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Red Sox Report Card April 2016

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Isn't it nice to have baseball back?

It might have been an up-and-down journey to get here, but spring has finally sprung, and that means that baseball is back on the scene. Once again, the boys of summer have taken to ballfields all across the country.

And with MLB back on the radar and a month of the season in the books the time has come to see how the Boston Red Sox have gotten into the swing of things here in April.

All in all, the Red Sox look pretty good. After a bumpy start to the season, they have settled in and put together a fairly solid April. They went 14-10 for the month, leaving them in second place in the AL East, just a half-game back of the hot-starting Orioles. They've hit well, though their pitching performance hasn't been sharp. Still, they're in a good place and poised to get better.

On to the Report Card.

Hitting A-

This Red Sox team can put the bat on the ball; they're second in the majors in batting average. However, they're a bit short in the power department, sitting last in the AL in home runs. Still, they've also scored the most runs in the AL thus far, so they're clearly handling their business. David Ortiz is on his way to ending his career on a high note his .321 average, five homers and 19 RBI all lead the team. Dustin Pedroia has started hot too, as has surprise starter Travis Shaw, while Jackie Bradley Jr. has shown some muscle. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts have both started on the slow side, but they're still performing well. Even Hanley Ramirez looks like less of a mistake. If they keep this up, their well-rounded lineup will carry them far.

Starting Pitching B

This grade isn't ideal, but it's a hell of a lot better than last April. Free agent signee David Price doesn't have great numbers, but he appears to have righted the ship. Rick Porcello has pitched well in winning all five of his starts, while knuckleballing fifth starter Steven Wright has pitched to a 1.37 ERA in his four starts. Clay Buchholz, on the other hand, has been consistently terrible and looks lost on the mound. Joe Kelly was pitching poorly before being injured and his replacement Henry Owens hasn't been a whole lot better. As a group, they're 11-5 overall 11-2 if you remove Buchholz from the equation. Porcello and Wright might regress, but expect Price to catch fire and at least partially make up the difference going forward.

Bullpen B

Another group whose big-ticket addition has been mildly disappointing thus far. Closer Craig Kimbrel has converted seven of his eight save opportunities, but has also given up five runs in just 11 innings. Still, his peripheral numbers particularly his 19 strikeouts indicate that he should be fine. Junichi Tazawa has a sub-one ERA in his 11 appearances; Matt Barnes, Koji Uehara and Robbie Ross have all pitched fairly well. It's a solid group, though basically workmanlike aside from Kimbrel. Still, bad luck is really the difference between this decent performance and an elite one; if this group continues pitching like this, a lot of leads will probably stay safe.

Defense B+

I know I'm as surprised as you are. But only two teams in the American League have made fewer errors than Boston's 11. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts continue to pick it in the infield, while Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley play elite defense in the outfield. Brock Holt and Travis Shaw continue to wrestle whatever position they play to more or less a draw, while Hanley Ramirez has thus far been a pleasant surprise with his glovework at first base. Throw in some quality work behind the plate and you have one of the better defensive Red Sox teams we've seen in recent years. For one month, at least.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May 2016 09:50

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