7-5-2010: 5 Sox All-Stars, vote for Youk, the importance of Cash, injury updates
July 5, 2010 Leave a comment
Even though the popular vote wasn’t too Boston-friendly, the AL roster voted by the players is replete with Red Sox, including Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Beltre, Buchholz and Lester are all first-time selections, and Ortiz making it is a great tribute to his turnaround season (it still doesn’t mean we should exercise his team option, though). Kevin Youkilis still has an outside shot of making it if enough fans vote for him in the special runoff vote. Support Youk here!
Speaking of Beltre, his standout season will likely earn him comeback player of the year and Type A free agent status. Should Scott Boras take him to free agency, he will land a hefty free agent deal which I don’t see the Sox matching. For all his ability, the guy just doesn’t seem to fit in with this team’s style of play or personality. It would also be a mistake to expect a repeat of this season next year, even in Fenway.
With our top two catchers hitting the DL in the same week and a mess of injuries at Pawtucket, our catching depth had never been so poor. Luckily for the Sox, Kevin Cash had just been DFA’d by Houston. It’s not that Cash is anything at the plate (his lifetime batting line looks like a typical pitcher’s line), but his familiarity with the Sox staff and Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in particular made it a no-brainer to go get him. We were lucky, because I could see us losing a lot of games in this stretch without him.
Cash has commented that Lester’s changeup is a completely different pitch than when he was developing it two years ago. According to pitch type values, that change has been worth +9.8 runs above average this season, and if you look on a 100-pitch basis, it’s been his best pitch, worth +4.48 runs per 100 thrown. That’s phenomenal. His confidence with it has been a key part of Lester’s success this season.
With so many players getting hurt all at once, how are the Red Sox still in contention? Credit Allard Baird, who always seems to come up with a player out of nowhere.
The DL Brigade
Buchholz was hoping to make a start either today or tomorrow, but he has been DLed due to his hamstring. He’ll be back on July 15th. You don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with one of the better pitchers we have right now. Felix Doubront will be called upon to make the start tomorrow night against Tampa Bay.
Manny Delcarmen has no structural issues with his arm, so let’s hope that his time on the DL will help him rest up and regain his May form, when he posted a 1.84 ERA in 12 appearances.
Jeremy Hermida, who suffered 5 broken ribs in a collision with Beltre, took swings off of a tee this week, and is looking to take live BP this coming week.
He’s not on the DL, but Mike Cameron is struggling with abdominal pain on a daily basis. I heard some guy the other day saying how useless Cameron is to this team, but fans need to cut him some slack. What, would you really rather start Darnell McDonald in canter every day? We’ve been on that ride before, and it made me vomit.
Jacoby Ellsbury has still not been given the go ahead for baseball activities yet, and no timetable has been set for his return. I wouldn’t count on us getting him back to speed until September, and that’s a maybe.
Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, who knows our front office well, predicts that Theo Epstein will most likely make a move to shore up this bullpen. My feeling is that with Sox being so averse to trading prospects for relievers, they won’t pull the trigger for a significant arm unless it’s for low-level talent, like the Eric Gagne deal. Having a hot arm in Michael Bowden waiting at Pawtucket certainly helps. They’d want to keep him starting if at all possible, but if the bullpen situation gets dire, don’t be surprised if we see him up in August as a reliever.
Supplemental round pick Anthony Ranaudo is pitching up a storm in the Cape Cod league, and showing the healthy form that had him as a former top pick before his injury. His family is expecting a top 10 signing bonus, or he has intimated that he will go back to LSU for his senior season. I think we will pay up eventually, but Boras is going to drag this out to the very end. We’ll see what the final dollar amount comes to.