And we’re back. Back to help you with your Red Sox merchandise purchasing decisions.
Before we get to the rankings, a few housekeeping items. First, this list is shorter than the last two because we can now confidently determine who are players that are worth investment and who are just farmhands that aren’t going to do much. With that said, only players on the 40-man roster with at least 10 plate appearances or 10 innings pitched will be considered, except for some special circumstances like injuries. The second change you’ll notice is I’m now providing a little reasoning behind each ranking, rather than grouping them each into divisions.
TL;DR = Only regulars on the list, except for injured players. No divisions anymore. Reasoning provided. Now to the rankings.
32. Pablo Sandoval (Previously ranked 25)
I seriously considered naming this the
Carl Crawford Pablo Sandoval mistake division. The Red Sox are paying more than $17 million on Sandoval’s -0.9 bWAR. Don’t pay 30 bucks for his shirt.
31. Ben Taylor (31)
No real change here. He’s young, but he hasn’t pitched much and hasn’t been very successful when he has.
30. Marco Hernandez (24)
Hasn’t played since May 3, but is just 24 and with how much help the Red Sox need in the infield (aka third base), he might be back next year when healthy.
29. Tyler Thornburg (28)
Down one mainly out of frustration. Travis Shaw is playing well and Thornburg is still on the DL. That’s not entirely his fault, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay for it.
28. Fernando Abad (22)
Abad hasn’t been ah, bad. Nailed it.
27. Steven Wright (27)
Wright has been stuck on the DL and isn’t young enough to be much higher because of potential upside.
26. Brock Holt (26)
Holt is also stuck in the purgatory of the DL, but he’s still a lot of fun when he does play so no harm on a purchase here.
25. Chris Young (15)
Young randomly batted second the other day. The left-handed pitcher killer has been fine but nothing to go out and shell duckets over.
24. Josh Rutledge (17)
If you want to play starting third baseman roulette, then maybe Rutledge is your style.
23. Sandy Leon (19)
With a slash line of .221/.273/.363, it appears that Leon’s 2016 was more fluke than breakout.
22. Carson Smith (29)
Smith has yet to pitch due to injury but he is close to coming back. Now is the time to get in on the ground level.
21. Heath Hembree (21)
Hembree has been as consistent as his ranking. No one has more relief appearances than Hembree on the roster, so you are at least getting good bang for your buck.
20. Brian Johnson (34)
If you pitched a complete game shutout, you get a spot in the top 20. Its as simple as that.
19. Robby Scott (20)
Scott is the primary lefty out of the bullpen and has been really good (1.98 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 232 ERA+). Be the cool person who has the underrated bullpen arm.
18. Matt Barnes (13)
John Farrell seems dedicated to making Barnes his eighth inning arm, but his 3.76 ERA makes it seem like he’s not long for such a high profile job or a higher spot on this list.
17. Mitch Moreland (11)
Mitch Moreland is fine. Just fine.
16. Christian Vazquez (16)
Vazquez remains on the fringes of the “need to purchase” realm even as he hits like a 2016 version of Sandy Leon, minus the home runs.
15. Deven Marrero (35)
A 20-spot jump for the man who possibly should be playing third over Sandoval.
14. Drew Pomeranz (12)
Who doesn’t like strikeouts? Pomeranz has been offering up plenty of those (71 in 56 innings). Run prevention and efficiency has been a bit less ideal.
13. Rick Porcello (9)
This guy won a Cy Young Award so a purchase can never be a bad thing, can it? If Porcello keeps letting up hits at an elevated rate, then yes it would be. You’d be buying in a year too late.
12. David Price (18)
He’s finally off the DL and we’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the game when he’s been on, like he was against Baltimore last weekend. Starts like that make me want to buy his shirt, but ones like he had against the Yankees don’t. So here he is.
11. Sam Travis (NR)
Travis finally got called up since the last update, and I’ve already made it clear that I am rooting hard for him. Although he was sent back to Pawtucket on Friday, if he can just be a younger Brian Daubach than this is a purchase I make 10 times out of 10.
10. Hanley Ramirez (6)
Ramirez is tied for second on the team in home runs, but he is batting below .250. Still, power moves units, especially on a team devoid of much of it.
9. Joe Kelly (14)
8. Eduardo Rodriguez (7)
He’s only dropped because of his return to the DL, making him a riskier purchase since he may end up dealing with injuries too often to ever have sustained success. That written, dude tried to pitched through an injury against Baltimore, so don’t dismiss him entirely.
7. Dustin Pedroia (8)
You should already have a Pedroia but if you don’t then do that immediately before its too late. That is especially important since he just went back from the DL.
6. Andrew Benintendi (2)
Benintendi is still a guy who has a bright future. He has eight home runs and as many steals and has begun to recover from a sluggish May. He is still a must have.
5. Jackie Bradley Jr. (10)
How can a player batting .231 be this high? Well, because the slow offense hasn’t stopped him from being a defensive wizard or ranking fourth on the team in bWAR. Plus he’s turning it around, especially after a 2-for-4 night with a home run and three RBI on Friday.
4. Mookie Betts (3)
This begins the no-brainer portion of the list. If you haven’t bought into Betts yet then you better quickly before he gets hot.
3. Xander Bogaerts (5)
The only player on the team hitting above .300, who has been a .290 hitter or above in the previous two seasons, who is one of the best young shortstops in baseball? Umm, yeah, get that shirt.
2. Chris Sale (1)
A couple rough starts don’t really do much here. Sale is relatively young, under team control for a while and still one of the top five pitchers in baseball. Fork over that cash, fam.
1. Craig Kimbrel (4)
55. That’s how many strikeouts Kimbrel has. He’s done that in 27 2⁄3 innings. If you want the most dominant player on the roster’s name on your back, here you go.