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Category Archives: Boston Red Sox

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A Possible Impact Rookies for Every AL East Team in 2019

Despite the dozens of scouts watching, the thousands of MLB players who have played a substantial amount of games in the Minor Leagues, and the overage of statistics on every AAA player, it’s still incredibly hard to project a prospect’s MLB career before it happens. Although the top prospects, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna, won the 2018 Rookie of the Year awards, there are always surprises such as Joey Wendle and Harrison Bader, as well as disappointing rookie seasons such as Scott Kingery and Lewis Brinson.
At this point in the offseason, it is slightly premature to look at what prospects will make the biggest difference in the upcoming season. Nobody has shown off in Spring Training, top prospects can still be traded, and a number of free agents have yet to sign and could ultimately take away a starting role from a rookie that currently slots into the lineup. Nonetheless, rookies can make a huge and unexpected impact on any team’s season, and it is important to know who can make a name for themselves.
Baltimore Orioles: DJ Stewart, RF

Stewart has never been ranked among the top prospects, and none of his tools particularly stand out. However, he’s been productive at every level, including a short 17 game stint in the MLB. He’s currently projected by Roster Resource to be the team’s starting right fielder. He won’t be a great defender as scouting reports say, but his bat is intriguing as a three-true-outcomes type hitter.
Stewart had walked over 10% of the time in each of the last 3 minor league seasons, and although he strikes out more than the average player, it has never been at unbearable rates. In his short MLB stint, Stewart had a 12.1% whiff rate, which is certainly playable. Considering his plate discipline and the fact that he sprays the ball all over the field, Stewart’s hit tool may translate better to the MLB than many had previously thought.
Whether Stewart’s raw power translates as well will make or break his career. He showed off his power with 3 home runs in his first 43 MLB plate appearances. His average batted ball distance in September of 2018 was 195 feet, and although that’s not always the best predictor for future home runs, it is notable that he sits around Jose Ramirez, Daniel Murphy, and Matt Kemp.
The Orioles are expected to play plenty of rookies this season, as they won’t be making a strong attempt to compete so they will put an emphasis on development. Not many of their top prospects will play a large portion of the season on the MLB roster, especially if they choose to manipulate the service time as many teams choose to do with their prospects.
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Red Sox cannot expect a pitching edge against the Astros

The Boston Red Sox just finished off a tough New York Yankees team in the division round, knowing that a much more difficult challenge awaits them in the Houston Astros.
Against the Yankees, the Red Sox could be confident in a pitching advantage. Even with David Price‘s disastrous performance, the Yankees simply did not have the talent to keep up with Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi.
When the Red Sox starters went deep against the Yankees, and the bullpen avoided difficult situations, they flourished, and effectively shut down the best power in the MLB.
Against the Astros, it will be a completely different story. Even if they continue to get the very best out of those three, and do not put Price in a position to hurt the team again, the Astros still have the potential to be better.
The Astros have the deepest and most consistent rotation in the playoffs, and the Red Sox know losing just one Sale game could be enough to ruin their season.
The Red Sox need to be confident in their pitching and it is even more important that they avoid the bullpen in this series. That being said, the Red Sox should understand that pitching will not be the difference for them in this series.
The Red Sox need to rely on their pitching, but now is the time for the offense to prove that no rotation can slow down their offense. Even if the Astros get a clear pitching advantage, the Red Sox offense needs to neutralize all of that, and make things as easy a possible on their rotation.
We saw the kind of damage the Red Sox can do against the Yankees, but they will need even more of it against this Astros team that has tremendous depth and balance on offense too.
The Astros put a very different kind of pressure on a team than the Yankees. Fearing pure power is one thing, and the Red Sox had their top tier pitchers shut that down. With the Astros, they are facing pressure pressure in a lot more different ways.
The fact that they have the most dominant and deep starting rotation automatically puts pressure on any opposing pitcher. The Red Sox starters cannot expect the same kind of run support they saw against the Yankees, and then they have to start thinking about what they will be doing with their bats.
These teams are set up in a way that could be a pitchers duel or a slug fest. The Red Sox know that they will be able to find their advantages, with a lineup that knows they are capable of getting to any pitcher.
What we know for sure is that the Red Sox will need more balance against the Astros, while making sure they get stellar performances from their top tier talent.
Both of these teams will be rested up and have a fresh rotation. The Red Sox still do not have the kind of trust in their rotation that the Astros have established, but there is a lot of optimism after stellar performances from the end of their rotation against the Yankees.
It should be a long and exciting series, and the team that sees their starting pitchers go deeper into games will get a significant advantage. The Red Sox will need to trust their starters even when they are taking some hits. With the offense they have behind them, the pitchers on the Red Sox will have an extra luxury of comfort, but that only happens if the offense is constantly putting more pressure on the best starting rotation in baseball.

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Boston Red Sox cannot afford to have bullpen on mound

The Boston Red Sox have come out of two divisional series games with one clear glaring weakness: their bullpen. After a disastrous performance from David Price, the New York Yankees made it clear that they will abuse their bullpen, taking away what could be a clear pitching advantage with the starting rotation.
The Red Sox had a bullpen that almost ruined a masterful Chris Sale performance, and the Yankees feel comfortable with anyone out of that bullpen not named Craig Kimbrel, who they already have a home run off.
The offense takes some blame too, because they need to generate more offense against the Yankees no matter who is on the mound. The difference, however, is the Red Sox have all the confidence they need in their bats to get to any pitchers on the Yankees. With the bullpen, particularly the middle relievers, there is little to no confidence, putting even more pressure on the starting rotation.
After Sale and Price, the Red Sox lose an additional edge with their starters, and they cannot expect anything impossible. No one can expect to shut out an offense as explosive as the Yankees, but having their starter get to the seventh inning with a lead can make all the difference for this team.
Going deep is the most important thing. These pitchers can afford to make mistakes here and there, but it all about mitigating the damage. With Price, things derailed far too quickly and he needed to be taken out of the game.
The rest of this rotation now knows how important it is to avoid that kind of disaster and play consistent enough to get through six innings without letting any inning get out of hand.
The Red Sox now have to try and win in a ball park that favors the Yankees tremendously, so it will be even harder for the pitching. Right now, it is clear that the Red Sox need to win with their offense, but balance is the only way to establish consistency.
Outside of Sale, the Red Sox do not have another pitcher they can expect to dominate, but they cannot get pushed around on a regular basis. It is always about containing the power against the Yankees, and making sure they do not get runs in chunks with runners in scoring position.
Nathan Eovaldi knows how important his performance against the Yankees is tonight, along with an offense that is yet to unleash their full potential. Timing is everything in baseball, but the Red Sox know they have the tools to overwhelm anything the Yankees are trying to do.
The fear, however, is that the Yankees blow everything they are trying to do up but getting to a pitcher early on. From there, the Yankees can easily breakdown their bullpen and put far too much pressure on the offense.

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