Category Archives: Portland

Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez rehab in Portland

Eduardo Rodrriguez

Christian Vazquez

(Portland ME) The stars were out Monday night at Hadlock Field.

How often do you see a major leaguer at an Eastern League (AA) game?

Not often.  Well, on this night the Red Sox had TWO players rehabbing there……..catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

I was familiar close-up with both Boston players.  I had seen Christian a few years ago working his way up via Portland.  Eduardo had done a rehab at Portland earlier this season and I was on hand.

Bo Bichette looks back after striking out against ERod

You not only had the major leaguers, but you also had the first-place New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the house.  I had already been to Manchester (NH) a couple of times this season to see that talented team.

There was a very large Monday night crowd in the park.  You knew why the “extra’s” had come when loud ovations greeted announcements regarding Christian and Eduardo.  The normal reaction to players?  None.

The setting was coolish at 7PM after a hot day.

There were celebrations pregame for women in sports.  One of those honored was Kate Hall of Casco (ME).  There was a story about her in the Bridgton News several weeks ago.  She is a national track star hoping to make it to the next Olympics.  I heard the name, connected the dots and got a picture of her….I hope!.

Bobby Dalbec

The Fisher Cats have clinched the playoffs while the Sea Dogs have clinched the basement.  On this night it was as if the roles were reversed as Portland hit early and often on their way to a 12-6 win.

Christian drove in three runs while Eduardo pitched four scoreless innings.  Eduardo had hoped to go six innings but too many long counts prevented it.  (He said as much afterwards, according to the newspaper coverage.)  I probably could have been in that news conference if I had chased it.

Extra cameramen were at the park.  I knew that with lessening light I would forfeit action shots.  My goal was close-up shots and dugout shots.

I shifted to the New Hampshire side after several innings and found a good spot although I was sitting instead of standing.  A ground ball did come my way and was close.  You roll the dice when you put yourself (intentionally) in the line of fire.

I got more pictures of Bo Bichette.  Last year he excelled in A ball (top hitter in the minors) and this year, as a 20-year-old, has continued to star.  The New Hampshire shortstop leads the EL in hits, doubles, and several other categories.  He starts for Toronto next year or the year after, in my opinion.

Cavan Biggio

Harold Ramirez

Two other top talents at NH are Harold Ramirez (top EL batting average) and Cavan Biggio ( EL home run leader).  It interested me that Cavan (normally a 2nd baseman) was in right field for this one.

I also took more pictures of Bobby Dalbec.  He is one of Boston’s top prospects.  He has been at three levels this season and is tied for the lead in the minors in homers.

There always will be a Slugger section in my coverage of Sea Dogs’ games.  The big guy was out of uniform.  I can’t describe what he was wearing and why but at one point he was dancing with an umpire!  Needless to imagine, Slugger was outrun by yet another youngster.  Slugger got into a great starting stance, but it didn’t help.  His opponent was fast and knew what he was doing.  By the time second was crossed, Slugger was destined for second and that was where he finished.

Slugger in a solid starting stance

Another day for me at a great park.  Portland’s home season ends Thursday.  Where did the spring/summer go?

New Hampshire has qualified for the EL playoffs.  I might venture to New Hampshire for one of those games.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for letting me into Hadlock and onto the field.  I greatly enjoy my time there.

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

Prospects Bobby Dalbec and Bo Bichette

Bo Bichette near second

Bo Bichette rounds third

Bo Bichette finishing DP

Christian and Eduardo arrive pre-game

Slugger comes in second

Christian scores

Christian eyes bat

Danny Mars

Eduardo sets to pitch

Pitcher Jon Harris

Kate Hall

Play at second

 

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

Bobby Dalbec: A big hit in Portland

Bobby Dalbec poses in front of the Portland Sea Dogs dugout

Bobby Dalbec ready to hit.

(Portland ME) Sometimes batters get your attention in batting practice.

Bobby Dalbec of the Portland Sea Dogs is one of those players.

Thirteen games into the 23-year-olds promotion to Double A, he bears watching even before the game.

I took in the pregame yesterday at Hadlock Stadium and saw him drill BP pitches all over the place.

During BP the Altoona Curve was warming up in the left-field corner awaiting their turn to take over the field.  I’d hear the whack of bat meeting ball and watch players at least 300 feet away take a quick look to see if the ball was coming their way.  And several times it did.

