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Sunday, March 01, 2020

2020 Vision - Coming Into Focus

With the Sox finally playing baseball games and actual news coming from Fort Myers we are getting a bit more knowledge about who will make up the Sox Opening Day roster.  There are still plenty of decisions to be made and the uncertainty of the sign stealing investigation still looming.  Anyway, while we wait for more news let’s consider where we stand;

Infield
Rostered: Mitch Moreland, Michael Chavis, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Jose Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin

Disabled List: Dustin Pedroia
Contendahs: Jonathan Arauz, Bobby Dalbec, CJ Chatham, Marco Hernandez

The infield feels pretty set despite a fair amount of potential uncertainty.  The Sox made the deal for Peraza so he is sticking around and I thought when they traded Mookie Betts they might try to negotiate a return for fan favorite Brock Holt but that did not come to pass.  Lin’s spot seems to be the one that is still the unknown.  Lin has evidently been working out in the outfield as well so he is likely to take the Holt role.  While I’m disappointed to see Holt gone I think it is somewhat encouraging that the Sox did not make the “let’s try to please the fans” move in February of bringing him back and instead are eating the bad PR in the name of what they think is right.

I think there is some intrigue regarding the two prospects; Dalbec and Chatham.  They have already said Dalbec won’t be on the roster and Chatham seems to be getting a lot of good buzz.  Chatham is an interesting guy to me, tall and rangy for a shortstop but I think he can wind up being a better big leaguer than his minor league performance has suggested.

Outfield
Rostered: Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, Marcus Wilson

Disabled List: Alex Verdugo
Contendahs: Jarren Duran, John Andreoli
Rich But No Chance: Rusney Castillo

Plenty going on here.  Obviously JD Martinez will show up on this list as DH so he’s available. With Verdugo starting the year on the DL if the Sox believe Lin can be a tolerable option in the outfield I wonder if this opens up a roster spot to use to keep Arauz around (oh say that three times fast).  Duran is the early spring training star and while it is highly unlikely he makes the squad I get a bit of a 2013 JBJ vibe from him that he gets on the Opening Day roster as a way to send a message that decisions are being made based on performance not dollars.  I know nothing about Andreoli but he’s the focus of a lot of stories so far and I wonder if there is something to be gleaned from that.

Catcher
Rostered: Christian Vazquez, Jonathan Lucroy

Disabled List: Juan Centeno
Contendah: Kevin Plawecki

Well I’ll use Centeno’s injury yesterday as an excuse to throw him on this list.  The question obviously is Lucroy or Plawecki and Ron Roenicke has been pretty effusive about Lucroy with whom he has history in Milwaukee.  I suspect it is six of one, half a dozen of the other.  Lucroy probably brings more to the plate while Plawecki probably brings more behind it.

Designated Hitter
Rostered: JD Martinez

Nothing to see here, carry on.

Starting Pitchers
Rostered: Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Brian Johnson

Disabled List: Chris Sale

Not a lot to add here.  I won’t list an “Opener” other than to acknowledge it will happen but presumably that will be one of the relievers so we’ll just let that play out.  I think having Sale on the DL to start the year is encouraging.  Last year’s approach of taking it easy then trying to ramp right up to 100MPH in the fast lane was obviously a bust.  Letting Sale build his arm strength, get his six starts and missing one or two starts ultimately is the right call.

Relievers
Rostered: Brandon Workman, Darwinzon Hernandez, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Josh Taylor, Marcus Walden, Austin Brice, Ryan Weber

Contendahs: Oh just go look up the 40 man roster

I feel pretty good about the first six (everyone through Taylor) but the last three are a big ol’ shoulder shrug.  Walden has been impressive in occasional appearances and Weber seems to be a guy getting a lot of chatter as the opener.  Brice was acquired in trade and has a live arm.  So I’ll punt with that group.

I think the bullpen looks really good though.  If Barnes can rebound a bit and Hernandez can be what I think he can be that final three plus Taylor as the lefty looks potentially impressive.  I feel a lot better about this group than I did about the back of the bullpen last year at this time.

