Boston Red Sox
2018 was the third best regular season for the Red Sox in their 118-year history. They won a franchise record 108 games, but their best two regular seasons came in 1912 (105-47) and 1946 (104-50) when they played only 154 games. Boston led the majors in runs scored (876) and batting average (.268) while finishing 8th in baseball in ERA (3.75).
Their success was driven by great chemistry highlighted by clutch play in all areas of the game. Over the last 15 seasons, the Rex Sox made the playoffs in ten times leading to four World Series Titles. Boston has a young core of elite batters. Their starting staff may only have one more season to make a run before Boston has to reload at the front end of their pitching staff if they lose Chris Sale to free agency.
So far in the offseason, the Red Sox lost 2B Ian Kinsler to the Padres and RP Joe Kelly to the Dodgers. Both CL Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz remain unsigned. Boston rewarded playoff stars IF/OF Steve Pearce (one-year deal for $6.25 million) and SP Nathan Eovaldi (four years for $68 million) plus retained the rights to SP Chris Sale and IF Eduardo Nunez.
Kimbrel wants a long-term contract for big money, but the current major league market doesn’t support his demands. His best fit to get paid plus win championships should be in Boston.
If Kimbrel doesn’t return, the bullpen will lack experience and talent to close games while having a trickle-down effort for the 7th and 8th innings.
Boston has the starting pitching and offensive core to make another deep playoff run, but they can’t afford to be weak in the 9th inning. They only have to look at the Washington Nationals over the last few seasons to see how much of a void is created by questionable arms over the last three innings of games.
In his first two seasons as a full-time starter for Boston, Benintendi has settled into an excellent five-category player with more upside in all areas expected with more experience in the majors. The Red Sox stated that he’d bat leadoff in 2019, which helps his runs but hurts his expected value in RBI. Andrew has been a very good hitter early in his career with runners on base (17.3 percent RBI rate). If he’s producing more home runs in 2019, the Red Sox may have to readjust their plans and move him down in the batting to create more events with runners on base. His K rate (16.0) was a career-best with continued growth in his walk rate (10.7). Last season Benintendi didn’t play well vs. lefties (.247 with four HRs and 21 RBI over 150 at-bats), but he did show growth compared to his 2017 season in this area (.232 with one HR and nine RBI over 112 at-bats). His drop in power in 2018 was due to a weaker swing path created by a career low fly ball rate (35.4) and a decline in his HR/FB rate (9.4). Line drive hitter who still needs to get stronger to make a jump in HRs. Andrew has the makeup and foundation skill set to push to be a 30/30 player once he develops a better approach against lefties and adds more strength. I view him as a hard worker with a high ceiling in his career. In January, Benintendi has an ADP of 30 in the high-stakes market as the 10th outfielder off the board. Possibly 2019’s version of Christian Yelich.
Two things stand out when reviewing the 2018 player profile of Betts. First, the first data point was his low RBI total. Last season Boston hit him almost exclusively at the leadoff position, which led to a dropoff of 130 and 131 RBI chances from his previous two seasons. Secondly, Mookie missed out of 18 and 23 percent of the at-bats created in 2016 (672) and 2017 (628) due to various injuries. His season projected over 650 at-bats (the average of the two previous years) would come to 161 runs, 40 HRs, 100 RBI, and 38 SBs. Betts had a career-best walk rate (13.2), but he did strike out at a higher rate (14.8) than any other season in the majors. Even with fade his Ks, his K rate is still well below the major league average (21.2). Mookie dominated both righties (.339 with 23 HRs and 54 RBI over 395 at-bats) and lefties (.368 with nine HRs and 26 RBI over 125 at-bats). His swing path does deliver fly balls (44-9 percent – career high) while also setting a career best in his HR/FB rate (16.4). Boston has him locked up for two more seasons arbitration years ($10.5 million in 2018 – career earnings $12,784.858), which almost seems criminal based on his career work for the Red Sox. Boston needs to lock him up with a long-term deal just to keep his head on straight. One of the best players in baseball who offers a five-category edge. The strength in the Red Sox lineup around him does put him in the first overall pick conversation. Possible 35/35 season with over 120 runs and 120 RBI with a full season of at-bats plus a considerable edge in batting average.
