A tale of two halves may be a warning sign on newly acquired Carson Smith. The ERA jumped from 1.73 to 2.94. Of further concern is the divide between home and road figures with the split being 1.50 ERA at home and 3.18 on the road. WHIP also shows a similar divide at 0.75 to 1.29. On the road, Smith allows almost a hit an inning. Smith also can close, but can he? The save figure was 13 in 18 attempts for a 72% figure.
If Smith tosses out figures that are similar to his road and second half numbers you will have a dependable reliever, but not a spectacular one. At least, he keeps the ball on the ground (HR/9 of 0.3) and that will help at Fenway.
A pattern has to be broken and for Dustin Pedroia, it was in 2015, but only for the first half of the season. Pedroia clearly had lost some edge with the bat and the old Petey returned in 2015 slashing .291/.356/.441 until injuries interceded. The injury bug appeared a bit different in that it was not game related with leg injuries but wear and tear related. At 32-years-old that is not a sign one wishes to see.
Pedroia is a superior fielder either using metrics or the eyeball test. Last season that disappeared and Pedroia slipped into the average range – a startling drop-off for a three-time Gold Glove winner. I expect the pattern to continue with injuries of the nagging age-related sort.
Does a solid month make a career? Jackie Bradley simply was in another baseball universe in August hitting .354 with five home runs and 23 RBI and rockets to all parts of ballparks. Coupled with his magnificent defensive instincts, the promise of the past surfaced. Not so fast, amigos.
The rest of the season was as dismal as 2014 and his failures of 2013. September the average sunk to .216, but with four home runs and 17 RBI you had some respectable power. September also saw 12 walks, so that does show a bit more patience instead of the flaying away of Bradley in the past, but don’t expect much in 2016 other than some great glove work. So, can the Red Sox carry fantastic defense with occasional power and a low average?
Will Swihart go to the next level? The dreamers in RSN picture Swihart as a hitting machine that will routinely hit .300+ while providing gap power. Offense can certainly trump average defense and Swihart showed both in 2015. But 2016? Expect a bit of a drop off that will coincide with spotty playing time.