Triston Casas, shown during his his first batting practice at Hadlock Field last week, is batting .167 (3 for 18) with no extra-base hits and eight strikeouts after his first week in Double-A. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

The sample sizes are so small that we can get caught up in the statistics, whether they be gaudy or gawdawful.

Prized pitching prospect Jay Groome looked lost in his advanced Class A opener.

Jarren Duran began his time in Triple-A going 0 for 11.

And, here in Portland, No. 1 slugging prospect Triston Casas is batting .167 (3 for 18) with no extra-base hits and eight strikeouts.

“Triston is going to be all right,” Portland Sea Dogs Manager Corey Wimberly said. “It’s only one week of baseball.”

Also, realize this is only Casas’ second full baseball season out of high school, and he is in Double-A. He turned 21 in January.

Casas had not drawn a walk until his last two plate appearances on Sunday, the first an eight-pitch effort that began the Sea Dogs’ six-run rally in the eighth inning. Casas batted again in the inning and, again, walked.

“Those last two at-bats – the way he battled – that’s how it starts,” Wimberly said.

In Casas’ only other pro season, he got off to a slow start, batting .208 with two home runs in his first month in low Class A, in 2019. The next month, Casas batted .315 with eight home runs.

As for those other guys, Duran turned it around quickly, going 6 for 9 in his next two games, with a home run.

On Sunday, Duran went 0 for 3, but he can still make things happen with his speed. Duran walked in the sixth inning. He went from first to -third on a ground-ball single to left field, and scored when the left fielder’s throw to third was errant.

Groome, 22, is the 2016 first-round draft pick looking for his first injury-free season. The left-hander is scheduled to make his second start Tuesday, hoping to rebound from last week’s two-inning, five-run effort.

Pitching for the Greenville Drive (now Boston’s advanced A affiliate), Groome loaded the bases in the first inning on two singles and a walk. With one out, he hit a batter and walked another. In the second inning, he allowed four more hits and a walk.

IN WORCESTER, while Duran begins to heat up, one surprise in Triple-A has been outfielder Marcus Wilson, who is batting .278 with a .936 OPS, including a triple and a home run. Yes, it is early, but Wilson had not demonstrated much success above Class A ball.

Wilson, 24, who was obtained in the Blake Swihart deal with Arizona, is in his second year on the Red Sox 40-man roster. He batted .223 in 62 games with Portland in 2019 and did not see much playing time at the alternate training site last year.

But Boston has believed in Wilson’s potential. Maybe it will pay off.

The Red Sox also like utility player Yairo Munez, who was scooped up by Boston last year after being released by the Cardinals. Munez hit .333 for the Red Sox in 12 games in 2020, but was removed from the 40-man roster after the season and sent to Triple-A. In his first five games with Worcester, Munez is batting .381, while playing solely at third base.

IN GREENVILLE, third baseman Brandon Howlett is off to a nice start: .313 with a double and a home run. Howlett, 21, was drafted out of high school in 2018 (giving up a scholarship to Florida State) and has been pushed through the system, although he struggled in low A in 2019 (.231/.698 OPS).

Greenville’s lineup had major league utility player Danny Santana last week, on a rehab from Tommy John surgery, as well as a foot infection suffered during spring training. Santana, who hit 28 home runs for the Texas Rangers in 2019, was signed to a minor league contract in March.

In Greenville, Santana hit .400 in three games with a double and home run. He will continue his rehab this week in Worcester.

SALEM FEATURES two of Boston’s bright, young prospects, in center fielder Gilberto Jimenez, 20, and last year’s first-round draft pick, infielder Nick Yorke, 19. Jimenez continues to draw praise for his continued development. He is batting .308 with two doubles and is 3 for 3 in stolen base attempts. Yorke is adjusting to the pros, batting .200 with a double and two stolen bases.

Compared to those two kids, first baseman Nick Scott is an old man on the Salem roster, turning 24 this month. Scott may not be long in low A ball if he keeps up his torrid start. Scott, a 10th-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019, is batting .462 with three home runs, seven walks and one strikeout.

BACK IN GREENVILLE, the Drive gave away Mookie Betts bobblehead dolls to the first 500 fans to a game last week, adding this disclaimer on Twitter: “Yes, we know he’s with the Dodgers now, but we ordered these pre-trade and pre-pandemic, so cut us some slack.”


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