Red Sox April statistics: Hitters can hit, but rotation has held Boston back

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The fuel that fires baseball is statistics, and April had statistical results that explain the condition of the Boston Red Sox. Hitting was very good, and rotation pitching was just the opposite.

What was the most surprising aspect of April for the Boston Red Sox? My choice is there was no flurry of games canceled over weather issues since the first two months of the season often become backloaded with game issues. The team did stagger to a 15-14 record despite, as the saying goes: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

The same is on display with hitting, pitching, and fielding. Boston will hit, and despite rash injuries, especially to sluggers Trevor Story and Adam Duvall, they still raked. When players zero in, they seem to pick up an unfortunate injury, such as Yu Chang being the latest. So let's look at the hitting and pitching for April, and kudos to FanGraphs. If you wish the more exotic, then examine statcast.

The Red Sox offense has produced a 4.1 WAR for fifth place in the American League. They have created 109 wRC+ and are third in making runs. Duvall had a 312 wRC+ before his fateful outfield dive. As a team, they are batting .257, and like the rest of their AL brethren, they are a world behind Tampa, hitting .281. Jarren Duran is currently leading the team (sans Duvall) at .396 for April.

The Red Sox churned out doubles assisted by their quirky ballpark, and April saw them leading the AL with 62. Historically the two-bagger is an offensive sweet spot for Boston hitters. The surprise is the team leader with nine is Duran, who has suddenly resurrected his career. Duran has done it in 13 games, and leader Matt Chapman (15) has done his doubles duty in 27 games.

The emphasis is now on speed; the stolen base has returned except in Boston. The Red Sox are next to last with 11 steals, but on the bright side, they have been nailed only once, and that was Connor Wong. Duran and Masataka Yoshida both have two steals for the month.

The money ball On Base Percentage (OBP) is .333 and in the fourth position. That is impacted by a number two position (103) in walks, and the other side of the coin - whiffs - the Sox are twelfth with 227. Triston Casas is plate patience personified with 16 walks, followed by Justin Turner (14) and Yoshida at 12. Bobby Dalbec has checked in with a 45.5 K%, followed by Casas (29.3) and Wong (27.7).

The boys can still slug and have 37 home runs and a slugging average of .436 for third place. To the surprise of no one, Rafael Devers tops the team and the league with ten home runs. Can you imagine this lineup when Duvall and Story return? Now sadly, we must review the pitching.

Red Sox can hit but as expected the rotation has held them back

The good news with the pitching is the relievers. Boston's bullpen is racking up innings with 114.2 and third place for April. The 'pen only walks a few with a 7.6 BB% - only Detroit (7.3) is better. The A's are at 14.4%. The Sox relievers floated through April with a 1.0 WAR for seventh place as a group.

The Boston relief group is not a strike-out inducing machine with a 20.8 K% near the bottom of the AL. The same applies to the ground ball with a 41.9 GB% and well behind the New York Yankees leader ( 51.4%). Zack Kelly (now IL) had a 17.6 BB%, followed by John Schreiber (12.5) and Ryan Braiser (12.1).

Advanced metrics are all the rage, and Boston has a 3.96 FIP, 4.15 SIERA, and a 4.62 xFIP. The traditional ERA was 3.69, so the stats are good but could be better. Kenley Jansen, Josh Winckowski, and Kutter Crawford carried the 'pen for April. Now the pain - the rotation.

The saving grace is the A's, whose pitching is a wreck. The Red Sox rotation managed a 0.2 WAR, and the A's -1.3 WAR. The 23.0 K% and 7.8 BB% are squarely in the middle of the pack. With a 28.6K% and 4.8 BB%, Crawford was tops, but Crawford only tossed nine frames as a starter.

With Chris Sale showing signs of life, the rotation could take a step up, but the loss of Garrett Whitlock could mitigate that. The stand out is Tanner Houck as the only starter with an ERA under 5.

The traditional ERA for Boston was 6.05 for the month, and the A's are well ahead of that. A real challenge would be catching the A's. The rotations SIERA is at 4.29, 5.36 FIP, and a batting average of .273 show the only way to go is up. Considering the previously mentioned innings pitched by the 'pen, this staff could burn out that bullpen.

Outs have value, and the Boston defense gives up outs. As a group, they rank thirteen in the AL The outfield was supposed to be the defensive Achilles Heal but completed April in third place. If you go by UZR/150, Duvall was awful at -41.8, and Duran was great at 18.8. Rob Refsnyder (21.7) was best with the small April sample. Alex Verdugo, with just one, was the lone contributor to Defensive Runs Saved (DRS).

Has Devers improved defensively? The early results are positive with three DRS and a 14.5 UZR/150. Connor Wong has six DRS, and
Chang has three. No one stands out defensively. No slick fielding and an acrobatic infielder with a cannon arm. No outfielder with the quick steps to cover the gaps. No Dwight Evans arms in the outfield.

The defense is similar to the rotation that work towards improvement has to be done. April has shown the defense and rotation are negative. The positive is the liabilities have been covered by an offense that produces runs even with several essential parts on the shelf.

Quick Hits

  • Yoshida is a skilled batsman. A bit of Wade Boggs but time will tell. So far, the investment looks solid.
  • Nick Pivetta is a number-five starter
  • This rotation needs a solid Sale and Corey Kluber
  • Braiser is a mystery.
  • Brayan Bello can top out this rotation
  • Casas and Dalbec look lost.