More Koji high-fives for everyone, please!
(Kelly O’Connor,

Every month during the season, here on Fire Brand, I take a look at the relative value of the 25 players on the current active roster.

The criteria for the power rankings:

1) What is the value of each player on the Red Sox roster relative to the other players? If a player was to go down for the year, who would hurt the overall performance and potential of the team the most?

2) Salaries don’t matter. Would you rather have Xander Bogaerts for $517,000 or Dustin Pedroia for $12,500,000? Xander, of course. The cheap cost of controlled players like Bogaerts, Middlebrooks, and Doubront would completely skew this list.

3) Depth does matter. Part of Bogaerts’ value on this list is that there is little organizational depth to replace him if that became necessary. On the other hand, the organization is currently loaded with quality bullpen arms and catching options, lowering the overall value of the relief pitchers and catchers on this list.

4) This is based on my opinion and speculation. Your opinion may differ. That’s ok. We can still be friends. Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter what players you think I have too high or too low.

Rank Player Position  Comments
 25 Brandon Workman RHP  Workman slides on the roster as a reliever thanks to Craig Breslow‘s late start this spring, but in all likelihood he is still behind Capuano as the sixth starter at this point. If Breslow returns soon, as expected, Workman will return to Pawtucket to get stretched out.


Jonathan Herrera IF Herrera beat out Brock Holt for the utility infield spot primarily because of his ability to play SS as well as 2B and 3B. If he’s playing more than once or twice a week something has gone wrong with the young left side of the infield.
 23 Burke Badenhop RHP  For the low cost of Luis Ortega and a $2.15M salary for this season, Cherington acquired another solid major league bullpen arm, and one who specializes in inducing ground balls. I’m a Badenhop fan.
 22 Chris Capuano LHP  Capuano for $2.25M gives the Red Sox a cheap long reliever with big league experience out of the pen and a viable replacement starter when someone in the rotation misses a start or two. His presence on the roster allows the team the benefit of not having to interfere with the development of AAA starters before they’re deemed ready.
 21 Andrew Miller


 As indicated by his team-leading 14.1 SO/9 rate, Miller was filthy before his injury last year. His lanky, long frame leads to problems repeating his delivery and consequentially some control issues, but when he has that all working you can see why he was such a highly touted prospect a decade ago.


Edward Mujica RHP  Do you know that this guy is only 29 and saved 37 games for the Cardinals last year with a 2.78 ERA? So naturally the Sox got him on a two year deal for under $10M. If he stays healthy, people around the league will be scratching their heads as to how Cherington pulled this one off. He gives depth behind both Koji and Taz as a high leverage reliever if either of them encounter issues with injuries or ineffectiveness.
 19 David Ross


 Ross is everything you could ask for in a second catcher, and the hands down favorite on this club to be a successful big league manager in the future.
 18 Jonny Gomes LF  Gomes generally defies logic and most statistical explanation. He’s a roller coaster in left field who specializes in getting a late jump, taking a bad route, and then recovering with an awkward diving/flailing catch that later appears on highlight reels. He’s an excellent pinch-hitter who has a solid high-OBP approach and enough power to scare the opposition. It’s hard not to love the guy and what he brings to this team.
 17 Mike Carp 1B/LF  I’m in the group that would prefer to see Carp traded and JBJ in this spot on the Major League roster, but then again Ben Cherington has more World Series rings than I do, so who am I to argue? The general word is that he is more valuable to the Red Sox than he is in a trade to other teams, but I have a had time believing that is the case when he’s only going to play once or twice a week and could easily start in a place like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.


A.J. Pierzynski C  I was not a fan of this signing in the off season, but it’s hard to complain too much about such a low-cost, one-year move. I will be borrowing the term #AJPlaceholder (hat tip to Over the Monster) for him all season as he helps keep the seat warm for and Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez.
 15 Daniel Nava


 There are certainly some skeptics out there that wonder if Nava can again produce like he did in 2013, but I don’t get the feeling he has many doubters inside the organization. His work ethic and approach are outstanding, and Farrell pegging him as the leadoff hitter against right-handed starters is a win for lovers of stats (and common sense) everywhere.


