Blake Swihart played first base for the Boston Red Sox yesterday afternoon. It was the third time he has played the position in the majors, with all three instances coming this year as the Sox try to find a permanent role for him. For a player that was once heralded as the next Buster Posey and has generally been used as a catcher and occasional outfielder, it was an odd post for him. But this seasons seems to be all about odd posts, what with Russell Martin playing shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays and old pal Pablo Sandoval taking some reps at second base for the San Francisco Giants. If this trend were to continue all the way through a roster, how would it look? I’m glad you asked. (Note, all stats are from before yesterday’s game).
C - Rafael Devers
If catchers can move to the infield, why can’t infielders move behind the plate? Devers, being the youngest player on the roster, has less wear and tear on his knees and has the arm of a third baseman, which could help gun down would-be base stealers.
1B – J.D. Martinez
Martinez’s defense has never been the strongest part of his game. That doesn’t mean playing first is easy, but if the Red Sox were able to turn Hanley Ramirez into a relatively competent player at the position, Martinez should be able to hold his own for a game.
2B – Christian Vazquez
Although Vazquez has played 243 of his 249 games at catcher, he has stepped out a few times and even dabbled at third base more than once. There are clearly some different responsibilities at second, especially in terms of double plays, being a cutoff man and covering second on pickoffs, but Vazquez has to be the general behind the plate so he knows all about those tasks.
3B – Jackie Bradley Jr.
Andrew Benintendi leads the Red Sox in FanGraphs’ ARM metric, but he is a left-hander and lefties just can’t play this side of the infield. That means JBJ gets the nod as the outfielder with the second-best arm. Bradley can probably play any position, so moving him around should work out fine.
SS – Mookie Betts
Betts played second base in the minor leagues but has transitioned into being a top-notch outfielder. He is so skilled that moving back to the middle infield should prove to be no challenge at all, even if this is considered the most defensively demanding position on the field.
LF – Dustin Pedroia
With a short field at Fenway Park, Pedroia wouldn’t have to cover a ton of ground, even if he does have nice range at second when healthy. Plus, if Hanley Ramirez, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis could cut it out there, its likely that Pedroia could at least be OK, if not actively good.
CF – Xander Bogaerts
If center field is the shortstop of the outfield, then the Red Sox’s normal shortstop should play center field.
RF – Chris Sale
God this would be scary, but you need a guy with a big arm to play right field. There is no arm better on the team, even if Sale is used to throwing strikes from 60 feet, not 90 plus.
DH – Drew Pomeranz
Any position player can DH, so we have to go with a pitcher here. Pomeranz has two home runs and has slashed .141/.183/.286 in his career, which includes plenty of time at the plate with the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres. The rest of Boston’s pitchers have not hit so, uh, well. We’ll go with well.
P – Mitch Moreland
Moreland has actually pitched before, so he’s got experience! He has a 0.00 ERA and 2.15 FIP in two career innings, last pitching when he appeared for the Red Sox last August in a 16-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Based on that very reliable sample size, the Sox are doing themselves a disservice by not putting Moreland on the mound.
Its a big series for Alex Cora. (Tara Sullivan; Boston Globe)
The Red Sox have more than a few players they drafted that are contributing this season. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)
Goodbye, Hanley. We’ll miss you. (Chad Finn; Boston Globe)
If you didn’t already know who Adam Lind is, now you do. (Cam Ellis; BP Boston)
Who has the best swing on the Red Sox? (Matthew Kory; The Athletic) ($$)