Category Archives: Baseball

How The Red Sox Can Get Back In The Playoff Race

Let me preface this piece by stating that this is pretty unlikely, considering all the problems this team carries with it. However, if there were any team in the entire MLB to make this kind of run from where they are right now, it’s the Red Sox.

As crazy as it sounds, the Red Sox are not out of it. Thank lord for the pedestrian AL East, right? If only the Sox could win against the other AL East teams, it would really, REALLY help their chances. However, in order to do this, the Red Sox need to make some changes. Here are the changes could help the Sox climb back into this.

1a) Trade Mike Napoli

He was great in 2013, but he is severely struggling at the plate. It hurts to watch. The strange thing is, although he is batting under the Mendoza line (.200 BA), I am sure teams in the playoff hunt will still find value in him, especially since he will be a rent-a-player for half a year. You could get something in return for him.

1b) Split DH Role With Hanley & Ortiz

In terms of the Red Sox, trading a flailing Napoli frees up some options for you. You can take the train-wreck that is Hanley Ramirez out of left field for some games and DH and play Ortiz at 1st Base, move Hanley to 1st Base, or move Panda to 1B and Hanley to 3B. I think I’m in the majority here when I say, try to DH Hanley as much as possible. Ortiz can play a surprisingly decent first base, but I don’t he nor the Red Sox want him out there all the time. It sucks Hanley gives a crap effort in left field, but it seems like you won’t get through to him. This is the situation you’re in, and this could be a solution.

Hanley Ramirez has not worked out in left field

2a) Put Porcello on the DL

Porcello is the pitching counterpart of Napoli’s hitting and Hanley’s fielding. They are all part of the problem. It’s a shame that Porcello has hit this funk. We all know he’s better than this. There’s discussion that they may skip a few of his starts, but it might make sense to put him on the DL. He can have through All-Star break off, and then he work out his stuff with a few starts in the minor leagues, similar to Joe Kelly.

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5 Things We’ve Learned About The 2015 Red Sox

Red Sox benefit from Dustin Pedroia hitting lead-off

A lineup change the includes Dustin Pedroia leading-off seems to be best for the Sox.

A quarter of the way through season, and the 2015 Red Sox haven’t looked great, though they have strung together some quality series of late. They certainly have to work through some things. Miraculously, they are still in the playoff hunt in the early-going.

They say you’ll have a good sense of where you are as a team by Memorial Day weekend. Here’s what we have learned about this team so far:

1) The Offensive Approach is too One-Dimensional

David Ortiz fake swing
Through the first quarter of the season the Sox ranked at the bottom tier of the league in many statistical categories as a team, including batting average, runs and stolen bases. What they don’t lack is home runs, which is one of their issues at its core: they can rely on the long ball too much. This team needs to consider a different approach to manufacture runs. You won’t always get inside fastballs to turn on and belt. You’ll need to learn to hit outside curveballs and change-ups. The reason the 2013 Red Sox were dangerous was because as a team, they were dynamic. They hit to all fields, stole bases, did a lot of hit-and-runs, had timely hits and made opposing pitchers throw a lot of pitchers. They need to get back to that style of play. That’s when they’re at their best, and it’s good to see glimpses of that style of play as of late.

2) Don’t Count On The Starting Pitching To Hold Up

Even if John Farrell referred to his staff as five “aces” in spring training, it was obvious the pitching was more like a staff of #3 starters that were expected to hold give the offense a chance to keep the team in games. Really, they have all been pitching like a number 3 pitcher at best. The quality of pitching is erratic, and they may not be able to give the team a fighting chance as much as we’d prefer to see. Sure, I believe in the rotation to string together some quality starts, but from what have seen so far, you don’t know what kind of outing you’ll get from these guys. The unpredictability makes it incredibly difficult to depend on this rotation to consistently provide solid starts every night. It doesn’t seem that they are capable of it.

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Red Sox Tweets of the Week: Hanley’s Helmet


Props to the Red Sox’ Hanley Ramirez for a huge month of April – 10 home runs and 22 RBI. The guy is straight mashing. He has more helmet-less home run trots than half the players in league do the old-fashioned way with helmets on.


Here are some of the best “Hanley helmet” tweets:

Red Sox Report: “The Ground Ball Effect”


Justin Masterson pitching for the Boston Red Sox

He may have had a 5.88 ERA last year, but Justin Masterson plays an integral part in the Red Sox plan for 2015.

