This is the exact same face that Nick Cafardo made when he found out that Jose Iglesias was traded on Wednesday night.
(Kelly O’Connor —

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, May, or June editions check them out for the criteria and history of these rankings.

This month sees a season high six players that were not rated in late month’s rankings, highlighting the significant roster turnover in the past 31 days.  Jake Peavy would have made it seven new players, but as of the end of July he was not officially added to the active roster.

July is also hands down the most stability we have seen at the top of this list, with the top six spots all remaining unchanged from June.

Note: The 25-man roster and all statistics are through July 31. 

Rank Player Previous Ranking Comments
 25 Ryan Lavarnway 21 At what point does Dan Butler get a shot? Lavarnway has been awful at the plate (.233 with no power), but at least he’s thrown out 5 of 16 base stealers (31%). We love you and miss you, David Ross. Please come back soon, and send us a note to let everyone know that you’re doing ok!
 24 Brandon Snyder 23 Low average (.235) and on-base percentage (.257), decent power (.500 SLG, 2 HR in 35 PA), and a serviceable glove. Sadly, on this year’s team, that will get you a lot of time at third base. At this point he is a short-term placeholder until the team decides to promote Will Middlebrooks or Xander Bogaerts.
 23 Brock Holt NR (AAA)

Brock Holt \o/! He got the call up on the last day of the month, after Jose Iglesias was dealt to the Tigers. He’s the only player who can play 2B, SS, and 3B so he should be the utility infielder for the rest of the season.

