Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bet You Didn't See This One Coming

People always say that first impressions are the most important part of knowing somebody. This has been proven multiple times this season for the Red Sox.  It was seen early on in the year with Jed Lowrie, who hit the cover off the ball and, even when his play began to regress, people were still talking like he was performing at that same high level. 

Now, the same is happening with super-kid Josh Reddick, who came out of the gates in May mashing the ball. Reddick was the talk of the town around Boston starting around mid-May, and going all through the next month or so. His incredible hot streak was coinciding with a slump from the starting right fielder JD Drew, not exactly a fan favorite around these parts. Finally, Francona started going to Reddick more and more, and then Drew got hurt and Reddick didn't miss a beat. Except, he kind of has.

People still seem to think that Reddick is the same guy he was when he first burst on to the scene this year. Coming into this season, he was never viewed as more than the future fourth outfielder, with the injured Ryan Kalish ranking ahead of him in the team's farm system. Reddick's play regressing was something easily predictable (he had a .625 BABIP in May, and a .400 in June), but people still aren't recognizing it. Consider that since the All-Star break, Reddick is posting a .237/.297/.398 triple slash line. The sample size of this is much larger than that of his hot streak, yet people still revert to their first impression.

The reason I bring this up is because we are on the verge of the return of Drew. He should be back on the roster by September 1st, so he will likely be on the playoff roster. Drew was struggling like crazy before he landed on the DL. However, he also hasn't played a game since July 19th. You never know if time off like that can help a guy get back to his prior form. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Drew is the better option than Reddick right now. If the playoffs started today, Reddick would be the starting right fielder, no doubt. However, the playoffs don't start today, and the Red Sox have the luxury of time. Reddick has been the superior player as it stands today, posting an fWAR of 1.4, and an identical bWAR. Drew has 0 fWAR, and -0.2 bWAR. If I'm Francona, I give Drew a chance to prove he can hit again. If Drew can return to the form he has been at in years past, he is the option this team needs in right field. I have my doubts as to whether he can attain this, but he at least deserves the chance. Reddick's first impression is just about ready to run out.


  1. Nice piece Matt. So I think it's fair to say, Reddick is who we thought he was?

  2. Exactly. Kalish is still the future. It's frustrating that people won't allow Drew a fair chance at starting in the playoffs because of his lack of emotion. Hopefully Francona is better than that and realizes Reddick hasn't been the same since the break.