Maybe the Red Sox are good?

Red(s)HawksFan

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Not sure why they'd be waiting for the Worcester season to start. While it has served as the "alternate site", all those players have been working every day, playing intrasquad games as well as some scrimmages with other minor league "alternate site" squads. It's not like they've been sitting idle for the last month. They've called up Houck and Bazardo as the extra pircher for a double header. They called up Chavis when they placed JD on the COVID IL for a day.

The lack of real games in Worcester makes sense for why they haven't sent Cordero down to get himself straightened out, but I don't see how sending Valdez down in favor of a position player like Chavis or Wilson or Arauz does him any harm. He hasn't been pitching anyway.

And now Kike's out of the game already. They need to get a healthy body up, now.
 
Dec 8, 2017
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Agree that is probably the hold up.
They're going to need to start easing off Barnes too. He's on pace for 85 innings and has appeared in16 of the 31 games.

When the position players are healthy I'd like to swap out Brice for Bazardo and see if he can be a 7th inning guy. Hernandez is just too volatile to trust and they haven't exactly been facing juggernaut lineups.
I'm expecting (hoping?) they bring Danny Santana (1-for-3 for Greenville yesterday) up soon and send Valdez/Brice down.
 

nvalvo

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(I'm posting while listening to the late innings of our 32nd game of the season.)

Red Sox defense, R/9 IP games 1-10: 4.31; 11-20: 4.15; 21-30: 4.35. Pretty steady.
Red Sox offense, R/G games 1-10: 6.2; 11-20: 4.4; 21-30: 4.3. Declining after a fast start.
Red Sox record, games 1-10: 7-3; 11-20: 5-5; 21-30: 6-4.

Suffice to say, scoring only as many runs as you allow is a recipe for .500 play; we're lucky to be 11-9 over that twenty game stretch. The pitching has been pretty reliable, at least until this series against the mighty Detroit Tigers; the offense has slumbered after a fast start. The heart of the order has been pretty steady, but it won't be news to anyone that the bottom of the order has had a rough few weeks. (Then again, Renfroe's had a good couple games and even Franchy has two (edit: three!) line drives for hits so far in the game today; so maybe we'll be back in business soon.)
 
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joe dokes

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Valdez has options. Two, in fact. He's the obvious pick to be sent down.

They need to make room on the 40 man to add Santana though, so if it is Brice that goes, a DFA would solve the issue.
Brice would be no loss if they lose him.
 

chawson

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Valdez has options. Two, in fact. He's the obvious pick to be sent down.

They need to make room on the 40 man to add Santana though, so if it is Brice that goes, a DFA would solve the issue.
Valdez has been the second best pitcher on the team so far, behind Barnes, according to opposing hitters’ wOBA (.185, just a notch better than Michael Kopech at .186). The K’s aren’t always there but the changeup’s been as elite as Whitlock and Andriese.

My guess is Brice could be worth DFAing if we need to free up a spot for Santana on the 40-man. If we just need to send someone down it’s probably Taylor, who’s giving up a ton of hard contact.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Valdez has been the second best pitcher on the team so far, behind Barnes, according to opposing hitters’ wOBA (.185, just a notch better than Michael Kopech at .186). The K’s aren’t always there but the changeup’s been as elite as Whitlock and Andriese.

My guess is Brice could be worth DFAing if we need to free up a spot for Santana on the 40-man. If we just need to send someone down it’s probably Taylor, who’s giving up a ton of hard contact.
If that is the case, why did he go nearly two weeks between appearances? That doesn't fit with the notion of him being the second best pitcher on the team. Not questioning the stat you quoted, just the meaningfulness of it based on the sample size. Clearly Cora and Bush see something they don't like. It's not as though there have been a lack of opportunities to deploy him.
 

The Gray Eagle

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My only hope for Brice is if we could pawn him off on some other spin-rate loving team, sort of in the way we got a decent prospect from Tampa for Mazza and Springs.
We wouldn't get much of anything for Brice, but if we could get like a C prospect in low A ball, then we certainly should. If not, we should just cut him. He's 28 and has never been any good. We need the roster spot for a position player, probably Danny Santana when he's ready, which should be soon.