That’s what I got.  We are less than a month away from actual baseball (and five days from me being in Fort Myers, yay!) so something will be happening.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 01, 2020 at 09:16 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 01, 2020 at 11:34 AM (#5927364)
Man, without Sale that rotation isn't very encouraging.

Don't get me wrong, all of those guys at their best are different flavors of awesome. But I think there's a real possibility that Rodriguez regresses, Eovaldi gets hurt before Patriots Day, and then it doesn't matter so much how Perez and Johnson do because they would both need to be perfect to let the bullpen recover from the games those two don't start.

I agree that it beats the alternative of having Sale in the rotation before he's ready.

   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 01, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5927368)
One thing about this year’s team compared to last year’s is I think they are better equipped to handle rotation injuries. They will be more committed to openers this year than they were last year and I also think the uncertainty about the bullpen brings with it a bit more depth for that sort of thing. Guys like Tanner Houck, Josh Osich, Colton Brewer, Hector Velazquez etc...I think give them a bit more in terms of options if they have to go opener for a bit.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: March 01, 2020 at 12:36 PM (#5927372)
I had never heard of Marcus Wilson before reading this. Apparently he's the trade return for Swihart and had a good year in single and double A.

For OF depth, I think we might see Peraza there more than Lin.
   4. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: March 01, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5927398)
   5. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 01, 2020 at 06:51 PM (#5927401)
From what I’ve read about him Wilson is an athlete but not necessarily a baseball player. He kind of slots in as the fourth outfielder largely by virtue of his presence on the 40 man roster. The NRI outfielders are; Andreoli, Nick Longhi, Rusney Castillo, Cesar Puello and Duran. Castillo obviously isn’t going to be on the roster, Longhi doesn’t seem like a serious prospect, Andreoli and Puello seem like they might actually have a shot but Wilson is actually on the 40 man which would seem to be a significant edge. That leaves Duran who good spring start aside isn’t really ready. Best case for him is probably a September call up.
   6. Bad Fish Posted: March 05, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5928306)
They just signed Collin McHugh for the kind of pocket change I could find the seats of a junkyard Vega. He has a high floor with a potentially useful ceiling. The over-reaction to 30 year old, non-all-star free agents vs. controllable prospects has gotten stupid.
   7. Chip Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5928311)
Also say goodbye to Hector Velazquez, who was released to make room for McHugh on the 40-man.
   8. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 02:12 PM (#5928343)

Also say goodbye to Hector Velazquez, who was released to make room for McHugh on the 40-man.


Is McHugh any better? I really dont get this move.
   9. villageidiom Posted: March 05, 2020 at 03:28 PM (#5928364)
Is McHugh any better? I really dont get this move.
Well, first of all he's injured, so he fits Boston's pitching profile better.

Second, McHugh (when healthy) has more potential to eat innings as a starter than Velazquez. HV averaged under 3.2 IP per start in MLB; CM averaged a little over 5.2.

Third, McHugh is likely to pitch those innings better than Velazquez, maybe even much better. And that's not a knock on Velazquez.

But really, I think Boston's interest in McHugh was less about the quality and more that they weren't projected to have as much pitching salary on the injured list as they're comfortable with.
   10. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:27 PM (#5928420)
McHugh put up a 1.99 ERA in 2018, the dude can pitch. He’s not healthy Yet but he’s likely to be significantly better than Velazquez when he is. The Sox may not have a ton of great pitchers at the moment but I think they have plenty of guys that can pretend to be Hector Velazquez this year. Last year they had guys who weren’t there yet, this year guys like Brice, Houck, Weber, Hildenberger and later in the year maybe Mata can jump in. I don’t think they had that sort of depth last year. They were relying on Johnson and Velazquez (who both did a great job in 2018) and when they struggled (plus Eovaldi getting hurt) the pitching got thin quick.
   11. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: March 08, 2020 at 06:25 PM (#5928871)
Pictures from today.. The combination of turning the clocks ahead and the mojitos going down easily last night meant I didn't get there early enough today to see the minor leaguers. Tuesday hopefully. In the bad picture of a nitwit in an orange shirt making a face for the TV camera my best friend saw me while he watched the game and his two kids wanted me to stick my tongue out so I obliged.

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