It’s time to check in on the Red Sox Double-A affiliate again, though, like last time around, there is not a ton of great news to share.
At least third baseman Will Middlebrooks continues to shine in his Double-A debut. The season is young, but it is looking like he is, as he has done every year in his career, improving at the plate. The 22-year-old has a line of .321/.351/.541, with strikeouts in 23 percent of his plate appearances. That would represent a career-best as far as strikeout rate goes, and would be a great sign for Middlebrooks’ future–he is never going to walk much, but if he can control the strike zone and avoid whiffing while still putting good wood on the ball, he is going to be productive.
As we’ve discussed before, Middlebrooks is a plus defender at the hot corner–anything he gives you above average production offensively is a bonus in a way, and, from the looks of his initial stint at Double-A, he may end up with a pretty big bonus.
Stolmy Pimentel is having his worst season as a prospect in 2011, with just 6.5 strikeouts per nine (against 3.3 BB/9, for a K/BB of 2.0) and a 5.33 ERA. He is frustrating to scouts, as his stuff is much better than his numbers suggest–he hasn’t been fooling anyone at Double-A, as he is giving up 1.3 homers per nine in addition to his deficiencies in the strikeout department.
He was very good against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Monday, though, going six innings while striking out seven, and allowing just the one walk, three hits, and no runs. Of course, in the start before that, he pitched poorly, giving up four runs, eight hits, and a pair of homers in 4 1/3 innings. That is the story of Stolmy, though–he just has no consistency yet.
In his six starts in 2011, Pimentel has allowed:
- Five runs (3 IP)
- Zero runs (5 IP)
- Six runs (4 1/3 IP)
- Two runs (5 IP)
- Four runs (4 1/3 IP)
- Zero runs (6 IP)
He has also had either nothing for strikeout stuff, or the ability to punch out a batter per inning–not a shocker here, but in the games where he can miss bats, he puts zeros on the scoreboard.
He will need to develop some consistency to get out of Double-A, as his stuff alone won’t be enough to get by at this upper level. He projects to have a future in a big league rotation, but that projection is still a ways off given his current status.
Alex Wilson, who was born in Saudi Arabia and would be just the second player from there to play in the majors were he to reach someday, has the best slider in the farm system according to Baseball America. He was hit pretty hard at Double-A in 2010–Wilson had an ERA of 6.66 in 16 starts and 78 1/3 innings pitched to go along with a K/BB of 1.7–but has rebounded to start 2011.
Wilson has put 29 1/3 innings in, struck out 24 batters in that stretch, and brought his K/BB up to a much more manageable 2.2. He has yet to have a successful season in the minors–he was productive for his 55-plus innings at High-A in 2010, but other than that has posted ERAs above five–so a quality season at Double-A would go a long ways towards putting him back on the prospect radar for something other than one pitch.