The Red Sox Have A Real Problem At First Base

Since the trade deadline passed on Friday at 4 pm, the Red Sox are 0-3. In those three games, Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec is 2/10 with four strikeouts. Yes, it is a small sample size, but this has been the theme for the Red Sox all season, and they failed to fix it at the trade deadline. 

Red Sox Notes: Bobby Dalbec Had Dream Come True In Win Over Angels -  Flipboard

In 86 games this season, Bobby Dalbec is hitting .216, with an OPS of .657, and a team high 113 strikeouts. Dalbec’s strikeout rate is 37.5% and his whiff rate is 39.6%, which is behind just Franchy Corderro, who has also given first base a try for the Red Sox this season. 

Other players that have given first base a try for the Red Sox this season are Danny Santana (.171 BA), Marwin Gonzalez (.205 BA), Franchy Corderro (.196 BA), and finally Christian Arroyo, who suffered a hamstring injury in the third inning in his first game at first base in the MLB… which leads me to my next point. 

Kyle Schwarber

The lone bat the Red Sox acquired at the trade deadline was Kyle Schwarber. The Red Sox acquired Schwarber in a trade that sent pitcher Aldo Ramirez to Washington. The six-year veteran is having a good year, as he has 25 home runs, and is batting .253, with an OPS of .910. The Red Sox already Schwarber taking ground balls at first, but will it really be that easy? 

In 623 career games played from the versatile Schwarber, he has only played first base for one at bat. Schwarber’s experience at first base isn’t the biggest problem, it’s his current injury. Schwarber has been out with a significant hamstring strain since early July, and is still sidelined because of it. When hearing this I can’t help but think of the Christian Arroyo situation I alluded to earlier. 

Though some Red Sox fans are optimistic that Kyle Schwarber could be the first baseman for the Red Sox, I have trouble buying it. Given his injury history, and the fact that he has no prior experience at first base, I find this move to be worrisome. If Schwarber doesn’t work out at first base, it will likely make an already crowded outfield even more crowded, and it will force the Red Sox to creative at first base.

What Could The Red Sox Do?

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the trade deadline was their chance to fix this hole. If Schwarber doesn’t work out at first, the Sox will have to get creative within their current organization. A couple of names I have seen floating around are Kike (15 career games at first), JD (0 games), Renfroe (2 games), and Verdugo (0 games). Outside of the lack of experience with these guys, you also have to consider if you would actually want to move these guys from their current positions.

Red Sox better hope Schwarber can play first and stay healthy, because if not we will see what we have seen all year.

Red Sox First Half Report Card by Position: First Base

Red Sox first half Mike Napoli

The Red Sox have had a slew of guys play first base this year, with six different players making starts there. Mike Napoli has held down the fort for the most part, starting 72 of the 95 games so far, with Mike Carp and Brock Holt getting the second and third most starts.

Nap was brought back this year after a solid first year at the plate and in the field. However, he hasn’t been quite as productive during the Red Sox first half of 2014. Last year, in 139 games, Napoli drove in 92 runs, but in 75 games this year, he only has 34 RBI’s. While he has been getting on base frequently, he is only batting .187 with runners in scoring position. If he is going to continue to bat in the 4th or 5th spot in the lineup, the Sox will need those numbers to go up.

Mike Carp has missed a fair amount of time while on the DL, but he has also under performed. Carp has the ability to add some pop to the lineup against right handed pitching, but with no home runs and only six extra base hits in 38 games, he isn’t fulfilling his role. Like I said, he hasn’t had a chance to play a bunch, but his slugging percentage is down over .200 points. Carp could be at risk of losing his job if he doesn’t pick it up soon.

Mr. Everything, Brock Holt, has also seen some time at first base, but he has recently been playing mostly in the outfield. Obviously, Holt has been one of the best stories of this disappointing season for Red Sox fans, and he left his mark on Sunday, collecting five more hits before the break. We will take a closer look at Holt in the outfield report card.

Mike Napoli- Grade: C+

Mike Carp- Grade: D