It’s May. The Boston Red Sox are in first place and bound for the World Series. Nobody can tell me differently. If you are upset that I’m jinxing it, then grow up, Peter Pan. Jinxes don’t exist. They are made up. * immediately steps on a rake *
Anyway. Where was I? Oh, right, the Red Sox. The first month of the season sure was fun and when I’m feeling good about my favorite baseball team, I sure want to be able to let everyone that comes into contact with me know about it. The best way to do it is still the player shirt because you are never too old to wear another person’s name on your back. I provided a buying guide at the beginning of April and now its time for an update. For this exercise, we are only including players with at least 20 plate appearances or 10 innings pitched, except for a few DL exceptions. (Note: All statistics are as of May 4 at 12 p.m.)
28. Marcus Walden (Previously 28)
Walden was just recently recalled from Paawtucket and has thrown a respectable 3.68 ERA this season. Neat.
27. Brian Johnson (22)
If this update was made on April 21, Johnson would be much higher. He had a 2.08 ERA, including a brilliant start on April 2 against Miami. However, he has allowed nine runs in his last three appearances (five innings) and his ERA has ballooned to 6.00.
26. Tyler Thornburg (NR)
Soon. He will be back soon. Well, back isn’t right, since he’s never pitched for the Red Sox, but soon he will make his debut and show that the Red Sox won the Travis Shaw trade.
25. Blake Swihart (20)
Maybe spring training stats really don’t mean anything? Swihart hasn’t played much, and only has three hits in 25 plate appearances.
24. Carson Smith (17)
I’ll let Matt fill you in.
23. Eduardo Nunez (14)
Nunez has been a pretty terrible fielder and he’s not hitting much either. Matt has more on that. Take it away again, Matt.
22. Tzu-Wei Lin (NR)
He’s not hitting much, but his defense has been better than that of Nunez and he’s still only 24-years-old. There’s potential here.
21. Brock Holt (24)
Before he got put on the DL, the man with the flowing locks was crushing baseballs. He slashed .471/.471/.735 in the nine games prior to his injury.
20. Matt Barnes (18)
While Smith has been disappointing and Thornburg is still getting ready, Barnes has been pretty solid, with 18 strikeouts in 12 1⁄3 innings and a 2.92 ERA. He actually has more strikeouts per nine innings than Craig Kimbrel.
19. Sandy Leon (25)
Even though he is batting only .118, sometimes he has stepped up. That was no more apparent than when he hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning on April 29 to give the Red Sox a 4-3 win over the Rays.
18. Christian Vazquez (10)
The Red Sox have too many catchers and no catchers (at least offensively) all at the same time. Vazquez has gotten the most playing time and has been the best of the bunch.
17. Eduardo Rodriguez (16)
Rodriguez has been away from the team for a bit, but he’s still pitching like a bottom of the rotation guy. His 98 ERA+ and 4.78 ERA aren’t the worst they could possibly be, but for a guy like him, playing at replacement level is disappointing.
16. Hector Velazquez (23)
You may scoff, but I think Velazquez should be getting more starts, especially if E-Rod misses more time.
15. Drew Pomeranz (13)
Despite diminishing velocity and disastrous results, its still too early in the season to just give up on Pomeranz, who was extremely consistent and effective last year. Let’s see how he improves (or doesn’t) over the next month.
14. Mitch Moreland (21)
Here’s a fun fact: as of writing this, Moreland has a higher OPS+ than J.D. Martinez (156 to 155). He is slashing .323/.384/.600 and providing the lefty pop in the lineup that the Red Sox need.
13. Dustin Pedroia (11)
Pedroia can’t get back soon enough. He slips a little because some other guys had big Mays and others just have fewer injury concerns.
12. Andrew Benintendi (8)
The young guy has struggled a bit through the first month or so of the season. His biggest problem is lefties, as he has slashed .080/.233/.120 against them and .300/.383/.475 against righties. Time to plug up that hole in your swing, Benny.
11. Jackie Bradley Jr. (7)
JBJ is not hitting. Like, at all. He has a 46 OPS+ and has slashed only .180/.264/280. Even with his strong defense, he has still been worse than replacement level.
He still makes catches like this.
10. Hanley Ramirez (15)
Ramirez has been cooling off as Moreland heats up, slashing .250/.353/.295 in the last 10 games, but when your Twitter game is as strong as Hanley’s is, you are a top 10 guy.
9. Joe Kelly (19)
8. David Price (3)
I had Price much higher before recent developments. He has an 8.47 ERA in his last three starts. While that is obviously not good at all, I’m still a believer that he will be more effective than not for the remainder of the season.
7. Rafael Devers (4)
Devers also is having trouble at the plate recently, but he’s still only 20-years-old, so he’s going to be a Red Sox for a while. He batting an OK .261/.313/.429 and with a few multi-hit games, he’ll be right back to being a better than average contributor.
6. Rick Porcello (12)
Pretty Ricky is back. He has a lower WHIP than Chris Sale (0.843) and an ERA+ above 200. He’s also 4-0 if you’re into that sort of thing.
5. Craig Kimbrel (9)
Sure, earlier this week he blew his first save of the season, but the man has allowed two earned runs in 13 2⁄3 innings and struck out 19 batters in that time. He’s as close to a sure thing as there is at closer, what with Kenley Jensen struggling for the Dodgers.
4. J.D. Martinez (6)
Imagine thinking Martinez was going to be a bust.
3. Chris Sale (1)
There’s been a tendency to think Sale has not been as good this year as he was last year because of some dips in velocity. If “bad” Sale pitches to a 2.14 ERA and 217 ERA+, then I guess we can live with him being “bad.”
2. Xander Bogaerts (5)
He missed nearly three weeks, but in 68 plate appearances, he’s slashing .365/.397/.651. Yes, that slugging percentage is over .600. While he will undoubtedly regress some during the season, we are seeing the best version of the X Man.
1. Mookie Betts (2)
The M in MVP stands for Mookie.