Clay Buchholz held the #1 spot for April and May but his current stint on the DL means that we’ll have a new #1 for the month of June. Who will ascend to the top spot?
(Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net)

(Happy 4th of July everyone…scoreboard, England…USA, USA, USA!)

Every month, here on Fire Brand, I take a look at the relative value of the 25 players on the current active roster.

If you missed the MarchApril, or May editions check them out for the criteria of these rankings.

Note: The 25-man roster and all statistics are through June 30.  

Rank Player Previous Ranking  Comments
 25 Jonathan Diaz NR (AAA)  Poor Drew Sutton, he deserved this brief call up more than Diaz, but he was also more likely to be claimed on waivers when he was sent back to Pawtucket. But by all means, enjoy your stint in The Show, Jonathan!
 24 Andrew Bailey 11  Is this an overreaction? Maybe, but no one was worse for this team in June than Bailey. You could argue that Diaz deserves to be ahead of him, because while he didn’t win any games for the team, he also didn’t cost the team games like Bailey did. He pitched only 8 innings and gave up 7 HR during the month. His ERA went from 1.65 to 4.63. June was so bad for Andrew that Homer Bailey might actually sue him for name infringement.
 23 Brandon Snyder NR (AAA) Snyder collected 2 hits and 2 RBI in the last game of the month to help the team to a 5-4 win over Toronto. That and having Brian Daubach‘s old number puts him ahead of Diaz and Bailey on this list.
22 Allen Webster NR (AAA)  Only Will Middlebrooks has a lower WAR (-0.9) than Webster’s -0.8. He was going to be lower before his acceptable performance against the Blue Jays last week. In his 4 starts this season he has been good, decent, bad, and awful. You’re crazy if you’re still not wildly optimistic about his future, though.
 21 Ryan Lavarnway NR (AAA)  I’ve long been convinced that Lavarnway is merely a AAAA player. David Ross‘s concussion woes are going to give him an extended chance to show whether or not he is finally ready to make the leap. In six games this season he has hit .278/.333/.444.
 20 Alex Wilson NR (AAA)  The fact that the Sox DFA’d Clayton Mortensen instead of sending Wilson down again was a solid vote of confidence for the right-handed reliever. His WHIP is still too high (1.644) but his 132 ERA+ puts him 7th on the team behind Buchholz, Uehara, Miller, Breslow, Tazawa, and Lackey.
 19 Jonny Gomes 20  Gomes is serviceable as a fourth OF and provides a powerful right-handed bat off the bench in late-inning situations. While I would prefer to see Jackie Bradley in this spot, the fact that Ellsbury is a lefty and both Nava and Victorino are switch-hitters that are better from the left side necessitates the presence of Gomes on the roster.
 18 Craig Breslow 17 As the sample size continues to grow, Breslow’s numbers continue to be solid. 2.84 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, 154 ERA+. Craig is on the list of people that I would like to see get a shot to close out games long before we trade any more assets in the ongoing attempt to acquire a “proven closer”.
 17 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 16  Salty is a serviceable catcher who strikes out a lot and drives the ball when he makes contact. We know that. Defensively, he still is prone to some ugly plays, but he also significantly improved in throwing out would-be base-stealers. He managed to throw out one runner in his first 33 games behind the plate this year. In the 29 games since that point, he has thrown out eight.
 16 Andrew Miller 19  Miller is on the list with Breslow of players I would like to see get a shot at closing if it comes to that. His 14.1 SO/9 tells you what you already know, he has filthy closer-type stuff.
 15 Mike Carp 15  Carp finished May with a .270/.313/.587 triple slash line, but that was unsustainable, right? By the end of June he had improved all of those numbers and now sits at .313/.376/.652. We’re at the point where it’s a legitimate question to ask if he will be the starting first baseman on Opening Day next year.
 14 Felix Doubront 21  June saw Prince Felix give up 11 total earned runs in 6 starts, including his June 18 gem (8 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO) against the Rays. That performance was one more reminder that he continues to be a relatively high ceiling player. It also makes the games that he doesn’t pitch like that even more frustrating.
 13 Jon Lester 3  Lester’s ERA went from 3.53 to 4.61 in June. His 5 starts netted 24 earned runs, an extremely ugly number for the former ace. He also gave up 8 HR and issued 16 BB in 28.1 IP this month. You could make a decent argument that he should be behind Doubie.
 12 Ryan Dempster 13 Are you wondering how Dempster has moved ahead of Lester? His ERA is lower, his ERA+ is higher, and he has struck out more batters. Lester clearly has more of #TheWilltoWin and he is apparently better at “pitching to the score” but through this point in the season, Dempster has been slightly better than the wildly inconsistent Lester.
