A few things are emerging from Red Sox’ spring training. With the Sox preparing for actual baseball on Tuesday let’s have a short look at some news.
The important thing is not which side he swings from but which side the pitcher he faces throws from (RLRS Photo).
Daniel Nava May or May Not Switch Hit (Rob Bradford)
Nava has yet to make a final decision on the idea of switch-hitting. His track record from the right side of the plate is pretty gruesome (.209/.287/.298 in 337 PA) so it is easy to wonder about this decision.
The catch is that there is no certainty he will improve. At 32 years old it would surprise me if such a radical change to his approach would pay dividends. Ultimately I think it is on his manager whether John Farrell or someone else after a trade to make sure he faces lefties as rarely as possible.
It happens every spring (RLRS Photo).
Joe Kelly Really Will Win the Cy Young Award (NESN)
OK, that is overkill by juuuuuuuuuust a bit. His weekend bullpen session really seems to have generated an awful lot of buzz.
Kelly as a Cy Young candidate seems silly but if you cannot dream in March when can you dream? The athletic righty throws very hard and entering his age 27 season is at an age where a breakout season is feasible.
I became a fan of his very quickly after the Sox acquired him last July. I do not expect a Cy-type season from him but a step forward to becoming a solid starter is hardly a big ask.
Microphone or not he often has something to say (RLRS Photo).
David Ortiz Talks A Lot (FoxSports)
Unsurprisingly Big Papi’s words get an awful lot of attention. While David has received a share of criticism for his comments about pace of game rules he makes a good point. While hitters like Ortiz share the blame for pace of game issues the pitchers are no less at fault.
The other thing about Ortiz is that he seems very happy about the additions of players like Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. He was vocal last winter about the Sox not bringing in Nelson Cruz and the additions of two big offensive stars plus some young players like Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts have David sounding ten years younger.
“Coaches Box? Where?” (RLRS Photo).
Red Sox Focusing On High Percentage Base Running (Spencer Fordin)
FanGraphs had the Red Sox ranked 28th in the Majors in Base Running (BsR) in 2014. The Sox enter 2015 with a real chance to improve upon that. Replacing Jackie Bradley with Castillo in center should generate more success and whether it is Betts or Shane Victorino in right that will be an upgrade over the combination of Nava, Jonny Gomes and Allen Craig that roamed the outfield.
Farrell warmed the hearts of sabermetricians everywhere saying that the club needs to keep the stolen base percentage over 80%. Base running is of course more than just stealing bases and the Sox were working with third base coach Brian Butterfield on his shall we say creative angles for waving runners.