clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Opening Day Roster Prediction: Week Three

New, 9 comments

Not a ton of change, but there are things to watch for.

Red Sox vs Northeastern Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

We’re going to make this a weekly thing, because why not?! There are enough questions with the eventual Opening Day roster that things are pretty much constantly changing. Like most rosters, most of the important spots are filled for this roster, but there are a good seven spots at the end of the roster that are up for grabs, with three on the bench, two in the rotation and two in the bullpen. This is our third iteration of this excerise. Changes from last week are in bold.

Starting Lineup

  1. Andrew Benintendi, LF (L)
  2. Rafael Devers, 3B (L)
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (R)
  4. J.D. Martinez, DH (R)
  5. Mitch Moreland, 1B (L)
  6. Michael Chavis, 2B (R)
  7. Christian Vázquez, C (R)
  8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (L)
  9. Kevin Pillar, RF (R)

No changes here, and really it would take an injury for this to change. There have been a couple of injuries, but neither were minor. Xander Bogaerts has played a few games after a late start to his camp due to an ankle injury. He’s struggled in his three games to date, but he says his ankle is feeling good and he’s in the field, so there’s no worry there. Mitch Moreland, meanwhile, made his return from a brief absence on Saturday in the DH role. The only part of this that could change is how even the playing time split between Chavis and José Peraza is at second base. I think right now it may be something close to an even split, so if you want to put Peraza in here instead of Chavis you won’t get too much argument from me.

Bench

Kevin Plawecki, C

José Peraza, 2B

Tzu-Wei Lin, UTIL

Jonathan Arauz, INF

Again, no changes, but this one is much less set in stone than the starting lineup. Peraza is the only one here that is really safe, and like I said he has a decent claim to be a starter. I talked about the battle for backup catcher yesterday, so I won’t go too much into that again other than to say I am stubbornly sticking with Plawecki. I’m sticking with Lin and Araúz as the two utility options, with Marco Hernández looming as another real option. Araúz and Lin not only can’t be taken off the roster without repercussions (Lin is out of options, Araúz was Rule 5 pick), but they’ve also been the better players this spring. That said, Lin has been out for a bit with a hamstring injury and was scratched from Sunday’s lineup. If we get back here next week and he’s still out, I may make a change.

Rotation

  1. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
  2. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
  3. Martín Pérez, LHP
  4. Ryan Weber, RHP
  5. Brian Johnson, LHP

Once again, no changes, but I don’t really feel all that great about this one. I think the top four is basically set in stone barring injury or something really weird happening. Ryan Weber has looked good and the competition has not, so he’ll have to really bottom out for them to consider someone else there. The number five spot, though, is more wide open. Brian Johnson has been the best of the group, which is why I’m giving him the edge, but there are a few points of hesitation for me. First, he’s not on the 40-man. That’s far from an insurmountable obstacle, but it needs to be taken into account. Second, he hasn’t always pitched early in games. Again, that’s not disqualifying, but it also colors some of his good production considering the second half of games generally features worse competition. I think this one is still wide open, but Johnson is winning for now. Keep an eye on Mike Shawaryn, Chris Mazza and Phillips Valdez as well.

Bullpen

Brandon Workman, RHP

Matt Barnes, RHP

Josh Taylor, LHP

Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP

Marcus Walden, RHP

Heath Hembree, RHP

Austin Brice, RHP

Colten Brewer, RHP

Here is our one change from last week. Like Weber in the rotation, I do think that Brice has basically locked himself into a bullpen spot with his performance so far. I am of the opinion that he had an inside track before camp even started, so his strong production to this point has just served to solidify that position. The last spot has been a revolving door in all three weeks I’ve done this. Hector Velázquez was in this spot last time, and he hadn’t pitched himself out of it. He’s looked solid this spring and I thought it made sense to have a long arm in here given the lack of certainty in the rotation. However, Velázquez was designated for assignment late last week when the team signed Collin McHugh, so we don’t even know if he’ll be in the organization, much less the Opening Day roster.

Unfortuantely, there aren’t any really long relief candidates who I think have pitched themselves into that role so far. I would keep an eye on the three guys I mentioned above as well as Jeffrey Springs and Matt Hall. In the meantime, I’m putting Colten Brewer in this spot. He’s looked solid this spring and can go multiple innings when needed. I’d also watch for Heath Hembree’s spot. If he continues to struggle and Ryan Brasier continues to pitch well, seeing the latter taking the former’s spot wouldn’t totally shock me.