Rafael Devers Promoted to Red Sox

It has certainly been an odd, unsuccessful and grossly disappointing week plus for the Red Sox since the All-Star break. Now, Dave Dombrowski is getting bold, but not in the trade market. With top prospect Rafael Devers promoted to the big club, the Red Sox are looking for a spark plug.

On the field, Boston has yet to win a series since the Fourth of July. Off it, they lost out on Rafael Devers calleda deal that looked like it was already done. Sure, missing out on Todd Frazier is not monumental, but the organization is surely disappointed. They felt they could get a guy to plug in some of their holes at a very low price. That is no longer the case, so it is time to embrace what they already have.

Devers will be with the team Monday in Seattle and is already expected to make his first start Tuesday. This is a kid who, just last month, was playing in Portland. After a cup of coffee in Pawtucket, here he comes Red Sox fans. Much like Andrew Benintendi last year, he joins the team in Seattle to fill an immediate need. Benintendi skipped AAA and Devers might as well have, but can we expect similar results?

Devers didn’t become the top prospect in the Red Sox system by accident. This season in Portland, he mashed 18 homers and 56 RBI while hitting .300. In all, he racked up 40 extra base hits in 77 games before being promoted to AAA. In nine games with Pawtucket, he hit .324, including a night where he went 4-4 with a homer. Devers’ glove is still raw, but his offense has shown he is ready for the major leagues.

Rafael Devers Promoted With Big Expectations

Third base has been a glaring problem for the Red Sox all year. Starting with the dumpster fire that was Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have been reeling at that position. With the rest of the lineup being just horrendous on a good day, that spot becomes even more important. Without the league’s best offense, third base turns from a want to a need. Now, if the Red Sox can’t upgrade there, a deep playoff run can be compromised.

While third base is a major issue right now, it doesn’t look like Dombrowski will try to solve it at the trade deadline. If he can add a bullpen arm, Boston should be in really good shape. Their offense won’t be number one, but it sure can’t get much worse. With their starting pitching, this is a team built for the postseason. If they can bolster their bullpen, they could be a tremblingly dangerous team come October.

So, the kid is gonna get a shot, whether he likes it or not. And yes, he will be expected to produce. He’s not going to make this team Murderer’s Row, but he should make them better. Since Devers didn’t even play AA till this year, this could be a lot of pressure. The 20 year-old will be thrusted in like Xander Bogaerts was in 2013. We all remember how Bogaerts thrived and what the Red Sox did that year, don’t we? So stay up late Tuesday night, you just might see the birth of a new era and a new Red Sox team.

Jackie Bradley’s Struggles Continue

The year is 2017 and not much has changed. It’s 60 degrees on a good day in May and Jackie Bradley’s struggles provide us great fodder for heckling. Red Sox fans and management once again have to play this cat-and-mouse game with Bradley and wonder when he will fulfill his potential.

Personally, I am so sick of waiting around for Jackie Bradley. Ever since he tore up Spring Jackie Bradley's strugglesTraining in 2013, he has never lived up to the hype. That year, he hit only .189 in 37 games. The following year he hit .198 as Jacoby Ellsbury’s replacement. Yet, we kept hearing about how it will take time for Bradley to develop. Still waiting.

Defensively, Bradley is elite. A bona fide Gold Glove candidate, his value in the field is indisputable. Offensively, however, what does he bring to the table? He filled in the shoes of Jacoby Ellsbury who, if nothing else, was great at getting on base and stealing bases. Even with speed and range in center field, Bradley’s season-high for stolen bases is just nine.

For the exception of two months in 2016, Bradley’s offensive career has been underwhelming to say the least. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game last year due in large part to his 29-game hitting streak. Outside of that, it would be an understatement to say that he has sucked. Even with that hitting streak, he only hit .267 for the season and 24 of his 87 RBI came in May.

Are Jackie Bradley’s Struggles Even Worth It?

Our aspirations of Bradley becoming a leadoff guy hitting .300 have fallen flat. Instead, we’ve become all too used to seeing him strike out on an outside breaking ball. Yet, we keep hearing the same old lines.

“Give him some time, he’s still young.”

“What about the hitting streak?”

Here’s news: he’s not still young. He’s 27. He’s had parts of five seasons in this league. Out of those seasons, he’s had two solid months.

This year has been an absolute horror show for Bradley. He has a stellar .182 batting average with a whopping two homers and seven RBI. With a pathetic .238 OBP, Bradley has done nothing right. You could say he has been the catalyst of the Red Sox’s offensive struggles. No matter where he has been put in the lineup, he has sucked. There’s no way around it.

So I ask: how much longer are we gonna put up with this crap? Finding a serviceable defensive center fielder wouldn’t be too hard. Finding one that can give more than Jackie Bradley should be even easier. Bradley will be arbitration eligible next year and as a Scott Boras guy, he may not be here beyond this year.