22 Jose De La Torre NR (AAA)  6.35 ERA, 1.765 WHIP in 11.1 IP in the majors this season. He’s the best bet to return to Pawtucket when Jake Peavy is officially added to the active roster.
 21 Pedro Beato NR (AAA)  Beato being this low is a more of a reflection of the strength of the rest of the roster than it is on his performance because he’s been excellent in limited opportunities.  2.45 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 179 ERA+ in 7.1 IP.
 20 Matt Thornton NR (Trade) Acquired for next to nothing (apologies, Brandon Jacobs) he is a great value addition to the bullpen. In his first eight appearances with the Red Sox, he has given up zero runs six times, and one run twice. He was an excellent low-cost, moderate impact addition by Cherington.
 19 Drake Britton NR (AA)  Super small sample size, but in 8.0 IP Britton’s ERA is 0.00, and his WHIP is 0.750, which is a phenomenal start for a kid that was pitching in AA a few weeks ago.
 18 Craig Breslow 18  Breslow is the epitome of a solid, reliable bullpen arm. He has a 2.54 ERA, and an ERA+ of 168. His walk numbers are more inflated (2.5 BB/9) but that certainly hasn’t come back to bite him to this point in the season. He has not allowed an earned run in 30 of his 37 appearances.
17 Jonny Gomes 19  This feels low for a guy that has as many clutch hits and walk-off home runs as Gomes has, but his .232/.330/.414 line is nothing to get too excited about. Still, he’s been what it was reasonable to expect of him coming into the season, a good bat off the bench, a roller coaster ride in the field, and a guy who is incredibly popular with his teammates.
 16 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 17  Salty’s oWAR (1.8) and dWAR (-0.3) numbers represent a pretty substantial gap. He’s been exceedingly solid offensively (.264/.332/.443), and while his defense still leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the throwing game (his 6 errors trails only Middlebrooks and Ciriaco for the team lead), he has made some strides defensively as the season has progressed. The Sox face some very interesting decisions behind the plate during the upcoming offseason.
 15 Ryan Dempster 12  I would have preferred to see Dempster be the arm that was moved to the bullpen for Jake Peavy instead of Workman, but when you’re a veteran making $13 million a season, you usually get the benefit of the doubt. In 121 IP he has managed a meager 0.6 WAR. Comparatively in only 37 IP, Craig Breslow has managed the same total.
 14 Brandon Workman NR (AAA)  In Workman’s three starts he logged 18.1 innings, allowed 5 ER, 18 K, and only 4 BB. He’s been an excellent replacement starter in the rotation. He’ll now be sent to the bullpen to hopefully resolve a season long search for decent long relief.
 13 Mike Carp 15  I’m running out of things to say about Carp. The guy can hit. He’s still sporting an impressive .318/.380/.601 line. His 1.6 oWAR puts him ahead of Napoli in 250 less plate appearances. Barring a complete collapse down the stretch, we’ve officially reached the point where I would be alright with the team heading into 2014 with him as the starting first baseman.
 12 Daniel Nava 7 Nava takes a five spot dip from the June rankings after only starting three of the 12 games since the All Star break. Six of nine games that he didn’t start were against left-handed pitchers, and his splits are cavernous (vs. RHP .303/.396/.456, vs. LHP .224/.289/.318). There are also some quiet concerns that he is struggling with a wrist issue that was a significant problem last year.
 11 Junichi Tazawa 12  Only Andrew Bailey has surrendered as many bullpen home runs as Tazawa’s eight, but his 6.38 SO/BB ratio continues to shine, and any time a relief pitcher strikes out that many batters and walks that few, you can live with him in a high-leverage 7th or 8th inning role.
 10 Stephen Drew 10  Congratulations fellow Stephen Drew supporters! We have defeated Nick “We All Know Who the Best Shortstop on This Team Is” Cafardo and the other mindless Iglesias lemmings who thought he was a Ted Williams/Rey Ordonez hybrid. Drew is an above average SS at the plate and in the field, what else do you want? Do you want walk-off hits in the 15th inning?
 9 Jon Lester 13  Lester’s last three starts of July started to return to the better end of the Lester-spectrum, peaking with his 7 IP, 0 ER, 8 K effort on Sunday against Baltimore. At this point, we don’t need Lester to be an ace (which is good, because 2008-2010 Jon Lester isn’t walking through the door any time soon) but we do need him to be a reliable #3 starter. If Lester can give the team seven innings with three earned runs or less, just smile and take it.
 8 Felix Doubront 14  After Buchholz and Lackey, Felix has been the Red Sox third best starter this season. He is in the midst of an incredible streak of allowing three earned runs or less in his last 14 consecutive starts. As things are currently going, if Buchholz’s eventual return to the rotation sends Doubront to the bullpen instead of Dempster, we made need to stage riots on Yawkey Way.
 7 Mike Napoli 9 Napoli continues to the a “Tale of Two Cities” player. He is the best of times, and he is the worst of times. On one hand he has 14 HR, 28 2B, a .459 SLG%, and a huge 11th inning walk-off home run against the Yankees. On the other hand he has 140 strikeouts and a frustrating tendency to swing for 500 foot home runs even when a single would do it (please reference the bottom of the 9th against Tampa Bay on Monday night).
 6 John Lackey 6 In 2011, John Lackey had a 6.41 ERA. In 2013 he has a 3.23 ERA. No wonder Dr. Frank Jobe is such a big deal! A potential playoff rotation of Buchholz, Lackey, Peavy, and Lester with Dempster, Workman, and Doubront coming out of the bullpen looks pretty formidable at this point, doesn’t it? You’ve got to get there first though, we all know that all too well at this point.
 5 Koji Uehara 5 Koji is fun because he gives us one more great argument that a “proven closer” is a myth. He continues to have all kinds of beautiful statistics: 1.46 ERA, 0.689 WHIP, 291 ERA+, and an 8.75 SO/BB ratio. His 2.3 WAR puts him ahead of all of the well-known proven closers like Mariano RiveraJoe NathanJim Johnson, and Craig Kimbrel.
 4 Shane Victorino 4  In the preseason I predicted that Victorino wouldn’t be as good as he was with the Phillies, but that he also wouldn’t be as bad as he was with the Dodgers. I was somewhat right. Other than his outstanding 2011 season in Philadelphia, he’s actually been even better than he was with the Phillies.
 3 David Ortiz 3  Big Papi gonna Big Papi. The Large Father leads the team with 20 HR, 68 RBI, .407 OBP, .592 SLG%, .999 OPS, 168 OPS+, and 197 total bases. And again, that’s with giving everyone else a 15 game head start.
 2 Jacoby Ellsbury 2  What a turn around from Ellsbury. After seeing his average drop all the way to .241 in May, he currently sits at .300. July also saw him bump his home run total from one to five as some of his power finally began to return. His 39 stolen bases while being caught stealing only three times is reaching the point of being pure foolishness.  Please don’t take him away from us, Scott Boras, please.
 1 Dustin Pedroia 1  July saw Pedroia sign an 8-year, $110 million dollar extension that should see him play his entire career in a Red Sox uniform, but it also saw him slump a bit. His average dropped from .322 to .296 on the month, with his on base percentage and slugging percentage dropping at similar percentages. (It’s worth noting that the aforementioned slump appears to have ended against the Mariners as he has gone 4-10 with home runs in consecutive nights.) Still, he leads the team in WAR with 4.5, and he’s compiled that number both at the plate and in the field. His oWAR of 3.3 outpaces all of his teammates, while his dWAR of 1.6 is tied with Victorino for the team lead.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Brandon Jacobs Brandon Snyder Brandon Workman Brock Holt Clay Buchholz Craig Breslow Craig Kimbrel Daniel Nava David Ortiz David Ross Drake Britton Dustin Pedroia Felix Doubront J.D. Drew Jacoby Ellsbury Jake Peavy Jarrod Saltalamacchia Jim Johnson Joe Nathan John Lackey Jon Lester Jonny Gomes Jose De La Torre Jose Iglesias Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Mariano Rivera Matt Thorton Mike Carp Mike Napoli Pedro Beato Ryan Dempster Ryan Lavarnway Shane Victorino Stephen Drew Ted Williams Will Middlebrooks Wins Above Replacement Xander Bogaerts

