The glut of Middle Infielders: who do you keep and who goes and what could they bring in return?

Cassvt2023

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Story, Hamilton, Grissom, Valdez, Romy, Yorke, Mayer, Meidroth, Sogard, Westbrook, Campbell, Paulino, Romero, Zanetello, Cespedes. Here are 15 guys that play 2-3 positions. Who do you want to see for the 2025 Red Sox? How about 2026? 2027? Let's go.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Story, Hamilton, Grissom, Valdez, Romy, Sogard, Paulino and Yorke are really the only guys to be overly concerned about this off-season (assuming none are moved before the trade deadline). Those are the ones who are on or will need to be on the 40-man roster come December. The rest are 2026 and beyond "problems" unless they force something with their performance (expected from Mayer at least). I'm good with not even worrying about or considering those guys right now.

I'm on record suggesting Hamilton is a prime candidate to move at the deadline, if not this winter. No delusions about what he would bring in return, but it could be a mutually beneficial trade where both teams deal from a surplus to shore up a weakness elsewhere on the roster. I think the rest all could have a place on the 40-man next year. Story, Grissom, Valdez, and Romy would most likely be on the 26-man with any or all of Sogard, Paulino, and Yorke in the minors as depth.
 

Cassvt2023

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Story, Hamilton, Grissom, Valdez, Romy, Sogard, Paulino and Yorke are really the only guys to be overly concerned about this off-season (assuming none are moved before the trade deadline). Those are the ones who are on or will need to be on the 40-man roster come December. The rest are 2026 and beyond "problems" unless they force something with their performance (expected from Mayer at least). I'm good with not even worrying about or considering those guys right now.

I'm on record suggesting Hamilton is a prime candidate to move at the deadline, if not this winter. No delusions about what he would bring in return, but it could be a mutually beneficial trade where both teams deal from a surplus to shore up a weakness elsewhere on the roster. I think the rest all could have a place on the 40-man next year. Story, Grissom, Valdez, and Romy would most likely be on the 26-man with any or all of Sogard, Paulino, and Yorke in the minors as depth.
I'm also not opposed to seeing what Hamilton may bring in trade while his value is high. He seems like he could be a valuable super U guy for a smaller market team who may have a SP that is getting too expensive for them. Even though he probably has less value, I'm also wondering if Valdez may be of interest to a team as their primary DH? He really doesn't have a spot here if Grissom gets healthy and Story comes back strong next year. They seem to like Romy and his speed and positional versatility.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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If middle infield seems to be a surplus now and many months ago (and we may have to move a few at the deadline) tell me again why we traded Sale for Grissom then instead of for a more pressing positional need now?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If middle infield seems to be a surplus now and many months ago (and we may have to move a few at the deadline) tell me again why we traded Sale for Grissom then instead of for a more pressing positional need now?
Perhaps because rosters and talent aren't a static thing? Perhaps because months ago the depth wasn't so apparent or trustworthy (a case can be made that it's still not that trustworthy)? A lot can happen in six months. Before the trade for Grissom, who was going to be the starting 2B for this team? The utility infielder? Did those choices inspire a great deal of confidence going into the season? Were people predicting David Hamilton would be putting up a 114 OPS+ as a regular big league player?

Second base was viewed as a need last off-season. Grissom addressed that need and carried a full six years of control (which also makes him a decent trade asset in the event someone surpasses him on the depth chart). It was a good trade and one I'd do again in the same circumstance.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I think it was a reasonable trade; that Sale leads the league in FIP while the Sox biggest need is a front line starter is frustrating, but there’s certainly an alternative universe where Sale is injured and Grissom is having a great year. That being said, the Braves have always seemed to know whom to trade and hold on to.
 

Cassvt2023

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I could see Story at SS, Grissom at 2B and Hamilton being U IF in 2025. Good (potential) combo of power, speed, hit tool, l/r balance... That would leave Valdez and Romy as odd men out for the 26 man. I feel like they could do better for backup RHH 1B/3B than Romy, and Valdez only plays 2B, and not very well.
 

YTF

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I could see Story at SS, Grissom at 2B and Hamilton being U IF in 2025. Good (potential) combo of power, speed, hit tool, l/r balance... That would leave Valdez and Romy as odd men out for the 26 man. I feel like they could do better for backup RHH 1B/3B than Romy, and Valdez only plays 2B, and not very well.
You may be right about the bolded, but IMO Hamilton might be fine as your utility IF until you have to play him as your everyday SS. I'd rather see the better defender (Romy) as the utility guy and try to move Hamilton to some who might think he has potential as a 4th OF type. In fact if there was any circumstance in which Hamilton goes back down to WOOstah I might think about giving him Dalbec's reps in RF.
 