In the case of his career I ask: What season is the anomaly—the All-Star year or all the other ones?

Dustin Pedroia: Resurgent Season

Plenty of members of the Red Sox organization have had turnaround seasons in 2016, but maybe none has been more important than Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia now serves as the catalyst for this team, with Mookie Betts moving to the clean-up spot for the near future. His importance in the infield as well as in the clubhouse have been well-documented, but his bat has also come back to life this season.

Since winning Rookie of the Year in 2007 and MVP in 2008, the narrative on Dustin Pedroia has Pedroia been the same: he is a guy who gives it all he has. He’ll play great defense (with his four Gold Gloves) and is a great leader off the field. However, he has been mainly inconsistent at the plate since then. On top of that, Pedroia’s career has been littered with injuries. He had major surgery in every season from 2010-2014. Also, he has had six major surgeries in the last nine seasons. The fact that he has stayed healthy has been the main reason why he has returned to his former success.

Pedroia’s Resurgence At The Plate

Since 2012, Pedroia has hit over .300 for an entire season once, when he hit .301 in 2013. 2013 was a good season for him, combining the .301 average with 42 doubles and 84 RBI. He also finished seventh in the MVP voting that year. Other than that, it is no secret that he has underperformed the past five seasons. When he’s healthy, he’s been productive and the Red Sox win. In 2013, he had those exemplary numbers in 160 games and the Red Sox won the World Series.

After that season, the numbers have not come quite as easily to Pedroia. In 2014 and 2015, Pedroia batted a subpar (by his standards) .278 and .291 respectively in a combined 228 games. In 2016, he has played in 121 of the Red Sox’s 125 games. Also, he has hit .305 with 55 RBI and 30 doubles this year. Although he said he hates batting leadoff, he sure has a weird way of showing it. In his 55 at-bats leading off this season, he is hitting a whopping .364 with four doubles and six RBI.

Pedroia has stepped up to do something some veterans would not. He is in a position he is not comfortable with (batting leadoff) and thriving. Because of his turnaround, like in seasons past, the Red Sox are finally winning again. Right now, the Red Sox are in a playoff position and the resurgence of Dustin Pedroia is a key reason why.

Jonathan Diaz Reflects on Time With 2013 Red Sox

Jonathan Diaz

It was one-and-done for Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jonathan Diaz in the Boston Red Sox organization. After spending the 2013 season mostly with the PawSox, he is back where he feels he belongs—with the Blue Jays organization.
nike air jordan 20
jonathan diaz“It feels like home,” Diaz said of playing in the Blue Jays system. “I know a lot of the people here, I feel very comfortable and it’s good to be back here.”

Nine out of his ten pro seasons have come with the Blue Jays organization, so it is fair to say not only is he comfortable with them, but they are comfortable with him.
nike air jordan 20
When former Blue Jays manager John Farrell was traded to the Red Sox the same year Diaz became a free agent, he took a leap of faith and followed in the big league skipper’s footsteps—to Boston.

“I could have signed back with the Blue Jays, but I knew (John) Farrell, (Brian) Butterfield and (Torey) Lovullo from two big league camps the previous years,” he said. “That was part of my decision since they knew what I was about, they were comfortable with me. I think that allowed me to get a chance in the big leagues that year.”
air jordan 22
Plagued by injuries in the infield, the Red Sox called Diaz up to help fill the void at third base early in the season, making his MLB debut at 28 years old. He played in five games for Boston, primarily as a defensive replacement and scored two runs as a pinch runner. While his contributions did not appear to be game-changing, manager John Farrell raved about Diaz’ abilities in the field. It goes without saying that Farrell was a little disappointed when Diaz went back to Toronto—although he had a better opportunity in Canada.

Since Diaz logged big league time with the Red Sox in 2013, he earned himself a World Series ring, albeit he was not on the postseason roster.

diaz blue jays“It’s pretty crazy to think I got called up and only played for a week,” Diaz said. “it almost feels undeserved, especially with so many big leaguers that played so long and never got one. But it is definitely something special that I’ll cherish forever.”
zoom lebron ambassador 4
Anyone and everyone who makes the slightest contribution to a big league team gets a ring and it is fair to say he contributed more than a handful of guys who got a ring. After all, pitcher Brayan Villarreal got a ring and he threw just four pitches for Boston that season. He walked San Francisco Giants infielder Marco Scutaro which drove in the game winning run for the San Francisco Giants.

Lifetime, Diaz is a .143 hitter in 28 big league games, but he has yet to commit an error in 50 opportunities. Defense is his strong point, but that does not mean he is going to stop trying to get better. Now an infielder for the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays AAA affiliate), the 30-year-old still hopes to get better every day.
nike air jordan 6 retro
“I try to continue to improve in every aspect of my game,” he said. “I just try to put up good at-bats and make plays for our pitcher. I’m just trying to help the team win— I’m a team guy.”