Red Sox Fans Really Like Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel is having a truly dominant season for the Red Sox. In just his second year Craig Kimbrelwith Boston he has posted a 1.23 ERA to go with just 5 earned-runs all season. He also has a league-leading 23 saves already. What exactly is it that makes Kimbrel so unhittable? Is it the pre-pitch death-stare? The blazing fastball that blows guys away? Or is it the absolutely filthy knuckle-curve that he spins with 2-strikes to make professional-hitters look totally foolish? “Gas Masterson” can strike you out in a multitude of ways. If you can find a way to not strike out, that still does not mean you’re getting on base. The 6-time MLB All-Star has done nothing but great things for the Sox since he joined the squad, and looks to continue that trend in the second half.

Craig Kimbrel Is Not Slowing Down

The only way Craig Kimbrel is going to stop getting hitters out is if John Farrell doesn’t bring him in. The guy is a stud; simple as that. Hitters just do not want to see Kimbrell jogging in from the Red Sox bullpen in the ninth. Kimbrel’s blazing fastball is consistently pumping 99 mph, while his knuckle-curve could be considered “disgusting” by opposing hitters. He’s in the prime of his career at 29 years-old and is hungry for a World Series title. Kimbrel wants the ball in the last-inning of Game 7, and he wants to shut the door. Sure, he might find a way to make it interesting. When it’s over, we’ll all think back and say “Man, I knew he had it the whole time!” just like every time before.

How To Retain Craig Kimbrel

Though Red Sox fans do not have to worry about it quite yet, Craig Kimbrel’s contract does expire at the end of the 2018 season. He will become an unrestricted free-agent after making $13,000,000 that season. To retain Kimbrel, Boston will have to prove to him that their organization is where he belongs. Also, they will need to assure him that the deal he is offered from the Red Sox (assuming they do make him an offer) is the best one available to him. Keeping Craig Kimbrel on a long-term deal is something the Red Sox should definitely look at if they plan to compete four or five years from now.

Is Xander Bogaerts All-Star Worthy?

Now more than halfway through the baseball season, the 88th MLB All-Star Game is just a week away. A selection show on ESPN reminiscent of Selection Sunday in college basketball revealed three Red Sox are going to Miami. Mookie Betts and Craig Kimbrel will be reserves and Chris Sale could very well be the AL’s starting pitcher. When you fill out your vote for the final ballot ask yourself: is Xander Bogaerts All-Star Worthy?

Red Sox fans can remember in 2015 when the “X for ASG” campaign failed to get Xander Bogaerts All-StarBogaerts in on the final ballot vote. After being the league’s starting shortstop in 2016, Bogaerts is right back in the final ballot scenario. A tireless workhorse this year, Bogaerts finds himself in a log-jammed position behind stars like Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. Let’s see if he deserves a spot among the best.

In the final five players eligible for the final vote, there are three shortstops. Among those three, Bogaerts is by far the best and has the best numbers. So he has that going for him, which is nice. DiDi Gregorious has missed too much time to catch up to Bogaerts and Elvis Andrus just doesn’t matchup in any facet. Mike Moustakas has some great power numbers but nothing else and Logan Morrison is the last guy on the ballot and if you don’t know who he is you certainly aren’t alone.

As far as his numbers go, they are All-Star worthy. Among AL shortstops, Bogaerts ranks second in hits (95), batting average (.314), OBP (.366) and doubles (20). He is also first in triples (4) and third in runs scored (49). Not to be lost in this, he has been the most consistent hitter on a first place team. Gregorious’ team is behind his in the standings and Andrus’ Rangers are below .500. Bogaerts has been a catalyst on a team that’s one of the hottest in baseball at the moment.

Moving on from pure statistics, Bogaerts is one of the best defenders in arguably the most important position on the diamond. Rare is it that he ever makes an error or is out of position. Much like Carlos Correa, he is a big guy with exceptional range and make spectacular plays moving to their left. I’d go as far as saying that Bogaerts is a carbon copy of Correa minus the power. Obviously that’s a big distinction but he does everything else at an All-Star level.

