At this point in the season, it would be more than fair to call the Red Sox start to the year disappointing. Not that I think many people were expecting the Red Sox to run the table, but I do think most people were expecting something better than the 6-12 start, good for last in the American League.
There have been a lot of reasons for the poor start. The pitching has been bad, especially the rotation. The offensive stars haven’t played up to par. There have been a few questionable decisions in seemingly winnable games. On the whole, it’s pretty bad, and it’s caused some relative misery.
So who did our posters figure was most disappointing?
What they said - J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers have been awful offensively, but Michael Chavis isn’t off the hook either. Ryan Weber has been awful as a starting pitcher. The expectations were low, and Weber still somehow subverted even those.
He named multiple players (and I can’t disagree with any of them), but I want to focus on Weber because of the laser focus on him as a chief contributor to the disappointment in the rotation. Whereas Phantom blamed multiple players offensively, he only named one on the pitching end.
Phantom notes that the expectation was somewhere in the 5.00-6.00 ERA range, which to be honest, is more than fair, and probably even being generous. After all, last season, Weber was at 5.09 in the major leagues. FIP even projected positive regression, saying he pitched more like a 4.20 ERA pitcher.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t build on his acceptable 2019, and ended up pitching to a disastrous 9.90 ERA (with a FIP that suggested he was actually even worse at 11.63). It takes a special skill to allow everyone to get a base hit, walk everybody, give up a lot of home runs, and also strike next to nobody out, but over 10 innings, Weber managed to do just that. So bad was Weber that the pitching starved Red Sox decided to option him to try somebody else out.
Of course, with the news of Benintendi’s injury, Weber has been recalled. He was actually pretty good in a mop up role on Wednesday, too.
So what to expect from Weber going forward? I still expect mediocrity, but I think it’s a fair bet to say he probably won’t continue to be one of the five worst pitchers in all of baseball. He’ll start by coming out of the bullpen, which should help his case, as we saw last night. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see him open up a ball game any day in the near future.
After all, the Red Sox rotation as a whole is very disappointing.
I have to go with Andrew Benintendi as the most disappointing. Yes, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers are also struggling, but I see more reason to believe positive regression is on the way for both of those players. They have had a bad slump to start the year, but they constantly look close to breaking out of it.
I don’t really get that same impression from Benintendi. I’m not even sure what’s actually wrong with what he’s doing. He’s being far more patient at the plate (swinging far less than he has in recent years), especially outside of the zone (other than his brief 34 game stint in 2016, it is a career best for him). He’s also making contact enough on pitches inside the zone for one to believe he can be successful. He’s getting on base at an ok clip, all things considered, but he’s not hitting the ball enough to compliment that skill set.
Of the players with 50 plate appearances or more (169 total as of early last night), Benintendi ranks 6th in walk rate! That in itself is very good, and is the main reason why Benintendi hasn’t been basically the worst player in baseball. However, he’s also struck out the 18th most in all of baseball. Literally every player striking out more than him is hitting the ball harder though.
Are you ready for a sad stat?
Brandon Crawford. Luis Arraez. Of the 169 players in baseball with 50 plate appearances, these are the only two players who have had a lower ISO than Benintendi. This is where I believe Benintendi’s issue lies. Nearly everything he hits is a pop up or a ground out. He barely ever gets his barrel on the bat, and has a horrendous line drive percentage, especially when compared to previous years. Further compounding matters, he’s extremely easy to shift on, as he hits 80% of all pitches to his pull side (which happens to be the cavernous right field that does not help him at all).
Other FanPosts Around the Site
Where Do We Go? - Dnewton1968 writes about Mookie Betts. Open wound, insert salt, yes, but they are hoping this will help them heal. They aren’t really happy with Bloom making what they call, “the second worst trade in Red Sox history”. Once Dustin May was off the table, they should have pulled out. Ultimately, the whole deal is perplexing for a variety of reasons. There’ll probably be questions for years.
John Henry the Copy-Cat - GOAT91 meanwhile, wants us to give Bloom a little time. They recap the John Henry and co. era of the Red Sox from 2002 onward, which, I’ll be honest, has been pretty sweet to be witness to! John Henry attempted to copy the teams that were tackling inefficiencies in baseball. And now, they are trying to copy the Dodgers and Rays. It will take time, but this ownership group has shown one thing: they do know how to get over the top.
Alex Cintron Gave Rob Manfred a Second Chance - GOAT91 pulls double duty. When Alex Cintron made a huge blunder in egging on Ramon Laureano the other day, leading to a bench-clearing brawl, Cintron gave Manfred a chance to right so many wrongs. Was the suspension enough? Chime in.
See you all on Friday!