Cassvt2023

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You may be right about the bolded, but IMO Hamilton might be fine as your utility IF until you have to play him as your everyday SS. I'd rather see the better defender (Romy) as the utility guy and try to move Hamilton to some who might think he has potential as a 4th OF type. In fact if there was any circumstance in which Hamilton goes back down to WOOstah I might think about giving him Dalbec's reps in RF.
The only thing about this is the handedness, as Romy, Grissom and Story are all RHH. If they could just get thru the 1st couple/few months of 2025, you could potentially have Mayer up to man SS, slide Story over to 2B, and have Grissom as your guy who could play 2B/3B. That would leave 3 potential guys on roster who could man SS in MM, Story and Rafaela.
 

barclay

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Great thread, as I have been wondering about this myself for some time. My contribution (lets hope it is one -- if not just ignore and move on. Quickly) is based on right-handedness and D. What is the best D up the middle in 2025? Teel and Wong at C. Mayer at SS, Story at 2nd, Raffy Jr in CF. Thats one of the strongest in baseball. Of the rest Grissom has the most potential so he's the UI -- who would play alot since Story's arm -- well, you know -- and Story can also revolve with others at DH (in this scenario Yoshi is traded). It also meets the RH need. Cespedes is far away but, if he continues, would be the heir to Story at 2nd. Hamilton, Campbell and Yorke are trade bait at the deadline (sell high! not BE high, although that too).
 

YTF

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The only thing about this is the handedness, as Romy, Grissom and Story are all RHH. If they could just get thru the 1st couple/few months of 2025, you could potentially have Mayer up to man SS, slide Story over to 2B, and have Grissom as your guy who could play 2B/3B. That would leave 3 potential guys on roster who could man SS in MM, Story and Rafaela.
With the rest of the potential roster still being pretty left handed I wouldn't be overly concerned about the MI being right handed.
 

shaggydog2000

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This is a sort of "water, water, every where" issue. Sure, we have a lot of players, but which of them would you feel completely confident in staying healthy for a full season, and hitting and defending at an above average rate? The prospects you don't have to worry about until they force your hand. This is like when people talk about having too many pitchers in pre-season. This is going to work itself out through injury and performance.
 

Rasputin

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If middle infield seems to be a surplus now and many months ago (and we may have to move a few at the deadline) tell me again why we traded Sale for Grissom then instead of for a more pressing positional need now?
Because we're still not sure anyone in the OPs list is actually a starting second baseman.
 

ALiveH

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This is a sort of "water, water, every where" issue. Sure, we have a lot of players, but which of them would you feel completely confident in staying healthy for a full season, and hitting and defending at an above average rate? The prospects you don't have to worry about until they force your hand. This is like when people talk about having too many pitchers in pre-season. This is going to work itself out through injury and performance.
This is the right answer - patience until we're forced to make these decisions so that we have maximum amount of information and make the best decision.

Ideally the highest upside guys are the ones that work out. Like, the Mayer / Cespedes / Campbell / Meidroth / Zanetello group. I have little faith in Grissom being a decent player or Story staying healthy. YMMV. Also, if too many of these guys' bats work out well, they can be moved off these positions and be excellent defenders almost anywhere else on the diamond.

Seems like the roster construction blueprint for the Sox for as long as I can remember is that they are excellent at developing position players, bad at developing starting pitchers and OK at developing bullpen arms. So, I'd like to see us trade any glut of position players for high level starting pitcher prospects that another team has done most of the hard work developing for us.
 

grimshaw

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This season - Rafaela at SS, Hamilton and Romy at 2b and Grissom stays in the minors until he bangs the door down, or there is an injury, or Hamilton turns into a pumpkin. I wouldn't dick around if they are still in the race. It's been miserable up the middle since Bogaerts left, so moving anyone that has shown anything is foolish.

During the offseason maybe you move Yorke and/or Valdez and you go into the season with Story, Mayer, Grissom and Hamilton up the middle to help ease in the rookie. I'd also have Hamilton play some OF in spring training. Moving on from Yoshida would also help de-glut.
 

grimshaw

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Interesting article on Masslive
https://www.masslive.com/worcesterredsox/2024/06/brian-abraham-on-the-big-3-prospects-theyre-going-to-represent-boston-really-well.html

Brian Abraham gives some updates on our middle guys and hints where they are at.

On Marcelo Mayer:

“He’s been playing third base for some exposure...he’s a solid defender, smooth lefty swing. We want him to improve his swing decisions and zone contact and impacting the ball more consistently.”

On Kristian Campbell:

“I think when he does get to Worcester, he’ll be a fan favorite. He plays game right way, he’s an incredibly hard worker, and I think he doesn’t realize how good he is, but he hits the ball as hard as anyone in the minors and harder than some of our MLB players. He’s made some mechanical adjustments to his training and made some significant strides. We’re excited about where he is”

On Nick Yorke:

“He’s a player who is good example of needing a change of scenery. He performed okay in Double A, maybe not up to huis standards or our standards, but now I think he’s on the cusp of being in that Boston conversation.
“We’ve seen the ability to make some adjustments in Double A that we felt he could continue up here...things that might not be as fan-facing he had improved upon, whether that was barrel percentage or K rate.”

