I frequent a bar on Commonwealth Ave. called Harry’s. Every Wednesday and Thursday, you’ll find Bob Davis, a charming middle-aged man who loves his IPAs just as much as his baseball.
Bob attends the Arizona Fall League every October in order to escape the cold in New England and scout young talent because he simply loves baseball. When I asked him if he had seen newly acquired Red Sox outfielder Quintin Berry in the Fall League, he nodded.
Then I asked what he thought of him.
“He was amazing,” Bob said, nodding repeatedly. “Fast, but also a smart base runner. He’s this year’s Dave Roberts.”
It sure seems like Berry’s dominance on the base paths in the Fall League has translated into success in the Majors. Berry came out of nowhere. Most Red Sox fans probably didn’t even notice when he was acquired by the team via waiver trade (in exchange for Clayton Mortensen).
Now, he’s probably a lock on the postseason roster because of one sole reason: his blazing speed and his baseball acumen. Berry has appeared in 103 games in his short career and has stolen 22 bases, 21 of which came last year in Detroit. We get it. He’s fast. But the most impressive part of his stat line is the fact that he’s NEVER been caught. Small sample or not, that’s pretty impressive.
Just like the old saying goes – just because you’re fast, it doesn’t mean you can always steal bases. Berry is a lot like Jacoby Ellsbury when he steals a base in that he knows exactly when to go in order to swipe the bag successfully. The addition of Berry now gives the Red Sox three fast, capable – but most importantly – intelligent base runners (Ellsbury, Shane Victorino & Berry).
This makes his skill a major asset for the Red Sox heading into the postseason. The team hasn’t used him that much during the regular season. He only has one steal and nine appearances. But be ready – if it’s late in the game and it’s tied with Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s Carl Lewis-like speed on the base pads – you can rest assured that we’ll see Berry plugged into the game to swipe a bag and score a series-making run. Having Berry on the team makes the Red Sox much more dangerous – a team that’s already chalked full of capable late-inning options.