One important battle for Red Sox fans to watch this spring will be the bench. Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland will be sharing first base duties. Eduardo Nunez will start at second until Dustin Pedroia returns from injury and then become a super utility player. That leaves Brock Holt, Devin Marrero, and Blake Swihart battling for the last two bench spots. All three players have their strengths and weaknesses. Swihart finally looks healthy after battling injuries the past two years and has no options left. All three of these players will be looking to prove to the Sox why they should make the opening day roster.
Coming into 2018 Swihart is only three years removed from being the Red Sox top prospect. He made his debut in 2015 and did not disappoint. In 2015 he played in 84 games and hit .274 with five home runs. He was seen as the catcher of the future due to his offensive upside. In 2016 he played in only nineteen games before an ankle injury ended his season. In 2017 Christian Vazquez had a breakout season and Swihart only had five plate appearances. Swihart is no longer seen as the catcher of the future in Boston. As a result the Red Sox have used his athleticism to find him playing time and have turned him into a super utility player. So far this spring Swihart has returned healthy and looks to have regained his stroke. He had two home runs today against Baltimore reminding people that he is still dangerous with the bat. Swihart has no options left meaning if he does not make the opening day roster he would be placed on waivers and most likely be claimed by another team. The Sox value Swihart for his bat and if he can stay hot it will be hard to deny him a spot.
Devin Marrero like Swihart is out of options. Marrero does not have the offensive capability like Swihart but he is extremely good defensively. In seventy one games in the majors last year he hit .211. Marrero does offer some value with the bat as last year he hit .291 against lefthanders. In order to secure a spot he will have to prove he can hit right handed pitching as last year he hit .172 against righties. Marrero does not have the offensive upside like Swihart. He does have the defensive upside Swihart lacks and he can play multiple positions. In order to earn a spot he will have to show improvement with his bat.
Brock Holt unlike Swihart and Marrero has been a staple on the Sox roster since 2014. The Red Sox acquired Holt from Pittsburgh in 2014 in exchange for Mark Melancon. Holt instantly became a fan favorite with his all out effort in a forgettable 2014 season for the Red Sox. In 2015 he made his first All Star team and was viewed as an essential player to the Red Sox. Over the past two year’s Holt has struggled with numerous injuries. He’s failed to play in one hundred games the past two seasons and last year he hit a career low .200. Holt was once a lock to make the roster but this year that is not the case. Like Marrero he will have to show he can hit. He will also have to show that he can stay healthy and that he can be the player he once was. Holt was much more experience than Marrero and Swihart. If Holt shows he isn’t past his injuries then he may not have a spot on the roster.
All three of these players have something to prove. They will be playing with a chip on their shoulder this spring which will make Spring Training even better. Only two of these three will be on the Red Sox opening day roster. Red Sox fans will just have to wait and find out which two it is.