Martinez has assumed the David Ortiz role in the Red Sox lineup. Last year he followed up his success in 2017 (.303 with 45 HR and 130 RBI) with the best season of his career. J.D. set career highs in runs (111), batting average (.330), and RBI (130). His CTBA (.444) has been over .400 in each of the last five seasons with high value in his average hit rate (1.904). His walk rate (10.6) has been an edge in back-to-back seasons while improving on his K rate (22.5). Martinez has been an exceptional run producer in his last two seasons (RBI rate of 19 and 21 percent). His swing had value against both righties (.329 with 35 HRs and 99 RBI over 438 at-bats) and lefties (.336 with eight HRs and 31 RBI over 131 at-bats). His HR/FB rate has been electric over the last two seasons (2017 – 33.8 and 2018 – 29.5), but last year he did have a sharp decline in his fly ball rate (34.0 – 43.2 percent in 2017). Just based on the previous two seasons by Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, J.D. could come to the plate with 475 runners on base with a full season of games. Foundation bat in batting average, runs, home runs, and RBI. I expect nothing short of an another .300+ season with 100+ runs, 40+ HRs, and 120+ RBI. On draft day, Martinez will be selected as a top-five hitter in almost every draft.
Last season Boston gave Bogaerts 71 percent of his at-bats hitting fifth in the batting order and 22 percent batting fourth. He responded with a career-high RBI rate (20) helped by a spike in his average hit rate (1.811). Xander finished 2018 with a career-high in HRs (23) and RBI (103). Even with 406 RBI chances, it fell short of his best season (2016 – 461 RBI chances) due to 20 missed game with a left ankle injury (14-day DL) plus a couple of minor ailments. His walk rate (9.5) was a career-best while K rate (17.6) settled into a tight range over the last three seasons (17.1 in 2016 and 18.3 in 2017). Almost all of his production last year came against RH pitching (.294 with 22 HRs and 88 RBI over 405 at-bats). Bogaerts is a career .305 hitter against lefties with 16 HRs and 75 RBI over 669 at-bats, but he did come up short against them last year (.269 with one HR and 15 RBI over 108 at-bats). HIs HR/FB rate (15.5) in 2018 was a career-high while doing a better job putting the ball in the air (35.6 percent fly ball rate – 33.1 percent in his career). Xander will be a free agent in 2020. Boston has only paid him $13.4 million over his first five seasons in the majors. Bogaerts doesn’t have the sexiness of some of the top shortstops in the game, but his base skill set continues to grow while playing in the right offense to be very productive. Expect an edge in batting average with neutral runs plus a 25/100/10 type season.
Pedroia only played three games in 2018 due to complications and a slow recovery from his 2017 surgery on his left knee. His overall skill set continued to fade due to multiple injuries over his previous four seasons. Dustin lost his value in speed while his power will never end up in an impactful area. His best asset continues his ability to control the strike zone (10.4 percent K rate and 10.6 percent walk rate). In 2017, Pedroia had a sharp decline in his run rate (27) while his average hit rate (1.336) was his lowest output over his last six seasons. Dustin had his best value in the clutch (20 percent RBI rate). This season Boston hopes to have him ready for spring training, but he’ll have work his way up in the batting order. I slated him fifth in the batting order based on his ability to make contact and extend innings. The Red Sox owe him $40 million over the next three seasons. At this point in his career, Pedroia is only a late dart at a middle infielder with some help in batting average while expecting negative stats in the other four categories. I would hold off on drafting him until I see him in game action in spring training.
Pearce struggled to get at-bats over the first half of 2018 in Toronto (23-for-79 with four HRs and 16 RBI), which wasn’t helped by seven weeks on the DL with an oblique issue. Boston gave him only a platoon role over the last three months of the year (.279 with seven HRs and 26 RBI over 136 at-bats) with his best success coming against lefties (.304 with five HRs and 20 RBI over 102 at-bats). Steve played his best ball in the World Series (.333 with three HRs and eight RBI) while batting in the middle of the batting order in most games helping him win the MVP trophy. Pearce will take a walk (11.6 in 2018 and 9.5 in his career) with better than a league average K rate (19.5). Even with his postseason heroics, Steve only projects as a platoon hitter in Boston. At best 300 at-bats with double digits HRs and fewer than 40 RBI.
