Connect with us


Red Sox 2023 Mid-Season Report

The Red Sox have a winning record and are playing well enough to make a run at a Wild Card spot. They need some help to get that far.

The Boston Red Sox are in a fraught position at the moment. Holding onto a winning record, they are too good to give up on this season, but they still stand outside of a Wild Card spot with clear holes on the roster. This team is better than many expected during Spring Training. Following a four-game winning streak, the Sox have a record of 55-47, 1.5 games out of the playoffs at the moment. With a 14-5 record in July, Boston is playing well enough to that they have to make a push in 2023.

That is not to say that the Red Sox are pure buyers this deadline season. They already traded UTIL Enrique Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for upper-level pitching depth. Resigning the fan favorite didn’t work out, so moving on and getting a real return is probably the right direction at this point. The question is what else GM Chaim Bloom chooses to do over the next few days. The Sox still have no real healthy shortstop, and just like every contender, they could use more pitching to get through the season. There are very few middle infielders available, so the front office might have to get creative while avoiding last season’s deadline missteps.

Monstrous Offense

The only reason the Red Sox are still in the race is because of their offense. They are 8th in the Majors with a wRC+ of 107, 5th with a .334 wOBA, and 5th in OPS at .771. Baseball Reference thinks Fenway Park is more of a hitter’s haven than recent seasons, but + stats take that into account.

When a team is hitting well overall, there must be some pleasant surprises mixed into the lineup. OF Masataka Yoshida is earning every dollar of his contract with an .878 OPS boosted by a .316 average. He is spraying the ball to all fields while maintaining one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball. DH Justin Turner has rediscovered his power stroke and looks pretty close to his peak form with the Dodgers, ginger beard and all. He is making more contact and doing more damage on contact.

There have also been a couple of necessary internal improvements. After two frustratingly bad seasons, OF Jarren Duran finally looks like a capable hitter and fielder. After an OPS of .645 in 58 games last year, he has jumped up to an .865 OPS this season while assuming a full-time role. Take single-season defensive metrics with a grain of salt, but Duran has improved his DRS from -7 to -4, and his outfield jump has improved from the 66th percentile to the 99th percentile. Behind the plate, C Connor Wong has taken charge of the catcher’s job with much more power and plus defense.

Oh, and since you were wondering, 3B Rafael Devers is doing just fine. His .862 OPS is a little lower than the last two years but in line with career averages. More importantly, he is underperforming his superb expected stats, so Devers should be in for a productive two months.

Questionable Pitching

The Red Sox do not have a bad pitching staff, per se, but it could certainly be better. Their 4.29 team ERA is 17th in the Majors, while their 4.33 FIP is 19th, and their 4.17 xFIP is 11th. Those middle-of-the-pack rankings are a huge improvement over early in the season, when they were close to the bottom in run prevention after a month and a half. The starters are still 26th in ERA, but the relievers rank 4th as a unit.

The younger, homegrown pitchers are playing key roles this season, as SP Brayan Bello has quickly become the team ace, while SP Kutter Crawford now looks like a reliable back-end starter. RP Josh Winckowski looks like a whole new person in the bullpen, as he has shaved his ERA by almost three full runs from last season. Rookie RP Chris Murphy has also impressed as a long reliever, which the Sox have needed due to the shaky rotation.

SP Corey Kluber quickly faceplanted after signing as a free agent. His ERA begins with a seven, and a move to the bullpen hasn’t helped matters. Meanwhile, SP James Paxton is pitching about as well as he possibly can. He has an impressive 3.46 ERA in 65 innings after pitching a total of 21.2 innings in the previous three seasons. Newcomers RP Chris Martin and RP Brennan Bernardino have been excellent under-the-radar additions, while CP Kenley Jansen is pitching well with regained velocity but earned an All-Star bid more out of reputation than skill.

The Red Sox Have Bragging Rights

Despite lingering in last place for much of the season, this month the Red Sox have passed the New York Yankees for fourth in the AL East. They have won five of six games against their archrivals so far and will meet again in mid-August and mid-September. Boston’s best win this season came against the Empire, as they dropped 15 runs off the Bombers on June 16. The BoSox scored 13 in the first four innings, including a Turner grand slam. SP Domingo German was far from perfect that night, as he gave up seven earned runs in two innings. Winning by ten is always fun, but especially so against a bitter enemy.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in Features