Valdez hadn't pitched since April 24th before today, we don't need every single one of all these mediocre relievers.
 

chawson

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If that is the case, why did he go nearly two weeks between appearances? That doesn't fit with the notion of him being the second best pitcher on the team. Not questioning the stat you quoted, just the meaningfulness of it based on the sample size. Clearly Cora and Bush see something they don't like. It's not as though there have been a lack of opportunities to deploy him.
I’m not sure. He was lights out all season, then walked a couple guys and hit a batter in mop-up duty while we were down 6-1, giving up a couple of cue-shot infield singles. I think it’s a little speculative to say there’s something Cora and Bush don’t like — maybe he was under the weather? — but you’re right it had been a while.

In any case, Valdez has been the 16th best reliever in baseball by wOBA before today, behind Melancon, Graveman, Chapman, Karinchak, Crick, Barnes, Hader, Feyereisen, José Ruiz, Gallegos, King, Holloway and Robles. I’d be surprised if he ends up there and they haven’t been particularly high leverage innings, but he’s good. It’s Taylor and Brice who are getting smoked.
 

Danny_Darwin

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For those of you on DuranWatch, he’s 0-11 with 6 Ks at Worcester. Three games, obviously, but not the start you’d like to see.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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For those of you on DuranWatch, he’s 0-11 with 6 Ks at Worcester. Three games, obviously, but not the start you’d like to see.
I'm very skeptical about Duran for all the reasons we're all aware of and don't see the need to rehash here. I suspect there's a lot of hyping going on to inflate him for a trade. I have thought for a while that Jimenez is the long term hope at CF.
 

Rovin Romine

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As a general comment, the goal shouldn't be to identify the next great RS prospect and slot them neatly into a spot forever. Or to hedge the 40-man into some kind of optimal configuration that none-the-less means you're carrying crap on the ML roster.

It should be to find this year's "Bobby Dalbec - 2020."

Or less:

MLB player average-ish production out of 1B, and one OF slot.
A pinch runner.

IMO, much of the casual push for Duran is we know he can do the second.
 

mikeford

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So the Red Sox are presently the best record in baseball and the first to 20 wins.

There are hideous warts all over this team but... it sorta felt that way in 2013 too.

Seems like they desperately need another OF bat though.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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So the Red Sox are presently the best record in baseball and the first to 20 wins.

There are hideous warts all over this team but... it sorta felt that way in 2013 too.

Seems like they desperately need another OF bat though.
The likelihood of a 100 win team this year looks low with only a few teams that are really bad. Seems that any team other than O's could win the AL East, any team other than the Tigers could win the Central ( even the underperforming Twins), only the NL West IMO has more than one "bad" team and one of those teams just took 3/4 from the "best" team in the entire league.
I'm wondering with the rise of "Three True Outcome" baseball, if it generally leveling performances and we are getting to a parity across the general board....
 

bosockboy

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So the Red Sox are presently the best record in baseball and the first to 20 wins.

There are hideous warts all over this team but... it sorta felt that way in 2013 too.

Seems like they desperately need another OF bat though.
One big bat and Brad Hand and this team could definitely be in the conversation.
 

BaseballJones

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Through 31 games...

- Bos is #1 in runs with 187 (6.0/g)
- Bos is #2 in run differential with +36
- Bos has the largest divisional lead at +3.5 games
- Bos has the best win percentage in MLB (.629)
- Bos is #1 in batting avg at .267
- Bos is #3 in obp at .333
- Bos is #1 in ops at .778
- Bos is #1 in doubles with 78
- Bos is #15 in team era at 3.96

Offense has been dominant. Pitching has been solid. Defense has been questionable at best (one of the worst fielding percentages in baseball, and with some of the guys they put out there, range isn't great either).

Overall...pretty nice start to the season. We knew they could hit. The pitching has been the key so far.
 

bosockboy

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Through 31 games...

- Bos is #1 in runs with 187 (6.0/g)
- Bos is #2 in run differential with +36
- Bos has the largest divisional lead at +3.5 games
- Bos has the best win percentage in MLB (.629)
- Bos is #1 in batting avg at .267
- Bos is #3 in obp at .333
- Bos is #1 in ops at .778
- Bos is #1 in doubles with 78
- Bos is #15 in team era at 3.96

Offense has been dominant. Pitching has been solid. Defense has been questionable at best (one of the worst fielding percentages in baseball, and with some of the guys they put out there, range isn't great either).

