No matter how you slice it, this season has not been a good one so far for the Portland Sea Dogs.

The Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox entered play Wednesday with a 27-49 record, putting them 27 games out of first place and 21 games out of a playoff spot.

But brighter days are ahead for the dreadful-looking Dogs, who look vastly different than the team that started the season.

The Sea Dogs began their 2016 campaign with just one position player among the Top 30 prospects in the Red Sox’ system, according to Baseball America. That lone prized wolf, Wendell Rijo, is gone, sent down to High-A Salem after failing to live up to his No. 15 ranking.

In his place are now three fielders listed among the top 12 in the system according to MLB Pipeline. Heading that trio is the Red Sox’ No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, who is among the top prospects in all of baseball. Andrew Benintendi, No. 3 in the Sox’ system according to MLB Pipeline, preceded Moncada in making his way to Portland. Rounding out the trio is Mauricio Dubon, who was promoted to the Sea Dogs last week.

Those three have already began to breathe life into a Sea Dogs offense that has scored the second-fewest runs in the Eastern League. Entering Wednesday, Portland had been shut out eight times and scored just one run in a loss 12 more times.


Moncada, Dubron and Benintendi now make up the top three hitters in the lineup, and in varying sample sizes have lived up to their respective hypes.

Benintendi — the Red Sox’ top draft pick in 2015 — has played the most games for Portland by far, appearing in 37 contests (more than the 34 games he played for Salem, where he started the season). The 21-year-old outfielder has batted .283, with three home runs, 12 doubles and 23 RBIs. He had previously ravaged High-A pitching to the tune of a .341 average.

Moncada, a 21-year-old second baseman from Cuba, has hit .281 in seven games for the Sea Dogs. He has already smashed his first hime run for the Sea Dogs and driven in four runs. Both Moncada and Benintendi have been invited to the Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game during All-Star Weekend.

In Dubron’s five games, the 21-year-old shortstop from Honduras has hit at a .316 clip, with two doubles and three RBIs.

Following the prized trio in Portland’s batting order are Sean Coyle (who is on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster) and former major-leaguer Nate Freiman.

The Sea Dogs have averaged 6.2 runs per game in their last 10, and have totaled 25 in the five games since the prospect trio was completed.


Portland has even more prospects on the pitching staff. After starting the season with five players among the farm system’s Top 30, the Sea Dogs are now up to six since Jalen Beeks made the trip from Salem along with Moncada. Beeks, a 22-year-old left-hander who was a college teammate of Benintendi’s at the University of Arkansas, joins a stable of prospect arms that include right-handers Ty Buttrey, Kevin McAvoy and Teddy Stankiewicz and left-handers Williams Jerez and Luis Ysla. Beeks made his Double-A debut last week and struck out a career-high 10 batters.

The Sea Dogs are still waiting for the production to equal the prospects’ potential. The six pitchers have a combined 8-22 record, with four of those victories coming from McAvoy and his 8.36 ERA.

It will take time for the Sea Dogs’ newest additions to mesh with the players that have been in Portland since the start of the season, and growing pains will surely create bumps in the road, but July and August should see a different Sea Dogs team than the one that played in April and May. The Sea Dogs went 4-6 in their 10 games entering Wednesday, which is an upgrade from the .355 winning percentage the team has played to in its first 76 games.

The team plays a five-games-in-four-days homestand starting Thursday, then heads out on the road for more than a week. But there will be plenty of chances to see the Sea Dogs in Portland at the end of July and throughout August.

The way the trio of hitting prospects have played thus far, the last two months of the season might be one of the last few chances to see those players in Portland.

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