Red Sox: Five keys to a successful 2017 MLB postseason
Lastly, the final key to the Red Sox success this fall will be in which bench pieces they can count on to provide valuable pinch hit at-bats, defensive replacements, and base running needs when called upon. As we head into these final two weeks, the only locks to make the postseason bench would be Chris Young, Eduardo Nunez, Sandy Leon, and Brock Holt.
While Young has been adequate as the team’s fourth outfielder this year, he hasn’t been the masher of left-handed pitching this year as he has in years past. Nunez has been a revelation since coming over from San Franciso as he has provided power, speed, and versatility across the board. Leon has split time at catcher but up to this point has lost the starting catching job to hot hitting Christian Vazquez. Holt, much like Nunez, provides versatility but has seen injuries limit his contributions and playing time.
Not to say that Young, Leon, and Holt aren’t valuable bench pieces, but after the starting 9, this team’s roster depth takes a big dip. After these aforementioned names, who else will make the postseason roster? Davis for his base stealing ability? Marrero for his defensive prowess? Lin for his versatility (while possibly being redundant due to Nunez, Holt, and Marrero)? Sam Travis as a right-handed bat option? The rest of the bunch remains unclear.
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In these postseason games the Sox will find themselves in, they’ll no doubt be counting on their bench players to perform various roles. For success to be found, the bench will have to be a source of reliability and act as a safety cushion in crunch time when the late inning game of chess will take place between managers.