Overall...pretty nice start to the season. We knew they could hit. The pitching has been the key so far.
And they have some fairly substantial lineup holes. Nothing out of LF or 1B, and no legit leadoff hitter. They could really be special if they get better production out of these.
 

BaseballJones

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Renfroe by month:

April: 19 g, .167/.235/.250/.485, 1 hr, 8 rbi
May: 8 g, .314/.314/.600/.914, 3 hr, 9 rbi
 

Max Power

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Through 31 games...

- Bos is #1 in runs with 187 (6.0/g)
- Bos is #2 in run differential with +36
- Bos has the largest divisional lead at +3.5 games
- Bos has the best win percentage in MLB (.629)
- Bos is #1 in batting avg at .267
- Bos is #3 in obp at .333
- Bos is #1 in ops at .778
- Bos is #1 in doubles with 78
- Bos is #15 in team era at 3.96

Offense has been dominant. Pitching has been solid. Defense has been questionable at best (one of the worst fielding percentages in baseball, and with some of the guys they put out there, range isn't great either).

Overall...pretty nice start to the season. We knew they could hit. The pitching has been the key so far.
Pitching is probably even better than their ERA would indicate. If they had a good defense behind them, they'd give up fewer runs. But even still, you're not going to take Devers and Xander out of the lineup because some grounders get through the left side. I can live with average run prevention if they're crushing the ball.
 

bosockboy

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Pitching is probably even better than their ERA would indicate. If they had a good defense behind them, they'd give up fewer runs. But even still, you're not going to take Devers and Xander out of the lineup because some grounders get through the left side. I can live with average run prevention if they're crushing the ball.
Yes, Eovaldi has a FIP of 2.03.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Pitching is probably even better than their ERA would indicate. If they had a good defense behind them, they'd give up fewer runs. But even still, you're not going to take Devers and Xander out of the lineup because some grounders get through the left side. I can live with average run prevention if they're crushing the ball.
What's working right now for the Red Sox is that all of a sudden it's offense that's the scarce commodity. Their .338 OBA is the exact same as it was in 2019. But in 2019 it ranked 5th in baseball at 6 percent above league average and today it ranks 1st at 15 percent above league average.
 

soxhop411

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I can’t understand why the Sox have been shit at home the past few season.

It’s like the Sox do worse with “home field” advantage
 

joe dokes

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What's working right now for the Red Sox is that all of a sudden it's offense that's the scarce commodity. Their .338 OBA is the exact same as it was in 2019. But in 2019 it ranked 5th in baseball at 6 percent above league average and today it ranks 1st at 15 percent above league average.
This is a really important point. Vazquez's 677 OPS is still an OPS+ of 89. Not great by any stretch, but within spitting distance of league average. In 2019, JBJ had an OPS+ of 90 with an OPS of 737. This year, Hernandez's 732 = 100 OPS+.
Ultimately, "good" is relative, both to the current league and past performance. Many here figured something like "an average pitching staff will be so much better than what they threw up there in 2020 that the team will be competitive if the offense doesn't drop off." It's difficult (for me anyway) to see where the line between good pitching and bad hitting is, but it seems as though the Sox starters are benefitting from (or causing) the bad hitting more than the hitters (overall) are falling victim to the general offensive falloff.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I can’t understand why the Sox have been shit at home the past few season.

It’s like the Sox do worse with “home field” advantage
The run distribution at home versus away looks pretty strange since 2019.

In 2019, the Red Sox slashed .278/.348/.487 (.835 OPS) at home and scored 5.58 runs/game.
In 2019, their opponents slashed .249/.333/.422 (.755 OPS) at Fenway and scored 5.42 runs/game. That is a considerably worse slash generating a similar run total.

The last 3 years, the Sox have hit better at home (measured by BA/OBP/SLG), but their run totals have not benefited by as much as their opponents for some reason.
40977

The Fenway/Road differences in runs always seem to benefit the opponent, regardless of BA/OBP/SLG results. In 2019, the Red Sox pitching allowed an OPS that was .011 lower at Fenway than the road, yet they gave up 0.62 more runs/game at Fenway.

