Red Sox vs. Indians 2017 Roster Breakdown: Infielders
This is probably the biggest blowout of any position in favor of Cleveland – of little surprise to Red Sox fans. The starting third baseman for Boston is unequivocally Pablo Sandoval after Shaw and Moncada were dealt away earlier in the offseason, and even the most ardent Panda supporters have to be nervous about that.
Between weight, injury and performance issues, social media scandals and a questionable desire to win in Boston, Sandoval has a lot riding against him. That’s not to say there’s no hope for a rebound, because the three-time World Series champion has had successful years in the past that led him to his bloated Boston contract. But relying on any amount of production from the 30-year old is a risky endeavor, and not one that can be assumed for the sake of this comparison.
The Indians’ hot corner is manned by 2016 breakout star Jose Ramirez. Busting out of a utility role to snag the starting third base job, Ramirez played an invaluable role in Cleveland’s success last year. After two seasons of well below-average hitting, he emerged to a .312/.363/.462 slash line with a whopping 46 doubles and even 22 steals sprinkled in.
He plays solid defense at third which helped grow his WAR to 3.9, a number that Sandoval has only reached twice in his career and is five seasons removed from. Even accounting for some regression on Ramirez’s part and progression for Sandoval, this one is no contest.