On Chase Meidroth:

“He’s a swiss army knife. Above average defense, plays eveyrwhere. Our focus for him is impacting the baseball to the pull side, adding strength and weight, and working on bat speed.”
 

chrisfont9

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If middle infield seems to be a surplus now and many months ago (and we may have to move a few at the deadline) tell me again why we traded Sale for Grissom then instead of for a more pressing positional need now?
Hindsight... and Grissom is a talented young guy, he'll have value to us or in trade. What was Sale's value to the team after this year?
 

Apisith

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If middle infield seems to be a surplus now and many months ago (and we may have to move a few at the deadline) tell me again why we traded Sale for Grissom then instead of for a more pressing positional need now?
Life is funny like this. If we had Sale, this team would have basically no real needs. Maybe we don’t have the high-end talent that some other teams do but there would be no holes in the lineup, you could reasonably expect everyone from 1-9 to contribute on a nightly basis.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Perhaps because rosters and talent aren't a static thing? Perhaps because months ago the depth wasn't so apparent or trustworthy (a case can be made that it's still not that trustworthy)? A lot can happen in six months. Before the trade for Grissom, who was going to be the starting 2B for this team? The utility infielder? Did those choices inspire a great deal of confidence going into the season? Were people predicting David Hamilton would be putting up a 114 OPS+ as a regular big league player?

Second base was viewed as a need last off-season. Grissom addressed that need and carried a full six years of control (which also makes him a decent trade asset in the event someone surpasses him on the depth chart). It was a good trade and one I'd do again in the same circumstance.
Because we're still not sure anyone in the OPs list is actually a starting second baseman.
Basically these two things, yes. I think the perception of both Hamilton and Valdez at the beginning of the season was that they were potentially useful, but underwhelming as full-time starters for a team with playoff aspirations, and I'm not sure that either has totally shed that label. Hamilton has exceeded the most optimistic expectations already, but it wouldn't be too surprising if he crashed to earth a bit. Valdez, even with his recent good play, is still a guy with a lot of question marks. But with that said, if I'm the FO and some team wants to offer medium-term pitching help in return for Grissom or Yorke, the recent solid play of those two makes me a lot more comfortable making that deal.
 

ookami7m

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Life is funny like this. If we had Sale, this team would have basically no real needs. Maybe we don’t have the high-end talent that some other teams do but there would be no holes in the lineup, you could reasonably expect everyone from 1-9 to contribute on a nightly basis.
if we had Sale, Houck probably is in the bullpen to start the year.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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if we had Sale, Houck probably is in the bullpen to start the year.
Perhaps. In a perfect world, they never make the trade, pass on Giolito, Whitlock starts the season in the rotation. But, hindsight is 20/20, and the early returns on the deal so far seems pretty much like the worst case scenarios. It happens.
 

Sin Duda

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Perhaps. In a perfect world, they never make the trade, pass on Giolito, Whitlock starts the season in the rotation. But, hindsight is 20/20, and the early returns on the deal so far seems pretty much like the worst case scenarios. It happens.
Although it's a complete swing and miss through 100 games in 2024, Grissom has 5(?) years of control. If he hits like his MiLB career showed, or even like his brief MLB ABs showed, he's a valuable asset.
 

bringbackburks

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I think the biggest question is whether you believe the group of 'everyone but Mayer' contains 1-2 long term starters. If it does, then it frees Mayer to be traded as the headline of a frontline starter, which is still the most pressing need for this year and 2025-27.

I think the toughest evaluation is Yorke. After the last 2 years I didn't think there was a chance he'd be protected this fall. The beginning of the year didn't change that, but the performance at Worcester has. I know it's unreasonable to believe he flipped a switch and is back to hitter he was in 2021, but he only 22 so I can dream on a return to form.
 

HfxBob

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And at the time of the trade there was a slim chance of it being exercised
Of course - you wouldn't exercise it unless he shows it's worth exercising. But it was there as a potential value.
 
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LogansDad

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I think the biggest question is whether you believe the group of 'everyone but Mayer' contains 1-2 long term starters. If it does, then it frees Mayer to be traded as the headline of a frontline starter, which is still the most pressing need for this year and 2025-27.

I think the toughest evaluation is Yorke. After the last 2 years I didn't think there was a chance he'd be protected this fall. The beginning of the year didn't change that, but the performance at Worcester has. I know it's unreasonable to believe he flipped a switch and is back to hitter he was in 2021, but he only 22 so I can dream on a return to form.
I am of a different mindset... I think Mayer is the one who is (or at least should be) nearly untouchable, and it isn't entirely due to his (excellent so far this year) performance on the field. From the day he was drafted (and even before that) one of the things that has set him apart is his personality and especially his leadership. Everything I have read about him screams "leader of a franchise" not just "franchise player".