This year, the Red Sox have an OPS that is .023 better at home and score 0.25 runs more per game at home versus the road. The pitching staff has allowed an OPS that is .016 worse at Fenway, yet they give up 1.48 more runs per game at Fenway.
40978

The run totals at Fenway outwardly benefit the opponents even when the OPS home/road difference benefits the Red Sox more (2019 and 2021).
40979

40980
 

nvalvo

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I can’t understand why the Sox have been shit at home the past few season.

It’s like the Sox do worse with “home field” advantage
I don't know about past years, but in 2021, almost the entire difference between home and road is our record against the Baltimore Orioles, which I don't really think had much to do with the ballparks either way.

We were swept at home to open the season, so we are 0-3 at home, where we are 10-10 against all opponents (.500). If you remove Orioles' games, we're 10-7 (.588) at home.
We have been 6-1 in Camden, which helps improve our road record to 12-5 (.706). If you remove Orioles' games, we're 6-4 (.600) on the road. Those winning percentages are pretty close.

Was Fenway really a factor in the season-opening sweep? I think it's more that Baltimore caught us with a cold offense coming out of Spring Training. We followed it up by roughing up Tampa Bay at home — a team with a better pitching staff on paper.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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After watching Marwin Gonzalez fail as the lead-off hitter for a couple games, I got interested in how Red Sox lead-off hitters as a whole are doing vs the league. Which led me to look at all line-up spots. To the numbers (I hope the chart makes it through):

Batting Position​
Red Sox wOBA​
Red Sox wOBA rank (MLB)​
MLB wOBA leader (or #2)​
Red Sox wRC+​
Red Sox wRC+ rank (MLB)​
MLB wRC+ leader (or #2)​
1​
0.326​
21​
CIN .442​
107​
22​
CIN 178​
2​
0.358​
8​
NYY .434​
129​
10​
NYY 185​
3​
0.431​
2​
LAA .446​
176​
2​
LAA 195​
4​
0.434​
1​
PHI .395​
180​
1​
PHI 155​
5​
0.378​
4​
LAA .403​
143​
4​
HOU 167​
6​
0.283​
22​
SFG .383​
78​
23​
SFG 145​
7​
0.223​
30​
CHW .418​
37​
30​
CHW 177​
8​
0.292​
9​
CIN .375​
83​
9​
CIN 135​
9​
0.206​
24​
NYY .377​
26​
25​
NYY 146​


Not many surprises. Bottom third of the league at lead-off, top 10 of the league at #2-5.
I was surprised at being 9th ranked in the 8 spot. I guess that relates to NL teams putting their worst non-pitcher hitter at #8.
I was also surprised at being dead last in the #7 spot.
And yes, in the #9 spot there are nine or ten NL teams -- with pitchers mostly hitting in that spot -- better than the Red Sox. Yeesh. (And yes, the Red Sox are 15th among the AL teams.)
 

DeadlySplitter

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I think they really should just move up #2-5 to #1-4. There's no point in giving teams a free out in the 1st inning before the big boys. Put the "leadoff" guy #9 if you have to Alex. When Vazquez is going well he's a fine #5 hitter, too.

Then you hope Duran can be a solid #1 later this season. In the short term, I bet they try Danny Santana at leadoff.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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A quick follow up, collecting the top and bottom of the line-up:

Batting Position​
Red Sox wOBA​
Red Sox wOBA rank (MLB)​
MLB wOBA leader (or #2)​
Red Sox wRC+​
Red Sox wRC+ rank (MLB)​
MLB wRC+ leader (or #2)​
1-5​
0.384​
1​
LAA .366​
147​
1​
LAA 140​
2-5​
0.400​
1​
LAA .395​
158​
2​
LAA 159​
6-9​
0.252​
28​
CHW .335​
57​
30​
CHW 119​


Even with the lead-off hitter dragging them down, the top of the Red Sox line-up (1-5) is the best in MLB. And dropping the lead-off, numbers 2-5 are one of the top 2. (The Angels are dragged down even more by their lead-off hitter than the Red Sox. Angels lead-off hitters -- mostly David Fletcher -- are 30th in MLB.)
And the Red Sox 6-9 hitters are among the worst three in the league. (Note: the White Sox are the only team whose 6-9 top 100 wRC+. The Yankees are next at 95.)
 