I watched one of the Sea Dogs coaches, standing near second base, hear a ball go whizzing by his head and not have time to react.

The young man has power.  Between Salem (VA) in the Carolina League and his brief time in Portland, Bobby is tied for the top spot in the minors with 31 home runs.

“I know about where I am with home runs but I’m not going to chase them,” Bobby told me in a post-BP interview.  “I want to hit the ball hard.”

Portland broadcaster Mike Antonellis

Sea Dogs announcer Mike Antonellis added that, “Bobby isn’t trying to hit the ball out like some players do.  He’s not upper cutting but he generates so much power that they do go out.”

Mike, who reached 3000 games broadcasted recently, has seen all thirteen of Bobby’s Portland games and recalled two memorable homers already. “The most impressive one I’ve seen here (Hadlock Stadium) was one that cleared the Thomas College sign in center.  That sign is 24’ high.  Our trackman service estimated that the ball traveled 451 feet!  On the road he had one in Erie to left center that landed on the roof of their arena.  Some of the Erie people told me that they thought it was one of the longest ones they had ever seen there.”

Bobby relaxes in the dugout pregame with a teammate

Bobbly was one of the Portland players without a number on his practice jersey.  “That gives you away as the new guy,” I kidded him.

“I may be new here, but I know most of these guys from the lower minors,” he said, “it has been an easy transition for me to be in Portland.”

Bobby told him that his parents were in Portland for the weekend to see him play here for the first time.  They had taken two trips to Salem to catch him in the Carolina League.

Bobby is a third baseman but so is Boston’s #1 prospect Michael Chavis.  In tonight’s game Michael was at 3B and Bobby was DH.

“Bobby is 6’4” so he’s easy to see at 3B,” said Mike.  “He’s a former pitcher (Arizona) and has a terrific arm.”

There is so much data available on players that with his reputation he faced shifts even in A ball.  “I was aware of the shifts, but I just refused to change my approach at the plate to try and defeat it,” said Bobby.

Bobby Dalbec in the dugout with pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz

Mike explained that Double A can be tough for newcomers.  “The good one’s face shifts and they see more secondary pitches thrown by better guys.”

Mike told me that he was surprised that the righthanded-hitting Bobby was seeing a lot more fastballs early in counts since teams were shifting a bit toward the left side.

There are some comparisons between Bobby and JD Martinez. “Both players seem to have a similar plan at the plate,” said Mike, “and that is to hit the ball hard.  Both insist that they’re not intentionally going for homers”

Regarding his future Bobby said: “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and see where it takes me.”  So far it has taken him this season from Boston’s #12 prospect to #6.

Bobby Dalbec

Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers may be younger (21) and entrenched a bit in Boston but Bobby’s power numbers and ability to play the position could move him up to Fenway sooner or later.

“I think he’s special,” added Mike. “There may be some adjustment periods, so we’ll have to see.”

One is left to wonder how the last-place Portland Sea Dogs (52-69) would have done in 2018 with Josh Ockimey, Michael Chavis, and Bobby Dalbec in action from the beginning of the season.

Mike Antonellis has been involved in broadcasting for twenty-two years.  “I started out doing sports updates at Dean Junior College,” he told me.  “I felt comfortable at it right away.  I have been with Portland since 2005 and have done 2000 games with them.”

My thanks to Mike for arranging my interview with Bobby Dalbec and adding to the information I had on the talented young man.

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

Feeling at home in Portland

Bobby was the DH against Altoona

Heading out to bat

With Coach Luke Montz

On the move on the bases against Altoona

Set to bat

 

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Filed under Bobby Dalbec, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Josh Ockimey promoted after Portland sweep

Josh Ockimey runs to cover first.

Josh Ockimey was promoted to AAA Pawtucket today

(Portland MA) I didn’t plan for it, but I was at Hadlock Field and witnessed Portland’s Josh Ockimey’s last game with the Sea Dogs.

Josh was promoted to AAA Pawtucket after Portland took two from the Erie SeaWolves on this hot Thursday afternoon.

The power-hitting 1B finished his time in Maine with a homer, double and three RBI.