I think from a skillset and tools standpoint, Anthony *might* be a better athlete/player in the long run (and I would prefer to keep both, especially with the breakout of the young starters this year), but I have felt since before the draft that Mayer is absolutely a player that you build your organization around. I really hope they don't end up trading him.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Although it's a complete swing and miss through 100 games in 2024, Grissom has 5(?) years of control. If he hits like his MiLB career showed, or even like his brief MLB ABs showed, he's a valuable asset.
Totally.

There’s also the very real and impossible to measure possibility that Sale would not be having the season in Boston that he’s having in Atlanta. I think both sides needed to go their separate ways.
 

HfxBob

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Although it's a complete swing and miss through 100 games in 2024, Grissom has 5(?) years of control. If he hits like his MiLB career showed, or even like his brief MLB ABs showed, he's a valuable asset.
To me people are seeing more good in Grissom's MLB numbers than is actually there. The first 4 weeks were great. But he slumped badly for the last 3 weeks of 2022. 2023 wasn't great and 2024 has been horrible. The StatCast stuff shows he is well below average in hard contact and exit velocity. Somewhat remarkable to me is that he hasn't hit a home run in his last 220 MLB PA's.
 

Fishy1

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Hamilton's got a nice floor because of his speed. That athleticism can take him a long way. Even if the OPS falls to .700 or so, it'll play if he's swiping this many bags and getting on base at a decent clip.

That's the sole reason I'd want to keep him over Valdez or Grissom, if it came to that. All three of them are mediocre defenders but Hamilton's speed gives him a higher floor even if his bat craters to a degree.

I'm agnostic on Grissom and Valdez. I don't think we've seen Grissom play well because I don't think he's been healthy. Of course he's not driving the ball, he can't generate any power with his lower half. He's by far got the best pedigree of the bunch, though, and I would still bet on him being the better hitter of the three.

My hope is Valdez continues to be hot and they can trade him for some pitching fliers. I like his bat but I hate his range and his hands, and I also think he's struggled to adjust to pitchers throwing high heat past him and garbage in the dirt. He may slug over 400 for his career, but I'm not sure his OBP will consistently be over .300. He just doesn't strike me as a guy with contact skills or good discipline, despite some nice stretches of discipline in the minors.

Still would like to see what they have in Meidroth. They haven't had a guy with his ability to control the strike zone and avoid whiffs in a while.
 

nvalvo

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Interesting thread. I think it's probably important to keep an eye on the years of arrival for a few of these guys: the teenagers are exciting, but really shouldn't factor into any kind of succession planning until they reach AA or so.

Furthermore, Hamilton, Valdez, González, and Sogard look really important because Mayer should not at any point be our 40-man depth infielder — he should be promoted when we are ready to start him at SS — and Story will need to be back on the 40 for the offseason. Having optionable guys who are playable but not part of the long-term plan eases the roster-construction logic problem.

Here's how I would break these guys down:
  • Starting-caliber players in the middle infield (current or plausible)
    • Story. Five-tool player with developing questions about durability and contact against RHP at this stage in his career.
      • RHH. Growing platoon splits.
      • Age 31. 9-year MLB veteran.
      • Signed through 2027 with an option for 2028.
    • Grissom. Hit-over-power infielder with questions about his defense at SS and optimism that he might grow into more pop. Probably 2B only, but he looked fine there to me.
      • RHH. Little to no platoon split.
      • Age 23. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • Mayer. Top prospect who may grow out of SS in his late 20s, but should stick at the position for a half-decade or so. Should be a top-10 prospect in a lot of the mid-year lists.
      • LHH. Has struggled against breaking stuff from lefties, but anecdotally may be making that adjustment.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '25, so probably won't crack the 40 man until they call him up to play everyday.
  • Starting-caliber hitters with positional questions
    • Campbell. I am over-the-moon excited about this guy's RH bat, but is he actually an infielder? The team has been playing him in the outfield and DH as much as 2B.
      • RHH.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '26.
    • Yorke. I put him here, but I am worried that he doesn't hit enough to be a starter at 2B/LF/DH only, and doesn't provide enough defensive value to be a good fit for a utility role. Promising recent play at AAA, though!
      • RHH.
      • Age 22. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I expect him to be traded.
    • Zanatello. Sky's the limit with this kid, but he's 19. A long way to go. Might be an outfielder.
      • RHH.
      • Age 19. A.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '27.
    • Cespedes. Sky's the limit with this kid, but he's 18. A long way to go. Might be an outfielder.
      • RHH.
      • Age 18. RK.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '27.
  • Platoon/utility types (flawed players with a carrying tool)
    • Rafaela. I added one to the list. Not a great SS, but his ability to play there is useful for the roster. He should really be in CF.
      • RHH.
      • Age 23.
      • Signed through 2030, with team options until 2032.
    • Hamilton. Below average at SS, but the line drive approach and insane speed makes him a pretty useful utility guy.
      • LHH.
      • Age 27. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • González. He can do a ton of things: play everywhere (and pretty decently!), post a league-average OBP, has shown pop in the past that we haven't really seen yet in Boston.
      • RHH.
      • Age 27. MLB.
      • FA in 2029. Two options remaining.
    • Sogard. The Platonic ideal of a utility infielder. Does everything okay.
      • SH.
      • Age 26. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I would keep him over Yorke and Paulino.
  • Depth pieces (very useful while they have options, less so thereafter)
    • Paulino. Can't hit lefties at all, which limits his upside. Not a factor in any plans at the moment, but his good glove at multiple infield spots and track record against RHP looks promising for a bench role.
      • LHH.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I doubt we protect him, and I don't think he'd be picked.
    • Valdez. Improved to passable at 2B, and the LHH pop is legitimate. But he can't hit lefties, and he isn't a good defender.
      • LHH.
      • Age 25. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • Meidroth. I am skeptical about his offensive profile, but I really want to see him in the majors to see if it can work.
      • RHH.
      • Age 22. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '25.
    • Romero. Hard to tell what we have here with all the injuries.
      • LHH.
      • Age 20.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '26.
  • Career minor leaguers
    • Westbrook. We've just seen his upside, and it was as a borderline-unplayable infield defender who can hit a bit.
      • RHH.
      • Age 29. AAA.
      • Minor league free agent.
 