ehaz

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Has Xander ever hit leadoff? I think a Xander/Verdugo/JD/Devers top of the order could work.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Has Xander ever hit leadoff? I think a Xander/Verdugo/JD/Devers top of the order could work.
27 career starts in the lead off spot: 128 PA, .309/.406/.418/.824

Last did it in 2017. In fact, he led off the final 19 of 20 games that season.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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After the hot start (including the horrible opening series), it's looking more and more certain that the Sox are what most people thought they were: A borderline Wild Card team. It makes it difficult to make decisions about "going for it" and trading up to shore up the pen and/or adding an OF bat or trying to sell off assets in order to build up a better baseline to build off of for the next 5-7 years. It'll be interesting to see how the next month unfolds (tough schedule!) and where they're at in early July..... I wouldn't be surprised if they were 5 games in the lead or 5 games out of the WC at that point. It's a fun but frustrating team.
 

Rovin Romine

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After the hot start (including the horrible opening series), it's looking more and more certain that the Sox are what most people thought they were: A borderline Wild Card team. It makes it difficult to make decisions about "going for it" and trading up to shore up the pen and/or adding an OF bat or trying to sell off assets in order to build up a better baseline to build off of for the next 5-7 years. It'll be interesting to see how the next month unfolds (tough schedule!) and where they're at in early July..... I wouldn't be surprised if they were 5 games in the lead or 5 games out of the WC at that point. It's a fun but frustrating team.
I think they're better than that. While I pegged them at a borderline WC team in my personal projection, they've run out an impressive number of victories, so they're situated well.

More important are the on field performances. The key players they are bound to and relying on are delivering. JD is back. Devers resists Panda-zation for another year. Verdugo is as advertised, and Arroyo seems a solid piece. E-Rod is back, Eovaldi is not a mirage, etc. The placeholder options are performing well. Not so much napkins as hankies.

While their pitching and defense are overall average (162 runs allowed, 16 out of 30 clubs), the offense is excellent (191 runs, #1 out of 30). Even so, the easy upgrade areas are obvious - the bottom third of the lineup is a black hole.

I'm not sure what they're waiting for at this point, re: addressing that black hole. Dalbec and Franchy have options, so its not like they're tied to their suckitude. Renfroe is hitting well (103 OPS+) in May, but is only on a one year contract.

I think it's pennywise and pound foolish not to call up some minor league guys, let Santana rehab in the majors, or whatnot. Maybe you upset a career and break a player. It's a risk. But if all goes well, they'll have Sale for the stretch and the playoffs. Sale, Eovaldi, E-rod seems like a very good short series rotation. I'd burn a couple options to obtain that particular scratch ticket.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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After the hot start (including the horrible opening series), it's looking more and more certain that the Sox are what most people thought they were: A borderline Wild Card team. It makes it difficult to make decisions about "going for it" and trading up to shore up the pen and/or adding an OF bat or trying to sell off assets in order to build up a better baseline to build off of for the next 5-7 years. It'll be interesting to see how the next month unfolds (tough schedule!) and where they're at in early July..... I wouldn't be surprised if they were 5 games in the lead or 5 games out of the WC at that point. It's a fun but frustrating team.

Man but we are quick to pigeonhole this club after 3 game streaks, aren't we?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Man but we are quick to pigeonhole this club after 3 game streaks, aren't we?
It's not a 3 game streak though... it's 13-12 since that hot start with (despite my overly optimistic game thread title), hitting .500 after tonight. Most everyone here took them for a .500 ball club, maybe slightly better... with that run on the road looking like the outlier of true talent.
 

Cesar Crespo

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It's not a 3 game streak though... it's 13-12 since that hot start with (despite my overly optimistic game thread title), hitting .500 after tonight. Most everyone here took them for a .500 ball club, maybe slightly better... with that run on the road looking like the outlier of true talent.
And before the 3 games, they were 13-9 since the hot start, a 96 win pace.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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And before the 3 games, they were 13-9 since the hot start, a 96 win pace.
That's true.... but considering strength of opponents... what do you think is their likely win-loss at this point? It's obvious a hypothetical, but they're not as bad as 0-3 their last 3 games (and likely 0-4 after today after last 4) but clearly not as good as their 9-3 start. I'm starting to feel more and more like they're a .500 or slightly better team. I hope not.
 
