Red Sox Trimester Report Card, The Offense

Red Sox Trimester Report Card, The Offense

With the first third of the season come and gone, it’s as good a time as any to hand out the Red Sox Trimester report cards.  It’s been a pretty wild year so far, as the Sox have been rather befuddling to the fans in Beantown.  One minute they’ll sweep the Rays, the next be swept by the Orioles.  Once hovering around 10 games out of first, they’ve battled back to five games, two back of the Wild Card leading Yankees.  Things are looking up in many places, however some members of the team aren’t getting the A they are capable of.

Jacoby Ellsbury: Having played in all of nine games, its hard to get a read on how Ellsbury is doing this year.  Before Adrian Beltre drop kicked him onto the DL, Jacoby was leading the team in average, batting well over .300.  In the couple games he came back, he struggled heavily.  He then quickly complained about his ribs still bothering him, leading many in the media to question his desire to play.  As of the last couple days, he’s seeing a specialist out in Los Angeles in hopes of figuring out his mystery pain.  Will they figure it out?  Is Ellsbury just being a baby?  One thing is for certain, Ellsbury brings a dynamic both the defense and offense that nobody else can provide and the Sox are not the same without him.  Hurry back, Jacoby.

Grade: INCOMPLETE

Comments:  Your lack of attendance has been rather unsettling.  Expect to see you to return soon.   You can only call you in sick so many times before I get suspicious.  I expect to see a doctor’s note.

Globe Staff Photo / Bill Greene

Dustin Pedroia: Absolutely carrying the team during their early struggles in April, Pedroia started the season blisteringly hot.  By April 20th, he was in the top five in home runs hit on the season.  His defense has maintained the level of excellence that we Sox fans have come to know and love. However, the laser show has since disappeared.  He hasn’t hit one over the fence since May 14th, and while that isn’t the key part of his game, his batting average has also seen a steady decline since then.  Pedroia has become ice cold, watching his average fall from .305 on May 11th to .248 as of yesterday afternoon.  His OPS is still .755, respectable for a second baseman, but a month ago it was 150 points higher.  Pedroia seems to be having a bit of hard luck; his BABIP, or “batting average on balls in play”, is an unusually low .248, same as his average, which generally means that he’s been hitting balls directly at fielders.  Expect Pedroia to heat up fairly soon, those balls will begin to fall in eventually.  The laser show will resume as scheduled.

Grade: C

Comments:  We all get bit by the badluck bug sometimes, keep your chin up kid!  I was going to give you a D, but you have an A in effort, which raised your grade significantly.

David Ortiz: It was April 30th and things were not looking good for the Sox.  The team was 11-12, and Ortiz was batting .143 with one home run.  The sports writers and fans of Boston were calling for blood.  The next day, Ortiz went deep twice in a game against Baltimore.  That day would begin a blistering May in which Ortiz had one of the best months of any hitter I have ever seen. With .363, 10 homers, and 27 RBIs Big Papi emerged from the fog of doubt that his critics had cast, and all those who were decrying him were silenced.  He has since cooled off; he was hitless against Baltimore and had only one hit in Cleveland.  That’s one hit in 22 at-bats.  Ortiz’s bat has perhaps the most impact out of any in the lineup.  When he is hitting, he is a run producing machine.  If the Red Sox are to succeed this year, Ortiz will have to keep hitting.

Grade: B

Comments: Your showing last month was impressive, if unsustainable.  It also only evens out with your extremely poor performance in April.  However, keep it up and you’ll get the A.

Kathy Willens/AP

Kevin Youkilis: The big worry that everyone was fretting about these Red Sox was that they lacked a big bat, an elite hitter that can produce runs in the middle of the lineup.  There was no star to carry the offense.  Well, it seems that everybody forgot we have Kevin Youkilis.  Kevin was apparently offended by that and has set out on a mission to remind us.  The greek god of walks is currently batting .316 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs.  His on base percentage is .449 and his OPS is a terrfying 1.042.  Those are MVP numbers if he stays on this pace.  Just to remind everybody, Mark Texieria, the one that got away, is currently hitting a pathetic .226 over in New York.   When almost every other hitter in the lineup has been streaky, Youkilis has been consistently superb.  He’s the best we have.  Don’t you forget it.

Grade: A+

Comments:  Kevin, your work continues to be consistently excellent.  You are the top of the class.  Don’t change a thing.

Victor Martinez: Throughout the former part of the trimester, Martinez was a nonentity.  He had no power, couldn’t hit for average, called a horrible game, and played catch with the center fielder every time someone tried to swipe 2nd.  The latter has seen Martinez return to his All Star form in a big way. A frigid April finished with him batting .238 with a .632 OPS.  He began to warm up in May, finding his power and throwing out runners,  raising those numbers to .257 and .760.  June has been scorching.  On June 1st, he went 5 for 5, tying a career high.  As of this writing, his split is .297/.348/.500/.848.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Grade: B+

Comments:  Your work continues to improve and has begun to impress, Victor.  Be sure not to fall back into bad habits!

