2024 Lineup (What we actually have - no trade speculation.)

Rovin Romine

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Sometimes doing the right thing means forgoing the maximally self-profitable thing.

Rafaela is on the team. He deserves to be. Let's not be jackasses about that?
 

nvalvo

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I mean, that's the Collective Bargaining Agreement and this happens all the time. I guess I'm just not one who believes that every time management acts in accordance with the Agreement and makes a smart business decision they are acting in bad faith.
There are plenty of things in the CBA that I don't like, but it is the agreed upon deal. Abiding by it is just business, as is a player leaving their original team for more money, once they hit free agency.
Sure, of course.

But sometimes we like to think (and management likes to say) that it might be meaningful to be a member of this organization over and above the contractual dimensions. And we get there by this sort of move. If the FO and coaches think Rafaela’s done the hard work to make himself ready, and there’s a spot for him, then there’s an opportunity here to show that this is the kind of organization that recognizes merit and prioritizes winning.

Yes, it’s also a business. But is it the kind of business that plays baseball to make money, or is it the kind of business that makes money to play baseball?
 

simplicio

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Speier reports that Grissom will start hitting today but still needs a full spring training and will be remaining in Fort Myers. Also Cora says a 2B decision for the start of the season hasn't been made yet.
 

HfxBob

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I mean, that's the Collective Bargaining Agreement and this happens all the time. I guess I'm just not one who believes that every time management acts in accordance with the Agreement and makes a smart business decision they are acting in bad faith.
There are plenty of things in the CBA that I don't like, but it is the agreed upon deal. Abiding by it is just business, as is a player leaving their original team for more money, once they hit free agency.
This one seems like an obvious case of a bad rule that needs to be fixed. It's been a subject of manipulation and hard feelings of players and fans alike for many years.
 

Cassvt2023

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This one seems like an obvious case of a bad rule that needs to be fixed. It's been a subject of manipulation and hard feelings of players and fans alike for many years.
they were talking about it on MLB radio yesterday in regards to Jackson Holliday. It was Bowden and Phillips, both former GM’s, and they both said that because he is represented by Boras, who generally always takes his clients to free agency rather than buy out arbitration years with an extension, that definitely played into the Orioles decision.
 

moondog80

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This one seems like an obvious case of a bad rule that needs to be fixed. It's been a subject of manipulation and hard feelings of players and fans alike for many years.
How can you fix it? There has to be an objective threshold for what counts as a full year and no matter what it is, it's going to impact decision making.
 

BigSoxFan

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they were talking about it on MLB radio yesterday in regards to Jackson Holliday. It was Bowden and Phillips, both former GM’s, and they both said that because he is represented by Boras, who generally always takes his clients to free agency rather than buy out arbitration years with an extension, that definitely played into the Orioles decision.
And the makes a ton of sense for the Orioles. The extra year of control is worth far more to the Orioles than any draft pick compensation for Holliday winning ROY. He also struck out a lot this spring so there are legitimate development reasons to start him in the minors as well.
 

HfxBob

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How can you fix it? There has to be an objective threshold for what counts as a full year and no matter what it is, it's going to impact decision making.
The answer is above my pay grade, but if they reduce the threshold to 150 or something like that, it would make it less advantageous for the team to delay the player's debut.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Dalbec is a survivor. Kind of crazy that he makes the team. Is Devers the only player on the roster with a longer tenure with the club?
 

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And the makes a ton of sense for the Orioles. The extra year of control is worth far more to the Orioles than any draft pick compensation for Holliday winning ROY. He also struck out a lot this spring so there are legitimate development reasons to start him in the minors as well.
If they bring him up and he finishes top 2 in ROY voting, doesn’t he get a full year of service time anyway? Are the O’s planning to keep him on the farm the whole year?
 

simplicio

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If they bring him up and he finishes top 2 in ROY voting, doesn’t he get a full year of service time anyway? Are the O’s planning to keep him on the farm the whole year?
Yes, he does. But I think also think competition in that category from guys like Carter/Langford/Rafaela is pretty fierce, and we don't know exactly how much of Holliday's gaudy numbers are fueled by BABIP
 

