We’ve painstakingly made it through two whole series of the 2023 Red Sox. *round of applause for everyone*
So, what do we know about this team through the first seven games of the season?
Are they good? Maybe!
Are they reliable? Probably not!
But are they fun and exciting? You bet your New England Maple Bacon Burger topped with Vermont cheddar cheese they are!
So with this in mind, we at Over the Monster decided to democratically decide who the staff was most excited to watch among this new-age squad. Here are some of the consensus players that we are most, and least, excited to watch.
With the highest average ranking from our seven respondents (2.1), Bello is officially the player that we are most excited about this season.
2007 was four presidents ago. It was the year the first iPhone was released. It was the year Google Street View debuted. And it was also the first year of big league baseball for Clay Buchholz, the last exciting homegrown pitcher the Red Sox have produced.
16 years is just a shockingly atrocious player development drought for a team like the Red Sox. But with Bello — with that changeup, with Pedro’s mentorship, with that undeniable swagger — the drought has finally ended. I have very high hopes for this kid, and I do not want to miss a single start. -Dan Secatore
When Pedro Martinez came back to Fenway Park with the Mets and got rocked he talked about how great it was to be back in Boston. He’s given Bello his stamp of approval and, from Pedro, that really is something to get excited about. We saw some flashes of brilliance from Bello in 2022 and with a real defense behind him to cut back on the misplays and unearned runs he might go right out and be ace-lite. -Mike Carlucci
As I think the youngest person on this website, I cannot remember a time when I was this excited for a homegrown pitcher to perform in the big leagues. I literally went to the futures game when it was at Coors Field just in the hopes of seeing Bello in action (okay... and to see Larry Walker in the celebrity softball game, but that’s beside the point).
Look how sick he looked! The glasses, the hair, the amazing jerseys, I can never not like this man after seeing him out on the mound that afternoon.
Our little boy is all grown up. Starting off as just a grinning little prospect from the Dominican Republic who could also mash 450-foot home runs, Devers has matured before our very eyes. But even with his new role as a leader and veteran, Raffy’s childlike wonder still remains, which was enough— coupled with the fact that he is an insanely good baseball player— to put him second on our list.
I’m beyond pumped to see the true face of the franchise for the future Devers this season. As something Chaim Bloom actually got right this offseason, Devers goes from ice cream scoops kid to moose tracks mansions with the payday he rightfully earned from the Red Sox. How those expectations shape his seasons to come is beyond our knowledge or the use of a crystal ball. However, it feels so much better watching him knowing he’s here to stay. -Jake Reiser
This one is a no-brainer. Devers is awesome, young enough to be awesome for a while, and took improving his defense to heart last year. When they retire his number in the mid-2030s as he enters the Hall of Fame we’ll all look back on these early days fondly. -Mike Carlucci
I think that I speak for most of us when I say that Casas’ sunbathing and pre-game naps are two of the most relatable things a major league player has ever done. That’s just one reason why this quirky power hitter ranked third overall in our excitement rankings.
I once wrote an entire article about a single foul ball hit by Casas. To say that I’m excited to watch this dude hit, sometimes fail, adapt and adjust in the face of those failures, and then hit again, is an understatement. -Dan Secatore
He’s just weird. -Mike Carlucci
With Rafael Devers the current star of the future, I have big hopes that Casas is ready to become the next one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting All-Star production from the jump, but I’m extremely excited to see him develop over the course of a full MLB season and show us more of his potential. -Jake Reiser
Something about plate discipline just does it for me. I love watching a player absolutely spit on a breaking ball just off the plate. Combine that plate discipline with a swing that could knock down a building, and I’m on the edge of my seat every time he comes up to bat. He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite, and the sky is the limit for what he can do. -Jacob Roy
When the Red Sox signed him to a contract that apparently blew his other offers out of the water I was really surprised. I try to keep the dollars and players separate but it seemed strange: a left fielder with minimal defense, unknown power in MLB, and starting in his age 29 season? But he looked great in the WBC and seems right at home in Fenway Park. Can’t wait to see what he can do! -Mike Carlucci
I’m trying to keep Yoshida’s WBC performance out of my head too much and focus on why he’s a Red Sox. In the wake of losing a couple of big stars from last season, Yoshida has some very big shoes to fill. I have the utmost hope he does it in his own way, and he’s incredibly high on my list of guys to watch as someone beyond integral to the new Boston Red Sox core. -Jake Reiser
Braiser was ranked last by literally every single voter. The only unanimous outcome among 32 players. I guess hatred really does unite people after all.
During the Opening Day ceremonies this past Thursday, I leaned over to a family friend of mine in attendance as Ryan Brasier’s name was being announced and said, “The person I’m BEYOND least excited to see this season.” He absolutely guffawed in agreement. How Ryan Brasier still takes up a roster spot over losses to the bullpen like Matt Barnes (traded for Richard Bleier), or even prospects who could use that slot better like Bryan Mata is beyond me. Surrendering three runs on Thursday did nothing to assuage the laughter I have that he takes up a position in this bullpen. Once Bello, Garrett Whitlock, and James Paxton are healthy, I wholeheartedly hope he becomes one of the guys sent to Worcester. To never return. -Jake Reiser
Up until the 8th inning of the Opening Day loss to the Orioles, the inning in which the Fenway crowd was most engaged was Ryan Brasier’s fifth, when he gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, 3 stolen bases, and 3 runs. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t positive engagement from the faithful; it was pure bloodlust. It’s hard to think of another Red Sox player more universally disliked in recent memory. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brasier doesn’t leave the house much. -Dan Secatore
The fine people over at PitcherList.com created a model to measure pitcher performance over the offseason. For whatever reason, the model liked Brasier coming into the season. For that reason alone, I was willing to give him a chance and hope there was something I wasn’t seeing. Then Opening Day happened. I’m an optimist, and even I won’t waste my energy defending Brasier against the masses. The guy flat-out stinks. -Jacob Roy
I feel bad about the Ryan Brasier meme. It’s not his fault he has survived roster crunch after roster crunch. And he has had some truly great moments for the Red Sox. That said, those were now several years in the past. It’s hard to watch Brasier, who essentially came out of nowhere in 2018, come into every appearance and appear overmatched. -Mike Carlucci
I firmly believe that I will never know joy until Braiser is no longer on the Sox’s roster.
There’s no way you thought that you could get through this whole article without some mention of Pivetta when you saw my name in the byline. That’s right people, I unabashedly ranked Pivetta second overall in my rankings. Here’s why:
As I said in the OTM Slack channel last week when discussing this article:
“What’s more exciting: the possibility of witnessing the most masterful start of the year or a 5-piece in the first inning on any given day, or KNOWING that you’re in for a mediocre 5 IP, 5 ER, 6 K performance every time a guy’s on the mound?” -Avery Hamel
The second one sounds pretty boring to me. And there’s nothing about Pivetta that’s boring.
Would a man that’s unexciting hold an unidentified species of monkey in the middle of a Nats minor league clubhouse? No.
And what kind of boring person would hold this random shark on a beach with such impressive control? Not any that I know!