Mar 5, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini (70) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Wednesday marked a day when several teams decided to send some of their top prospects back to the minors.
The Miami Marlins sent their 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Anthony DeSclafani, back to the minors. The 23-year-old righty threw two innings, giving up one hit and striking out two batters. DeSclafani reached Double-A Jacksonville and still was able to put some good numbers on the board after a promotion from High-A Jupiter. Lefty Justin Nicolino, acquired from the Blue Jays along with DeSclafani, retired all three batters he faced in spring training and will likely be headed back to Double-A where he was challenged after his promotion from Jupiter. Nicolino was a Top-100 prospect going into 2013 and is still highly thought of despite having some shine come off his star last year. Also headed back was 22-year-old Jose Urena, who threw just one inning in major league spring training and catcher J.T. Realmuto who had one hit in five at bats in the majors. Realmuto played in Double-A Jacksonville last season.
The Chicago Cubs sent back a big group of prospects too. While it’s not listed on the club’s transactions page, MiLB.com’s twitter feed reported that Kris Bryant, a Top 10 prospect, was reassigned to the minor league camp. He hit .182 in 11 at bats but launched home runs in two of them but on the down side, he struck out 7 times in 12 plate appearances and only walked once. Outfielder Jorge Soler had a pair of hits in nine at bats including a triple but was able to walk twice while striking out twice. If he can stay healthy (and master his anger issues), Soler should be in Double-A this year. Also send down was shortstop Arismendy Alcantara. The 22-year-old went hitless in 10 at bats in Spring Training but was assigned to Iowa.
MiLB.com also reports that left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray, who threw three and a half scoreless innings in spring training but walked three and didn’t strike out anyone, is heading back to minor league camp. Ray was the key to a deal that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals this winter.
Speaking of the Washington Nationals, MiLB also reported last night that A.J. Cole, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, goes back to minor league camp after a very successful time with the big team. Cole, who reached Double-A Harrisburg last season, threw six and two-thirds scoreless innings and gave up just five hits and no walks while striking out seven.
Also, I’m just seeing this morning that the Boston Red Sox have optioned Anthony Ranaudo, Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan to minor league camp. Ranaudo had a very solid season in Double-A and Triple-A last year but struggled in big league camp. Cecchini, hit .188 and struck out seven times in 16 at bats but took three walks in big league camp. Bryce Brentz, 25, had an outstanding time with the major leaguers, hitting .409 with three home runs, three walks and seven strikeouts in 22 at bats. Hassan hit .143 with three walks and five strikeouts in 24 plate appearances. All four were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox also reassigned several players to the minor league camp including catcher Blake Swihart, pitchers Noe Ramirez, Henry Owens and Matt Barnes as well as infielders Travis Shaw and Heiker Meneses.