A huge stretch against the Yankees and Rays has the Red Sox on the brink of gaining ground, or falling further behind.
While the New York Yankees have all but wrapped up the AL East division title, the Red Sox have a huge chance to make up ground on the Tampa Bay Rays. In the middle of these high impact games, it’s important to analyze how the positional groups have performed thus far in 2019.
Agree, or disagree, there will be a bulk of honesty included below.
Without a doubt Chris Sale has been the biggest disappointment this season, as he’s been a shell of the usual ace. The plan of regulating Sale’s innings and over exerting himself blew up in the Red Sox face as the ace has struggled from the jump. After March, Chris Sale was showing some hope of promise for the turn around but the offense couldn’t give enough run support. June was a brutal stretch, though July has yielded a glimmer of hope.
If the Red Sox are going to win anything worth while this season, it starts with Chris Sale. Period.
In large, the entire Red Sox bullpen has been absolutely brutal, but perhaps the most disappointment is Matt Barnes. Matt Barnes is today’s Daniel Bard in the Red Sox organization. I love both of these guys and will stand by the both of them no matter how bad they are in the season. Even though “no one” was the official closer, it was Matt Barnes job to lose and he did. Pride aside, and non-bias, he was the one the Red Sox needed most to lead the pen and he couldn’t handle the pressure.
Dustin Pedroia is the biggest disappointment this season, to me. In short, he was expected to be healthy and become a vital piece of this team’s success; however it took a turn for the worse. While it may be hard to accept, retirement is around the corner for Pedroia.
Mookie Betts is the choice here. He’s had a solid campaign in 2019, but after coming off an MVP season last season, we should expect him to have the same type of season. All-in-all I think all the outfielders are having a year this year. Mookie is just the scapegoat for this category.
Personally, the most disappointing catcher is Blake Swihart. As of now it looks like the Red Sox won the trade, but Swihart had the opportunity to earn consistent playing time and failed. Marcus Wilson has the ability to turn into Major League depth, as the return in the trade, but in summation Swihart had opportunity to show his top prospect pedigree – it didn’t work out. Sandy Leon has been highly average, but the former top prospect earns this rank.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been one of the most impressive starters for the Red Sox this season. While his ERA is not the flashiest, he is consistently winning games that need to be won. Additionally, he’s shown the ability to pitch into the seventh inning on a more routine basis and has been the stopper, with David Price, that the team needs. He’s had a much improved season in 2019.
Due a short list, it’s Brandon Workman. He’s been the Red Sox most consistent reliever and has earned a lot of high leverage spots. Workman has had his share of struggles, but has been a nice surprise this season.
Rafael Devers. He’s been everything the Red Sox could’ve hoped for – and more – this season as the budding star is putting together an MVP caliber season. If it weren’t for Mike Trout, the young third baseman would have a legitimate chance to dethrone Betts as the reigning MVP. He’s been solid defensively and has hit the ball with authority in 2019. Xander Bogaerts deserves a mention, as does Michael Chavis, but the edge goes to Devers.
He’s always up-and-down at the plate, but Jackie Bradley Jr. has been impressive to me this season. In a season where Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, and Betts have statistically regressed, Bradley has had solid power numbers. He’s on pace to have his second highest total in HR’s and RBI’s. While his average is what it is, Bradley has been impressive this season.
Was there any doubt? Christian Vazquez has been an offensive catalyst for the Boston Red Sox. He’s flashed power numbers, while having a knack for situational hitting. Honestly, his defense has regressed a bit, but his offensive productivity has made up for any defensive lapses. A few weeks past the mid-season point, Vazquez has far-and-away surpassed his HR and RBI career best’s and will look to build on a huge breakout season. It’s quite surprising that he wasn’t an All Star this year.