I don’t think there has ever been a team in recent memory that has inspired such wildly inconsistent predictions from baseball analysts than the 2015 Boston Red Sox.

While the Red Sox have been favored by many to win the AL pennant, some think the AL East is up for grabs, let alone the AL pennant.

There is optimism for the season ahead, especially considering it can’t get too much worse than a last place finish in the AL East. The doubt in the minds of many, however, stems from the pitching rotation, and rightfully so.

The starting pitching rotation far from inspires optimism. Clay Buchholz is in contention for shakiest ace in the history of the MLB. Rick Porcello and Wade Miley can pitch and eat up innings, which helps the bullpen – but aren’t exactly what you would consider conventional starters on a playoff team, let alone championship team. The same goes for Justin Masterson and “Machine Gun” Joe Kelly, who round out the starters.

This rotation seems underwhelming… at least typed out on a computer screen. I’d like to think otherwise. John Farrell and the front office certainly do.

The fact is, the pitching may rely on the Red Sox positional players for support, and no, I don’t mean just the potentially lethal lineup. As it stands, Red Sox starting rotation has an averaged ground ball rate of over 50%, led by Masterson’s 56%. With ground-ball pitchers, comes heavy reliance on the infield, which figures to be solid all around including an improved Bogaerts manning shortstop.

Will this work? Can the Red Sox get by with this rotation? The Red Sox seem to think so. It’s not a conventional rotation staff led by power pitchers, but at least there is a plan – a plan that feels so experimental, it seems more like a case study. With that, I’d like to dub this pitching case study as “The Ground Ball Effect”. I just hope Ben Cherington doesn’t lose the Phillies front office phone number when the trade deadline comes around, because the Red Sox might find themselves needing a Cole Hamels.


Red Sox Are Betting On Efficiency

I recently read an excellent article written by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe that I believe offers a great deal of perspective on both the Red Sox’ offseason strategy and their plan moving forward. There has been popular sentiment among most Red Sox fans that the team’s offseason goals remain incomplete due to the lack of an “established ace;” whether that deficiency changes the Red Sox’ postseason aspirations remains to be seen. However in the article mentioned above, Speier examines the returns on $20 million Average Annual Value contracts for pitchers, and then compares them to drafted amateurs who earned a bonus of $5 million or more, and Cuban free agents who received a bonus of $10 million or more. The article is definitely worth a read for more in-depth analysis, but the main conclusion is that while you generally get what you pay for, future considerations favor the Red Sox’ offseason strategy.

1 Hanley + 1 Sandoval = 1 Lester

1 Hanley + 1 Sandoval = 1 Lester

The first part of Speier’s article asks why the Red Sox flexed their financial muscle on Yoan Moncada instead of Jon Lester. This is really not a fair comparison, since the $63 million the team spent on Moncada (including the overage tax) is roughly one-third of what Lester eventually received from the Cubs in free agency ($180 million, including a seventh year option). Instead, let us compare Lester’s signing to what the Red Sox actually did with the money they saved from his defection. The Red Sox spent about $183 million to sign Hanley Ramirez AND Pablo Sandoval, effectively getting two above average players instead of one. While there is still room for improvement in the rotation, the lineup was also a major issue last season and getting two above average bats for the price of one above average starting pitcher should be applauded.

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Moncada Signing Solidifies Red Sox Infield

First a little disclaimer: the headline might be somewhat misleading. The Red Sox’ signing of Cuban uber-prospect Yoan Moncada does seem to stabilize the team’s infield picture, but for the future, meaning two or three years down the line. There is no current opening in the Red Sox infield, but there should be by the time Moncada is ready to show the world why the Red Sox just paid $31.5 million to a 19 year-old who has never played baseball in the United States. The tools, talent, and projectability are allegedly off the charts, so once he is ready the Red Sox might more or less have to find a spot for him, but it might not be as hard as it sounds.

Consider the Red Sox infield picture beyond the 2015 season; Mike Napoli is headed for free agency, and while he says he would like to stay beyond this season, there probably won’t be much motivation for the Red Sox to get something done beyond a one-year deal. So that leaves Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval locked up long-term, plus Xander Bogaerts sticking around at shortstop. However, given Sandoval’s less-than-inspiring physique (plus his career 0 DRS and 2.2 UZR at third), it might be best to move him to first base in the long term. If injuries or weight really become an issue, he could even DH on a near full-time basis, thereby leaving first base open for Hanley Ramirez. Regardless, the first base/DH duties should go between Sandoval and Ramirez, in whatever order the Red Sox see fit.

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