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Red Sox Farm System Update

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Aaron Cook

All eyes are on Aaron Cook as the clock ticks towards his contract-mandated May 1 decision date on moving Cook up to the majors. The latest word is Boston pitching coach Bob McClure believes Cook can work out of the bullpen. Adding Cook to the bullpen adds depth – but Cook is untested in that role. The last time Cook relieved was 2003. But the move buys the Red Sox some time, keeping Cook in the organization and available for the rotation if a spot opens up. Look for Cook to be in the Sox ‘pen sometime next week.

Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks continues to be a beast – grabbing Prospect Watch Player of the Week from MLB.com and placing as the #1 prospect in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet from Baseball America. Despite a red-hot start, Peter Abraham points out Kevin Youkilis is close to an immovable object right now in Fenway – having earned patience based on past performance and a big contract that other teams probably aren’t eager to take on. The Red Sox top issue is pitching not hitting, and that enables Boston to give Youkilis an opportunity to get going. Also, should the Sox want to move Youk, his value is low. The team is better off seeing if Youkilis can produce at the plate to build some trade value. Don’t expect a Middlebrooks call-up soon.

Bullpen Rehab

Alex Speier reports Andrew Miller has been looking pretty good in Pawtucket rehab assignments. But 11 walks in 7.3 innings just won’t cut it in the big leagues in my view. Look for Miller to be moving on soon. Speier also notes Mark Melancon is pitching pretty well. The issue with Melancon – his numbers are meaningless; they only matter if produced in higher pressure, big league situations. Should Melancon rebuild some value, the Red Sox should send him off to a team like Kansas City or back to Houston. I don’t see him back in Boston in any significant role.

Matt Barnes

The Matt Barnes legend grows. Earlier this week, Barnes was in a classic prospect matchup against Orioles farmhand Dylan Bundy – and both pitchers were dominant. Look for Barnes to move up to High A Salem soon.

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