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_

12 Responses to “Roster Power Rankings, July Edition” Subscribe

  1. Chip buck August 1, 2013 at 8:38 AM #

    Suck it, Cafardo. MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    • Gerry August 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM #

      Never thought Firebrand would devolve into the ‘anti-site’ it is becoming. Anti Nick, Iggy, Lava, WMB, and until recently Ells and Vic, among others. FYI, the Sox are in first place and have a good shot at the postseason; the MFY and brilliant Jays are not. I am concerned.

      • JK7_ August 1, 2013 at 1:52 PM #

        @Gerry That’s pretty strong to say we’ve become “anti-site”. Do we pretty much all hate Cafardo? Yeah, but he’s a moron and earned every bit of that. 
        None of us hated Iggy, and in fact Tim was  in love with the guy. We all thoroughly enjoyed his glove, but I also think that all of us knew that a guy doesn’t hit .235 for 1,000 AB’s in AAA and then suddenly turn into a competent hitter in the major leagues, especially when he has 50 infield hits and a BABIP over .500. That’s all. We were rooting for him, and personally I will continue to root for the kid, except when Detroit is playing Boston. 
        As far as the other guys, I wasn’t in on the Victorino signing, but I’ve been happy to be wrong about that. I named a dog after Ellsbury, so that’s pretty strong. I’ve waiting for Lavarnway to break out of years, but I think he’s a AAAA hitter…that’s just me, I haven’t seen anything from him yet to convince me otherwise. And WMB was the background on my iPhone long after he got demoted to Pawtucket. I love these guys, I root for all of them, but that doesn’t mean that I have to irrationally defend all of them. 
        Now, if we had traded for Michael Young, that’s a player that I may have actually rooted against. 
        But just like you, Gerry, I (and we) love this team. 
        Thanks for reading.

        • Timothy Brooks August 2, 2013 at 8:49 PM #

          JK7_ I love love love Iglesias. But I am also realistic. Advocating trading him is not an anti-thing. It is very much a pro-Cherington thing. He traded a likable but flawed player. There is nothing wrong with being flawed. But the truth is that Cecchini and Bogaerts are both close and both have higher upsides. A year and half of Peavy is likely more valuable than 5 years of Iglesias likely being a utility infielder for the Red Sox.
          Again, I love him. I rooted incessantly for him. My friends were rolling their eyes this spring when we would go to games and I would check to see if he was starting. I simply see what Cherington is doing here.
          Finally, Nick Cafardo sucks. Sadly, that is my beat. I am not as negative as I seem in that column, but hopefully it is entertaining.

      • New Lyndsay August 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM #

        @Gerry Dude, Cafardo can’t even write a column that is consistent from sentence to sentence. let alone all of the bad baseball analysis and “predictions” based on “sources” that are never accurate or come to fruition.  And that’s his CAREER! It would be different if he were any old Joe Blow writing a blog about his baseball “knowledge” – no wait, it would be BETTER if that was what his column was. But he’s been given one of the most highly coveted positions in sports writing, and his writing is AWFUL. Read his column some time – the incomplete sentences and thoughts are like something your dad writes to you in email.  It’s an insult to those who actually provide good analysis of the game and put real effort into what they do, and try to write like writers and not just like fans, like the writers here at Firebrand. And no I am not a Firebrand writer but the difference in quality and skill is dramatic.  The Globe needs turnover in those positions because those guys have been phoning it in half-assed for way too long.

