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Boston Red Sox Player Grades: Better Than Expected

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Boston Red Sox Player Grades: Better Than Expected

The Boston Red Sox roster has been a mixed bag so far this season with certain players grossly underperforming. This post is the first one in a monthly series where I grade the Red Sox active roster up until that point in the season.

Grades will be in A-F letter formats and the explanation for the grades will  be underneath each player.

The roster of players is right from the MLB 25-man active roster at the time of writing. So that means any player on the DL will not be graded.

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Starting Pitchers

Chris Sale: A-

15 GS, 9-3, 2.85 ERA, 107.1 IP, 146 SO, .90 WHIP

Sale has been everything Boston has asked for and more this season. When the Red Sox acquired the left-handed ace from Chicago the understanding was he was going to be their No.1, and he has done just that.

Sale gets an A- instead of an A because he showed some inconsistency with a 4.24 ERA in May, but with a 3.07 ERA in June he can certainly have his grade bumped up next time around.

Rick Porcello: D-

16 GS, 4-9, 5.00 ERA, 99 IP, 93 SO, 1.53 WHIP

The reigning CY Young winner has been anything but that this season for the Red Sox. His sinker ball hasn’t been working for him causing the groundball pitcher to throw his fastball more trying to get strikeouts.

In his last start on June 23rd against the Angels the right handed pitcher showed some promise that he can turn his season around soon.

David Price: IC

5 GS, 2-1, 5.14 ERA, 28 IP, 24 SO, 1.39 WHIP

Price only has 5 games started this season for Boston with the 31-year-old recovering from an elbow injury. In theory his starts place him right around May 1st if this was a normal season for him.

So with that being said, Price’s season is to incomplete enough to grade at this point. A sample size of 10 starts is what it will take for me to grade him.

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Drew Pomeranz: C+

14 GS, 6-4, 4.07 ERA< 73 IP, 82 SO, 1.37 WHIP

Pomeranz has been a find piece for the Boston Red Sox this season helping sure up the back end of their starting rotation. He had a brutal stretch of starts between May 09 and May 20th where he failed to pitched past the 4th inning.

After the start in Oakland where he blew up on John Farrell he has settled down and his ERA in June is 3.68. If he continues this up he will be a crucial part of the rotation going forward.

Hector Velazquez: IC

3 GS, 1-1, 5.27 ERA, 13.2 IP, 9 SO, 1.32 WHIP

Velazquez has started 2 games for Boston this season and had one appearance out of the bullpen after Brian Johnson suffered an injury.

The 28-year-old’s sample size is too small for a grade.

Red Sox

Relief Pitchers

Matt Barnes: C-

33 G, 5-2, 3.98 ERA, 31.2 IP, 39 SO, 1.33 WHIP

The Danbury, CT native has been primarily used in the 8th inning by Farrell but his struggles on the road have pushed him into the 7th inning role as of late.

Barnes started the season with a 3.27 ERA in April, but since then he posted a 4.26 ERA in May and a 4.50 ERA in June.

Fernando Abad: B+

23 G, 2-0, 2.57 ERA, 21 IP, 13 SO, 1.24 WHIP

The 31-year-old veteran reliever has somehow appeared in 23 games for Boston despite very few of them being note worthy.

Abad has been sparingly used but has actually been very effective for Boston. His era in April was a 5.06, but since then he posted a 2.16 ERA in May and a 1.23 ERA in June. It looks to be time for Abad to get more opportunities for Boston.

Blaine Boyer: C+

11 G, 0-1, 3.29 ERA, 13.2 IP, 10 SO, 1.54 WHIP

Boyer is 35-years-old and has been a journeyman in MLB. He has only been pitching in Boston since May 28th, but in June he has posted a 3.18 ERA.

Boyer has been suitable as a non-pressure situation for Boston, but the feeling is he isn’t built for any late inning work.

Heath Hembree: C-

33 G, 0-2, 3.74 ERA, 33.2 IP, 34 SO, 1.46 WHIP

Hembree is one of the most used relievers in the Red Sox bullpen. He started off the year with a 1.42 ERA in April. But in May he had a 5.93 ERA. In June he has seemed to settle down a bit with a 3.68 ERA, but his inconsistency is not something Boston needs in their bullpen.

Hembree is a specialist pitcher by nature and should be used as such. His ERA against left-handed batters is 2.84.

Robby Scott:

30 G, 0-1, 2.60 ERA, 17.1 IP, 14 SO, 1.04 WHIP

Scott had a good start to the season with a 1.93 ERA in April and a 1.23 ERA in May, but in June he has posted a 5.06 ERA.