chilidawg

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I am of a different mindset... I think Mayer is the one who is (or at least should be) nearly untouchable, and it isn't entirely due to his (excellent so far this year) performance on the field. From the day he was drafted (and even before that) one of the things that has set him apart is his personality and especially his leadership. Everything I have read about him screams "leader of a franchise" not just "franchise player".

I think from a skillset and tools standpoint, Anthony *might* be a better athlete/player in the long run (and I would prefer to keep both, especially with the breakout of the young starters this year), but I have felt since before the draft that Mayer is absolutely a player that you build your organization around. I really hope they don't end up trading him.
in
Tatum and Brown. I think Mayer is more Tatum and Anthony more Brown, but it'll be fun to watch develop.
 

Cassvt2023

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Interesting thread. I think it's probably important to keep an eye on the years of arrival for a few of these guys: the teenagers are exciting, but really shouldn't factor into any kind of succession planning until they reach AA or so.

Furthermore, Hamilton, Valdez, González, and Sogard look really important because Mayer should not at any point be our 40-man depth infielder — he should be promoted when we are ready to start him at SS — and Story will need to be back on the 40 for the offseason. Having optionable guys who are playable but not part of the long-term plan eases the roster-construction logic problem.

Here's how I would break these guys down:
  • Starting-caliber players in the middle infield (current or plausible)
    • Story. Five-tool player with developing questions about durability and contact against RHP at this stage in his career.
      • RHH. Growing platoon splits.
      • Age 31. 9-year MLB veteran.
      • Signed through 2027 with an option for 2028.
    • Grissom. Hit-over-power infielder with questions about his defense at SS and optimism that he might grow into more pop. Probably 2B only, but he looked fine there to me.
      • RHH. Little to no platoon split.
      • Age 23. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • Mayer. Top prospect who may grow out of SS in his late 20s, but should stick at the position for a half-decade or so. Should be a top-10 prospect in a lot of the mid-year lists.
      • LHH. Has struggled against breaking stuff from lefties, but anecdotally may be making that adjustment.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '25, so probably won't crack the 40 man until they call him up to play everyday.
  • Starting-caliber hitters with positional questions
    • Campbell. I am over-the-moon excited about this guy's RH bat, but is he actually an infielder? The team has been playing him in the outfield and DH as much as 2B.
      • RHH.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '26.
    • Yorke. I put him here, but I am worried that he doesn't hit enough to be a starter at 2B/LF/DH only, and doesn't provide enough defensive value to be a good fit for a utility role. Promising recent play at AAA, though!
      • RHH.
      • Age 22. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I expect him to be traded.
    • Zanatello. Sky's the limit with this kid, but he's 19. A long way to go. Might be an outfielder.
      • RHH.
      • Age 19. A.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '27.
    • Cespedes. Sky's the limit with this kid, but he's 18. A long way to go. Might be an outfielder.
      • RHH.
      • Age 18. RK.
      • Doesn't need to be added to the 40 man until Dec. '27.
  • Platoon/utility types (flawed players with a carrying tool)
    • Rafaela. I added one to the list. Not a great SS, but his ability to play there is useful for the roster. He should really be in CF.
      • RHH.
      • Age 23.
      • Signed through 2030, with team options until 2032.
    • Hamilton. Below average at SS, but the line drive approach and insane speed makes him a pretty useful utility guy.
      • LHH.
      • Age 27. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • González. He can do a ton of things: play everywhere (and pretty decently!), post a league-average OBP, has shown pop in the past that we haven't really seen yet in Boston.
      • RHH.
      • Age 27. MLB.
      • FA in 2029. Two options remaining.
    • Sogard. The Platonic ideal of a utility infielder. Does everything okay.
      • SH.
      • Age 26. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I would keep him over Yorke and Paulino.
  • Depth pieces (very useful while they have options, less so thereafter)
    • Paulino. Can't hit lefties at all, which limits his upside. Not a factor in any plans at the moment, but his good glove at multiple infield spots and track record against RHP looks promising for a bench role.
      • LHH.
      • Age 21. AA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I doubt we protect him, and I don't think he'd be picked.
    • Valdez. Improved to passable at 2B, and the LHH pop is legitimate. But he can't hit lefties, and he isn't a good defender.
      • LHH.
      • Age 25. MLB.
      • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
    • Meidroth. I am skeptical about his offensive profile, but I really want to see him in the majors to see if it can work.
      • RHH.
      • Age 22. AAA.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '25.
    • Romero. Hard to tell what we have here with all the injuries.
      • LHH.
      • Age 20.
      • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '26.
  • Career minor leaguers
    • Westbrook. We've just seen his upside, and it was as a borderline-unplayable infield defender who can hit a bit.
      • RHH.
      • Age 29. AAA.
      • Minor league free agent.
very well thought out post @nvalvo. I’m glad I started this thread and love reading others thoughts.
 