So yeah, Bogaerts should be an All-Star. Unfortunately for him and Red Sox fans, All-Star voting is seldom about who should be in the game. I think he’s the best player available on the final ballot. There’s something we do have to take in consideration though: one of the other guys is a Royal. With a mediocre team in a mediocre city, those Royals fans have nothing better to do than vote for their players all day. All I’m saying is Bogaerts deserves a spot but don’t be surprised if it’s Mike Moustakas.

Ortiz Leads Red Sox All-Star Team

As David Ortiz leads Red Sox All-Stars to San Diego next week, Red Sox Nation will cheer for an AL victory. Six Red Sox players have been chosen for the 2016 American League All-Star team at Petco Park in San Diego. This will be the first All-Star game for all but two of the chosen Red Sox players. Here are your 2016 Red Sox All-Stars (Player numbers are current as of July 8th).

David Ortiz will be playing in his tenth, and final, All-Star game this year as he closes in onOrtiz leads Red Sox finishing a historic season. Ortiz is leading the American League with 34 doubles and a .429 on base percentage. He’s also hitting .337 with a .677 slugging percentage. Despite pleas to reconsider, Ortiz insists that he’s retiring—stating that he can no longer tolerate the pain in his feet and ankles. Ortiz should be a shoe-in for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Craig Kimbrel has struggled in recent weeks, but has accumulated 17 saves this season. This will be his fifth All-Star game.

Kansas City’s manager Ned Yost chose Steven Wright for this year’s All-Star game, his first. However, Wright probably won’t be the starting pitcher. Wright has developed a nasty knuckleball that rotates slower than planet earth, deceiving batter after batter. He’s leading the league in complete games (3) and has a 10-5 record overall.

Mookie Betts finally made the All-Star team for the first time despite a spectacular 2015 season. Betts currently leads the American League in plate appearances (401), at-bats (374), and total bases (197). Betts has only made one error in 179 defensive chances too.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has revived what was once seen as a floundering career. After hitting .189, .198, and .249 over the last three seasons, respectively, Bradley Jr. is hitting .293 with 14 home runs. In 197 defenses, Bradley Jr. has made only one error. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the Gold Glove Award for this season’s defense.

After missing last year’s All-Star game by a narrow margin, Shortstop Xander Bogaerts will finally get his chance to show the rest of the league how good he is. Hitting .332 this season, Bogaerts has emerged as a Red Sox fan favorite. While not known for his power, Bogaerts is a clutch hitter who comes through when needed most.

The 87th All-Star Game will take place on July 12th, 2016 at 7:30 Pacific time. Boston will be smiling down on San Diego as David Ortiz leads Red Sox All-Stars on the field to take on the National League.

Brock Holt Makes Impact At All-Star Game

This year’s Mid-Summer Classic ended with yet another win for the American League.  The game was played at the Great American Ballpark in Cincincatti.  The Boston Red Sox only had one representative, Brock Holt, and he did not disappoint for the Sox.

Coming into the game, nobody was really sure about what type of role Holt would have. Brock Holt He was not seen until the seventh inning when he was subbed in to replace Mike Trout as a pinch-runner.  But right when he came in, he made an immediate positive impact.

Holt stole second base on a breaking ball thrown by pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, after seeing the previous pitch put in the dirt.  He then scored on a double hit by Manny Machado.  This run gave the American League another insurance run which helped them to a 6-3 win over the National League.

After being put into the game, Holt stayed in and played three innings in left field.  In his one at-bat, he struck out against the Cincinatti Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

For Holt, this was his first All-Star selection.  As Red Sox fans, we’re all hoping that it is just the first of many.  He may be the most versatile player in the Major League’s, and that showed as he was the first player in history to be selected to the All-Star team who had started at seven positions, every one other than pitcher and catcher.

The Red Sox are starting the second-half of the season in last place in the A.L. East.  Toward the end of the first half, they were starting to turn things around before dropping two of three at Fenway Park to their rival the New York Yankees.  With the American League winning the All-Star Game, this means their World Series representative will have home field advantage.  Let’s hope that Holt’s contributions can help turn the Sox season around and maybe we can see game one of the World Series being played at Fenway.

Brock Holt Named Red Sox Lone All-Star

While the Boston Red Sox have not looked like a great team during the first part of this season, at least they can say they have one great player.  On Sunday afternoon, the Sox outfielder Brock Holt was named the team’s only representative for the 2015 All-Star Game.