Erie is the Double A farm team of Detroit.  Six of their top eighteen prospects are at Erie.  I missed seeing the top two (Alex Faedo #4) and Beau Burrows (#5) because they’re starters.  Beau pitched the second game today but by then I was on my porch about an hour away.

Campers in the crowd

It was hot.  Today was campers’ day and many camps were represented, each with their own brightly colored shirts.  I wondered how many bad sunburns happened after hours in the rays. The concessions stands were very busy.

The four Tigers prospects that I did see came to them when they traded Justin Verlander to Houston, JD Martinez to Arizona, and Alex Avila to the Cubs.

Both 3B Isaac Paredes (#11) and 2B Sergio Alcantara (#18) made errors in Game One today.

I also saw CF Daz Cameron (#8) get picked off first.  Catcher Jake Rogers (#10) had several balls go through him.

Trouble at 3B for Isaac Paredea

Frankly, there wasn’t much to pin your hopes on if you were a Detroit fan wondering about the team’s future.

It was the last-place Portland team that had the excellent pitching (Matt Kent) and hitting on this warm afternoon in the 9-1 first-game win.

I started the game shooting from the Erie dugout.  I was hoping to eventually switch to the Portland side, but one of their players (How dare he!) was in a chair that he had set up in the photographer’s area.  I considered shooting from the stands, but it was way too hot.

I switched to a small lens to get some Erie dugout shots and Josh Ockimey chose that time to hit his home run.  Tough later editing action shots with tiny players in them!

Will Castro and Sergio Alcantara

One shot that I have gotten the last two times I’ve been at Hadlock is of the Portland player signing in the Concourse.  Give me someone stationary and cooperative and I can usually get a good picture of them.  It was relief pitcher Jordan Weems this time.

I did make connections with broadcaster Mike Antonellis before the game.  He is in charge of setting up interviews.  I would like to do an interview with a Sea Dogs player before the season ends in a month.  I would probably have to be at Hadlock three hours early.  We’ll see.

I came to Hadlock on Brighton and St. John’s.  Couldn’t resist the GPS way (via Deering) on the way back.  Bad idea!  Too many lights and traffic.  I’m thinking that I could use River Road to get straight onto Brighton.

I violated my nutritarian diet with the meal provided but not by much.  The turkey wrap was tasty.

The Sea Dogs blasted four homers in the first game.  Josh Ockimey, Michael Chavis, Chad De La Guerra, and Luke Tendler all went deep.

Isaac Paredes after a tough inning in the field

Two Erie dugout scenes of note.  In one, the manager (?) had a player translate what he wanted to say to another player.  Knowing Spanish would be absolute gold for anyone connected to teams at any level.  I have heard Spanish in every A ball and AA ball dugout that I’ve been in.  The other dugout scene involved 3B Isaac Paredes.  The 19-year-old had two errors in the first three innings!  He had his head down in the dugout afterwards for the entire half inning.  No one on staff to talk to him?

Boston’s #1 prospect Michael Chavis had his first multi-hit game since he finished his 80-game suspension.  His batting average is close to .200 and I can assure you that he doesn’t get cheated on his swings.  Bo Bichette (New Hampshire Fisher Cats) has the same approach to batting.

I wonder if Michael will be part of the next group that moves up?  Homer-hitting Bobby Dalbec could move up from A ball to join the Sea Dogs.  I would have to get a look at him.

In hardly surprising news; Slugger lost.  This time it was comical.  Slugger tried to psych his female opponent out by getting into a ridiculous starting stance.  The young lady was unimpressed.  The flip-flop-wearing speedster had him in trouble at second and reached home with the big guy nowhere in sight.  The idea of trying to intimidate an opponent with a weird stance needs to be closeted.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for arranging the visit.  Everyone who goes to Portland games seems to have a good time at an affordable price.  And you get to see future Red Sox players such as Josh Ockimey.

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

Isaac Paredes

Jake Rogers

Matt Kent

Sergio Alcantara leads off first

Michael Chavis – How much longer in Portland?

Daz Cameron

Jeremy Rivera on base

Isaac Paredes

Josh Ockimey homered

Sergio Alcantara to the left

Michael Chavis takes a full cut

Michael Chavis nears third

Josh Ockimey

Luke Tendler after homer

Daz Cameron

 

 

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Filed under Erie Seawolves, Portland, 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

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

#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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