Max Power

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How can you fix it? There has to be an objective threshold for what counts as a full year and no matter what it is, it's going to impact decision making.
You could tie free agency to age rather than service time. Everyone gets to be a free agent in the year they turn 28 regardless of when they made the majors. Teams would bring up their young players whenever they were most likely to help the team with less consideration of service time. On the other end, 6th year players are already getting basically free agent salaries, so there probably wouldn't be much harm to a superstar like Mike Trout who comes up at 20. Other than a chance of injury, he'd be making big money for those 7th and 8th years of control.
 

moondog80

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You could tie free agency to age rather than service time. Everyone gets to be a free agent in the year they turn 28 regardless of when they made the majors. Teams would bring up their young players whenever they were most likely to help the team with less consideration of service time. On the other end, 6th year players are already getting basically free agent salaries, so there probably wouldn't be much harm to a superstar like Mike Trout who comes up at 20. Other than a chance of injury, he'd be making big money for those 7th and 8th years of control.
That's interesting, but I suspect you'd never get the owners to go for it, particularly the small market teams. Would lose too many cost controlled years.

Might also lead to a situation where foreign players start to lie about their age, only in the other direction?
 

LogansDad

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If Trevor Story's spring can translate to the regular season, this lineup is suddenly kind of fierce. I am a big fan of batting your "best hitter" in the two hole, and I believe that is Casas, but seeing both Story and Rafaela breaking out kind of complicates that, if both of their spring are what we get in the regular season. Still, I probably avoid Rafaela in the top of the lineup early on so right now, today, if I were running the team, the lineup would look something like:

vRHP:
LF Duran
1B Casas
SS Story
3B Devers
DH Yoshida
CF Rafaela
RF Abreu
C Wong/McGuire
2B Valdez

vLHP:
LF Duran
RF O'Neill
3B Devers
SS Story
1B Casas
DH Yoshida
CF Rafaela
C Wong/McGuire
2B Reyes

In real life, though, I think O'Neill is going to play most of the time to start the season. His offensive upside and glove combination is probably too hard to resist early on. I will also guess that Rafaela is batting 9th most of the time to start the season.

But man, if Story puts up the kind of at bats he has this spring throughout the year.... well, let's just say I am trying to avoid getting my hopes up too high.
 

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If Trevor Story's spring can translate to the regular season, this lineup is suddenly kind of fierce. I am a big fan of batting your "best hitter" in the two hole, and I believe that is Casas, but seeing both Story and Rafaela breaking out kind of complicates that, if both of their spring are what we get in the regular season. Still, I probably avoid Rafaela in the top of the lineup early on so right now, today, if I were running the team, the lineup would look something like:

vRHP:
LF Duran
1B Casas
SS Story
3B Devers
DH Yoshida
CF Rafaela
RF Abreu
C Wong/McGuire
2B Valdez

vLHP:
LF Duran
RF O'Neill
3B Devers
SS Story
1B Casas
DH Yoshida
CF Rafaela
C Wong/McGuire
2B Reyes

In real life, though, I think O'Neill is going to play most of the time to start the season. His offensive upside and glove combination is probably too hard to resist early on. I will also guess that Rafaela is batting 9th most of the time to start the season.

But man, if Story puts up the kind of at bats he has this spring throughout the year.... well, let's just say I am trying to avoid getting my hopes up too high.
Since we're having fun here, where would you put Grissom when he gets back?
 

LogansDad

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Since we're having fun here, where would you put Grissom when he gets back?
Honestly, would start him at 9th in both lineups, but could easily see him moving into the 2 slot against LHP and pushing O'Neill down to the 6 slot. I think the 7 slot behind Rafaela against RHP could be sexy, too. The lineup has potential for a lot of depth, there's a lot of serious OBP guys in it against both side of pitching.
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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Honestly, would start him at 9th in both lineups, but could easily see him moving into the 2 slot against LHP and pushing O'Neill down to the 6 slot. I think the 7 slot behind Rafaela against RHP could be sexy, too. The lineup has potential for a lot of depth, there's a lot of serious OBP guys in it against both side of pitching.
Bring. It. On.
 

