Over the course of this series I will go position by position around the diamond to look at what options the Red Sox have for each position in 2023. We’ll look at what players are currently under team control or under contract, who’s in the upper minors, and what options there are in free agency. And finally, I’ll give my suggestions for how the Sox should approach each position. I hope this will serve as a useful primer to what I expect to be a pivotal offseason for the team. Here’s our look at the catching situation, and here’s our complete hot stove coverage.
Players On The Roster In 2023
For the vast majority of the 2022 season, second base belonged to Trevor Story, who led the way with 813.2 innings played at the position. Defensively he was elite. By Outs Above Average, the converted shortstop ranked third behind only Jonathan Schoop and Andrés Giménez, with 10 OAA. Offensively, things didn’t go as expected. During his six years with the Rockies, Story was a very productive hitter, slashing .272/.340/.523 with a 111 wRC+. Although he struck out 27.6 percent of the time, it was forgiven because he did massive damage to the tune of a .251 ISO. He still hit for power in 2022 with the Red Sox, but his ISO fell to .196, his wRC+ dropped to 100, and his strikeout rate rose to 30.8 percent.
Story was limited to just 94 games during the 2022 season due to a fracture in his wrist and, later in the season, by a lingering heel issue. While Story was injured, it was Christian Arroyo who got the majority of the time at the keystone logging 310 innings there. In addition to Story and Arroyo, the Red Sox had 20 or more innings from Enrique Hernández, Yolmer Sánchez, Jeter Downs, Yu Chang, and Jonathan Araúz. Story, Arroyo, and Downs will all be back while the Red Sox will need to make a decision about Chang. Overall, the Red Sox have one of the most stable second base situations in the league should they decide to keep Story at the position.
Players In The Upper Minors With A Chance To Contribute In 2023
The most intriguing player, and the one that is closest to contributing to the big league club, is Enmanuel Valdez. Valdez was acquired from the Astros as part of the return for Christian Vázquez. Across three levels and 126 games, he hit 28 home runs, drove in 107 runs, and posted a .918 OPS. So why isn’t this guy a top 100 prospect? It’s the defense. Primarily a second baseman, Valdez has tried third base and left field, but isn’t very smooth at any position. He’s good enough to fake it at second base as long as he continues to hit, but is likely more suited to a designated hitter role. He should only see the majors in the event of an injury during 2023.
David Hamilton is another fairly interesting prospect at the keystone and is easily the most prolific base stealer in the organization. Coming from the Brewers in the Hunter Renfroe trade, he stole a whopping 70 bases over 119 games at Double-A. There isn’t a ton of excitement here because the rest of his skillset is limited, but he could certainly be a versatile weapon on the base paths and it isn’t hard to envision him sticking on a team as a utility player. Further down in the minor leagues are Nick Yorke, Brainer Bonaci and Eddinson Paulino who are all very interesting. Yorke is playing extremely well in the Arizona Fall League after an injury plagued season and is likely to start the year at Double-A in 2023.
How about some more history for David Hamilton?— Portland Sea Dogs (@PortlandSeaDogs) September 11, 2022
With his ninth triple of the season, he is now tied for the third-most amount of triples in a single season in franchise history with Abraham Nunez (2001) and Fletcher Bates (1999) pic.twitter.com/PnWpcrdjui
Options In Free Agency
The Red Sox should not be players in free agency at this position since Story is signed for the foreseeable future and they seem quite happy with Arroyo as his backup. However, were they to decide to move Story to shortstop to replace Xander Bogaerts they would want to fill second base with a more experienced second baseman than Arroyo. This isn’t a great class but the headliners are all competent, it includes Brandon Drury, Adam Frazier, Aledmys Díaz, Jean Segura, and César Hernández. I’d prefer it if the Red Sox left these options alone and went with Story at second.
Do absolutely nothing! This shouldn’t be hard for Chaim Bloom since this is his default setting, but really, just leave it alone. I don’t like the idea of moving Story back to shortstop; just resign Bogaerts and be done with it. If he really hates the idea of Bogaerts at shortstop, then he should go out and sign one of Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Dansby Swanson rather than moving Story. This is not a position of need so I trust Bloom not to turn it into one.