Stephen Drew makes a substantial jump in the   May Edition of the rankings.
(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 March or April editions check them out for the criteria of these rankings.

As always, tell me if you agree or disagree in the comment section below or on Twitter (@RedSoxJK). (One addition though, please don’t tell me that a player should be higher without telling me who he should be above. It’s very easy to say that Player A is more valuable than I have ranked him, but in order for him to move up, Player B also needs to move down.)

Note: All statistics are through Wednesday night’s game against Philadelphia. 

Rank Player Previous Ranking  Comments
 25 Pedro Ciriaco 21 It was fun while it lasted, right? Ciriaco has been the worst position player for Boston this season. Since May 18th he’s raised his average from .206 to .244, but he’s been a mess in the field (7 errors in 111 innings at 3B & SS). With the emergence of Iglesias as an option at 3B it’s easy to see that Ciriaco could be squeezed off of the big league roster when Will Middlebrooks returns.
 24 Clayton Mortensen 25 Mortensen’s value peaked on May 6th, but since then his results have been mixed. Truthfully, he should have been sent down instead of Alex Wilson this week, but that’s what happens when one player has options and another doesn’t.
 23 Franklin Morales NR (DL) Morales just made it back to the active roster and has yet to appear in a game, but he is a versatile lefty that adds another quality arm to the mix as a long reliever (a glaring weakness of this team) and as a potential spot starter.
 22 Jackie Bradley  NR (AAA) JBJ is back! Service time is no longer an issue, and his .354/.457/.544 slash line in 95 AAA plate appearances suggests that he is (somewhat) ready to take a shot at raising his .094 major league average. Hopefully the same philosophy remains that they did not bring him up to sit on the bench, but with the solid performances of Nava and Carp it won’t be easy to find an abundance of outfield playing time, even with Shane Victorino on the shelf.
 21 Felix Doubront 17 Doubront is carrying a 5.29 ERA and 1.662 WHIP through the first two months of the season. If he continues to falter, Allen Webster certainly could resurface as a long-term replacement, while Morales is looking over his shoulder as a more immediate option.
 20 Jonny Gomes 19 I like Gomes, I like what he brings to the club, and I like having his bat lurking as a late-inning pinch-hitting option. But let’s be honest — he is not a starting caliber outfielder at this level. His -0.3 WAR is tied for the second worst among Boston position players (Middlebrooks is currently at -0.8). His roster spot is one that could definitely afford to be upgraded. Will Bradley provide that this time around?
 19 Andrew Miller 21 Miller has been a slow but steady riser in these rankings (23rd in March, 21st in April). His ERA has dropped down to 3.57, thanks to allowing only 1 ER in his last 8 appearances.
 18 David Ross 18 On May 9, I wrote a piece suggesting that Ross should become the primary catcher his average was .237, a respectable clip for a strong defensive catcher. Ross thanked me for that vote of confidence and has since lowered his average to .180, not respectable regardless of what position you play or how well you play it. Maybe he’s still feeling the effects of his concussion or his collision with WMB, but Ross has fallen off the map offensively.
 17 Craig Breslow NR (DL) Breslow has only pitched 11.2 innings so far this season, but he’s been solid in those opportunities. 1.54 ERA, 296 ERA+, 0 HR allowed. He gives Farrell one more trustworthy option out of the bullpen.
 16 Jarrod Saltalamacchia 20 Almost as quickly as Ross’s offense has faltered, Salty’s has returned. He has raised his average from .222 on May 3 all the way to .252. Perhaps most encouraging is his on base percentage. After posting identical OBPs of .288 in 2011 and 2012, he has reaching base at a .331 rate so far in 2013. If we’re scoring the catcher competition on this team like a boxing match you had to give April to Ross, but Salty won May decisively.
 15 Mike Carp 15 If heading into the season I told you that at the end of May that three Red Sox players would have an OPS over .900 would you have guessed Ortiz, Iglesias, and Carp? Right, you and I both would have gone 1 for 3.
 14 Jose Iglesias  NR (AAA) I know, it seems crazy to have him this high (he obviously won’t keep hitting the ball quite like he has, and his BABIP is perhaps more due for a regression than anyone in recent memory) but he is a great fielder who can handle either SS or 3B. But he has accounted for 0.6 WAR in just 12 games. Projected over a 150 game season, that’s an 8.0 WAR (#SuperSmallSampleSizeAlert)! That’s Robinson Cano territory (8.5 in 161 games in 2012). Is that a reasonable projection? Of course not, but until he stops hitting we at least have to give him credit for what he has done to this point in the season.
