The High A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, the Salem Red Sox, just might have the two most exciting Red Sox prospects in the entire system. Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts took their talents to Salem, and won the Mills Cup, the Carolina League title, Tuesday night.
Blake Swihart has proved himself to be one of the better catching prospects in baseball this season, hitting .298 but really impressing scouts with his ability to manage a staff and his fluidity from catch to throw.
But the real fanfare has come from the 5-foot-9, 156-pound Mookie Betts, who beyond having a great baseball name, has absolutely destroyed Carolina League pitching. Since his call up from Greenville, Betts has played in 51 games, hitting the ball all over the field to the tune of an average of .341. He even stole 20 bases and hit seven home runs in those 51 games, while recording 18 steals and eight home runs in 76 games the level below.
Beyond those two that could be future stars for the Boston Red Sox, Sean Coyle, Keury De La Cruz and Brian Johnson also helped lift the Salem Red Sox to the title. Coyle and De La Cruz were both organizational Minor League All-Stars in 2012, and played key roles in this year’s team, although they did not take the next step to really excite Red Sox fans.
Regardless of the individual talent, the Salem team put together an incredible run. On July 30, the team was under .500, but they rallied, had an incredible August, including winning their final 11 games, regular and postseason included, and swept through the playoffs to secure the Mills Cup.
This it the first time in history the Salem Red Sox lifted the Mills Cup, but they have only be known as the Red Sox since 2009, when they became a part of the Boston Red Sox farm system. The last time the team in Salem won the championship was back in 2001, then known as the Salem Avalanche as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies organization.