While the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox have scuffled a bit in the opening two months of the Major League Baseball season, the same cannot be said for their Minor League affiliates. All four of them are over .500 heading into Monday's action.
None of the clubs has played better than the Portland Sea Dogs in the Double-A Eastern League. With three of the Red Sox's top five prospects (all on the overall Top 100) on the roster, it's no wonder the club is off to a 26-14 start.
It begins with Henry Owens, Boston's top prospect, who takes the mound today at 5 p.m. ET in the first game of a twinight doubleheader at home against the Binghamton Mets. Tune in to MiLB.TV to watch Owens try to build off of his last outing, when he tossed four hitless innings and struck out eight, but had to come out early because of a high pitch count helped by his five walks.
Catcher Blake Swihart, No. 52 on the Top 100 and No. 3 on the Red Sox list, started off swinging a hot bat in April (.320/.338/.520), but has cooled off in May (.239/.300/.370). He'll try to get his bat going again on Monday against Binghamton.
The Sea Dogs' offense is still led by Mookie Betts, who is No. 53 on the overall Top 100 and No. 5 on the Red Sox's list. Betts recently had his consecutive-games streak of getting on base end at 66. He was back at it on Sunday, with a hit and a walk. Betts' .382 average is second in all of the Minor Leagues. In an interesting turn of events on Sunday, he played center field, the first time he's played anyplace but the middle infield. Betts is obviously blocked at second by Dustin Pedroia. Could the Red Sox be trying to find a way to get Betts' bat up to Boston faster? Stay tuned.
Top prospect probables
Jake Johansen (Nationals' No. 12), Hagerstown at Lexington
Jose Berrios (Twins' No. 5), Fort Myers vs. Daytona
Casey Kelly (Padres' No. 4), San Antonio vs. Frisco
Alec Asher (Rangers' No. 10), Frisco at San Antonio
Eddie Butler (Rockies' No. 2), Tulsa vs. NW Arkansas
Martin Agosta (Giants' No. 13), San Jose at Visalia
Henry Owens (Red Sox's No. 1), Portland vs. Binghamton
Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays' No. 1), New Hampshire at Reading (Game 2)
Joely Rodriguez (Pirates' No. 20), Altoona vs. Akron
Tim Berry (Orioles' No. 6), Bowie vs. Erie
Clayton Blackburn (Giants' No. 8), Richmond at New Britain
Austin Kubitza (Tigers' No. 19), White Michigan vs. South Bend
Ismael Guillon (Reds' No. 9), Dayton vs. Great Lakes
Nick Petree (Cardinals' No. 20), Palm Beach at Tampa
Ian Clarkin (Yankees' No. 8), Charleston at Savannah
Manny Banuelos (Yankees' No. 12), Trenton vs. Harrisburg
Allen Webster (Red Sox's No. 2), Pawtucket vs. Scranton/WB
Trevor May (Twins' No. 12), Rochester vs. Toledo
Alex Reyes (Cardinals' No. 5), Peoria vs. Clinton
Justin Nicolino (Marlins' No. 4), Jacksonville at Pensacola
Jason Hursh (Braves' No. 3), Mississippi vs. Tennessee
Mark Sappington (Angels' No. 4), Arkansas at Springfield