Cassvt2023

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This team is more athletic than the last couple years and should play a fun brand of baseball. Duran, Rafaela, Story, O'Neill, Wong, Dalbec, Abreu and Grissom all seem to be good to great athletes at the positions they play. I'm bullish on this team.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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This team is more athletic than the last couple years and should play a fun brand of baseball. Duran, Rafaela, Story, O'Neill, Wong, Dalbec, Abreu and Grissom all seem to be good to great athletes at the positions they play. I'm bullish on this team.
I'm pretty bullish right now on the team. I think offense will be slightly improve over last year's team (I'm expecting improvements from Devers, Casas, Yoshida, Story- over combined '23 SS production, Grissom/Valdez over combined '23 2B production, combined C improvement) the dropoffs in RF and some levelling off from Duran. I see a massively improved defense and that affecting the pitching. I'm even more bullish on SP this season than over last year's but depth is the issue. Strangely enough the '23 team really did have a lot of depth there going 3 deep with quality types, and the volatility of the top of the rotation from last year is gone.... .it's mostly volatile this season on the back end. Sale and Old Man Kluber were at the top rather than Pivetta and Bello. One could argue that the ceiling of '23 was higher but the floor was clearly much lower and boy did they hit that and it quickly evaporated the depth at the ML level.
Anyhow.... the lineup. Right. Apologies for straying. The lineup looks improved.
 

Rovin Romine

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With CJ Cron getting released and some other movement, it's probably time for an overview post:

This seems to be the likely final iteration of the 40-man, with the 13 likely 26 man players bolded.
Grissom (groin) has begun baseball activities, while Refsnyder (toe) is probably out for a month.
-Absent injuries, Dalbec/Valdez have options and so the weaker one would be sent down when Grissom returns.
-Refsnyder might displace Abreu or Duran or Rafaela to AAA if one is underperforming, or be cut/traded if everyone is healthy/performing.

Does that seem about right?

Catchers:
McGuire LHH
Wong

Infielders:
Triston Casas LHH
Rafael Devers LHH
Trevor Story
Vaughn Grissom IL/Delayed ST
Enmanuel Valdez LHH
Pablo Reyes
Bobby Dalbec

Outfielders:
Masataka Yoshida LHH
Tyler O'Neill
Wilyer Abreu LHH
Jarren Duran LHH
Rob Refsnyder IL w/ broken toe
Ceddanne Rafaela

Minors (40 man)
Romy Gonzalez (WOR)​
David Hamilton (WOR)​
Tyler Heineman (WOR)​
 

chrisfont9

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Yes.

Top five players in terms of tenure on the Sox 40-man roster is Devers, Dalbec, Pivetta, Houck, Mata/Wong (tied).
I've been for him getting another chance. You never know, and there's a real fit for that sort of RHH power. He strikes me as one of several players who we might look at differently if the team can stay healthy and guys get consistent playing time within their defined roles, as opposed to taking reps under less ideal circumstances because once again our entire up the middle crew is hurt at the same time.
 

KillerBs

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I could see Dalbec squeezing some ABs from Yoshida (or even Duran) vs lefties. Yoshida slugged just under 400 vs LHPers for what it is worth but got on base at a decent clip. Dalbec is career 855 OPS vs lefties in 350 PAs. Against a tough lefty, subbing him in for Yoshida would allow them to get down to 3 lefty bats in the order, which is better than 4.

Also it will be interesting to see how they split ABs between Rafaela, Abreu and O'Neill vs RHPers. For the first 6 weeks or so, I would like to see a more or less equal time share amid the 3 of them vs RHPers -- hence each playing 2/3 of the time vs RHPers. I am a little concerned they bury Abreu early, when we should be using this year in part to find out if he has a role going forward.

And am I right, does it seems that there is still a competition about who is playing 2b on this team until Grissom returns. Bouncing Ceddane back and forth between CF and 2b seems less than ideal. I think it better to just go with straight Valdez/Reyes platoon, with Reyes coming in for defense when we have a lead after 6.
 

Rovin Romine

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As the Pitching thread is rolling along, I thought I'd bump this today, 5 games into the season. Maybe we don't use it for the whole year, but it's good to check in.