  2. Gerry August 1, 2013 at 10:59 AM #

    Agree on Ells, though the sticking point will no doubt be an impossible demand for 10 years. Can’t agree on Lava. With so few AB’s he won’t reach his offensive potential, and in his few games he has shown an above average arm, good skills at blocking and framing. Finally, IMHO, the lemmings are those who insist that Iglesias will never hit based upon his AAA numbers, which were based upon a deranged evelopment path through the minors. Iggy will no doubt wind up with a reasonable slash line at or above average for SS while turning the Tigers’ terrible left side of the IF into a model defense. Yes on Peavy, but Iggy will ultimately be a big loss for the Sox, one which even the most snide anti-Iggy lemmings will eventually regret.

    • BACowett August 1, 2013 at 11:40 AM #

      @Gerry But the thing is, with Iglesias, there’s no real supporting evidence that he’ll be much more than the light-hitting, glove-first SS that he is now.
      Here’s his slash line at Triple-A Pawtucket over the last 3 years: .235 AVG/.288 OBP/.298 SLG. That line is from 916 plate appearances, which is more than enough time for most of his peripherals to stabilize and his slash line to return to normal levels. I wouldn’t call it deranged development if he’s had over nine hundred chances at the same level to prove us wrong about his lack of hitting. We’re talking about an awful .586 OPS here.
      Cherington knew he had a guy about to come down from a ridiculous hot streak, and with Stephen Drew being more than competent in the field (along with the wunderkind Bogaerts due for a promotion within the next 30 days or so), he sold high on a guy who has a fantastic glove, but will probably never sniff a .300 season average for his career.

      • Gerry August 2, 2013 at 12:48 AM #

        Ironically, Iggy has hit very well for 3 stretches (2 of them short, 1 long) in MLB. He also hit well in AAA after adjusting to the level and before and after injuries, including before his 2012 call up. By deranged I mean his path was both completely NON-linear and rushed in the extreme, including a cup of coffee just two years from the Cuban Junior League at age 21 with minimal prep time in A and AA. Really? You would count those accumulated numbers but ignore his successes? You would frame his recent fall from grace (which coincided with similar slumps from PD, Nap, Nava, Drew, etc during a difficult road trip and facing winning teams and tbeir aces) but attribute them to regressio My point isn’t that Iggy will hit like Pedroia. Rather that, while the jury is out, he will probably hit to SS standards or better, and his glove will be among the best in baseball. Lucky Tigers. Xander will be terrific, but Iggy’s defense will still be missed, and he and Iggy were not mutually exclusive
        Ben may have sold high, but maybe not.

    • JK7_ August 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM #

      @Gerry I’d love to keep Ellsbury, but if he insists on 10 years there is a 0% chance he’s coming back. I can’t even imagine giving him 7. I think they’d love to get him at 4 years. Maybe they could be stretched to 5, but past that they’ll thank him for being a part of the franchise and send him on his way. Even some of the language in the Pedey extension talk indicated “Yeah, we gave him 8 years, but no one else is getting this.”

      • Gerry August 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM #

        And even Boras might not have the brass to demamd 10 years for a speed guy at age 30. And it’s possible Pedroia’s deal is also the top $$ of any contract going forward, as in “no one gets more than our ROY, MVP, GG, SS, perpetual AllStar and de facto Capitain! But Ells is turning into a consistently and statistically excellent player who could play well through age 35 in 2018. That would be a world class outfield if he sticks around.

        • New Lyndsay August 2, 2013 at 9:57 PM #

          @Gerry I don’t know about excellent.  A good player, yes. Above average.  He’ll never put up 2011′s numbers again though.

  3. New Lyndsay August 2, 2013 at 9:55 PM #

    David Ross is doing just fine – he seems to fit right in with the Beard Crew.  Mike Napoli posted a pretty funny youtube homage to him if you will, on his twitter account.