Gulf Coast Rookie League is Minnich’s new home

While Lowell was playing 26 games in the New York-Penn League, first baseman Nathan Minnich saw his name in the Spinners lineup only 12 times.
Minnich is the national player of the year from the NCAA Division II ranks. He ended a star-studded four-year career at Shepherd, playing on a conference champion team and batting .487 with 21 homers.
After being drafted by Boston in the eighth round of the annual first-year free agent draft, Minnich signed the contract that made him a professional and went off to Lowell in Massachusetts to begin playing.
But other than one night when he had three hits in six at-bats, Minnich had little success against New York-Penn League pitching. He struck out too often and his hits were too few. He was in the Lowell lineup only one-third of the time.
Finally, when he was batting only .136 with six hits in 44 at-bats, Minnich was sent to the Gulf Coast Rookie League to play regularly with the Red Sox team located in Ft. Myers.
In his first two games in the Gulf Coast League, Minnich had totaled four hits in eight at-bats, including a 4-for-5 night where he drove in two runs and had a double.
Minnich batted sixth in the Ft. Myers order and played first base. The rookie league allows for a designated hitter.
The Red Sox play their home schedule at jetBlue Park, a replica of Fenway Park in Boston. There is a much-targeted wall in left field that has a hand operated scoreboard like the one found at Fenway.
The stadium seats 8,000 and is only a few years old.
Gulf Coast League teams have rosters of up to 30 players, none of which can have more than two years of prior professional service. Most of the players are in their first year and range in age from 17-to-21.
Schedules in the league opened in mid-June and run through August 25 (if not interrupted by a stray hurricane or two).
Minnich will probably remain in Ft. Myers until the Gulf Coast season finishes. He should be in the lineup on a regular basis . . . and his offensive production should be higher than it was at his first professional stop.

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