Oct 12, 2023
801
The most realistic “good news” scenario would be for Hamilton to continue to show he can be an MLB regular and head into 2025 with Hamilton and Story as your opening day starters, with Mayer hopefully taking over by May of 2026. One of Gonzalez/Sogard can be your primary backup/utility.

Grissom is a wildcard, I wouldn’t bet on him ever being an MLB starter nor would I assume he will continue to flounder. So for those reasons, I wouldn’t take him into account or planning for 2025. Just hope that he forces the issue at some point and takes a step forward. If that happens, it’s a good problem to have and they’d have no issues getting Hamilton/Story playing time with the way Cora likes to give guys rest and rotate through the DH position

Yorke seems like an obvious trade candidate as a pot sweetener for a bigger deal (i.e. I don’t think he’s worth flipping in a one for one). Valdez is a guy I’d definitely like to see moved for whatever they can get (not much)

It seems like they’re loaded but I think attrition and busts will likely solve most of this, with the exception of guys they need to flip for 40 man roster purposes.

If Hamilton turns into a pumpkin then I think I’d be looking for a 1-2 year stop gap veteran to solidify things until Mayer arrives simply because of Grissom being a total unknown and I don’t think any of the other 2025 options (Meidroth, Valdez, Sogard, Gonzalez) are guys who should be playing 5-6 days a week.
 

Salem's Lot

Andy Moog! Andy God Damn Moog!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
15,207
Gallows Hill
Regarding Story:

I'm wondering how many players missed this many games and came back strong.

I definitely could be wrong, but I expect nothing from him.
This is how the organization should look at it regarding Story. He’s played 94,43,8 games in the first three years of his contract. Guys entertaining their age 32 season that can’t stay on the field typically don’t start being able to stay on the field. They should really look at him as sunk cost and anything he gives them going forward is a bonus.
 

grimshaw

Member
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May 16, 2007
4,302
Portland
Interesting thread. I think it's probably important to keep an eye on the years of arrival for a few of these guys: the teenagers are exciting, but really shouldn't factor into any kind of succession planning until they reach AA or so.

Furthermore, Hamilton, Valdez, González, and Sogard look really important because Mayer should not at any point be our 40-man depth infielder — he should be promoted when we are ready to start him at SS — and Story will need to be back on the 40 for the offseason. Having optionable guys who are playable but not part of the long-term plan eases the roster-construction logic problem.

Here's how I would break these guys down:
  • Grissom. Hit-over-power infielder with questions about his defense at SS and optimism that he might grow into more pop. Probably 2B only, but he looked fine there to me.
    • RHH. Little to no platoon split.
    • Age 23. MLB.
    • FA in 2030. Two options remaining.
  • Yorke. I put him here, but I am worried that he doesn't hit enough to be a starter at 2B/LF/DH only, and doesn't provide enough defensive value to be a good fit for a utility role. Promising recent play at AAA, though!
    • RHH.
    • Age 22. AAA.
    • Needs to be added to the 40 man Dec. '24. I expect him to be traded.
I'm interested in who will be the better player here between Grissom and Yorke because I don't think it will necessarily be Grissom at the plate.

Here is the Grissom fangraphs box - admittedly a few years old.

FV 45
Hit
20 / 45
Game Power
25 / 50
Raw Power
50 / 55
Speed
50 / 50
Field
40 / 50
Graduation TLDR:
Jumping from Double-A to the big league roster to fill in for an injured Ozzie Albies, Grissom has proven that his bat-to-ball skills are complemented by enough power to warrant a move to the outfield upon Albies return, further increasing his super-utility value.

Since that blurb, his bat is closer to the floor side of things than the ceiling, but it seems as though he was also brought back too soon.

And the Yorke one from last season.

