Boston Red Sox: Top Five Current Players
The Boston Red Sox roster is one of the deepest and most talented in the league but who are the top players on their current roster?
The Boston Red Sox came into this season with high expectations of themselves, hoping to send David Ortiz off the way he deserves. So far they have done just that staying in the thick of American League East race and the Wild Card spot leading one of the two for most of the last month. They have shown themselves to be legitimate contenders not only in their division but the American League. The problem for the Red Sox will be if their top offense can’t carry their lack of pitching in the postseason?
Before we move on to the top players are are a couple of guys worth mentioning that just didn’t quite make the cut.
Dustin Pedroia– On most teams Dustin would be a lock for a list like this due to his high average and good on-base percentage, but due to the overall talent of the roster he didn’t quite make the cut. Pedroia has been a Red Sox for almost as long as anyone on the roster and will soon become the last remaining member of the old core that brought Boston a World Series title. Despite his age he still has above-average speed and great bat speed that will help him continue his career with the Red Sox in the seasons to come.
Jackie Bradley Jr.- Bradley deserves a mention simply for the transition he has undergone in the last season. He has gone from an unwanted player to a great defensive outfielder an above average hitter with power. Whatever changed for Bradley is working he is quickly becoming a part of the Sox’s long term outfielders.
Craig Kimbrel is an amazing closer and one that is fun to watch. His best seasons have come with the Braves when he had four consecutive 40 save seasons. Since leaving Atlanta he hasn’t matched that mark but remains one of the most talented closers in the game.
This year injuries have derailed his season just a bit but, when he has been healthy he has looked like himself striking hitter’s out at a ridiculous rate and closing out games for the Red Sox.
Kimbrel has pitched 391.1 innings in his Major League career and in those innings has struck out 631 hitters. The rate he strikes hitters out is unreal and aided by high velocity and movement that few back end bullpen arms are gifted with. The problem for Kimbrel will be opportunities as Boston seems to often win game by large margins. When he is given an opportunity however, the game is all but over.
While the importance of a close is debated throughout the Major Leagues few would argue with Kimbrel’s talent or what he can bring to a bullpen. He has brought stability to the late innings and if the Red Sox find themselves in a must win game will have a reliever who is not afraid to pitch with the game on the line.
The Boston Red Sox needed an ace badly and, out of that, may have paid just a bit too much for David Price. With that large price tag came huge expectations for David Price to be the ace that they needed. So far in his time with Boston, Price has disappointed sporting an earned run average close to four and struggling to pitch well at home.
Despite these struggles, Price has still is a great pitcher and should figure things out soon in Boston. He has maintained his usual strikeout rate and still has had some very good outings this season. The problem for Price seems to be less of a pitching issue and more the level of offenses and fields he is pitching in more regularly.
While a step back for the 30-plus year old pitcher isn’t too far fetched in the near future, David Price has not had his best season in a Boston uniform just yet. He cares too much about baseball and giving his best not to improve on the problems he has had this season. Look for Price to rebound next season and be the ace he has been with every other team he has spent time with in his career.
Xander Bogaerts is a very underrated player in Boston right now. The ability he brings both on defense and at the plate is well above-average and does not seem to get the recognition that it deserves. He consistently puts the ball in play and piles up hits. He has also flashed surprising power this season hitting 16 homers so far. That is new career high, and, not the only category that he is setting career highs in this season.
He is a spark plug in the Boston offense finding ways to get on base and often scoring with all of the big bats behind him in the lineup. The one thing that Bogaerts could improve on is his pitch recognition as at times he tends to chase pitches he shouldn’t. While this is true of every Major League hitter, it is a tendency that if Bogaerts can reign in will help make him one of the best and most consistent hitters in the league year in and year out.
Xander’s defense looks to be improving each season as he adjusts to the Major Leagues. It is fair to note he is not even close to what should be his prime. How much better will Bogaerts get?
David Ortiz has been the face of the Boston Red Sox for a very long time. He has had an amazing career and making it more impressive with the final season he is putting together. The 40-year-old would deserve to make this list on this season alone much less considering the career he has put together.
A lot of non-Boston fans will make the argument that Ortiz no longer plays in the field and, because of that, is a one dimensional player. While it may be true that Ortiz can no longer play in the field, his hitting is not the only thing he has brought to this team. He has been a voice both of the team and the city over his tenure with Boston. Hitting may be the only obvious thing he brings to the team but most any Boston fan understands and knows what he has brought to the team and to the city throughout his career.
His last season has been one to remember so far, and with the Sox in the thick of the postseason race it’s not hard to imagine his career having a storybook ending with one last World Series title for Big Papi before his time in Boston comes to an end.
Mookie Betts is the unquestioned best player on the Red Sox roster and should become the face of the franchise once David Ortiz finally hangs it up at the end of this season. Betts is a player that unlike Bryce Harper has delivered on expectations after a nice debut season and has his name in the thick of MVP discussions.
Betts is one of the very few players in baseball who can hit thirty balls over the fence and just as easily steal thirty bases. He has speed, power, and a great defensive ability. It is hard to find anything about Betts not to like. Much like Bogaerts, he is still only in his early twenties and may continue to get better as he matures.
Whether or not Betts deserves an MVP this season can be debated, what is undeniable is his talent and the excitement he has brought to Boston this season. If there is one player that may challenge Mike Trout in the seasons to come for best all-around player it will be Mookie Betts.
Overall the Red Sox roster is stacked with talent and looks poised for a postseason run. The one question they are going to have to answer this postseason is can their top hitting make up for their lack of pitching?
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