Over four seasons in the minors by age 20, Devers hit .296 with 236 runs, 49 HRs, 258 RBI, and 26 SBs over 1,555 at bats. His power made a step forward at AA (.300 with 18 HRs and 56 RBI over 297 at-bats) leading to his ticket to the majors two years ago. With Boston in 2017, Rafael continued his power swing (10 HRs and 30 RBI over 222 at-bats). In the majors, he struck out 24.4 percent of the time compared to 17.0 percent in his minor league career. Devers projects to have a league average walk rate (7.7) while showing some underlying speed (18 SBs in 2016 at High A). He hit a high volume of ground balls (47.2 percent) so far with Boston with strength in his HR/FB rate (16.8). Last year Rafael struggled vs. lefties (.229 with three HRs and 21 RBI over 118 at-bats). Developing power hitter with the ability to drive the ball to all field. Devers will be pushed first base early his career unless he decides to trim down and work on his agility. He looks to be about a year away from a middle of an order opportunity, but his talent may come quicker than expected in 2019. Possible 30+ HRs, but he’s not a lock to be in the lineup every day until he gets a better handle against lefties.
Over 922 at-bats in the majors, Vazquez hit .246 with 103 runs, ten HRs, 80 RBI, and 11 SBs. His bat played well in 2017 over the last two months of the season (.322 with four HRs and 12 RBI over 121 at-bats), but he fell short of expectation last year (.207 with three HRs, 16 RBI, and four SBs over 251 at-bats). Christian showed growth in his K rate (15.2) with a short walk rate (4.8). He appeared to have upside in 2011 at A Ball (.283 with 18 HRs and 84 RBI) while failing to repeat his power at any level after that season. Over eight years in the minors, Vazquez hit .266 with 40 HRs, 267 RBI, and 15 SBs over 1928 at-bats. More of a defensive catcher who may have lost his window to see more 400 at-bats at the major league level after slow path in 2018. Weak C2 in season-long formats at this point of his career.
Last year Bradley only had two HRs and 12 RBI over his first 156 at-bats while only hitting .200 over the first three months. Over the second half of the year, Jackie hit .269 with 43 runs, seven HRs, 36 RBI, and eight SBs over 234 at-bats. His bat still has losing value against lefties (.185 with two HRs and eight RBI over 119 at-bats) with a step back in his K rate (25.6) vs. all pitching last year. HIs walk rate (8.6) remains above the league average despite fading each year over his last three seasons. As empty as he may appear at times, Bradley did rise to the occasion in the AL championship series against Houston (two HRs and nine RBI over 15 at-bats). More a platoon bat with bottom of the order Fantasy value, but his glove keeps him in the starting lineup on most nights. Not moving in the right direction while still owning a steaky skill set. Possible 15/60/15 type player with batting average risk. If you decide to bite on him on draft day, you may be chasing a replacement in the free agent pool for most of the year. Viable bench option in deep leagues with playable value at home (.277 with four HRs, 32 RBI, and 11 SBs).
Over the first two months of 2018, Moreland looked to be on his way to a solid .300/25/80 season. He hit .302 over 129 at-bats with 20 runs, eight HRs, and 27 RBI in April and May. Regression in June (.261 with three HRs and 13 RBI over 92 at-bats) led to Boston seeking a better option over the second half of the year. Mitch only hit .191 after the All-Star break with four HRs and 22 RBI over 152 at-bats. His bat came in with a similar average against righties (.246) and lefties (.242), but most of his production came against RH pitching (13 HRs and 54 RBI over 309 at-bats). This season the Red Sox will platoon again at first base, but Steve Pearce played well enough in September and the playoffs to push Moreland into an even weak opportunity in 2019. He’s still capable of a 20/75 type season with 500 at-bats. His approach at the plate (walk rate – 10.9 and K rate – 22.2) gives him a chance to rebound this year. More of an injury cover than starting option Roto formats.
Considering Nunez’s early major league career path, he’s been a pleasant surprise in 2016 and 2017. Over his 1,020 at-bats over this span, Eduardo hit .299 with 133 runs, 28 HRs, 125 RBI, and 63 SBs. Last year he failed to match his recent rise leading to regression in all categories. Nunez didn’t appear to be healthy much of the year while playing through ankle and knee issues. Boston resigned him for insurance at second base in case Dustin Pedroia doesn’t regain his health. Eduardo could also be a lefty platoon option at third base. With a full season to get healthy, Nunez should be a serviceable injury replacement in the Fantasy market if he works his way into starting at-bats.