Grissom started the season on the IL with Dalbec being the last man on the bench (presumably) and Valdez manning second base:

Has anybody else noticed the improved defense of Valdez? With his offensive ability it’s going to make the Grissom call difficult especially if Grissom struggles. I wish Valdez could add 4” in height and start working out at 1B and 3B.
I think Valdez may take Dalbec's spot when Grissom is ready. Less "defensive versatility" but a legit bat. Dalbec is 0 for 4 with 3 Ks.

In other Injury news, Refsnyder is also rehabbing. Abreu's not hitting great at the moment and had a game where he seemed very distracted (got picked off.) Abreu has several weeks to solidify his game and make the Refsnyder return problematic.

***
Defense:
Outstanding thusfar. Several impressive stops by Story and Valdez. Casas seems much more rangy at 1B (relative to last year.)

The OF seems very solid with Duran/Rafaela/O'Neill seeming to be the optimum configuration at this point.

Only two errors thusfar - a Reyes throwing error from 3B, and an Abreu error I can't recall at the moment.

***
Hitting

Cold:

Pretty much everyone, including Casas, who was fed nothing but breaking balls by SEA.

Hot:
O'Neill has been on fire - 2HR, 4BB, 3 singles have led to 5 runs and 2 RBI. He leads the team with 11 total bases (Rafaela and Devers tied at 7.)

Sneaky Hot:
Wong has been sneaky hot, going 3 for 7 with only 2 Ks.
McGuire has been just as hot as Wong. 4 for 11 with a double and a walk.
Duran has only been on base 7 times. . .but he's stolen 5 bases and taken extra bases without being caught once.
Devers has only played in 3 games, but has a HR, a 2B, a single, and 2 BB.
 

simplicio

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The Abreu error was the thing that probably cost us the game in extras, he totally muffed a soft liner that fell in right in front of him and gave the runners an extra base.
 

simplicio

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I'm keeping an eye on Romy Gonzalez as a potential Dalbec replacement. He's gotten a 1B start in Worcester, and he's started hot (over 300 avg on a 200 BABIP) with all 4 of his hits going for extras.
 

Rovin Romine

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I'm keeping an eye on Romy Gonzalez as a potential Dalbec replacement. He's gotten a 1B start in Worcester, and he's started hot (over 300 avg on a 200 BABIP) with all 4 of his hits going for extras.
I had seen that 1B start as well. . .

He's interesting. Really a true super-sub if the bat is MLB viable. There's also Pablo Reyes, who seems the base-line utility man this year.

The whole 2024 bench is really going to be fascinating.

Right now Abreu is sort of in the role of 4th OF/bench. O'Neill, although a one-year player is so hot you can't not play him, and Duran has shown his speed is always relevant. Rafaela's defense plays, and his bat has shown positive signs in ST and in-season thusfar. Yoshida is the emergency LF. . .so wither Refsnyder when he is ready?

Meanwhile, Valdez is playing himself into relevance, but he's also the worst fit in terms of multiple position subbing. Dalbec remains Dalbec.

I'm curious to see which of them will stick.
 

TheYellowDart5

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Feels like Valdez's best path to a regular MLB job is as a super-sub, which makes me think he goes back to Worcester to play all around the diamond once Grissom is ready. Or they could keep him around as the backup 2B/3B with Reyes purely a backup SS. The main issue with the bench right now is that they need a better backup 1B/right-handed bat than Dalbec, but that's been the case since the start of the offseason. Maybe that's Refsnyder eventually or Romy Gonzalez if he keeps hitting well in Worcester or someone else, but Valdez unfortunately doesn't solve that issue.
 

Rovin Romine

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Feels like Valdez's best path to a regular MLB job is as a super-sub, which makes me think he goes back to Worcester to play all around the diamond once Grissom is ready. Or they could keep him around as the backup 2B/3B with Reyes purely a backup SS. The main issue with the bench right now is that they need a better backup 1B/right-handed bat than Dalbec, but that's been the case since the start of the offseason. Maybe that's Refsnyder eventually or Romy Gonzalez if he keeps hitting well in Worcester or someone else, but Valdez unfortunately doesn't solve that issue.
I don't know if Valdez has got the natural defensive chops for that, frankly - adequacy at 2B is a project for him. I say that not to downplay the difficulty of the position, but because it's been such a project for him, that I don't see him having the ability to just transition to 3B, let alone SS.

