As I was brainstorming ideas for my weekly column, I had a vision. In it, people asked me legitimate questions, and I responded to them to the best of my knowledge. It was nice.

I decided then that this week’s column needed to be a mailbag.

I took to Twitter over the past week to gather questions for a productive, informative Red Sox mailbag with our readers. Things progressed about how you’d expect.

That’s right: it’s time for a Troll Bag.

Is Nava the starting left fielder for Boston in 2014?
-Pat Mallon

Yes, Pat, I believe he should be. I don’t think there’s a way you could justify not giving it to him, especially if his current stats (.287/.374/.441) carry through to the end of the season. Great story, great player – I’d be incredibly disappointed if he didn’t get the job.

Short-term, I think Iglesias has proven himself well enough at third to hold that position down when Stephen Drew returns. That said, I believe Iglesias’s tenure there needs to be a short one – when his inevitable regression hits, this team will be better off if Will Middlebrooks can reclaim his starting job and Iglesias returns to a utility role.

As for the long-term, it certainly seems like Garin Cecchini is breathing down Middlebrooks’s neck at this point. Cecchini is batting a gaudy .383/.508/.553 in 13 games since his call-up to AA, and just looks absolutely fantastic at the plate.

In the first Troll Bag, I preached patience with Middlebrooks, and while this was before his recent demotion to AAA, I’m sticking with it. In his 14 games at AAA Pawtucket this season, Middlebrooks is batting .296/.377/.648 and, perhaps most importantly, posting the highest walk rate of his career at any level at 11.5%.

It’s a miniscule sample size, to be sure, but I would expect to see Middlebrooks get another shot with the major league team at some point this season, and his performance at that time will go a long way toward diving the future of the left side of the infield.

Building off of this…

I believe there is a very real possibility that Bogaerts could break Spring Training next year as the team’s starter at shortstop. Not because I think this is the advisable course – Bogaerts’s current AAA triple-slash (.234/.337/.390) shows us that even baseball robots need time to develop – but because of Jackie Bradley; specifically, if Bogaerts has a great spring, would the front office feel the need to push him into a major league role sooner? They did with Bradley, and Bogaerts is an even more exciting prospect. It seems to me like the pressure would be hard to resist.

Ideally, I would give Bogaerts a look sometime in mid-June, along the lines of what the Rays did with Wil Myers this year.

As for Cecchini, seeing as he’s a decent bit behind Bogaerts in terms of development, I would wager we see him more in the late-2014/2015 span of time. Of course, as he is specifically a third baseman, this will depend entirely on what happens to Middlebrooks. Are you starting to see how Middlebrooks’s 2013 will have a domino effect on the rest of the Sox future roster?

I’m on a roll with prospect stuff right now, let’s keep that going.

We’re here to watch baseball, Ben.

As for prospects, I would certainly hope not. Xander Bogaerts has more important things to worry about than the frailty of human existence, like his .234 batting average in Pawtucket. Examining his own mortality would be merely a distraction from more important baseball concerns.

Baseball scouts don’t just examine how a prospect performs on the field; they look at their mental makeup, as well. If I were a scout, a player undergoing a metaphysical crisis about the human condition would raise major red flags to me. Better to stick to a prospect concerned with his approach at the plate.

There’s

really

no

other

choice.

Alfredo Aceves cares not for your sacrifices. He is fueled by your hatred.

KNEEL BEFORE ACEVES, PLEBEIANS. KNEEL.

I don’t think you understand what’s going on here.

Also, Barry Zito sucks.

Answer: all of it.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Drew Syndrome. The condition is caused by unusually low levels of grit and scrappiness in the immune system, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has thus far been unable to discover how to correct the deficiency.

I’ll address this one in a moment.

Hey, I love Jose. Chip Buck is the hater here. Let’s see if he has anything to contribute:

I guess not.

I love Jackie Bradley, but come on. Jose Iglesias is batting .410. He’s this generation’s Ted Williams. First-ballot Hall of Famer.

It’s just simple logic, really.

*searching for trolling*

Wait, is this… is this a serious question? I don’t think know how to handle those anymore.

But really, for the time being, I’m going with Mike Carp, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, and Will Middlebrooks. First base is a large question mark, and whether or not Mike Napoli returns will be dependent on his market value this offseason. My guess is that the Sox back out the moment the price rises too high, similar to how they did with Ross this past offseason. I don’t believe Napoli will wear a Red Sox uniform in 2014.

Carp is a younger, internal option who has played well in limited run this year, and would figure to be the first option at first, barring a trade or free agent signing. And if he plays poorly, I can just start calling him “Crap,” so that’s fun, too.

The real question here is whether or not Bogaerts starts the season in the majors or not. For the time being, I’m going with “not,” but if he starts shredding AAA the way he has every other professional level so far, he could prove me wrong in a hurry.

That’s more like it.

The answer here is “never.” The stat geeks just like Pedroia too much. It’s a shame, really. The grit potential was strong with this one.

I’ll spare you 20,000 words and just respond with “witchcraft.”

But seriously, Nava’s the best.

In a way, it’s fitting that this Troll Bag begins and ends with Timothy Brooks. It couldn’t have happened any other way.

That’s all for now; keep an eye out for the Troll Bag on the first Sunday of every month from here on out.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Daniel Nava Dustin Pedroia Garin Cecchini J.D. Drew Jackie Bradley Jose Iglesias Mike Carp Mike Napoli Stephen Drew Ted Williams Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogaerts

I'm currently an undergraduate Multimedia Journalism major at Virginia Tech and, with over 630 followers, you could say I'm kind of a big deal on Twitter dot com. I'm Fire Brand's Monday columnist, the creator of the TrollBag (sorry about that) and also the guy who writes those polls every week. I tweet far too much, but you should follow me anyways.

5 Responses to “TrollBag 3: This Time, It’s Personal” Subscribe

  1. PoarchDaniel July 7, 2013 at 4:52 PM #

    Hey, this is neat

  2. JK7_ July 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM #

    I agree completely on the infield. I can’t see Xander breaking camp with the team, Drew is almost definitely a one and done, and they certainly won’t over extend if Napoli gets too expensive.
    Although, Carp’s performance last night did scare me a bit. He looked awful.

    • PoarchDaniel July 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

      JK7_ Mike Crap made a cameo appearance.

  3. New Lyndsay July 9, 2013 at 1:10 AM #

    This is great. I particularly enjoyed the existential questions like
    whether prospects are aware of their own mortality, and whether Daniel
    Nava exists or is merely a figment of our collective imaginations.

    • PoarchDaniel July 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

      New Lyndsay Glad you enjoyed it!