FV 50
Hit
40 / 50
Game Power
40 / 55
Raw Power
55 / 55
Speed
45 / 45
Field
30 / 40
Prospects TLDR:
Yorke may end up as a 40-grade infield defender, but he can really hit, and we're staying on him despite a rough, injury-riddled 2022.

I haven't heard any recent reports on his defense (only 2 errors this season is promising), but Soxprospects noted it as "passable" in 2023.

FWIW, the average 2b slash line is .244/.307/.368 these days, about the same as a catcher or a centerfielder. So if either can clear that line at league minimum, I'll take it. Brendan Rodgers comes to mind a bit. He's is at .275/.308/.401 with half his games in Coors and he's ok at 2b, That's basically a 1 to 2 win player. I'm not married to either player nor aspire for them to be Brendan Rodgers, I just hope they pick the right one because they need the right handed bat.
 
Last edited:

JimD

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2001
8,741
Life is funny like this. If we had Sale, this team would have basically no real needs. Maybe we don’t have the high-end talent that some other teams do but there would be no holes in the lineup, you could reasonably expect everyone from 1-9 to contribute on a nightly basis.
If we had Chris Sale right now, there would be a spirited discussion on this board about which frontline starter Breslow should be going after to take Sale's spot when he inevitably goes down in August or September.
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
6,256
If Hamilton demonstrates consistent performance until the deadline, what's he worth in a trade? Are there any comps for trading a rookie with tools like his?

In another thread I proposed sending Yorke to Toronto for a Kikuchi rental, but after we got to him last week, he gave up 8 hits in two innings this weekend, so his stock may be dropping after starting hot.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
22,116
Rogers Park
I'm interested in who will be the better player here between Grissom and Yorke because I don't think it will necessarily be Grissom at the plate.

Here is the Grissom fangraphs box - admittedly a few years old.

FV 45
Hit
20 / 45
Game Power
25 / 50
Raw Power
50 / 55
Speed
50 / 50
Field
40 / 50
Graduation TLDR:
Jumping from Double-A to the big league roster to fill in for an injured Ozzie Albies, Grissom has proven that his bat-to-ball skills are complemented by enough power to warrant a move to the outfield upon Albies return, further increasing his super-utility value.

Since that blurb, his bat is closer to the floor side of things than the ceiling, but it seems as though he was also brought back too soon.

And the Yorke one from last season.

FV 50
Hit
40 / 50
Game Power
40 / 55
Raw Power
55 / 55
Speed
45 / 45
Field
30 / 40
Prospects TLDR:
Yorke may end up as a 40-grade infield defender, but he can really hit, and we're staying on him despite a rough, injury-riddled 2022.

I haven't heard any recent reports on his defense (only 2 errors this season is promising), but Soxprospects noted it as "passable" in 2023.

FWIW, the average 2b slash line is .244/.307/.368 these days, about the same as a catcher or a centerfielder. So if either can clear that line at league minimum, I'll take it. Brendan Rodgers comes to mind a bit. He's is at .275/.308/.401 with half his games in Coors and he's ok at 2b, That's basically a 1 to 2 win player. I'm not married to either player nor aspire for them to be Brendan Rodgers, I just hope they pick the right one because they need the right handed bat.
It's an interesting comparison, with a ton of the difference riding on Yorke's greater present in-game power compared to Grissom's projection and on defensive value: i.e. Grissom might be a SS, but probably is just a decent second baseman, while Yorke is probably a decent second baseman, but might be a left fielder.

The good version of Yorke — the guy we're seeing this month! — is indeed a promising hitter, but it's hard to ignore the way he's disappeared for months at a time. Grissom has been so much more consistent — at least until this May, when we saw his first bad month of hitting as a professional. That was our first impression, of course, and as you note it had a ton to do with a rushed return from injury and illness.

Yorke has 1600 minor league PA to Grissom's 1500. Yorke has 44 HR, 68 doubles, and 11 triples; he has walked 166 times and struck out 336. Grissom has 32 HR, 82 doubles, and 11 triples; he has walked 158 times and struck out 210.

So I lean Grissom, I think. Grissom reached AAA at almost exactly the same age as Yorke did and put up a .921 OPS in 100 games. If Yorke still has a .900+ OPS in AAA around the trade deadline, I think it's a bit more of a quandary.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,687
The numbers show Grissom to be flat-out a better hitter.

Yorke
84639
Grissom

84640

Grissom has been playing with bum legs all year, which I think explains a lot of his difficulties in generating hard contact. But basically, since 2021 he's never posted a wrc+ below 135 in the minors in a full season, whereas Yorke hasn't posted a wrc+ better than 116 in a full season since A ball in 2021. He was terrible in 2022 (and injured), mediocre last year (116 wrc+ in AA even at 21 is nothing to write home about), and bad at AA before going on a tear since he was promoted.