If Grissom performs as we hope (and Story is back as we hope, and O'Neill stays healthy, and Rafaela's bat is viable, and Refsnyder returns. . .) how many right handed bats off the bench do we actually need? I mean, you don't want to get too right handed as the majority of the pitching in MLB is RHP, not LHP.

Frankly, I think the idea we need a RHB on the bench that can play 1B is a bit of a holdover from the first months of last year. Casas is here to stay, and he hits LHP just fine.
 

Merkle's Boner

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From a lineup perspective my biggest concern remains Story. It was good to see him come through last night the third time he came up with RISP but I’ll be surprised if he stays in the top half of the lineup all year. I’d love to be proved wrong. His defense and leadership makes him a necessary part of the lineup of course.
 

Fishy1

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From a lineup perspective my biggest concern remains Story. It was good to see him come through last night the third time he came up with RISP but I’ll be surprised if he stays in the top half of the lineup all year. I’d love to be proved wrong. His defense and leadership makes him a necessary part of the lineup of course.
He's been shaky to start the year, but he hit a nice double last night, the strikeouts aren't out of control, and he had a fantastic spring training, showcasing pop and better bat control than we've seen for him in a while. I think he's going to come around, personally, but I don't blame anyone for being doubtful.
 

TheYellowDart5

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I don't know if Valdez has got the natural defensive chops for that, frankly - adequacy at 2B is a project for him. I say that not to downplay the difficulty of the position, but because it's been such a project for him, that I don't see him having the ability to just transition to 3B, let alone SS.

If Grissom performs as we hope (and Story is back as we hope, and O'Neill stays healthy, and Rafaela's bat is viable, and Refsnyder returns. . .) how many right handed bats off the bench do we actually need? I mean, you don't want to get too right handed as the majority of the pitching in MLB is RHP, not LHP.

Frankly, I think the idea we need a RHB on the bench that can play 1B is a bit of a holdover from the first months of last year. Casas is here to stay, and he hits LHP just fine.
Agreed on Casas being fine to play against lefties, it's more to have someone who can adequately stand there and ideally give him a break against tough LHP. Casas should be there most every day, but he does need breathers. I think Refsnyder is probably the answer here anyway.

And also agreed that Valdez isn't a SS and shouldn't be asked to do it. For what it's worth 3B is his second-most played position as a pro, so he at least has experience there. It wouldn't be the worst thing IMO to have him get more reps there on the regular — maybe split his week between 2B and 3B at Worcester. Then again the FO probably wants Chase Meidroth playing 3B every day, so maybe that's not a viable option.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Agreed on Casas being fine to play against lefties, it's more to have someone who can adequately stand there and ideally give him a break against tough LHP. Casas should be there most every day, but he does need breathers. I think Refsnyder is probably the answer here anyway.

And also agreed that Valdez isn't a SS and shouldn't be asked to do it. For what it's worth 3B is his second-most played position as a pro, so he at least has experience there. It wouldn't be the worst thing IMO to have him get more reps there on the regular — maybe split his week between 2B and 3B at Worcester. Then again the FO probably wants Chase Meidroth playing 3B every day, so maybe that's not a viable option.
There's a case to be made that part of Valdez's defensive troubles were because he's been bounced around to different positions in an effort to a) find him a place and b) to get his bat in the lineup (he's actually played a professional inning at every position on the diamond except pitcher). The improvement we're seeing now could be just that he's able to focus specifically on playing 2B. Even if he's sent down when Grissom returns, continuing to play and improve his defense at 2B, rather than trying to increase his versatility, could increase his trade value should it come to that.
 