Scott is meant to face right handed pitchers and has a 2.45 ERA against them this season. If Scott keeps up his June performances you could see Farrell move away from him quickly.

Joe Kelly: A+

30 G, 3-0, 1.14 ERA, 31.2 IP, 24 SO, 1.14 WHIP

The starter turned reliever has been electric out of Boston’s bullpen. Farrell used Kelly in the 6th and 7th inning primarily but he is now going to be shifted in the 8th inning role.

Kelly had a 2.70 ERA in April, which is good, but since then he has been untouchable. In May, 0.00, in June, 0.00. Those numbers are filthy. Kelly has the opportunity to be a big part of the Red Sox bullpen down the stretch.

Craig Kimbrel: A+

30 G, 2-0, 0.85 ERA, 31.2 IP, 59 SO, .44 WHIP

The Boston Red Sox closer has been stellar this season for Farrell racking up 20 saves. In May Kimbrel did not give up a run with a 0.00 ERA. In June he has a 1.17 ERA in only 7.2 IP with Farrell seemingly declining to use his closer in key situations as of late.

Boston Red Sox

Catchers

Sandy Leon: C+

137 AB, .248 AVG, 5 HR, 22 RBIs, .706 OPS

Leon has been very capable for the Red Sox after a slow April and has batted .306 in June. If he continues to stay hot and drive his numbers up his grade will continue to go up.

Christian Vasquez: B-

126 AB, .294 AVG, 13 RBIs, .712 OPS

Vasquez started the season off with a solid April and May, but in June the catcher is batting .184 in 38 plate appearances. His recent offensive woes is a big reason that Farrell has opted for Leon as of late.

His hot start to the year still warrants him a higher grade than Leon.

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Infield

Xander Bogaerts: A

274 AB, .325 AVG, 5 HR, 34 RBIs, 8 SB, .856 OPS

Bogaerts has been very effective for the Red Sox this season and his average is the highest on the team. He has been very consistent this year for Boston despite his numbers in June dipping to .299 for the month.

It will be interesting to see if Xander’s power numbers tick up as the season goes on.

Deven Marrero: C

91 AB, .165, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, .514 OPS

Marrero is not an offensive minded player, instead he is Boston’s best defensive third basemen in the entire organization.

His AVG in June is .120 though and has caused the Red Sox to try and find another option at third base with Pablo Sandoval‘s season also in disarray.

But the defense of Marrero has helped bring stability to the position and for that he gets a C.

Mitch Moreland: B

240 AB, .267 AVG, 9 HR, 37 RBIs, .815 OPS

Moreland has been a key player in the Red Sox offense but his AVG in June is a .242 causing Farrell to spell in Sam Travis.

That being said Moreland has overachieved his contract already and is an important member of this years Red Sox team.

Dustin Pedroia: B+

216 AB, .292 AVG, 2 HR, 25 RBIs, .736 OPS

Pedroia has dealt with a number of nagging injuries but has been the second basemen that Red Sox fans have come to know and love. Despite being 33-years-old, Pedroia has been very effective for Boston.

Josh Rutledge: C

107 AB, .224 AVG, 9 RBIs, .558 OPS

Rutledge is only batting .184 AVG in the month of June. But his role has been expanded with all the issues at third base and the injury to Pedroia.

It is important not to be too hard on Rutledge given the circumstances.

Sam Travis: IC

22 AB, .409 AVG, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 1.004 OPS

Travis simply does not have enough playing time to make a call on his grade. He has shown some promise, and has a chance to make the list with a grade next time if he gets some more playing time.

Boston Red Sox

Outfield

Andrew Benintendi: B

256 AB, .273 AVG, 10 HR, 40 RBIs, 8 SB, .777 OPS

Benintiendi is a rookie, so his play and problems are something that can be too scrutinized at this time.

After a rough May where he posted a .204 AVG, Benny Baseball has bounced back and is hitting .294 with 5 home runs in June. He has shown some issues in the field as of late but that comes with being a young player.

Benintendi is one player that is a must watch for Boston as the 22-year-old still has a lot more to show fans.

Mookie Betts: B+

285 AB, .270 AVG, 12 HR, 40 RBIs, 12 SB, .830 OPS

Betts is an MVP type player, makes all the plays and helps his team win baseball games. His AVG leaves a lot to desire with a .256 AVG in May and .267 in June.

He has struggled as of late with his average almost falling every game at this point. With Mookie though you get the feeling he will have a month batting over .400.

Jackie Bradley Jr.: B

195 AB, .272 AVG, 9 HR, 31 RBIs, .844 OPS

Bradley’s career average is .242, so batting 30 points higher than that is great for the Red Sox centerfield. Interestingly enough he is normally known for his elite fielding, but the 27-year-old has shown some bad judgement out in the field.