Blake Swihart (C) – Swihart still hasn’t been able to work his way into more at-bats in the majors. Over four years with the Red Sox, he hit .256 with eight HRs, 54 RBI, and ten SBs over 547 at-bats. Boston will let him focus on catching again in 2019 to get him more playing time. His highlight season in the minor remains at AA in 2014 (.300 over 347 at-bats with 12 HRs, 55 RBI, and seven SBs). On the positive side, Blake has catcher eligibility in 2019. Only a flier until he works his way into more playing time.
Brock Holt (IF) – Holt has been Boston’s top utility man over the last six seasons. He hit .267 in his career with the Red Sox with 20 HRs, 175 RBI, and 34 SBs in 1,778 at-bats. Last season Holt played at 1B (7), 2B (56), 3B (5), SS (23), and OF (16). In 2017, Brock had the least value of his career (.200 over 140 at-bats with no HRs and seven RBI). Brock’s role will be similar in 2019 while his opportunity won’t offer any value in the Fantasy market other than a short-term fill in.
Gorky Hernandez (OF) – Hernandez signed a minor league deal with Boston in the offseason, which paints him as the utility outfielder in 2019. Last year Hernandez did a nice job for the Giants off the bench (.234 with 15 HRs, 40 RBI, and eight SBs over 414 at-bats) while being a .279 hitter over 11 seasons in the minors with 42 HRs, 390 RBI, and 234 SBs over 4,073 at-bats.
Sale battled a left shoulder injury much of the second of the year leading to only five starts over the last two months of the year covering 16 innings. Over his first 22 starts, Chris went 11-4 with a 2.04 ERA and 207 Ks over 141 innings putting on the path for another electric season. He had 11 games with double-digit Ks. His shoulder issue didn’t require surgery and Boston expects him to be ready for spring training. His K rate (13.9) was a career-best with continued strength in his walk rate (1.9). Sale dominated both righties (.183 BAA) and lefties (.170 BAA) with impeccable control against LH batters (only three walks over 100 at-bats with no HRs allowed). His AFB (94.7) was career best. Chris threw the most slider (34.5) percent) since 2011 (36.4 percent). He has three elite pitches (four-seam – .193 BAA, changeup – .213 BAA, and slider – .109 BAA) with a rising groundball rate (44.2). His fastball dipped to 93 MPH in September and 93.5 in the playoffs, which may be a sign of more underlying damage. He’ll be a free agent in 2020, which may lead to this season going in two directions – elite season or protection mode to get paid. Great arm with explosive K ability while offering an edge in wins, ERA, and WHIP. Next step: 20+ wins with a sub 2.00 ERA.
Over three seasons in Boston, Price has 39-19 record with a 3.74 ERA and 481 Ks over 480.2 innings. Last year David threw the ball well in his first two starts (no runs over 14 innings with ten Ks), but he lost his way over four of his next five games (8.22 ERA over 23 innings with 22 Ks). Over his last 23 starts (3.17 ERA), Price allowed three runs or fewer in 20 games while struggling twice vs. the Yankees (12 runs and 18 baserunners over 8.2 innings). His walk rate (2.6) came in below his career average (2.3) while showing strength in his K rate (9.1) for the sixth straight season. David averaged only 5.9 innings per start, which was well below 2016 (6.6 innings per start). Home runs (1.3 per nine) continue to be a problem in Boston. His stuff played well vs. lefties (.210 BAA) with strength as well vs. RH batters (.234 BAA). Price lost velocity in his fastball (92.7 mph – career low), but batters struggled to hit his four-seamer (.206 BAA) and sinker (.163 BAA). It’s too bad his cutter (.267 BAA) and changeup (.255 BAA) didn’t live up to his career averages (cutter – .243 and changeup – .234 BAA). The best part of his season came in the playoff where David beat the monkey off his back leading to a 3-0 record in his last four starts with a 2.59 ERA and 23 Ks over 24.1 innings. Not the workhorse arm of the past, but he will win a ton of games with a run at 200+ Ks. His previous resume does give him a chance to post another season after relieving himself of the burden of winning a World Series title. He’ll be drafted as late SP2 in 15-team leagues in the high-stakes market (ADP of 91 in January).
