Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Glass half empty or full: what to expect from the Red Sox going forward

The Boston Red Sox have started the season in disappointing fashion.  They sit tied for third in the American League East with a mediocre 15-17 record.

Red Sox’ fans spent the winter vehemently denying the notion Boston had caught “lightning in a bottle,” and ignored the masses’ insinuation they were destined for regression. Whether it was denial or aspirations that a full year of phenom Xander Bogaerts would rectify the departures of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Stephen Drew, the veracity was in front of us: the Red Sox possess conspicuous holes and nothing would be done to ameliorate the instabilities.

The starting rotation’s aptitude is irrefutable, but so is their proclivity to be inconsistent. A true ace does not inhabit the Red Sox’ rotation, though Jon Lester and John Lackey are close. Clay Buchholz‘s tendency to succumb to injuries and struggles forbid him from being reliable every fifth day. Felix Doubront‘s command, durability, and unpredictable, inconsistent fastball velocity continue to stifle the southpaw from compiling a respectable ERA. Lastly, Jake Peavy‘s unearthly fly ball rate in the hitter-friendly confines of Fenway Park has to catch up to him eventually, right?

Daniel Nava appears a one-year wonder, already being sent down to Pawtucket. Looking at his minor-league track record, unsustainable BABIP, and lackluster defense, it was blatant regression was bound to happen, albeit he’s not nearly as abysmal as he has played. Jonny Gomes is a half-player with a flair for the dramatic — nothing more. The rejuvenation of Grady Sizemore has not lived up to the hype and as of now, he may be the team’s worst player. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s defensive poise forges him into a valuable player, but his offense has yet to show.

The left side of the infield has been, by far, the biggest letdown. Will Middlebrooks is cooling down after a torrid offensive start. Couple that with dismal defensive play, and there’s not a lot to be optimistic about with the third-year player. Don’t get me wrong, Middlebrooks has offensive prowess, however, will it be enough to overshadow his poor defensive play? Bogaerts has been nothing but disappointing. His defense is deplorable and will need to be drastically refined if he’s to be an everyday shortstop in the future. Especially considering he has not lit it up on offense.

The lone move made in the offseason by genius Ben Cherington that was brought into question was the signing of A.J. Pierzynski. To this day, it remains a head-scratcher. His erratic plate discipline and mediocre play behind the dish has been disconcerting to say the least.

However, even after all this glass half-empty writing, I could sit here and pick apart flaws with every team. Truthfully, I am not sure how the next five months will play out. Baseball is a game of mysteries and anything could happen. It would not be surprising to see this team thrive in the postseason or finish in the cellar of the formidable American League East. Frankly, injuries, unforeseen transactions, and a lot of luck will determine how the season pans out. Before you boldly declare Boston due for a turnaround or inevitably fated for sorrow, remember,  there is a whole lot of baseball to be played and the uncertainty of a 162 game season to unfold.

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  • Giovani Smith

    The fact of the matter is that Jackie Bradley, Jr is not a good fielder according to Sabermetrics. He’s an absolutely atrocious left fielder and a poor center fielder. In two seasons, his overall Defensive Runs Saved is 0 and his defensive contribution (Rtot/yr) is -7!!!

    Add in that he is a horrible hitter (GIDP machine) and one sees that this guy is currently not MLB quality.

    • Sean Sylver

      Is it appropriate to use sabermetrics here? We’re talking about a 67 game (if that, due to defensive substitutions) sample over two seasons. You can use me as a punching bag for being old school, but I’ll listen to the crowing about his instincts and I’ll watch him make tough plays with my eyes and take that as an evaluation.

      • Rick M

        A sample based on less than 500 innings? A -49 (Rtot/yr) for LF in 2013. I guess that seals the deal! Then there is UZR/150. Then there is scouts observations. They have noted from day one his defense is ML level. Sox Prospects and Baseball America have singled out his fielding as being above average. BA had him at 75 for defense in 2013. No outfielder in top 100 rated higher.

        As far as his hitting skills? Awful would be an improvement. Kid has been overmatched, is pressing, is looking for a walk, looks tight at the plate…….

      • Patrick Green

        Defensive metrics are extremely flawed. Hardcore members of Sabr have even said the best way to gauge defensive value is with the eyes. Watching every Red Sox’ game, JBJ is a tremendous defender.

  • boondocker2

    No way the Sox could have worked a deal with Ellsbury? No way to keep Salty? I wonder what those two did to have the Sox let them go. They didn’t have a problem signing “double play” Pedroia. He was cute swinging mightily those first years. Where’s his bat now? Shave the beard! Even now why not get drew back in the game. Why didn’t the sox bid for Tanaka or seriously bid. The Yankees are going to get 20 extra wins this year and the sox have nothing to match it.