Holt has been a great story throughout his career, which started with the Pittsburgh Brock HoltPirates.  He was drafted in the ninth round in the 2009 MLB Draft by Pittsburgh, and now is showing that he deserved to be a much earlier pick.

After a few years in the minors, Holt was called up to the big league’s in 2012.  Though he only played in 24 games that season for the Pirates, he was impressive at the plate, batting .292 in his short time with the team.  The following season, he came to the Red Sox, but not much was expected of the young outfielder.

During the Sox 2013 World Series Championship season, Holt only appeared in 26 games.  The following season, he was not even seen on the Sox opening day roster.  But in a short time, Holt has proven that he is a great all-around player.

When a few players for the Sox got injured, Holt got the call and took full advantage of his opportunity showing that he has a lot to give to the team.  He ended up playing 106 games last season, and while doing so played every position except pitcher and Catcher.  Since coming to the Sox, his batting average as well as games played has gone up every season, and this year he is batting .295 with 15 doubles and 21 RBI, and also hit for the only cycle in the Major League’s this year.

This will be Holt’s first time being selected to the All-Star team.  The game will be played this year at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  As the only Red Sox representative, this will give Sox fans more incentive to watch the game, and maybe even give more hope to a season that is actually starting to have some promise in Boston.

MLB Must Fix the All-Star Game Voting

I love the All-Star Game. It’s a timeless and magic event that showcases the very best of baseball. I always remember the excitement of watching the Midsummer Classic as a kid, and being amazed that all my favorite players assembled each July for a contest ripped straight from hardball fantasy. Yet this year, the prospect of watching eight Kansas City Royals start in Cincinnati, as the voting presently dictates, simply doesn’t appeal. In fact, it threatens to make a mockery of the entire process, and consign the All-Star Game to sad irrelevance.

My opposition to the Royals’ domination of voting is multifaceted. Firstly, we must All-Star Gameremember that the All-Star Game determines which league has home-field advantage for the World Series. This came into play last year, when the Giants and Royals met in Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium. Therefore, if the game counts, the best player at each position must be selected. For instance, Omar Infante, possessing the lowest OPS of any qualified hitter in Major League Baseball, should not start the game while Jose Altuve, Jason Kipnis, or even Dustin Pedroia sits on the bench. That nightmare scenario is on the verge of becoming reality. Similarly, Eric Hosmer is currently slated to start ahead of Miguel Cabrera, and, judging by the last vote count, Mike Moustakas is on pace to play third, ahead of Josh Donaldson and his 17 home runs.

Such fundamentally flawed selections not only affect the American League’s chances of victory, but, in a wider sense, they also insult the history and tradition of the All-Star Game, which has always been a sacred opportunity for the greatest stars to assemble on one stage. Some Royals, such as Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, are undoubtedly worthy of All-Star honors, but others, such as Infante and Alcides Escobar, simply aren’t worthy of the accolade. By voting for such clearly undeserving players, the currency of All-Star Game selection is devalued immensely, and the contest itself becomes cheap and meaningless.

This fiasco comes at a time when MLB is trying to appeal to a younger audience. Baseball, usually slow and ponderous, isn’t hugely compatible with our modern world, typically frantic and hyperactive. These days, kids generally prefer the fast-paced drama of basketball, or the instantaneous excitement of football, over the meandering poetry of baseball. Yet, the All-Star Game, by design, is a prime opportunity for MLB to showcase a different face; a prime opportunity to exhibit the young stars of our game in a more relaxed and vibrant setting. For instance, the Home Run Derby is a great way of engaging young kids. Accordingly, baseball’s brightest stars, such as Cabrera, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton, should play a starring role. They certainly shouldn’t sit on the sidelines watching Kendrys Morales or Lorenzo Cain.

Ultimately, MLB must fix this broken system. Right now, the All-Star Game is a brilliant reminder of baseball’s past, full of tradition and prestige, but also a potentially great vehicle for future progress, full of intrigue and entertainment. Yet, in allowing so many unsuitable players to be part of the festivities, baseball will destroy a once-beloved event, and miss another huge opportunity to develop a global fanbase. Rob Manfred must intervene, to save the players from embarrassment, the All-Star Game from shame, and baseball from slipping further into the shadows of general indifference.