I love what he's doing at AAA and hope he's found a new gear, but he's shown a tendency to go very, very quiet for very long stretches, whereas Grissom has hit at every level until this cold stretch over his last 160 plate appearances in the major leagues. I'd bet that the last 160 PA are the outlier for Grissom rather than that Yorke's latest 75 plate appearances show he's now better than Grissom.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
25,961
Miami (oh, Miami!)
It's an interesting comparison, with a ton of the difference riding on Yorke's greater present in-game power compared to Grissom's projection and on defensive value: i.e. Grissom might be a SS, but probably is just a decent second baseman, while Yorke is probably a decent second baseman, but might be a left fielder.

The good version of Yorke — the guy we're seeing this month! — is indeed a promising hitter, but it's hard to ignore the way he's disappeared for months at a time. Grissom has been so much more consistent — at least until this May, when we saw his first bad month of hitting as a professional. That was our first impression, of course, and as you note it had a ton to do with a rushed return from injury and illness.

Yorke has 1600 minor league PA to Grissom's 1500. Yorke has 44 HR, 68 doubles, and 11 triples; he has walked 166 times and struck out 336. Grissom has 32 HR, 82 doubles, and 11 triples; he has walked 158 times and struck out 210.

So I lean Grissom, I think. Grissom reached AAA at almost exactly the same age as Yorke did and put up a .921 OPS in 100 games. If Yorke still has a .900+ OPS in AAA around the trade deadline, I think it's a bit more of a quandary.
I think this somewhat undersells Grissom. He was 21 and in A+ ball, got promoted to AA, and then to the majors with ATL, where he OPS'd .792, mostly as a 2B.

The next year at age 22, he was penciled in at SS for ATL and fielded poorly which likely affected his hitting (.659 OPS) but he only had 23 games. Demoted to AAA, he OPS'd .921.

And then, this year - injury plague.

Once he made it to A ball his lowest campaign at any level by OPS was .848 as a 20 year old in A ball. (and that was 2021 - after a year's COVID layoff.) If you're looking at years with combined levels - the same year (.882).

***
I am by no means down on Nick Yorke. (I think the site in general is pretty dismissive of him, and undeservedly so.)

That said, it's not like Grissom fought his way up to AAA.
 
Oct 12, 2023
801
If Hamilton demonstrates consistent performance until the deadline, what's he worth in a trade? Are there any comps for trading a rookie with tools like his?

In another thread I proposed sending Yorke to Toronto for a Kikuchi rental, but after we got to him last week, he gave up 8 hits in two innings this weekend, so his stock may be dropping after starting hot.
If Hamilton demonstrates consistent performance for the next ~5 weeks why would they trade him?

If anything, him continuing to show he belongs (either as a starter or a super sub type) incentivizes the Sox to hang on to him and trade someone from the minors.
 
Oct 12, 2023
801
This is how the organization should look at it regarding Story. He’s played 94,43,8 games in the first three years of his contract. Guys entertaining their age 32 season that can’t stay on the field typically don’t start being able to stay on the field. They should really look at him as sunk cost and anything he gives them going forward is a bonus.
I agree that they shouldn’t really count on him too much but generally 32 year olds who can’t stay on the field have some sort of recurring/chronic/career altering injuries.

I don’t know that there’s reason to think the injuries Story has had are going to lead to decline or are likely to cause him to miss more time in the future. It’s more a matter of he’s missed a huge chunk of his prime and 32 year olds (generally speaking) tend to decline.

It’s very likely Story never gets back to his prime numbers but I don’t think that has much to do with his (somewhat flukey) injuries the last 2 seasons. It’s just him getting older.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
21,535
Maine
If Hamilton demonstrates consistent performance for the next ~5 weeks why would they trade him?

If anything, him continuing to show he belongs (either as a starter or a super sub type) incentivizes the Sox to hang on to him and trade someone from the minors.
Doesn't it ultimately depend on the teams they're trading with, though? I mean, sure, you generally prefer to not deal from the big league roster when trying to bolster it for a stretch drive to the post-season. But if a team prefers Hamilton to, say, Yorke and is willing to give up a better player that will help the Sox immediately, do you turn that down just to hang on to Hamilton? I'm not so sure, particularly with the number of middle infielders they have when all are healthy. But perhaps I'm speaking from a biased perspective because I don't trust that Hamilton will sustain what he's doing at the plate (and I hate his defense).
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
6,256
If Hamilton demonstrates consistent performance for the next ~5 weeks why would they trade him?

If anything, him continuing to show he belongs (either as a starter or a super sub type) incentivizes the Sox to hang on to him and trade someone from the minors.
The Sox either need to start trading 2B or losing them for nothing. Story's coming back next year, Mayer's taking over SS (knock on wood) in the next year or so and Grissom, Valdez, Hamilton, Yorke and Romy can't all play second at once, and it's not prudent to spend 10% of your 40 man space on one position.

Maybe it's Hamilton, maybe not (I'd lean toward not cause I like this thing where half the lineup is true baserunning threats), I'm just wondering what a guy like him could actually fetch.