But he is batting .360 in June and his fielding is still at an elite level overall.

Chris Young: C+

131 AB, .267 AVG, 3 HR, 14 RBIs, 2 SB, .737 OPS

Young is a utility type outfielder who plays in certain situations and gives the Three B’s a day off. But he is a key member of the Red Sox bench and has been very consistent as a hitter since April when he hit .241.

Young’s power numbers do need to be higher though with that being a big part of his game. But overall you cannot be mad with what he has done so far this season.

Red Sox

Designated Hitter

Hanley Ramirez: D

217 AB, .240 AVG, 10 HR, 28 RBIs, .746 OPS

Ramirez is batting .200 in June and has yet to be a key part of the Red Sox offense. He has been a big disappointment for the Boston Red Sox this season.

Surprisingly enough his power numbers are up this season. This time last year he only recorded 9 home runs compared to the 10 he has now.

Ramirez has been dealing with a lingering shoulder injury but he still has time to put together a fine season as Boston’s DH. But it will take him to start getting base hits instead of the occasional home run.

Next Boston Red Sox Grades Will Come Out In Mid To Late July

Give me your grades in the comment section below!

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown

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Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are officially a playoff-bound team. After a 9-0 win over the Orioles on Wednesday paired with an Indians 6-5 win over the Angels, the Red Sox have officially clinched a postseason spot.

That spot for the moment is an AL Wild Card spot with the game to be played on October 3rd. Just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal for this year’s Red Sox team though.

I think any win  this time of the year given where we are in the standings and what is at stake, any win is important,” Farrell said. “Just getting into the playoffs is not our goal. Certainly it’s a stepping  stone toward other things that we have our sights set on, as many teams do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

As it currently sits the Red Sox hold a 3 game lead over the never dying New York Yankees. Despite a pennant battle in full swing, the vibe in Boston isn’t focusing in on the Red Sox. Part of it may be the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have not faced each other head to head in awhile and will not do so unless they meet up in the playoffs.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this years team. Ratings have been all over the place. The other night the second game of the series with Baltimore did an 8 in Boston. That is a good number for a weeknight game. But as of last count, ratings on NESN were down big.

But the last reported figure had them pegged at a 20% decline from the David Ortiz retirement season of 2016. That report came out in early July, so it isn’t a true representation of what has occurred over the last four months.That number has likely rised quite a bit. For some reason though, for a division race, this all feels a tad underwhelming.

Part of it could be some of the black eye storylines from the season, or the likeability of the team, or even the gross underachievement by multiple players throughout their lineup. But even with all of that, this years team has grit, and have shown the 2013 Red Sox ability to battle and win in extra-inning games.

Ratings might be down, but that isn’t shocking. A year removed from David Ortiz will do that. Ortiz was a larger than life player who put on a show. Sure Chris Sale is exciting to watch, but striking out 300+ batters isn’t as exciting as Big Papi smashing balls out of the yard 30+ times.

The ratings decline is overblown and the lack of popular interest is understandable. Sports are becoming more and more of a hardcore fan experience. That is especially the case in a 162 game baseball season. Getting the casual viewer or “pink hat” fan to tune into the game is hard to do. In 2017 many of those types of fans seem to have disappeared from the landscape.

With this year’s Red Sox team knocking on a division title, people will watch.

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Battle of the Eras: Chris Sale V. Pedro Martinez

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Boston Red Sox

This season, MLB batters have hit more home runs than they have hit in any other season. Ever. Yes, that’s including the steroid-era.

On Wednesday night, Red Sox ace, Chris Sale became the first AL pitcher to record 300 K’s in a season, since Pedro Martinez in 1999 (the climax of juicing in the MLB). To call what Sale has done in 2017 “impressive” would be an egregious understatement. It’s downright spectacular.

Both of these hall of fame caliber arms dominated their respective “eras”. But who had the rougher go of it? And can we definitively say that one pitcher is better than the other?

Before we continue, I have to admit that Pedro Martinez is 100% my favorite pitcher of all time. Without a doubt. When I was 8 years old, my favorite shirt to wear was a men’s XL “t-shirt jersey” of his. I was a big-boned kid. Anyways…

For Pedro, it was the varicose-veined behemoths like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, that he had to overpower. Where Chris Sale is now facing the equivocal adversity of the “juiced-ball era”: Power-hitting is ubiquitous; exit velocity is invariably up. And I’m sorry, but until the MLB comes out and coherently denounces this slang-like colloquialism, that’s what we’re rolling with: The baseball is juiced. Chris Sale has pitched and is currently pitching, in an “era” that favors hitters. One that is not at all dissimilar to the steroid-era that Pedro triumphed in, over a decade ago.