Rovin Romine

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And also agreed that Valdez isn't a SS and shouldn't be asked to do it. For what it's worth 3B is his second-most played position as a pro, so he at least has experience there. It wouldn't be the worst thing IMO to have him get more reps there on the regular — maybe split his week between 2B and 3B at Worcester. Then again the FO probably wants Chase Meidroth playing 3B every day, so maybe that's not a viable option.
That's an interesting point. He's played 2B almost exclusively with the Sox in the minors, so I don't know if his other positions made that much of an impression on me. https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=valdez000enm

2,619 MiL innings at 2B​
1,127 MiL innings at 3B (including 190 innings in 2022, but only 12 innings in 2023.)​

FWIW, his overall MiL fielding % and range factor numbers are much lower at 3B than 2B.

There's a case to be made that part of Valdez's defensive troubles were because he's been bounced around to different positions in an effort to a) find him a place and b) to get his bat in the lineup (he's actually played a professional inning at every position on the diamond except pitcher). The improvement we're seeing now could be just that he's able to focus specifically on playing 2B. Even if he's sent down when Grissom returns, continuing to play and improve his defense at 2B, rather than trying to increase his versatility, could increase his trade value should it come to that.
Yeah, I think it's the likely plan to keep him at 2B. . .but I have to say I had no idea he had so much experience at 3B either.

I think that may be a small factor in his favor when considering the MI scrum. Sort of a break-glass 3B as opposed to someone who has never played there before.
 

Rovin Romine

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In keeping with what we have, we've done a bit of tire-kicking re the MiL pitchers, and our injured players (Grissom/Refsnyder.)

Now, going into the season with all the NRIs resolved, how does our MiL position player depth look?

By position, * indicating currently on the 40 man:

Catcher:
*Heineman - AAA. Age 33. MLB exp. Good defender, weak hitter.
Perez - AAA. Age 35. MLB exp. Amazing defender, often injured, last good at the plate in 2019.
Kolozsvary - AAA. Age 28, Good defender, weak hitter.
Teel - AA. Far away.

1B:
*Dalbec.
Kavadas - AAA. A mini LH Rob Deer.
Jordan - AA. Far away.

2B:
*Romy Gonzalez.
Westbrook - AAA. 28. RHH. Had a AAA offensive breakout season last year.
Yorke - AA. RHH - maybe a mid year callup if on fire.

SS:
*Hamilton - AAA. 26. LHH. Duran-speed. Meh fielder, probably best at 2B.
Mayer - AA. A crucial post-injury year.

3B:
Sogard - AAA. 26. Switch. An all rounder in terms of skills, but no outstanding tool.
Meidroth - AAA. 22. RHH. Maybe best at second. Upside as a contact hitter, but low power. A mini-Boggs?

OF:
Conteras - AAA. Age 29. LHH. Twins journeyman, consistent high teens HR/.800 ops type in AAA.
Guthrie - AAA. Age 28. RHH. Good defender, contact first/no power hitter.
McDonough - AAA. 25. RHH OF version of Sogard.
Rosier - AAA. 24. LHH. Plus speed. Plus corner OF. Slappy contact hitter.
Antonius - AA. Far away?


***
My thoughts are:

C emergency depth looks very good - some defense first break-glass types and Teel on the way.

1B/pure bat. . .Kavadas has so much swing and miss in his game, I'd be surprised if he's viable as a ML option this year.

2B/UT IF looks like there are more scratch cards here. Gonzalez, Westbrook, Hamilton could all take a step forward and stick as emergency replacements, but all have flaws. Gonzalez is maybe a super-sub type if he can hit. Westbrook might have the most offensive upside, but he's probably maxed out at age 29. Hamilton's still a prospect, but his K tendencies undermine his OBP, which in turn nullifies the value of his speed. I don't think Sogard's a factor, and Meidroth has to hit more than he has.

OF also looks thin from an emergency callup POV. Conteras is sort of a journeyman like Westbrook but with more of a track record. He's probably first up. Guthrie and McDonough are probably non factors - their bats making them not viable replacements for more than a short stretch. Rosier is almost a prospect, but his one path is to up his contact skills and use his speed. Sort of similar to Hamilton in a sense.

