Is there anyone else down in Triple-A Worcester who might be worth a look?
So far, the Woo Sox have a perfect record of sending up players who appear to be capable, if not even better suited, of making contributions than some of the guys on the team in the big leagues.
On Tuesday night, it was Franchy Cordero, Tyler Danish and John Schreiber who played key roles in the Sox ‘9-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Cordero was at base three times with three times. Danish got the victory after easing a fighting Garrett Whitlock in the fourth inning and throwing two pointless frames. Schreiber got the save with pointless laps in the eighth and ninth.
Those are three guys who were in Triple-A a week or two ago.
The Red Sox have not been willing to give any of their prospects a chance yet – Chaim Bloom indicated on Saturday that it is too early to think about Triston Casas’ promotion despite his .373 on-base percentage and six homeruns – but at least the Sox have begun to show willingness to mix the list in other ways.
Cordero was not expected to do much this year, but suddenly looks like a player who can control the line zone and do so from a position that has killed this team.
At first base, the Sox entered the Atlanta Series with a 30th-ranked .129 batting average, 30th-ranked .195 on-base percentage, 30th-ranked .190 slugging percentage and a 30th-ranked negative -fire defensive runs.
Coredero is unlikely to help much in defense and he may have actually injured the Sox as he could not come up with a hot shot from Matt Olson’s bat that led to a Braves run in the seventh inning. But at the plate, he offered something out of character to him: a cautious and calculated approach.
The first time he went up, he went on four lanes, one of which was a first-pitch basket ball on the outer edge of the plate, a lane that others in this Red Sox ‘lineup would probably have swung on and rolled across a groundball for shortstop. But Cordero put out, took his free pass and then went twice more in the match.
Cordero is the first Red Sox first baseman to reach safe three times in a game this year.
This is particularly noteworthy given how poorly Cordero has been at handling the strike zone. He chased 33% of the lanes he saw outside the strike zone last year, but that rate has dropped to 24% when he came in on Tuesday, and will soon drop even more after his three-walk match.
If Cordero can offer the Sox anything at first base, it would be an upgrade over what they’ve got. And it could potentially start to equal the scale for Bloom, who swapped Andrew Benintendi to acquire Cordero, only to see him hit .189 with a stunning 51 strikeouts on just 136 record appearances a year ago. This year, Benintendi hits .330 with the royals.
In the bullpen, Danish picked up the victory on Tuesday after easing Whitlock, who struggled through three innings while allowing three runs and throwing 82 pitches. With a lead of three runs to protect, Danish had a good sinker that worked as he hit three over two goalless laps.
The Sox like his ability to evoke groudballs, and although the 27-year-old has never had consistent success in the major leagues, he has now beaten 18 guys in 12-2 / 3 combined innings between Woo Sox and Red Sox this year .
Schreiber was just as impressive. The 28-year-old flashed a wipeout shooter and blew three over two pointless innings to record the save, the first by a Red Sox pitcher since April 29. The Sox had previously blown four equal chances of rescue.
Schreiber now has 21 strikeouts in 18-2 / 3 combined innings between the two levels, including 6-1 / 3 pointless innings in the major leagues.
Cora said he saved Schreiber for the late innings regardless of the score, meaning he would have come in with a two-run lead if the Sox had not beaten three more runs in the ninth.
What does it say about Schreiber that Cora trusts him with the last two rounds of a close battle against the World Series champions?
Depth is important, and sox knows. Cora is starting to give other guys a chance to prove themselves.
And alas, the five-match long losing streak ended.