Oscar Tejada’s Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings

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NEW YORK — We took a week off to allow the dust to settle following the trade deadline, which had minor impacts on some of the Red Sox’ top prospects. The organization retained all of its top dogs on the farm, so here is an update on their progress as we reach the dog days of summer.

  • 1Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 1

    Casey Kelly, RHP

    Another rough outing on July 31 (seven runs on seven hits in three innings) kept Kelly’s numbers a bit rough-looking on the surface. But he rebounded with his longest start of the season, a 6 2/3-inning effort Thursday.

    The 20-year-old has been monitored closely in terms of his innings. He is up to 95 with about five or six starts remaining. At times, the pitch and innings limits have cut down on his ability to work through rough starts.

    For instance, if Kelly struggles in the first two or three innings, the club may sit him down, whereas he may be able to settle down if he could last longer. It’s a prudent approach that will pay dividends down the road, and Kelly knows that.

    “This is the program the Red Sox have built for me, and I definitely trust them 100 percent,” he recently said. “I don’t think of it any differently whether I go out and throw five innings or if I go out for seven or eight innings. When they take the ball away from me, that’s when I stop pitching.”
    Kelly is 3-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 21 starts.

  • 2Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 2

    Ryan Kalish, OF

    It might not be long before we remove Kalish from this list. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he never returns to the minors.

    In his one week with the Red Sox, he is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with a home run and a handful of extremely impressive throws from left field. Everything about the 22-year-old Kalish is legit, too. None of it has felt like a fluke. As long as the team needs help in the outfield, he will be the one to provide it.

  • 3Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 3

    Lars Anderson, 1B

    After hitting .303 in July, Anderson has been a bit colder in August, hitting .176 (3-for-17) without an extra-base hit. It’s unsure whether he was ever on the radar, but the timing of Anderson’s mini slump is not good — the big club has been scrambling for help at first base.

    Without Kevin Youkilis for the rest of the season, Mike Lowell will play the bulk of the games at first. But the Sox have also signed Carlos Delgado to a minor league deal, and he will work out alongside Anderson with the PawSox.

  • 4Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 4

    Anthony Rizzo, 1B

    Rizzo will one day factor into the mix if and when first base is an issue for the Red Sox, but for now he continues to hit Double-A pitching well.

    During a phenomenal stretch to start August, Rizzo went 9-for-15 (.600) with two home runs and nine RBIs in just three games. Rizzo’s monthly averages starting in June have gone from .216 to .272 to .417. Sure, August is brand new and that number will go down, but you know he is trending in the right direction.

    Rizzo turns 21 on Sunday.

  • 5Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 5

    Felix Doubront, LHP

    Like Kalish, we may not have much at the minor league level to rate Doubront going forward. He was called up to the majors for the third time this season on Friday to replace the injured Hideki Okajima and figures to work out of the Boston bullpen for the rest of the year.

    The organization hoped to give Doubront more time to transition from starter to reliever but the need for another left-handed arm in the bullpen cut short his acclimation process after only one two-inning effort out of the pen.

    Doubront, 23, likely finished his minor league campaign with a combined 8-3 record and a 2.81 ERA between Portland and Pawtucket.

  • 6Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 6

    Jose Iglesias, SS

    After two months on the sidelines with a broken finger in his right hand, Iglesias has finally returned. He began a rehab assignment at Single-A Lowell on July 31 and has gone 5-for-14 (.357) in five games with the Spinners.

    Look for Iglesias, who was rumored to be desired by multiple teams at the trade deadline, to get back to Portland to finish the season.

  • 7Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 7

    Luis Exposito, C

    He hit .245 in June, .288 in July and has opened August by going 5-for-15 (.333) with four RBIs in four games. Exposito ranks fourth in the Eastern League in RBIs (75), eighth in doubles (28) and 10th in walks (44).

    The 23-year-old Exposito may have been given a bit of a road block when the Red Sox traded for Texas Rangers catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the trade deadline. Saltalamacchia is stationed in Pawtucket and could factor in the major league plans in the next year or so.

  • 8Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 8

    Stolmy Pimentel, RHP

    Pimentel is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA over his last four starts after beating Wilmington with six solid innings Thursday. He has struck out 26 and walked only four in 25 innings during that stretch.
    Just 20, Pimentel is on a good pace to slightly surpass the 117 2/3 innings he threw at Greenville last year.

  • 9Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: No. 9

    Josh Reddick, OF

    Perhaps Reddick got a bit angry at being the odd man out when the Red Sox needed outfield help. Although he had some call-ups earlier in the year, it’s been Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava who have been the choices of late, despite the fact that Reddick is raking.

    After some time off late last month, Reddick has returned to hit .545 (18-for-33) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in just seven games. Safe to say he is locked in. Finally.

    Between his slump and the splashy debuts of Kalish and Nava, Reddick has become lost in the shuffle a bit. But he will not turn 24 until February and remains a young player for Triple-A, a level he may be starting to figure out.

  • 10Oscar Tejada's Hot Streak Propels Him To Debut Appearance on Top Sox Prospects Rankings
    Last week: NR

    Oscar Tejada, 2B

    We will give Tejeda his debut in the top 10, taking up our constantly rotating final spot on the heels of a little hot stretch.

    The 20-year-old went 6-for-11 with his ninth home run in a three-game span early in August, helping to put a cool July behind him. Tejeda is among the top four players in the South Atlantic League in batting (.314), hits (128) and runs scored (69).

Five others knocking on the door:

Kolbrin Vitek, 2B/3B – The team’s top pick in June has continued to slump after a hot start in the system, dropping him out of the top 10. He is 1-for-15 with six strikeouts in August. (Last week: 10)

Reymond Fuentes
, OF, Greenville: The 19-year-old went ice cold in July but gave a pretty good indication Thursday he may be out of it. Fuentes went 5-for-5 with a home run, a double and three RBIs against Rome.

Michael Bowden
, RHP, Pawtucket: Although he was passed up by Felix Doubront when the Red Sox wanted to bring up a reliever, that decision was based more on the big club’s desire for a lefty. The right-handed Bowden continues to perform well out of the Pawtucket bullpen.

Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH, Portland: He was so hot after a promotion to Portland that Lavarnway had to cool off. He is 1-for-19 with nine strikeouts since July 29. Still, the 6-4, 225-pounder, who turns 23 on Saturday, has made an impact for the Sea Dogs.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Salem: One of several players on this list who struggled in June, Middlebrooks batted .333 in July and is 3-for-9 with a home run and three RBIs in his last two games entering the weekend.

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