The Boston Red Sox secured a playoff spot earlier this week and there was much rejoicing. Getting a piece of merchandise from this team is now more important than ever. The player shirt is the most cost effective way to do that and its time for us to once again rank the order in which you should be purchasing them.
However, for this month’s edition there’s a twist. Instead of the entire roster, these rankings will only include the 25 players that should be on the postseason roster. If this team goes on to win the whole damn thing you’ll want a shirt of a player that was actually playing in the postseason. Now onto the rankings.
25. Chris Young
He has only played sporadically down the stretch, but Young is a veteran outfielder who should be given a crack at the playoffs. Still, a .229/.322/.377 slash line for the year doesn’t make me want to shell out 30 bucks.
24. Robby Scott
Like Young, Scott is a specialist of sorts, as he is really only used to face lefties these days. He may lose some innings to David Price, but he is still a utilized arm in the bullpen.
23. Heath Hembree
Hembree is another reliever that may not be brought in during the most high-leverage of situations but is still a quality arm for a bullpen that is growing into a real strength.
22. Rajai Davis
If you’re looking for the sequel to Dave Roberts, Davis is your man.
21. Sandy Leon
Last year’s offensive burst was clearly a fluke for Leon, but that doesn’t mean he’s been terrible. He is still a solid defensive catcher and has a good relationship with Chris Sale. That is vitally important.
20. Matt Barnes
John Farrell has really trusted Barnes this season and even if the returns haven’t always been great, he’s put forth a satisfactory campaign as one of the most worked arms in the bullpen.
19. Joe Kelly
Kelly has been worth 1.5 wins for the Red Sox, which is a pretty great number for a non-Craig Kimbrel reliever.
18. Addison Reed
The slam dunk trade for Eduardo Nunez has cast a long shadow over the acquisition of Reed, who has not locked down the eighth as effectively as expected. But he has really turned it on the last few weeks, throwing 9 1/3 scoreless innings over his last ten appearances.
17. Hanley Ramirez
Ramirez has actually hurt more than helped this season, with a bWAR of -0.2. Still, he’s second on the team in home runs and with a disturbing lack of power on the roster, he will be needed in the playoffs.
16. Carson Smith
The Sox are finally winning the Wade Miley trade again! Smith has throw 4 2⁄3 shutout innings since making his season debut on Sept. 5.
15. Mitch Moreland
Moreland has been exactly as advertised. He’s hit 20 home runs, played effective defense at first base and been worth nearly two wins above replacement.
14. Christian Vazquez
Who knew Vazquez could handle the bat so well? While a lengthier sample size will be needed to decide if the offensive surge is for real, Vazquez has provided pop at the bottom of the lineup and solid play behind the dish.
13. Rick Porcello
Finding positives in Porcello’s 2017 has been tough, but we’re still talking about a Cy Young winner. He deserves some respect, damnit!
12. Eduardo Rodriguez
But not more respect than E-Rod, who would be my pick to be the No. 3 starter in a playoff series at this point.
11. Xander Bogaerts
The second half struggle bus is being driven by Bogaerts, who has slashed .216/.312/.320 in the second portion of the season. He’s still a great, young shortstop, but this troubling trend of fading as the season stretches on is, well, just that, troubling.
10. David Price
So far, the Price in the bullpen experiment has gone very well. While it’s not going to last forever, Price the super reliever is fun to watch. I’m still excited for him to get back to starting, however, even if its not until next season.
9. Eduardo Nunez
Although Nunez is still dealing with an injury, if he can get healthy by the playoffs there is no doubt he’ll be playing. Plus, he may be in a Boston uniform for a while.
8. Drew Pomeranz
Ladies and gentlemen, your game two starter. I know, I can barely believe it myself.
7. Dustin Pedroia
Injuries have been nagging for Pedroia all season but he should be back for the playoffs and his .298/.373/.401 line speaks for itself.
6. Craig Kimbrel
Let’s say the Red Sox do win the World Series. Who do you think is going to be on the mound to close it out? That’s right, Kimbrel, and his 332 ERA+.
5. Jackie Bradley Jr.
JBJ doesn’t get enough love. He is fifth on the team in bWAR and he makes plays like this.
4. Rafael Devers
If you aren’t a believer by now, I’m not sure you ever will be. While he has slumped a bit in the last few weeks, he’s still slashed .314/.351/.429 in September. He’s the third baseman of the future.
3. Andrew Benintendi
The young left fielder has shown why he was considered the shoe-in for Rookie of the Year entering 2017, especially during the second half, and he will be roaming around near the Green Monster far past these playoffs.
2. Mookie Betts
His .263 batting average might make you think its been a down year for Betts, but his 6.2 bWAR says otherwise. Betts is still a bonafide superstar and the best outfielder on the team.
1. Chris Sale
One of the first player shirts I ever got was of Pedro Martinez. Chris Sale is the closest thing to Pedro we’ve had, as evidenced by his 300 strikeouts this season. I’m not sure how many more times I can tell you to get his shirt already.