As Porcello starts his 11th season in the majors, he has a 135-106 record with a 4.26 ERA and 1.364 Ks over 1.863 innings. Last year he set a career high in his K rate (8.9) while being tougher to hit (.241 BAA) for the second time in three seasons (.230 BAA in 2016). His walk rate (2.3) did regress while remaining an edge in his career (2.1). Over the last two years, Rich served up 65 HRs over 394.2 innings. He made almost equal success against righties (.240) and lefties (.241). Most of his success in 2018 came in April (4-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 38 Ks over 40.1 innings) and June (2-1 with a 3.48 ERA and 29 Ks over 31 innings). His AFB (90.4) came in under his career average (90.8) while relying more on his slider (.219 BAA) than any other season in his career. Batter struggled to his four-seam fastball (.192 BAA) while featuring a respectable changeup (.242 BAA). Inning eater who will have a chance at 15+ wins if he’s throwing the ball well, which tends to happen every other year. Porcello has the foundation skill set to push to a higher level if he keeps the ball in the park and avoids too many disaster outings. Only 165 more wins to reach the Hall of Fame!
Fantasy owners continue to wait for Rodriguez to turn in a full season of starts where his foundation stats suggest impact value. His K rate (10.1) improved in each season in the majors with slight growth in his walk rate (3.1) over the last two years. Eduardo did set a career high in wins (13). After a slow start over his first six games (5.29 ERA), Rodriguez looked elite over his next 13 starts (8-3 with a 2.61 ERA and 71 Ks over 72.1 innings). Unfortunately, he landed on the DL for seven weeks with a ligament issue in his right ankle. Bostin gave him three starts in September (4.20 ERA and 23 Ks over 15 innings) before shipping to the bullpen after a poor showing against the Yankees (five runs and 11 baserunners over 3.2 innings). He threw the ball well against RH (.238 BAA) and LH (.234 BAA) batters. His AFB (93.3) remained in line with his career resume while making the transition to cutter (.220 BAA)/changeup (.246 BAA) pitcher. His slider (.208 BAA) graded well while batters also struggled to hit his sinker (.239 BAA) and four-seamer (.232 BAA). There’s a lot to like here with huge ceiling if he can solve his command issues and stay healthy for a full season. With an ADP of 157 in the 15-team high-stakes market, a Fantasy owner will need to place their bet on his step forward. Possible 15+ wins with a sub 3.00 ERA and 200 Ks with 30+ starts.
Eovaldi missed all of the 2017 season with a right elbow injury that required surgery in August of 2016. In 2017, he made a couple of appearance in September for the Durham Bulls putting on track to compete for a starting job this spring. Over his previous two seasons with New York, Nathan went 23-11 with 4.45 ERA and 218 Ks over 279 innings. HIs K rate (7.0) with the Yankees was the best of his career while his walk rate (2.9) fell in line with his career average. Eovaldi pitched at the highest level of his career in 2018. His walk rate (1.6) was the best of his career while adding life to his K rate (8.2). He pitched great in his first two starts for Boston (no runs over 15 innings with one walk and nine Ks) before falling on his face over his last five appearances in August (8.05 ERA – 38 baserunners allowed over 19 innings). A trip back to the bullpen helped him find his rhythm in September ( 1.35 ERA over 20 innings with 27 Ks) while being dominate in the playoffs (2-1 over 22.1 innings with 16 Ks). Nathan had better success against righties (.239 BAA) than lefties (.254 BAA while issuing 15 of his 20 walks in 229 plate appearances). His AFB (97.2) was the best of his career, but he threw it at the lowest rate (39.8 percent of the time) in the majors. He now throws a cutter (.243 BAA) as his number two pitch followed by a split (.250 BAA) and a slider (.206 BAA). Eovaldi signed a four-year $68 million contract in the offseason. Sneaky value starter as his growth is the real deal. With 180+ innings pitched, I expect 175+ Ks with a chance at a career high in wins. His ERA and WHIP should be favorable with repeated command.
Hector had a 70-51 record over 1,105 innings in Mexico with a 3.88 ERA and 839 Ks. Velazquez made a step forward in 2016 (14-4 with a 2.41 ERA with 207 Ks over 216.2 innings) leading to him signing with the Red Sox. In 2017 over 19 starts at AAA, his arm held value (8-4 with a 2.21 ERA and 79 Ks over 102 innings). Velazquez finished 2017 with 11 shutout innings in the majors with ten Ks. Last season Boston gave him an opportunity to pitch in the starting rotation in the 4th game of the year (one run over 5.2 innings with five Ks leading to a win). Over the next four and half months, Hector worked primarily out of the bullpen (2.89 ERA over 56 innings with 31 Ks), but batters did hit .289 against him. He struggled over his last 11 games (4.66 ERA and .321 BAA) with most of the failure coming in three starts (seven runs and 22 baserunners over ten innings). His AFB (90.7) had more life than 2017 (89.6) helped by the shorter stints in the bullpen. Velazquez offered a slider of value (.194 BAA), but every other pitch graded well below the major league average. Only a soft-tossing spot starter with reasonable command (walk rate – 2.8) and a weak K rate (5.6).
