bats

Yoan Moncada bats

Mauricio Dubon

Mauricio Dubon

 

 

 

 

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