 11 Junichi Tazawa 12  He still has a lot of good numbers like a 2.92 ERA and a SO/BB ratio of 10.00, but after allowing one home run in 44 IP last year he’s surrendered six this year. That is definitely concerning.
 10 Stephen Drew 7  Drew’s average continues to climb after his miserable start to the season. He was hitting .154 at the end of April, .211 when May concluded, and .233 now. He’s been a 1.2 WAR player in 66 games for the Red Sox. You can make your argument that they never should have signed him and just let Iglesias have the starting SS role, but to say that he hasn’t been a good signing for this club is both foolish and naive.
 9 Mike Napoli 5  Napoli’s batting average started and ended June at .261, but his power completely disappeared. He had two extra-base hits the entire month (one home run and one double), and his slugging percentage dropped from .483 to .438. While his power outage certainly didn’t cripple the team offensively, if there’s any hope for a significant right-handed power contribution in this lineup it has to come from Napoli.
 8 Jose Iglesias  14  Where do you put Joey Church on this list? He plays phenominal defense at two positions, and he’s hitting .409 with a .985 OPS. He is fourth on the team in WAR among position players, trailing only Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Victorino. So yes, he’s ahead of Ortiz, Nava, and Napoli despite having played significantly less games than any of them! How is this happening? You could easily argue that he is way too low at #8.
 7 Daniel Nava 8  Nava continues to produce at a remarkably consistent and outstanding level. In 75 games he has posted a line of .285/.375/.441. He’s second on the team in HR at 10 (Ortiz has 16). Nava is an extremely valuable everyday player on a top-level contending team. What else can you say about the guy at this point?
 6 John Lackey 9  In the preseason I admitted to having a Raging Case of Lackey Optimism. I don’t even know what to classify it as at this point. With Clay on the DL, John Lackey is currently the best starting pitcher on a team that leads the American League in wins. Do you think that Theo finds some kind of redemption in this or is he just too busy being ticked off that he Lackey never figured it out during his time in Boston?
 5 Koji Uehara 10  2.12 ERA, 0.824 WHIP, 13.0 SO/BB. Don’t worry about giving up a home run on a splitter that didn’t split to the notorious mistake-killer Jose Bautista, Koji is hands down the best and most valuable reliever on this team.
 4 Shane Victorino NR (DL)  Victorino has played at a 2.5 WAR level despite a DL trip and a variety of nagging injuries. He continues to be even better than advertised defensively and far more than just “serviceable” at the plate (.291/.341/.393). If I knew anyone that said “I enter the season with the Victorino signing being my least favorite of the 2012-13 offseason” in the preseason, I would definitely give them a hard time for not knowing anything about baseball.
 3 David Ortiz 4  Ortiz has been as good as any of us could have reasonably hoped for this season, especially coming off of the achilles injury. Despite starting the year on the DL, he leads the team in HR, RBI, OBP, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. He also leads the American League in votes as the DH for this month’s All Star game.
 2 Jacoby Ellsbury 6  Ellsbury has started to drive the ball again, but he continues to have only one home run on the year. Despite that, his average (.296), on base percentage (.361), speed (32 SB, 3 CS), and defense (1.0 dWAR) have made him incredibly valuable. His 2.8 WAR trails only Buchholz and Pedroia on the team.
 1 Dustin Pedroia 2  I won’t go all Jon Morosi on you and claim that Petey is the First-Half AL MVP (sorry, but Jon must not have seen Miguel Cabrera or Chris Davis play this year) but after those two players he has been as or more valuable than anyone else. His 4.3 WAR halfway through the season certainly speaks to an MVP-level performance.

Categories: Alex Wilson Allen Webster Andrew Bailey Andrew Miller Boston Red Sox Brandon Snyder Brian Daubach Chris Davis Clay Buchholz Clayton Mortensen Craig Breslow Daniel Nava David Ortiz Drew Sutton Dustin Pedroia Felix Doubront Homer Bailey Jackie Bradley Jr. Jacoby Ellsbury Jarrod Saltalamacchia John Lackey Jon Lester Jonny Gomes Jose Bautista Jose Iglesias Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Miguel Cabrera Mike Carp Mike Napoli Ryan Dempster Ryan Lavarnway Shane Victorino Stephen Drew Will Middlebrooks

I'm a native Mainer and life-long Red Sox fan living among way too many Yankees fans in New York. I spent most of my childhood convinced that Spike Owen was going to be awesome, sooner or later. The last time I punched a wall was October 16, 2003. My bucket list included personally thanking a Red Sox player for 2004, something I was finally able to check off when I met Trot Nixon. Follow @JK7_

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