Saturday, May 3 - 7 p.m.
Greenville Drive (14-11)
LHP Trey Ball (2014 A: 5 IP, 9 H, 3 R/ER, BB, 2 K)
Augusta GreenJackets (14-14)
LHP Matt Lujan (2014 A: 24.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 20.4 K%, 6.8 BB%, .347 BABIP)
The Red Sox drafted Ball seventh overall in 2013 out of an Indiana high school. He has projection for days, listed at 6-foot-6, 185 pounds. He currently sits high-80s/low-90s, but the room for added muscle at only 19 years old means he could see a tick up in velocity as he develops. His fastball shows good command from a clean arm slot and good mechanics.
Ball's changeup is a plus pitch with great deception. He adds an average curveball with the potential to be above average or even plus, giving him the necessary arsenal to be a potential frontline arm. He might not have the standout stuff for a 1 ceiling, but he's definitely a 2 ceiling right now. He's a realistic 3 at the moment.
Ball was a two-way player entering the draft, but the Red Sox quickly put him on the mound full-time. He signed for $2.75 million, the second-highest draft bonus in Boston history. The Red Sox are taking him slowly to start his pro career, and this is only his second start this season after building arm strength in extended spring training. I wouldn't expect a lot of secondaries in this outing.
The Red Sox have one of the best farm systems in baseball, but Ball gives them their only legitimate, potential frontline starter. So his development is likely a huge focus for the organization.
Lujan continues to shut down the South Atlantic League as an advanced left-hander. The 25-year-old allowed three runs in six innings against Asheville last time out, but much of it was BABIP issues. It was his worst outing through five starts, so that tells you something about his season so far.
The GreenJackets defense has been much stronger over the past few days, highlighted by two diving stops from shortstop Ryder Jones on Friday night. The second one started a game-ending double play that drew praise from manager Mike Goff. Jones has looked more comfortable at short lately.
Christian Arroyo has also looked more comfortable at second base. As Goff said after the game, the transition from shortstop to second base isn't as easy as some think, because everything is at a different angle. Arroyo is showing a solid pivot on double plays and is making the routine plays. He's very athletic for the position and likely profiles as above average to plus overall for second.
"He’s come a long way with it," Goff said. "He didn’t understand he was going to be the second baseman until near the very end of spring training. He’s had to do a lot of work just to get his footwork down.
"It takes a while to get your techniques and understand what you’re doing. He’s a great athlete, and he’s made the adjustment pretty quick."
Before the game, Augusta activated reliever Ray Black and placed Carlos Alvarado on the disabled list. Black had been on the disabled list for right shoulder inflammation after just one appearance.