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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Red Sox Grades: Position Players



Editors Note: Because technical problems have forced me to miss the past eight days of action, I will be handing out grades for the Red Sox players' seasons thus far. I felt this was the best way to recap what I have missed in a succinct fashion.



Catcher

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: C-
The new addition behind the plate has struggled in the start of the 2011 year. He has hit a measly .186 with just a .488 OPS. Defensively, he is throwing out 26% of base stealers, which is a higher percentage than he has ever thrown for. For that mild improvement, I gave him the C- rather than a D.

Jason Varitek: F
The capitan will always have a special place in Boston, but it is looking like his ability may finally be going down with age. He has hit just .074 this year with a minuscule .305 OPS. He has also looked old behind the plate. I was going to give him a G, but he has been behind the plate for Beckett's fantastic pitching, so I gave him a real grade.


First Base

Adrian Gonzalez: B
The Red Sox biggest offseason acquisition has played adequately well in his first few weeks in Beantown, but hasn't been off the charts. He has hit one homer and is mashing at a .282/.358/.412 clip. One thing some fans may have been surprised of is his glove. Youkilis played really well defensively at first, but Gonzalez is the best glove the team has had at 1st since Mientkiewicz.


Second Base

Dustin Pedroia: B+
Pedroia has been having a similar season to Adrian Gonzlez. His hitting line currently stands at a similar .282/.400/.410. On top of that, he has also played well defensively. He gets the higher grade because his numbers are slightly better, and he also plays a more important defensive position.


Third Base

Kevin Youkilis: C+
Youkilis has played decently well in his first season back at the hot corner, and I struggled between giving him a C+ and B-. Ultimately I went with C+ because his batting average isn't up to par (.222) and he has committed two errors. He has, however, hit four home runs and is still hitting with a .895 OPS.


Shortstop

Marco Scutaro: D
Scutaro has not played well in his second season in Boston. He knows that this is probably his last year starting in Boston, if he can even make it through the year. Thus far, he is hitting .213/.315/.255. He has also committed two errors and may soon be replaced by this man.

Jed Lowrie: A
The Legend of Jed Lowrie is growing. For those of you who follow me on Twitter (@Red_SoxThoughts), you know I give the credit for his success to his double-ear-flapped helmet. He has been outstanding, hitting above .400 and having 3 homers and 12 RBIs in just 16 games.


Outfield

Carl Crawford: F+
I decided I couldn't give Crawford a flat F just because I had already given that grade to a guy hitting below .100. Crawford has been moved all around the lineup and can't find his groove. He is getting on base at just a .218 clip. He is going to have to improve infinitely to live up to that contract, which I still think he will.

Jacoby Ellsbury: C-
Ellsbury is another guy who should be getting on base, and right now is playing right into the hands of those who frequently call him overrated. He is getting on base at just a .296 clip with five stolen bases. The thing that moves his grade up are his four home runs and the tremendous range he shows covering center field.

JD Drew: C+
Drew is having about as JD Drew-y of a season as you could possibly have. He is not hitting badly, with a .278/.381/.407 batting line. He has just one home run and has struck out almost twice as many times as he has walked. His defense has been good in right field, and his last season in Boston is looking like his first four.



As a whole, I give this team's offense a C. They had big time expectations coming into the season, and they just haven't met them yet. They are in the bottom half of the league in batting average and slugging percentage. As you will see later today, it has been the pitching staff that has righted this Red Sox ship.

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