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.

Red Sox Knuckleballer Steven Wright: Next Tim Wakefield?

steven wrightAfter starting the year on the Disabled List due to a sports hernia, Steven Wright didn’t start the 2014 season until May. Wright pitched in extended Spring Training a of couple times and got a rehab start with the Portland Sea Dogs in late May.
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In three starts with the Pawtucket Red Sox so far this season, Wright has been dominating his AAA competition. Boasting a 1.35 ERA in three starts totaling 20 innings, Wright has fanned a total of 23 batters while walking just five showing amazing control over his knuckle-ball. Perhaps the thing that stands out the most for Wright is his control. In his last start, a start where he fanned ten batters in seven innings, Wright threw 70 of his 99 pitches for strikes. This is much higher than usual for a knuckleballer.  Although three starts is a small sample size, it is a great sign to see Wright recovering well from his injury, especially since Boston is low on starting pitching at the Major League level.
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Last year Steven Wright looked good for the Paw Sox, posting a 3.46 ERA in 24 starts totaling 135 1/3 innings fanning 99 batters while walking 65. Perhaps the most impressive part of his year though, was when he posted a 2.15 ERA from July 1st onward in Pawtucket totaling 13 appearances, 11 of which were starts. In the big leagues Wright pitched in four games, one of which was a start, totaling 13 1/3 innings in which he gave up eight earned runs while striking out ten and walking nine.

If Wright keeps up what he is doing, which he should be able to, the future looks bright for him. Wright is valuable to the Boston Red Sox organization because of his versatility. Given his ability to start and pitch in long relief, Boston has some choices they can make when it comes to Wright. Knowing Boston, it would be tough for Wright to get a spot in the rotation right away, but the bullpen is more likely. In the bullpen given his immense stamina, Wright could log a high number of innings and save the bullpen during a blowout or during extra innings. Not to say that Wright could not give the Red Sox one good inning alone, but why should the Red Sox settle for one when they can get several good innings from him.
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Like fine wine, knuckleballers get better with age which is another plus for Steven Wright. Despite already being 29-years-old, Wright could have a long career ahead of him. The best part of it all is that all Wright cost the Red Sox back in 2012 was failed first base prospect Lars Anderson.

A potential heir to Tim Wakefield? Maybe, who knows. What is known is that Wright should be able to help Boston out in the long run logging large amounts of innings for the team.