A lot of people have birthdays in the summer. I know I do. You know what makes a great gift for all occasions, summer birthdays included? A nice, crisp Red Sox player shirt. But which player should I get? That is probably what you’re asking yourself. Of course, you could always go by the guide from the end of May, but that will not give you the most up to date purchasing advice. You want to know what’s hot in the streets, specifically Yawkey Way? You are in luck.
First, a reminder of the ground rules. 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 or recent call ups.
Now here is the order in which you should be grabbing those sweet, sweet Ts.
36. Pablo Sandoval (Previously ranked 35)
Sandoval didn’t fall because of bad performance. There were just a few players added this month and the Panda is still last on the list.
35. Ben Taylor (31)
Taylor has not pitched with the Red Sox since May 20 and is here only as a player to complete your collection/a member of the 40-man roster with 10 innings pitched.
34. Marco Hernandez (30)
Hernandez’s season is over. But he should be back next year and is still quite young and a potential answer at third base, although not the best one. Keep an eye on his stock.
33. Tyler Thornburg (29)
Thornburg is out for the season so I guess that whole Travis Shaw trade wasn’t the best. Still, if he comes back healthy he could still be an important reliever and worth a shirt buy. Right now just doesn’t seem like the time to make that gamble.
32. Brian Johnson (20)
There is no timetable on Johnson’s return from a shoulder injury which is too bad. He was getting a shot at a back of the rotation spot, even if it was just because of other injuries.
31. Carson Smith (22)
Smith still hasn’t pitched but he’ll be back soon. Maybe. Still not feeling super optimistic. You don’t want to be the guy that has a Smith shirt when he faces another setback or something.
30. Josh Rutledge (24)
Rutledge was recently put on the seven-day DL and was already a 28-year-old utility bench option. Those aren’t usually words used to describe a must have.
29. Steven Wright (27)
Unless Wright single-handedly delivers
Paul George Gordon Hayward to the Celtics or runs for mayor, the fan-favorite knuckleballer won’t move up due to his season-ending injury.
28. Brock Holt (26)
Another player on the 60-day DL, Holt only gets to be this high because he was an under the radar favorite when healthy.
27. Deven Marrero (15)
Marrero can’t hit. That doesn’t move units.
26. Chris Young (25)
Young bashed a three-run home run against the Twins on June 27. He also slashed only .231/.318/.410 during the month of June. The left-handed killer hasn’t been the best platoon guy around.
25. Hector Velazquez (NR)
He hasn’t been lights out, but he had a decent start in his last outing and for now is the spot starter who could maybe be something more?
24. Blaine Boyer (NR)
This 35-year old reliever has pitched to a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings since making his season debut on May 28. This isn’t a sexy pick, but he’s clearly become part of the bullpen and has pitched pretty well.
23. Fernando Abad (28)
God this team could use another left-handed reliever.
22. Doug Fister (NR)
The newest Red Sox starter is three years removed from a 2.41 ERA but he pitched well enough in his debut on June 25. Maybe he’s got something left in the tank after all. At least enough to eat up innings.
21. Sandy Leon (23)
Is he back? Kind of. A .295/.347/.432 slash line in June was plenty good enough for a starting catcher. It’s actually better than good enough. If you still have the feels for Leon, get that shirt.
20. Christian Vazquez (16)
Catchers here! Get your catchers here! Vazquez just hit his first home run of the season and he is still the better bet for the future at backstop.
19. Tzu-Wei Lin (NR)
Call me a sucker for a pretty good start to a MLB career, but Lin had three hits in his first 10 at-bats in the big leagues. Plus he’s helped out with the Red Sox’s third base issues. He’s also only 23 and finally showed progression in the minors this year. Just remember, he’s currently wearing No. 73. He’ll certainly wear a different one in the future should he stick.
18. Rick Porcello (13)
With an ERA of 5.06 and peripherals that don’t really lend themselves to a big upgrade coming, it’s getting a little late in the season to keep saying “He’s just working out the kinks.” Still, he’s a Cy Young winner so he isn’t a terrible purchase, even if it looks like it right now.
17. Heath Hembree (21)
He has still been the most utilized reliever in the pen, at least measured by innings pitched. He’s not a star, but not everyone can be and sometimes you want a shirt of an effective contributor who gets plenty of chances.
16. Robby Scott (19)
Although Scott has only thrown 19 2⁄3 innings this season, he has been the most effective lefty outside the starting rotation. LOOGYs deserve love too.
15. Matt Barnes (18)
I want to belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve. Barnes has pitched more innings than Craig Kimbrel, gets in in big situations and has struck out 46 batters in 36 2⁄3 frames. Just a little less on the run letting up thing and he’s a set-up man to be entirely confident in.
14. Hanley Ramirez (10)
Hanley is still a whole lot of fun and looks to be turning things around. However, he had a wRC+ of 92 during the month of June and is far from the sure-thing he was last season when David Ortiz was still in the lineup.
13. Sam Travis (11)
A small step backward for Travis, who is lower just because he hasn’t played a ton. Still, a slash line of .265/.342/.353 for a 23-year-old top prospect isn’t bad, even if it isn’t good either.
12. Drew Pomeranz (14)
What kind of world are we living in where Pomeranz is the second-best starter on the team right now?!
11. Eduardo Rodriguez (8)
It will be a different world once E-Rod gets back to the rotation or if David Price is rounding into form. (More on that in a bit).
10. Joe Kelly (9)
He was a starter for most of those years, but that is a big drop. Plus he throws balls over 100 miles per hour. That’s cool.
9. Andrew Benintendi (6)
Barring a Herculean second half, Benintendi will not be winning the Rookie of the Year award like many thought before the season started. Still, Benintendi has been just fine this season and has shown off the 20/20 skill we were promised.
8. Dustin Pedroia (7)
I DON’T CARE THAT HE ONLY HAS TWO HOME RUNS. HE’S THE LASER SHOW. HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE HIS SHIRT?!
7. David Price (12)
I want to belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve. (Reprise). Price had another quality start against Minnesota on Thursday and there’s much more reason to believe he is going to be dominant down the stretch than Barnes.
6. Mitch Moreland (17)
I don’t know when Moreland turned into Jimmie Foxx, but the man had six home runs in June and was one of the hotter bats in the lineup last month. Good on you, Mitchy Two Bags.
5. Jackie Bradley Jr. (5)
Bradley has been crushing the ball of late. He slashed .353/.431/578 with four home runs and 15 RBI during June. A slow start was concerning but now he is back to being the sure thing he was during his All Star appearance a year ago. Buy with gusto.
4. Xander Bogaerts (3)
He cooled some during June (.277/.325/.438) but his power seems to be coming back a bit and he is still the only player on the roster with a batting average above .300.
3. Mookie Betts (4)
The Red Sox leader in home runs, slugging percentage, runs, doubles and stolen bases is tied for third among AL position players in bWAR. So stop complaining about a so-called down year because he was only batting .270 somerthing a few days ago and fork over those dollars.
2. Craig Kimbrel (1)
He has given up four earned runs in 35 2⁄3 innings. He has 64 strikeouts and five walks. You can’t spell dominant without Kimbrel — well, actually you can. You have to really. But you get it.
1. Chris Sale (2)
Sale only dipped in our last guide because he had slowed ever so slightly. He came back with more double-digit strikeout efforts and deep starts throughout June. Plus, he’s going to start the All Star game. You heard it here first.