2018 Red Sox Bench Preview

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.

 

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David Price Proves His Critics Wrong

In December of 2015 the Red Sox signed David Price to a seven year contract worth 217 million dollars. The deal at the time was the largest contract ever given to a pitcher. Since signing that deal Price has received heavy criticism and clashed with the media in Boston. He hasn’t put up the spectacular numbers he did prior to arriving in Boston and has continued to struggle in the postseason until this past week. This year Price has dealt with elbow problems which placed him on the disabled list for the majority of the second half of the season forcing the Red Sox to use him as a reliever for the playoffs. In the opening round against the Houston Astros Price is pitching like the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting. As a starter Price is 0-8 in the postseason and in his only  postseason start last year against the Cleveland Indians he did not pitch well. Yesterday Price changed the narrative and saved the Red Sox season.

So far in this series against the Astros the Red Sox starting pitching has gotten destroyed. That didn’t change yesterday as the Red Sox starter Doug Fister only lasted one inning. Price entered the game in the fourth inning after two scoreless innings of relief from Joe Kelly and stunned the Fenway faithful. Facing the most potent offense in baseball Price delivered four innings of scoreless relief. The Sox bats followed suit as they came alive for the first time of the series and scored ten runs. The offensive explosion included homeruns by Jackie Bradley  and rookie Rafael Devers. The Red Sox needed some sort of jolt and it came from Price.

Many people have been critical of the starter this year. He needed a defining moment in a Red Sox uniform and he got that yesterday. Price may never pitch again this series depending on if the Red Sox can complete a comeback and win this series. Regardless of how this series ends Price stepped up when the Sox needed him the most and finally began to justify the contract Boston gave him.

Photo Credit: Jason Miller/ Getty Images

Red Sox Make a Statement

Killer B's

Photo Credit: Billie Weiss/ Boston Red Sox/ Getty Images

Yesterday was the trade deadline for Major League Baseball and while teams such as the Yankees and Dodgers added high impact pieces the Red Sox made one move. They acquired set up man Addison Reed from the New York Mets to improve the bullpen. The Red Sox did not add any offensive pieces other than Eduardo Nunez who they acquired last week. While many people wanted the Sox to acquire a high impact bat the improvement on offense needs to come within. The Sox young core has struggled this season which is why the Red Sox rank near the bottom of almost every offensive category. A return to form from their young core Is better than any possible trade the Sox could have made at the deadline. Last night the Sox rewarded Dombrowski’s faith as they broke through in one of the biggest games of the year.

Last night the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians in a rematch of last years playoffs. The sox sent Doug Fister to the mound who has struggled mightily in a Red Sox uniform. Yesterday  when the Sox needed Fister to step up he did exactly that. No one was expecting him to give this team a chance to win and he did exactly that and more. Fister held the Indians scoreless for seven innings before giving up two runs in the eighth. His terrific start was backed by the awakening of the Red Sox offense. The Sox were lead by Mookie Betts who appears to have broken out of his mini slump. Betts was the runner up for the AL MVP last year and showed why last night as he drove in three of the Sox six runs. The Sox offense was also fueled by the rookie Rafael Devers who had four hits. Devers was the Sox top ranked prospect and is showing why the team was against involving him in any trade. Devers has ten hits in his first twenty four at bats in the majors including two homeruns. Eduardo Nunez continued his hot start in a Red Sox uniform as he had three hits raising his average with the Red Sox to .317.

Last night the Sox showed the offensive team that they’re capable of being. In order for the Red Sox to be successful they need to consistency play like they did last night.  The Red Sox have all the pieces to be a contender they just need to show it. If the Sox can play up to their capabilities then a deep playoff run is in store and the only thing stopping them from that possibility is themselves.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#RedSox

Bogaerts Becoming Truly Elite

Xander

Photo Credit:  Dan Orencole

Xander Bogaerts is becoming one of the best players in baseball. The young shortstop came into the league with lofty expectations and struggled early on. In Bogaert’s first two years in the majors he failed to hit above .250.  Bogaerts followed that with a breakout 2015 campaign in which he hit .320. Bogaerts followed that up with an even greater campaign in 2016 in which he hit a career high 21 homers but only hit .290. This year Bogaerts is of to a tremendous start as he is hitting .319 and already has set a new career high in triples with 4.  Bogaerts is becoming one of the best shortstops in baseball not only because of his offense but his defense as well. This young superstar  is not without his faults.

Scouts have always seen Bogaerts as an elite hitter with good pop. He was not expected to hit 30 homeruns every year however 20 homeruns a year would not have surprised people. Bogaerts currently has four homeruns on the season and in his first four years in the majors he has hit more than ten homeruns only once.  This year the young shortstop is showing why that may not detrimental.  This year the Red Sox offense hasn’t been as potent as it was last year. This a result of all the young studs the Red Sox have finding their way and the fact that they are playing their first season without their franchise icon  David Ortiz who retired last year.

Bogaerts may not be the power hitter many envisioned but that may be okay. Even without his power your left with a shortstop who will drive in eighty runs while hitting over .300 and playing stellar defensive. The Red Sox are a team full of young stars in the form of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. to name a few. Bogaerts is showing why scouts have  always been so high on him regardless of the lack of power: he just can’t stop getting on base.

Written By; Jamie Gatlin

#RedSox #Boston

Red Sox Injuries Starting To Mount

wright

Photo Credit: Elise Amendola

So far this season the Red Sox offense has yet to get into a rhythm and the team seems to be suffering an injury every night. In the Sox game against the Orioles two night ago infielder Marco Hernandez was removed from the game due to a shoulder injury. Hernandez was filling in for Pablo Sandoval who is on the DL and has no set return date. The Sox also lost starter Steven Wright, an All-Star last year, for the remainder of the season due to a troublesome left knee. The Sox have options to replace Wright including starter Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick got the opportunity to hold down Wright’s spot but he gave up six runs in four innings of work against the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox also opened the season with two critical parts of their bullpen on the DL in Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg. The Red Sox will also be without starter David Price for at least another month. It will be critical for players to step up as this team battles injuries to these key players.

Entering this season the Red Sox were chosen by many to win it all after a blockbuster trade with the Chicago White Sox in which they acquired Chris Sale in exchange for a package of top prospects including infielder Yoan Moncada. Pitchers such as Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez have stepped up amid the injuries after an inconsistent 2016 season for both. They will both be counted on heavily until Price returns from his injury. The Sox still have arguably the best outfield in baseball and a above average infield even without Pablo Sandoval. If the Sox can battle these injuries then they will be a scary team when everyone is healthy, a team that many predicted to win it all.

Written by: Jamie Gatlin

#RedSox

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