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Was Pablo Reyes The Right Choice In The Red Sox Infield?

Now that the dust has settled on the middle infielder battle, we can take a look at whether Reyes has done what’s asked of him.

Kansas City Royals (2) Vs. Boston Red Sox (6) at Fenway Park Photo by Vincent Alban/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It was just nine days ago that Pablo Reyes hit a walk-off grand slam against the Royals that basically sealed his spot on the roster.

The debate about who would stick as the utility infielder when Trevor Story returned was looming for weeks, as Christian Arroyo, Yu Chang, and Reyes battled it out. Arroyo was the first to go, followed three days later by Chang. How has Reyes performed since? Let’s take a look:

The Rest of the Royals Series

The next night, everyone was a little sleepy as the Red Sox ate a loss. Reyes was no stranger, going 0-for-4. Let’s follow that up with a 3-for-3 game the next night. Did he also make outs at second base every time? Yeah, but only one was his fault on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play in the bottom of the third. That’s not to say Reyes didn’t shine more. He hovered over the bag and made a very quick tag to assist Nick Pivetta in picking off Maikel Garcia at second base to get out of a jam unscathed.

The last game of the series, when the bats were sleepy once more, Reyes was not a member of the party. He went 2-for-4, with a crucial double in the fifth inning, and would later come around to score the second and final run of the game on a strange double by Adam Duvall off the yellow-line on the Monster that needed a challenge to get right.

All in all, he still showed out the rest of the series against Kansas City.

The Tigers Series

Game 1 was...the only one where Reyes showed up with the bat. Going 2-for-4, once again and scoring another run, singling and then coming home on a titanic two-run shot from Triston Casas. He would notch another single in the eighth inning.

Game 2 was a crappy one for the Sox in general, a rare one what feels like this season where the bats didn’t give any support for Brayan Bello when he needed it. That’s not to say Reyes didn’t get a bit of luck bringing home a run on a fielding error. He did also draw a walk in the second inning to put two on and one down, but the Sox couldn’t do anything there.

The series finale was inarguably Reyes’ weakest game. 0-for-4 (though one out was stung to center field), 1 strikeout, and a set of defensive miscues that probably goes on the reel of “Why The Red Sox Middle Infield Was Terrible in 2023”.

The Nats Series: Game 1

After the off day, Reyes certainly bounced back. A 2-for-4 outing last night, where his first hit was probably the most crucial of the game. His hustle double down the left-field line set up second and third with no outs in the top of the fourth inning after Nick Pivetta had just blown a three-run lead in the bottom of the third.

What happens next? With the bases loaded and no outs, Reyes advances to third on a sacrifice fly double play (yes, that was so strange to see Reese McGuire try and tag up and barely get thrown out at second base). Even better though is that Reyes raced home to score the eventual game-winning run on a wild pitch.

A catch in foul territory in the eighth and a catch of a popped-up bunt in the ninth calms some defensive nerves as well.

How does that stack up with the guys Reyes beat out?

Christian Arroyo is 2-for-12 in three games in Worcester since accepting his assignment. He broke out with a 2-for-5 game on Sunday in the WooSox’s 13-4 thumping of the Buffalo Bisons but certainly wasn’t the star between Wilyer Abreyu’s three-homer game and Bobby Dalbec’s two-homer performance. In the field, no errors so far, with two games at shortstop and one at second base. Yu Chang hasn’t suited up for Worcester yet.

With those numbers, it’s hard to judge Reyes against those two, and it’s hard to make any conjecture as to how any of them would have performed if they won the roster spot in Boston. But they didn’t. And while Reyes won’t be the answer forever at second, or even perhaps on the roster with the news of Adalberto Mondesi’s recovery actually taking a turn for the better, he’s been a strong contributor exactly when the Red Sox have needed it.

I’ll address the inevitable from the comments before you even make it to your keyboards. No, he’s not the team’s MVP, and maybe it makes no difference down the road, and it doesn’t make up for the lack of a true impact player between those three and Kiké Hernandez all season long (even with the return of Trevor Story, it’ll take time). Reyes frankly is only on this team because Chang went down in late April with a hamate fracture in his left hand and Arroyo hit the IL with a right hammy strain. He righted the ship quickly then; he righted the ship when he came off his own IL stint in late July too. The acquisition is worthy of being called a good feather in Chaim Bloom’s cap in 2023. But that’s more on Reyes than Bloom, at least to me.