Twelve games into Spring Training and the Boston Red Sox are giving fans and analysts hope that this coming season may not be as bad as originally anticipated.
The American League East is the best division in all of baseball and it is going to be difficult climb for the Red Sox, but this year’s Spring Training has shown that they may make a run for the top after all.
The most exciting player has to be 22-year old outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.: batting .471, a .550 on-base percentage and an astounding on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.079.
This is where the big question comes into place. Current centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury on the last year of his contract and is heavily struggling; batting only .214 with a measly .313 on base percentage. Is it time for Ellsbury to move over, and let Bradley Jr. take over the reigns?
It is very early into Spring Training and way too soon to be seriously considering something like this, but this is something that the front office needs to start discussing as soon as possible while Ellsbury still has some trade value.
On top of Bradley Jr.’s success, newly acquired first baseman/catcher Mike Napoli has jumped out of the gates with a good start to his Red Sox career. He only has four at bats with two hits, but both of those hits resulted in RBI’s. The most important thing is that Napoli feels comfortable at first base—the position he is more than likely going to be playing a lot of this season.
After his first game in a Sox uniform, Napoli spoke to the media stating, “It felt good, I felt comfortable over there. Everything felt good; my legs felt good, I was happy to be out there.” This is exactly what Red Sox Nation wants to hear.
On the mound, no one has looked as good at Jon Lester. He has won both his starts this spring; the first game included two scoreless innings that only required 24 total pitches.
Lester is fresh off a down year, 9-14 with a 4.82 earned run average (ERA), and looking to bounce back to his 2010 year where he went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA. This is a good start to his bounce back year, stay tuned to the rest of Spring Training, as Lester will prove whether he is fully back or he just started off hot.
After a little more than a week of games, the Red Sox are looking offensively and defensively attractive. They have been without star-designated hitter David Ortiz, so their offense is only going to get better from here.
The Red Sox have been consistent with the rest of their AL East foes, but if they stay healthy, they can use their age to their advantage. Boston being the third oldest team in the MLB at 28.3 years old, health is always going to be a major concern.
Stay tuned for more updates as Spring Training continues.
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