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