 13 Ryan Dempster 12  He has surrendered a team-leading 10 HR, has an ERA of 4.45, a WHIP of 1.388, and posted a WAR of 0.2 in 11 starts. Dempster has been a mediocre starter with a lot of strikeouts (10.8 SO/9), and that’s about it. For an alleged “Innings Eater” he’s not even averaging 6 innings per start and has yet to complete more than 7 innings in any outing.
 12 Junichi Tazawa 11  Tazawa has a 2.82 ERA and is second on the team in appearances with 23 (Miller has 24). He has not been as great as he was during his 2012 campaign, but he has been solid and largely dependable. My biggest concern for him so far is his 1.6  HR/9 rate (after a 0.2 in 2012) but his team-leading 9.67 SO/BB ratio is a beautiful thing.
 11 Andrew Bailey 7 1.88 ERA, 0.837 WHIP, 241 ERA+, 13.8 SO/9. Bailey has been everything that you would want out of your closer. But to me he is still only the second most valuable reliever to this point of the season.
 10 Koji Uehara 10 It’s hard to find anything not to like in Uehara’s statistics. His ERA is under 2.15 WHIP under 1.000, SO/9 over 10, and BB/9 under 2, and he’s the only Red Sox pitcher that you can say that about.
 9 John Lackey 18  Lackey’s current ERA+ of 151 is the highest of his career. (And no, not just during his time with Boston, his actual good career with the Angels too.) He’s been pretty unlucky too, 6 of the 21 runs he’s allowed on the season have been unearned. Those 6 unearned runs are as many as Buchholz, Lester, Doubront, Aceves, Bailey, Mortensen, Uehara, Tazawa, Miller, and Breslow have combined.
 8 Daniel Nava 8 As Hunter Golden point out on Twitter: Daniel Nava hit .289/.385/.500 in April and everyone said it was unsustainable. So what has he done in May? .289/.400/.421…pretty well sustained, Daniel.
 7 Stephen Drew 14  .224 may not be a great average, but it is when you were batting .087 40 days ago. In 40 games he has a WAR of 1.1, which projects to a nice total of 4.5 over the course of a full season. He has an oWAR of 0.6 and a dWAR of 0.8, an indication of just how much he has contributed with both the bat and the glove.
 6 Jacoby Ellsbury 5  Jacoby is lucky that these rankings didn’t come out on May 20th, his low water point as his average dipped to a paltry .241 mark. Since then he has seemed to regain his stroke, particularly going the other way, and has raised his average to .260 and his OBP from .303 to .325. Hopefully this is a sign of what is in store for Ellsbury the rest of the season, because for a while I really thought we should save everyone some time and legally change his name to “Jacoby Ellsbury Hits it on the Ground to the Right Side”.
 5 Mike Napoli 6  Napoli is projecting to reach some crazy statistical benchmarks: Over 200 strikeouts, 120 RBI, 25 HR, 60 2B, 150 H. In general I couldn’t imagine enjoying a player who strikes out as much as he does, (and maybe it’s just the 450 foot homers talking) but I have absolutely loved the Napoli experience.
 4 David Ortiz 4  An absurd slash line of .333/.395/.598 and 79 total bases in 35 games. He’s an offensive tour de force, but every time he really runs hard I live in fear that something is going to happen to that ultra-valuable achilles of his.
 3 Jon Lester 2  If you told me that Lester would be 6-1 with a 3.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.115, I would have guessed that he would still be in the top spot of this rankings, where he began the season. Him falling to the #3 slot is more of a reflection of the performance of the two guys above him than on anything he’s done. Lester has been what this team hoped he would be and needed him to be.
 2 Dustin Pedroia 3  He’s hitting .332, his OBP is .419, he’s 5th in the American League in runs scored, and his defense is a rare mix of consistent and spectacular. Then on top of all that we found out on Wednesday that he’s been playing the entire year with a torn UCL in his left thumb. Unless you’re a die-hard Yankees fan or Brock Holt‘s parents, how do you not absolutely love this guy?
 1 Clay Buchholz 1  In 10 starts Clay has managed to compile a WAR of 3.3! Projected over 30 starts that puts him right around 10.0 — do you know how crazy that is? If you need a comparison to realize just how absurdly great Buch has been to this point of the season, Baseball Reference had Justin Verlander’s 2011 MVP campaign at 8.4 WAR. Clay has been that good.