The Boston Red Sox have struggled with infield production all season. Going into 2023, it was one of the major question marks of the lineup. Other than Rafael Devers, most of the infielders have yet to prove they can produce for an entire season in the big leagues. For example, Kiké Hernandez shifted to shortstop following the departure of Xander Bogaerts or the Trevor Story injury. Also, Triston Casas, who showed promise in his first big-league action, has struggled mightily in 2023.
Heading into the season, there was not much enthusiasm about the infield. Story was going to miss a substantial amount of the season due to UCL surgery. In addition, when the Red Sox got into the season, they had Hernandez at shortstop, Yu Chang to play both middle infield positions, and Christian Arroyo for second base.
Following injuries to both Arroyo and Chang, the Red Sox were stretched thin in the middle infield. However, Enmanuel Valdez and Pablo Reyes have done a solid job stepping in and producing for Boston.
Next-man-up mentality provides help to injury riddled Red Sox
Losing two key players on the infield is not easy for any team, especially the Red Sox, who were stretched thin in that area. The injuries forced the team to make two crucial roster moves in calling up Enmanuel Valdez and acquiring Pablo Reyes from Oakland. These two decisions have helped the Red Sox navigate the injuries. Even though these moves are not going to catch headlines, a player like Reyes walking into Boston and providing some offense and defense was paramount.
Enmanuel Valdez has earned a lot of playing time this season and has taken advantage of his opportunities. After going on a dry spell throughout the road trip, just like the entire lineup Valdez got back on track against the Reds, launching a home run over the monster at Fenway. Also, while Pablo Reyes has not seen a significant time so far in the lineup, you never know with how poorly Kiké has played in the field, but Yu Chang returning could negatively impact that possibility.
Triston Casas struggling in first full season with Red Sox
After going 0-for-5 at the plate in the first game of the series versus Cincinnati, Casas did not play in the second game. So far in 2023 Triston Casas has played in 47 games and is hitting .193 with 21 more strikeouts than hits. The promising young talent has still battled at the plate and has a .308 OBP, but his slugging, wRC+, and WAR are all down from his stint in the majors a season ago. Growing pains tend to happen, and Casas is not someone the Red Sox should worry about too much unless it continues deeper into the year.
One of the major positives that Triston Casas is his ability to play first base. Last year it was almost guaranteed that there would be a mistake by a Red Sox first baseman. Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec, despite their best efforts, struggled to field the position and caused the Boston fanbase a lot of stress. This is not to say Casas has been perfect at first, but it has been an improvement from 2022. Overall, Triston Casas is just getting settled into the major leagues and will look to take the next step in his journey to becoming a key player on the Red Sox.
Rafael Devers turning the corner after cold streak on roadtrip
The Red Sox franchise player started the road trip off hot in San Diego, going 2-for-4 with two home runs. However, for the rest of it, Rafael Devers went 2-for-24 without an RBI in the following six games he played over the three series. The entire team has struggled, leading to the Red Sox only winning 4 of their last 11 games. Boston dropped the first two games of the current series against Cincinnati, but Rafael Devers seemed to regain some confidence at the plate.
Devers has gone 3-for-9 in the first two games with 3 RBI. Even though he has struggled over the past few weeks, Devers still sits in third place in the MLB with 47 RBIs on the season. Also, Rafael Devers has hit 13 HRs on the year, which is tied for 10th in the MLB, and has not hit a home run in 8 games, but he crushed a ball last night that had the fans on their feet that flew foul. Rafael Devers reached another milestone in his career, hitting his 200th career double in a 5-4 loss to the Reds. The Red Sox have a generational talent in Rafael Devers, and they will lean on him during this rough period in the season.