07 May 2006

**PEDROIA**/ Lester Update No. 6

Our boy Jed Lowrie is on the DL with an ankle injury, so for the time being, we're down both prospects. Awesome.

Lowrie, until HE comes off the DL, will be replaced here by Dustin Pedroia. I went with Lester/ Pedroia as fill-ins because I would assume they require less of an introduction, which is easier on my typin' fingers.

Lester had his start last night against the Rochester Red Wings. Here's the update, yo.



Due to a late start from injury (shoulder) in Spring Training, Dustin's appeared in only 17 games thus far. He's had an up-and-down start- good walk rate, making solid contact, but isn't generating much power yet. His best game of the season came April 27th against Durham at the Bucket, where he went 2-for-5 with a 2B, HR, RBI and run scored.

Pedroia has mainly been splitting time between 2B and SS- two games here, two games there. There may be some pressure on Dustin to perform- with Alex Gonzalez and Mark Loretta's complete suckitude, there's a lot of speculation that Pedroia could be relied on at some point to provide an offensive upgrade over either. While that doesn't seem likely at the moment, if Pedroia turns a corner at some point and takes off, it's entirely possible.

There's also the reality that, had Pedroia not been hit on the rest 7 games into his Pawtucket career, the Sox would likely have brought him up when Bellhorn got hurt last year, never trading for Tony Graffanino, and, depending on the results, possibly Mark Loretta. That's a tough break for a young player. But...

Mention that to Pedroia and he shakes his head, fending off such thoughts.

"I can't do that to myself," Pedroia said. "I'm 22 years old. I'll get my chance soon. When it happens, I'll be ready for it."

Whether he gets his chance at shortstop or second base is the question. A shortstop at Arizona State and in his first pro season in 2004, Pedroia was moved to second base in Portland last season, with Hanley Ramirez playing short.

Now Pedroia is playing both second base and shortstop at Pawtucket.

Pedroia got a scheduled night off last night during Lester's start. He should be back out there today.



Jon Lester has finally had his big, breakout, dominant AAA start. Last night against the Rochester Red Wings in Rochester, Lester was reportedly very efficient, working ahead of hitters, and keeping the walks to a minimum. His command clearly improved, and he was great.

His line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, BB, 4 K (69 pitches)

GB: 5
FB: 6
SO: 4

So really, the only complaint would be that he didn't keep the ball on the ground as much, but if his command is where it needs to be, those flyballs are often of the "weak" variety. The PawSox game story in ProJo (reg. req.) liked what they saw, too- as did Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson.

"It obviously feels good to get the win," said Lester, who threw a first-ball strike to 14 of the 20 batters he faced. "All in all, I think I've thrown the ball well this year, I just haven't gotten the results."

Rochester mustered only four singles against Lester, and only catcher Shawn Wooten was able to reach second base against the southpaw.

"I was really pleased with him," manager Ron Johnson said. "He's been throwing the ball really well the last few times out. He's just got really good stuff and command. It was a very good outing. When he has command in the zone, he's going to have success. I'm sure he's pleased with his effort as well."

Finally, much like Jed Lowrie, as it turns out- Jon has been doing a "Prospect Diary" for Baseball America. Here's the archive, with entries on 4/21, 5/1 and 5/2.

From the May 2nd entry...

My stuff has been good. If you were an outsider looking in you wouldn't think that, because of the numbers that I'm putting up. I've really just gotten unlucky at times. Take for instance the game in Charlotte. I gave up two home runs that at any other park would have been fly outs. So now your looking at that outing and saying, 'Wow he gave up five runs in three innings--he must not of pitched well.'

In reality, I probably had my best stuff so far this year. Then there's the times when you have to go out and compete without your best stuff. Those games are fun sometimes though. I say that because you have to figure out how to get guys out without your best fastball, curve or whatever it may be. It's a challenge when you face a hitter for a second time--you know you have to find a different way of getting him out.

Lester's next start appears to be May 11th in Pawtucket against the Syracuse SkyChiefs, the Toronto Blue Jays AAA affiliate. The SkyChiefs don't have much of an offense this season, with their team leader in OPS being 1B Kevin Barker at 787. OF Chad Mottola and C Mike Mahoney are close behind.

Tuesday, April 4th
Friday, April 7th
Friday, April 14th
Wednesday, April 19th
Thursday, April 27th
Tuesday, May 2nd

Also- prospect talk encouraged. You do it, you get a cookie (or a BSM sticker or something...)

______________________________ |