That's true.... but considering strength of opponents... what do you think is their likely win-loss at this point?
A reverse Manila Metric? Please no.

While I agree that the Sox are almost certainly not as good as the team that we saw during the hot streak, they also aren't as bad as they have been over the past three games. Going 1 for 18 with RISP will make any team look bad. Clearly your reverse lock juju worked with Richardson and Manaea doing their best to swap ERAs.
_____

Overall my sense is that the Sox are a solid wild card contender and a borderline division contender, but baseball this year has been so strange that I don't know what to think. There are very few teams in baseball that aren't at least borderline wild card contenders. In the AL only two teams are more than 5 games out of a wc slot, and one of those two is the Twins who should be better than they have been. In the NL only one team is more than 5 games out of a wc slot.

The Red Sox are leading their division, and they aren't grossly overperforming their underlying statistics. They are pythag and baseruns neutral. I also think that the AL East is a top two division in baseball so far this year. It's still early, but the AL East is +64 run differential collectively. I find that this is a reasonable measure of division quality overall as it captures how the division as performed against non division opponents. The AL Central is -19, the AL West is -40, the NL East is -28, NL Central is -31 and the NL West is also +64. The AL East and NL West are collectively beating the tar out of the rest of baseball, and the Sox are on top of the AL East. I don't see how someone could reasonably look at the season so far and conclude that the Red Sox are anything but a solid contender for a playoff berth. Clearly there are very plausible routes to failure, but there are also very plausible routes to success.

Of course things may look different by the all star break after the Sox play Houston, NYY, Toronto and Tampa Bay a collective 23 times. The first half of June has a particularly high chance of being brutal with 16 straight games against Houston, NYY, Toronto, and Atlanta with only one off day.

I'd love to see someone really dig into the numbers and get a sense of what is going on at home. @Tuff Ghost 's stats above make me think that it's just bad luck but I'd love to know more if anyone has time to do a deep dive. The fact that it's been consistent over a fairly decent stretch of time makes me wonder if there isn't something beyond just luck going on.

Are certain players performing significantly worse at home while others overperform, creating sequencing problems?
 

grimshaw

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That's true.... but considering strength of opponents... what do you think is their likely win-loss at this point? It's obvious a hypothetical, but they're not as bad as 0-3 their last 3 games (and likely 0-4 after today after last 4) but clearly not as good as their 9-3 start. I'm starting to feel more and more like they're a .500 or slightly better team. I hope not.
There is something to that.
http://powerrankingsguru.com/mlb/strength-of-schedule.php

They have played the 3rd easiest schedule so far and have the 2nd hardest for the rest of the season. For example, 46 of their 64 remaining road games are against playoff caliber teams (Yanks, Jays, Astros, Rays, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Indians). They have played two games against playoff caliber teams on the road so far (Mets). Granted some of these teams can actually end up sucking with others rising. I don't buy the Rays, for example and think the Angels should be good.

Fortunately they have had a good time to evaluate what or who is working out while playing an easy schedule so when they pull the trigger to bring in more productive reinforcements it should help offset some of those losses.

I'm sticking with 85 wins and out of the playoffs. Cleveland or the White Sox are likely getting one of those two WC due to the shitty ass division and then they are competing with one of the A's or Stros and the 3 AL East teams.
 
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@grimshaw it's perhaps worth noting to those who are unfamiliar with that site that the strength of schedule estimate is based on a composite of internet power rankings of teams rather than actual wins and losses this year (or second and third order wins and losses).

Most people think of strength of schedule as a measure of the win percentage of teams faced, but that's absolutely not what powerrankingsguru.com means by strength of schedule.

Based purely on wins and losses the Red Sox have faced a relatively weak SoS so far (tied for 23rd at .493). The SoS gets tougher from here on out (at .508), but that number is actually still the weakest SoS in the division (the other teams are between .510 and .519).

If you look at Fangraphs projections, however, the Sox have the second hardest remaining SoS in the division at .516 (behind the O's at .520), with the Yankees, Jays, and Rays coming in at .504, .502, and .502 respectively.