JD Drew: Drew, like quite a few others on the team, has a fairly difficult April, a month which saw him finish with a .197 average, yet hit 4 home runs.  The following month, JD found his stroke, hitting .324, but the power disappeared and he has hit only one home run since May 3rd.  Drew has cooled off steadily and his average has dropped from its high of .287 on May 18th to .267 today. Overall, a pretty mediocre performance.  But its June now.  Let us never forget that June is the month of Drew.  I fully expect him to heat up ere the calendar turns again.

Grade: C-

Comments:  Overall, your performance so far has been entirely lackluster.  I expect bigger things going forward.

Adrian Beltre: Well, Beltre has been a bit of a surprise to say the least.  His highly touted defense, the reason Theo went after him, has been absurdly unreliable.  His 11 errors lead the team.  That said, he also has made some incredible plays.  But it’s his bat that comes as the biggest surprise. If you throw out the ’04 anomaly, Beltre has a .264 career average.  So far this season, Beltre has hit one out of every three times he’s been standing in the batter’s box.  Now, given he takes a walk as often as Ortiz hits a homer (12), but he also has 8 home runs, already matching last year’s total, and he leads the team in runs batted in.  Now maybe I’m still high off the go ahead blast he hit off Kerry Wood last night, but I’m awarding him the title of “Clutch player of the Trimester”.  Congratulations.

Grade: A

Comments:  You’ve surpassed all expectations and continue to come through when it’s most important.  Well done.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Mike Cameron: Like Jacoby, it’s hard to say much about Mike when all we’ve been able to see is 19 games.  But what we have seen has been pretty damn disappointing.   When we were told he was replacing Bay, we were promised was a more defenisvely minded outfielder, but also also a Jason Bay Lite™.  He would have some pop, probably hit 25 homeruns, but be a run producer.  Maybe not of Bay’s calibre, but close.  So far, and remember that’s only 19 games, the only resemblence between them are the strikeouts.  Cameron has been completely unable to come through on any day that wasn’t May 30th.  His defense has also been a let down, and it is clear he’s lost a step in the outfield as he approaches 40.  Once again, I haven’t seen much, but what I have seen is making me hope we keep Darnell McDonald out there.

Grade: INCOMPLETE

Comment:  I’m giving you an incomplete, but I want you to know you’ve been a huge let down so far.  Step it up, Mike.

Marco Scutaro: Marco has come almost entirely as advertised.  Solid.  He’s hit .278 with a .742 OPS.  Not bad, Marco, not bad at all.  Especially compared to the pathetic offensive showings that the Red Sox have seen come from the shortstop position, Scutaro is doing just fine.  His defense is also just what we were promised; he makes the routine plays easily and occasionally flashes some leather.  Definitely a step up from Lugo.  He even has hit 4 home runs already, which puts him on pace to knock 11, one short of his career high.  With Jacoby’s departure to the DL, Scutaro has filled in admirably in the lead off position. While ideally, I’d like his OBP creeps up a little higher than the .355 it is now, he’s still scored 40 runs already, so whatever.  All in all, I’m happy with him.

Grade: B

Comments:  You continue to provide a solid body of work.  But I wonder if you can push yourself just a bit more…

Globe Staff Photo / Matthew J. Lee

Bench: With all the assorted injuries so far this season, the bench has seen a lot of action.  Especially the Hall/Hermida/McDonald tandem.  I’d have to say, they’ve done remarkably well.  Hermida, McDonald, and Varitek have all been remarkably clutch, and even Hall has come through at times.  The tragedy of this story of course, is Mike Lowell, who has been unable to get almost any playing time whatsoever.  It’s hard to watch him, one of my favorite players, languish on the bench.  Hopefully the Sox find a suitor.  But until then,  maybe he can log some innings pitching.  He’d probably be better than some of the guys we’ve seen come out of the bullpen.

Grade: A-

Comments:  Each of you has done your job to the best of your abilities.  I’m very proud of you.  Mike, don’t worry, we’ll find something for you to do yet.

Overall, this lineup has done it’s job.  The Red Sox are at or around the top of almost every offensive category.  While they are a little streakier than I’d like, they still have found away to win games, often even if the pitching has struggled.  The big thing going forward will be consistency.  If they can find that, this is a championship caliber offense.

Overall Grade: B+



2 Responses to “Red Sox Trimester Report Card, The Offense”

  1. How can you give Beltre only an A? I think, if you are rating him solely on offense, you give him an A+. Beltre is on pace for 22 homers, 112 RBI, and a .336 average. If you factor in defense, then he takes a hit. But offensively, he has been everything the Sox dreamed of and more!

  2. David Keefe says:

    Two things keep Beltre from the A+. The first is the inconsistent defense. The second is the fact that his OBP is only 40 pts higher than his average. While his OPS is still a very impressive .898, it could be much higher if he wasn’t swinging at all those balls over his head. An A is still an excellent grade, and I’ve been very impressed with him.

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