So - Catcher callup is any of them, really, but Heineman is on the 40. Also, I forsee epic McGuire/Heineman battery game threads.
After that. . .R.Gonzalez if a supersub is needed. Maybe Hamilton if he gets hot or progresses for an IF spot. Perhaps Conteras/Westbrook for a longer term stint in the OF/IF respectively?

On the whole, I'm not really worried though, as there's some depth "above" all these guys in Abreu/Refsnyder and Grissom/Valdez. Both Abreu and Valdez also tick the "likely to produce against ML pitching" box.


***
Anyone I missed?

Any thoughts on these guys? A potential dark horse among them?
 

Yo La Tengo

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Nov 21, 2005
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Nathan Hickey? Seems like this is a big year for him as to whether he will move forward as a catcher. 24 years old, AAA, career MiL OPS of .881.
 

nvalvo

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Not one you missed, but one I would emphasize more: Sogard seems like a near-perfect depth guy. He plays a ton of positions (professional innings at SS, 2B, 3B, LF, RF, and CF) and has a .750ish OPS in the high minors with the patience and contact to lead one to believe he wouldn’t crater if called up.
 

Rovin Romine

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Nathan Hickey? Seems like this is a big year for him as to whether he will move forward as a catcher. 24 years old, AAA, career MiL OPS of .881.
Good call. LHH. Maybe a MLB bat. He's doing his first year in AAA at age 24. Since the rap on him is that he needs to both hit and learn defense, AAA seems like a year long stop for him. He's got a bunch of plus defensive catchers as team-mates. But I think one of those guys goes first as a callup before they put Hickey on the 40 man.
 

Rovin Romine

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Not one you missed, but one I would emphasize more: Sogard seems like a near-perfect depth guy. He plays a ton of positions (professional innings at SS, 2B, 3B, LF, RF, and CF) and has a .750ish OPS in the high minors with the patience and contact to lead one to believe he wouldn’t crater if called up.
What are your thoughts on Sogard v. R.Gonzalez in that kind of super-sub role?
 

nvalvo

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What are your thoughts on Sogard v. R.Gonzalez in that kind of super-sub role?
Romy has more upside IMO, in that he at one point had plus power before a shoulder injury that we hope has now healed; Sogard has a higher floor, in that he has two unimpeachably healthy shoulders, but Romy had a season between AA and AAA in which he matched Sogard’s career HR total as a professional. The power difference isn’t small.

So, I’d probably try Romy first, but Sogard’s option years feel like they’ll be pretty helpful.
 

LogansDad

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Nov 15, 2006
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He's been shaky to start the year, but he hit a nice double last night, the strikeouts aren't out of control, and he had a fantastic spring training, showcasing pop and better bat control than we've seen for him in a while. I think he's going to come around, personally, but I don't blame anyone for being doubtful.
I think Story looks okay, though I get why people are stressing about it.

It sucks for him after such a good spring that they had to start the season facing three of the toughest RHP's in the game in Castillo, Kirby and Gilbert... and Bryce Miller is no slouch, either.

Also, while Boyle clearly didn't know where the ball was going last night (and when he did, his defense made sure it didn't matter), his stuff was actually kind of filthy.

He has been doing a much better job of laying off of breaking stuff, his chase percentage is actually down so far to even below his career number (in an admittedly super small sample size). I am hopeful that he will get going since they won't face another pitching staff like Seattle's until... well, until they play Seattle again, in my opinion.
 

Fishy1

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Nov 10, 2006
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I think Story looks okay, though I get why people are stressing about it.

It sucks for him after such a good spring that they had to start the season facing three of the toughest RHP's in the game in Castillo, Kirby and Gilbert... and Bryce Miller is no slouch, either.

Also, while Boyle clearly didn't know where the ball was going last night (and when he did, his defense made sure it didn't matter), his stuff was actually kind of filthy.