Grady Sizemore CF I’m in the camp that believes you should get everything you can out of Sizemore while you can. No one knows how long he can perform at a high level, so would you rather have him use up a possibly finite resource in AAA or where the games really matter?
 13 Junichi Tazawa


 In 44 IP in 2012 Tazawa gave up one home run. In 2013 he gave up nine, including six to the Blue Jays. Despite the jump from 0.2 to 1.2 in HR/9 he still posted an ERA of 3.16. When he keeps the ball in the park, he’s a dominant setup guy.


Felix Doubront LHP Doubront had flashes of excellence last year, but his season long stat line is largely mediocre: 4.32 ERA, 1.429 WHIP, 94 ERA+, 139K in 162.1 IP. He was in great shape coming into camp, but has been rocked in a few late starts. Will this year be a step forward or back for Prince Felix?
 11 Jake Peavy


 I was one of the many people this offseason who was shocked to learn that Peavy is only 32. Replicating something similar to his 2012 line (3.37 ERA, 1.096 WHIP, 194K in 219 IP) would be absolutely huge in the middle of this rotation.


Will Middlebrooks 3B  Middlebrooks gets a value bump because, similar to Xander, there is not a viable Major League option on the roster to replace him. If he struggles there will be a lot of talk about Garin Cecchini but in an ideal world Garin doesn’t see an AB for Boston before September call-ups. Will’s spring stats have been outstanding, but that won’t matter at all when the real games begin next week.
 9 Xander Bogaerts


 What can I say about Xander that we haven’t already said and swooned over all winter? He’s only 21, looks to be smooth and improving defensively at SS, has a very mature approach at the plate, and projects to be a 30 HR guy sometime in the not-too-distant future. Starting in 2019, New England Kindergarden classes will be packed with boys named Xander.


Shane Victorino RF/CF  I’m not overly encouraged by the nagging injuries that continue to follow Shane around this spring, because as evidenced by his 5.8 bWAR (including a stellar 2.2 dWAR) in only 122 games in 2013, this guy is extremely valuable when he is on the field.
 7 Mike Napoli


 I’m so glad that we signed up for two more years of the Napoli experience this offseason. He’s going to have some stretches where he hits everything a mile, and some streaks where he is seemingly striking out five times for every four at bats. But he has quickly become an excellent defensive first baseman, and a leader for this team on the field and in the clubhouse.


John Lackey RHP  Lackey was definitely the winner of the Red Sox Tough Luck Award in 2013. His 3.52 ERA and 1.157 WHIP led to 161 K in 189.1 IP, but only a 10-13 record. Another healthy year from Lackey (made 29 starts in 2013) will be crucial to the team’s effort to repeat as Division Champions.


Clay Buchholz RHP  You know the story, Buch was lights out from April – June going 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA before getting shut down with a mysterious and largely undisclosed injury. He came back in September and October and was effective (finished 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA) despite clearly lacking his regular speed and stamina. Clay has only exceeded 109 IP twice in his career and has yet to break into the 190+ inning range. Is this the year he finally starts 30 games?
 4 Koji Uehara


 Are you ready for this? 1.09 ERA, 0.565 WHIP, 101 K in 74.1 IP…and most impressive of all an ERA+ of 376! That’s three hundred and seventy six! Mariano Rivera‘s career high ERA+ was a measly 316.


David Ortiz DH Oritz returns from another fall performance that was nothing short of legen (wait for it…) dary, leading the team to its third World Series Championship in his magical tenure. With a contract on the books that basically ensures he ends his career in Boston, will he continue to produce at the same level he has over the last few years? I wouldn’t bet against him going 30/100 for the eighth time in his career.
 2 Dustin Pedroia


 Remember the time that Pedroia played 175 games with torn ligaments in his thumb? That injury led to his lowest HR total (9) since 2007 (8) and the lowest slugging percentage (.415) of his career. The good news is that those ligaments have been surgically repaired, so if he can resist the urge to slide headfirst into first base we should see some of the Laser Show power return.
 1 Jon Lester LHP  Buster Olney, along with many others, feels that the corner Jon turned last summer (7.62 ERA in June, 2.57 ERA in the 2nd half of the season, and a 1.32 ERA in the playoffs) was a something that he will carry with him into the new year. He fundamentally changed the way he was approaching batters and started to use the entire plate. If that’s the case, Red Sox Nation should be overjoyed with the 5-year, $110 million (my estimate) contract extension that the ace will likely sign in the next few days.