Brock Holt – 450 at-bats
Sean: Under – 450 is in the range that manager John Farrell is aiming for and the Red Sox would prefer that their super-utility man not exceed that amount. Holt slumped late in the season in each of the past two years, so easing his workload would help keep him fresh for the stretch run. The Red Sox have a deeper bench this season and should be able to keep Holt primarily in the infield. Barring injury that sidelines a starter for significant time, 400-450 at-bats sounds about right.
Drew: Under – This will be a close one. If we are talking plate appearances, they were 492 and 509 in the last two years in which he had to cover for injuries as well as many sub-par performances from regulars. With the emergence of Travis Shaw and the signing of Chris Young as outfield depth, this will limit the need to use Holt every day. 400 plate appearances for Holt next season.
Rick: Under – If Holt gets over 450 AB’s the Red Sox are in a world of trouble.
Chris Young – 200 at-bats
Sean: Over – Taking the over based on his contract and assured role as the 4th outfielder, but should he actually get that much playing time? His extreme splits show that he’s only effective against left-handed pitching and should be benched against right-handers. Last year no Red Sox hitter saw 170+ at-bats against left-handed pitching, so it’s hard to see Young getting over 200 if he plays exclusively against lefties. Unfortunately Farrell will feel compelled to use him more often than that, even if he shouldn’t.
Drew: Over – They aren’t paying him $6.5 million to get less than that number. Young has been over 350 plate appearances each of the last 4 seasons as a part time player covering all three outfield positions. My guess he will play more at home than on the road due to his ability to pull the ball over the Monster, but he should easily make 200 at-bats for the season.
Travis Shaw – 300 at-bats
Sean: Under – Does he deserve more playing time? Absolutely, as long as he hits the way he did last year. The problem is that we don’t know that he can keep up that production over a larger sample given that his minor league track record doesn’t suggest he would turn out to be this good. He’s also blocked at first and third base by Ramirez and Sandoval, so one of them would need to hit the DL or be a complete train wreck for Shaw to take the starting spot away from them. He’ll see some starts in order to let those veterans rest, but at least some of those opportunities will go to Holt. Shaw may be better off seeing some time in Pawtucket to get steady at-bats until a larger role in Boston is available.
Drew: Under – There really isn’t a steady position for him and the Red Sox already have Brock Holt as their super-utility guy. Shaw can play both first and third base but with Sandoval and Hanley having such big contracts you can’t be sitting them too often. The issue might come up whether he might be better served for his development being at AAA at some point despite his hot spring training. As we saw from JBJ in 2013 a hot Spring can be just a mirage. My guess is for something around 250 plate appearances in the majors next season.
Rick: Over – Boston’s third baseman for the rest of the decade.