He has been doing a much better job of laying off of breaking stuff, his chase percentage is actually down so far to even below his career number (in an admittedly super small sample size). I am hopeful that he will get going since they won't face another pitching staff like Seattle's until... well, until they play Seattle again, in my opinion.
I noticed the same thing re: chase percentage, and the K rate is down 5% over spring and the beginning of the year, which is a huge step in the right direction. Story has always struck out a lot, but I agree that's a good sign.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Jul 19, 2005
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Possibly been discussed already, but it's a little odd to me that Yorke is still in AA after a full season there. I assume there's something the team wants him to work on - K rate being an obvious candidate - but I'm not sure why that couldn't also happen at Worcester. I'm sure part of it is that the original plan was for Valdez to be there, but that seems like something they could work around, maybe get those guys some of the ever-valuable Positional Versatility. I'm sure Romy Gonzalez and Nick Sogard and David Hamilton have their merits, but they all strike me as potential last-guys-on-the-bench rather than a possible MLB starter like Yorke. It's maybe also worth mentioning that the trade for Grissom buried him a bit on the depth chart.
 

Manramsclan

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Jul 14, 2005
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It's maybe also worth mentioning that the trade for Grissom buried him a bit on the depth chart.
I think this is also 100% why he is in AA to start the season. The Red Sox need Grissom to get all the reps at 2B possible so that he can play in the majors. The AA infield is also very crowded. I'm very certain Yorke will get called up to AAA right after Grissom is called up to the Sox.
 

pjheff

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Possibly been discussed already, but it's a little odd to me that Yorke is still in AA after a full season there. I assume there's something the team wants him to work on - K rate being an obvious candidate - but I'm not sure why that couldn't also happen at Worcester. I'm sure part of it is that the original plan was for Valdez to be there, but that seems like something they could work around, maybe get those guys some of the ever-valuable Positional Versatility. I'm sure Romy Gonzalez and Nick Sogard and David Hamilton have their merits, but they all strike me as potential last-guys-on-the-bench rather than a possible MLB starter like Yorke. It's maybe also worth mentioning that the trade for Grissom buried him a bit on the depth chart.
It‘s maybe also worth mentioning that Grissom is going to need a rehab assignment at AAA shortly, and that Yorke’s spot in Worcester should open when Vaughn joins the big league squad.
 

Cassvt2023

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Jan 17, 2023
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I wouldn't mind seeing O'Neill being moved up to the 2 hole in the lineup tmrw night while he is hot and seeing a lot of pitches. Devers seems to be pressing right now, and Duran wasn't able to attempt a steal yesterday even though he was on 1st 4 times in a row. It'd look something like this:

Duran LF
O'Neill RF
Devers 3B
Story SS
Casas 1B
Rafaela CF
Yoshida DH
Wong C
Valdez 2B
 

Fishy1

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Nov 10, 2006
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Something to watch, but Duran's K rate in spring training was about 18%, and it's... 18.8% in the earlygoing. If he's really cut his K rate by that much and is putting the ball in play 7% of the time more... phew, watch out. He's going to have a year if that's the case.
 

Cassvt2023

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Jan 17, 2023
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Something to watch, but Duran's K rate in spring training was about 18%, and it's... 18.8% in the earlygoing. If he's really cut his K rate by that much and is putting the ball in play 7% of the time more... phew, watch out. He's going to have a year if that's the case.
Yeah he looked great at the plate the last few games. Almost all of his hits were up the middle or the other way. He is taking what pitchers are giving him. If they try to adjust and come in, we know he has the power to hit it out pull side. As long as he doesn't get homer happy and keeps doing what he's doing, it could be a big year.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Dec 7, 2022
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Not sure where to put this, so I'll just throw it in here in the line up thread.

Going back and watching the highlights of the first week with the off-day, it always makes me chuckle somewhat seeing the various sites try to "grade" defense vs what someone's eyes tell them, and how that truly fits in to wins and losses. I say this thinking about Rafaela and his play in CF, specifically in Oakland.

He currently has a 1.0 fWAR grade on defense and is -1.9 hitting for a total fWAR of 0.0.

Then you think to the games the past two days and realize that if you had gone with an similar to last years of Abreu in LF, Duran in CF, O'Neil and RF and Yoshida as the DH, the Sox probably go 1-2 in the two games against Oakland instead of 3-0. I'm not trying to say that Rafaela won those games - someone needed to drive the runner in, pitch, etc, etc. But I'm also saying I think they lose both games without him.

This is mostly just to post - wow is he a joy to watch out there.