Overall it comes very heavily down to the question of whether you place more weight on how teams have actually played this season vs. how they were expected to play. Power Rankings (like FiveThirtyEight's ELO system, which powerrankingsguru.com uses) and projection systems tend to be weighted towards expectations and past performance over recent performance (particularly at this point in the season). If you look at it that way, the Red Sox have a much tougher row to hoe. If you look at team performance this season the Red Sox have a difficult SoS, but actually an easier one than the rest of the division.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Overall it comes very heavily down to the question of whether you place more weight on how teams have actually played this season vs. how they were expected to play.
If you base SoS on how teams have actually played this year it's going to be biased against the Sox because they don't play themselves.
Of course things may look different by the all star break after the Sox play Houston, NYY, Toronto and Tampa Bay a collective 23 times. The first half of June has a particularly high chance of being brutal with 16 straight games against Houston, NYY, Toronto, and Atlanta with only one off day.
We're going to learn a lot about the Sox from this stretch.
 

sean1562

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I think they're better than that. While I pegged them at a borderline WC team in my personal projection, they've run out an impressive number of victories, so they're situated well.

More important are the on field performances. The key players they are bound to and relying on are delivering. JD is back. Devers resists Panda-zation for another year. Verdugo is as advertised, and Arroyo seems a solid piece. E-Rod is back, Eovaldi is not a mirage, etc. The placeholder options are performing well. Not so much napkins as hankies.

While their pitching and defense are overall average (162 runs allowed, 16 out of 30 clubs), the offense is excellent (191 runs, #1 out of 30). Even so, the easy upgrade areas are obvious - the bottom third of the lineup is a black hole.

I'm not sure what they're waiting for at this point, re: addressing that black hole. Dalbec and Franchy have options, so its not like they're tied to their suckitude. Renfroe is hitting well (103 OPS+) in May, but is only on a one year contract.

I think it's pennywise and pound foolish not to call up some minor league guys, let Santana rehab in the majors, or whatnot. Maybe you upset a career and break a player. It's a risk. But if all goes well, they'll have Sale for the stretch and the playoffs. Sale, Eovaldi, E-rod seems like a very good short series rotation. I'd burn a couple options to obtain that particular scratch ticket.

My understanding with Renfroe is that they have control over him through 2023 if they want him, and he just goes through arbitration. So there is some benefit to keep throwing him out there, as if he hits like he did in 2018/2019, he is actually a pretty valuable player for the next few years. He has an OPS of 92 right now which is what we came to expect from JBJ over the years. He is not as great as JBJ defensively, but seems to be a less streaky hitter with more power. He also doesnt cost $12 million a year.


edit: Thinking about the JBJ/Renfroe comparison a bit more, JBJ had an OPS of .596 April 2017, .600 April 2018, and .406 April 2019. Renfroe does seem to be providing a lot of the value they got from JBJ at a significantly reduced cost but with fewer highlight reel defensive plays. I am sure that if we keep playing him, we will start seeing more plays like the throw from the other day and forgive his cold stretches at the plate.
 
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jose melendez

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Brad Hand started great, but has been really hard to watch his last three times out. Two against the mfy where he couldn’t find the plate and one against philly where he looked ok, but still gave up a save blowing hr
 

Cesar Crespo

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edit: Thinking about the JBJ/Renfroe comparison a bit more, JBJ had an OPS of .596 April 2017, .600 April 2018, and .406 April 2019. Renfroe does seem to be providing a lot of the value they got from JBJ at a significantly reduced cost but with fewer highlight reel defensive plays. I am sure that if we keep playing him, we will start seeing more plays like the throw from the other day and forgive his cold stretches at the plate.
I think this misses on the irregularity that is JBJ. He has ~200 PA stretches where he looks like the worst hitting regular in the league and ~200 PA stretches where he looks like Mike Trout.

But over the course of the year, yeah, I think Renfroe will offer similar value as JBJ.

Dalbec is starting to hit a bit too. The only real glaring hole atm is Franchy and I'm starting to think Duran will be up in June.

Marcus Wilson continues to build off 2019 in AAA and may be an option too. Crazy that WIlson is only 21 days older than Jarren. He's been a professional baseball player since 2014.