Tearing the Cover Off of the Ball

So let’s chronologically define these eras in question, to make comparisons fair, even though we’re dealing with the incomparable.

Concerning Pedro Martinez’s performance, we’ll say that the 1999 and 2000 seasons combined were the pinnacles of his era. And for Chris Sale, we’ll look at 2016 through 2017, as the superlative years so far, of the juiced-ball era.

From 1999-2000, the average for home runs hit per game (HRPG) was 1.16. This was when batters were going through anabolic steroids and HGH faster than they were going through Gatorade. From 2016-2017 thus far, the HRPG is currently at 1.21. This disparity is a symptom of the juiced-ball era. Or maybe all of the hitters in the MLB were invited to a symposium, where they were taught how to hit more homers… Probably not.

So how do these two greats of the game compare?

Bringing It

Let’s start with the elder of the two: Pedro Martinez. From 1999-2000, he was an indomitable force on the mound. For starters, he went 41-10 in the win-loss column. If that’s not godly enough for you, he had a professionally manicured ERA of 1.90. How Pedro, how? In 430.1 innings pitched, he racked up 597 K’s with a clean WHIP of .830. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty solid.

But bear in mind, the steroid-era HRPG hardly compares to the unparalleled HRPG of Chris Sale’s contemporary juiced-ball era. Sale is pitching against the objectively more difficult phenomena, of the two.

With presumably 1 start left in the 2017 season, Chris Sale, through 2016-2017, has a record of 34-17 (.667 W-L%). That’s a helluva winning-percentage, considering that he pitched for the terrible Chicago White Sox for the majority of that span. Over the past 2 years in question, his ERA is presently at 3.06 and his WHIP is at 1.001. Sale has 533 K’s in that stretch, which is comprised of 436 total innings pitched.

Again, like Pedro, these numbers illustrate a transcendent talent.

The Eye Test

When it comes to Red Sox baseball, it’s almost sacrilegious to compare any pitcher to Pedro Martinez. He is kind of like our Paul Pierce: He gave us a piggyback-ride during the worst of times. But as the media and the statisticians have so tenaciously pointed out, Chris Sale is having a Pedro-like season for the Sox. So who’s better?

The fact of the matter is, one could make a reasonable argument for both sides.

Pedro Martinez faced chemically amplified power-hitters, in the steroid-era. Chris Sale is throwing a baseball that is ambiguously “loaded” in the favor of any hitter, during the juiced-ball era. One’s a lefty; one’s a righty. Yeah, yeah the list goes on.

Memory is the ultimate discerner. Sale has impressed us, but his impression will be crystallized by his performance in the playoffs. Also note that this iteration of the Boston Red Sox, that he is pitching for in 2017, is relatively more formidable than the one that Pedro pitched for.

Yet again, stats are stats; achievements are achievements. Both of these pitchers have achieved greatness, despite facing historically challenging odds. When it comes to concrete veneration: Writers and Cooperstown brass will be the ultimate deciders.

For now, Boston should relish the performance of their current, and for the foreseeable future, ace Chris Sale. He’s had himself a year. But as all greats will tell you, the “next” victory is always their favorite victory. We should all rest easy, knowing that Chris Sale will be toeing the rubber in game 1 of the 2017 postseason for the Sox. As his numbers show, this guy has what it takes to win. 

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Boston Sports Teams Will Play Anti-Racism PSA

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Boston. Home of the American Revolution and a city of people that have always stood up and fought for the rights of the American Citizen. Boston has always been a forerunner and if you recall an article I wrote a few months back, Boston’s major sports teams have always shown the true American Spirit.

This month, all five major Boston sports teams are making a true American stand against Racism.

After two reported racial incidents occurred at Fenway Park in May, All five major sports franchises in Boston are coming together with a public service announcement entitled “Take the Lead” against racism, reports the Boston Globe.

The Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Revolution have made a PSA video that features both white and black athletes asking fans to oppose racial behavior at sports venues. The video will first air at Fenway Park Sept 28. All five clubs will then play the PSA at their respective stadiums.

The two incidents that sparked this decision? Adam Jones, an Orioles centerfielder, stated that a fan spat out the n-word towards him and then the very next night a fan got banned for life for using a racial slur to another fan when a Kenyan woman sang the national anthem.

And just last week, a banner was hung on Fenway’s Green Monster that read: “Racism is as American as baseball.” The protesters were ejected but they were not banned.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe,

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

People’s behavior’s may or may not change, however, there can never be enough messages that condemn this type of behavior. It’s a message we all need to hear and be mindful of.

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