Ramirez threw the ball well in 2015 and 2016 for Tampa (3.76 ERA and 189 Ks over 254 innings), which was supported by his minor league resume (50-28 with a 3.23 ERA and 572 Ks over 704.2 innings). HRs have been a problem for him over the last three seasons (50 allowed over 277.2 innings (1.7 per nine). Last season he battled a bum right shoulder leading to poor results in the majors (6.50 ERA and 14 HRs allowed over 45.2 innings). HIs AFB (89.9) was a career low while relying on a cutter, slider, and changeup. Possible 6th starter for Boston if healthy with disaster downside in some games when his pitches leave the ballpark. Erasmo may surprise over a short window while expected to start the year in the minors.
Johnson has been unimpressive in his 44 career games in the majors (4.34 ERA and 111 Ks over 130.2 innings). His K rate (7.9) did show growth with Boston in 2018, but he walked too many batters (3.4 per nine) and home runs (1.4 per nine) remain a problem. Brian is a former first-round draft pick (2012) with success on his minor league resume (32-26 with a 2.69 ERA and 458 Ks over 518.1 innings). He tends to pitch up in the strike zone (42.9 percent fly ball rate) with a weak fastball (88.5). His curveball (.241 BAA) graded well with the Red Sox in 2018 while below average success with his four-seam fastball (.282 BAA) and slider (.280 BAA). Low upside arm who needs to throw more strikes to overcome his lack of velocity.
I know Kimbrel is still a free agent, but I sense that he’ll sign with Boston. If he doesn’t, I’ll move him to the proper team. Last season Kimbrel struggled to throw first-pitch strikes (56.3 percent) leading to failure again in his walk rate (4.5 – 5.1 in 2016 with the Red Sox) and a step back in his K rate (13.9). He converted 42 of 47 saves. Over his last 21 games, Craig blew three of 11 saves with a 4.79 ERA despite batters only hitting .143 against him over this span. He picked up six saves in the postseason, but it was an adventure (seven runs, 17 baserunners, and two home runs over 10.2 innings with ten Ks). His stuff still dominates righties (.139 BAA) and lefties (.153 BAA). His AFB (97.1) remains elite while step back from 2017 (98.3 mph). Batters only hit .122 vs. his curveball and .174 against his four-seam fastball. Over nine seasons in the majors, Kimbrell has a 31-19 record with 333 saves, a 1.91 ERA, and 868 Ks over 532.2 innings. The Red Sox saw him at his best in 2017 while his “B Game” was enough to get it done last year. Electric arm, but he needs to clean up his walks to push his Ks back into an impactful area. Possible sub 2.00 ERA with 45 saves and 100+ Ks now matter where he lands.
The internal debate in Boston has to be the value of Barnes in the 9th inning in 2019. He packs an elite fastball (96.6 – .227 BAA) and an impactful curveball (.132 BAA), but he struggles to get ahead in the count (first pitch strike rate has never been over 60 percent in the majors). Matt pitched well in the postseason (one run over 8.2 innings with six walks and nine Ks) while looking electric over his first 39.2 innings in 2018 (2.27 ERA and 57 Ks over 39.2 innings while batters to a .150 batting average). Over his next 17 games, Barnes gave away a huge part of his early-season gains by posting a 6.48 ERA over 16.2 innings. Over this span, he served up four home runs with regression in his walks (ten). He pitched well against both RH (.191 BAA) and LH (.225 BAA) batters, but all of his five home runs allowed came to righties. Getting better, but Matt can’t pitch in the ninth inning until he solves his command issue (4.5 walks per nine). Last year Barnes did post the best K rate (14.0) of his career by a wide margin.
The unsung hero for Boston in 2018 has to be Brasier who pitched the best ball of his career in big moments. Over ten seasons in the minors, Ryan went 39-38 with a 3.98 ERA and 525 Ks over 594.1 innings. His lack of impact value led to a trip to Japan in 2017 (3.00 ERA and 1.333 WHIP). Brasier pitched his way to the major with great success at AAA (1.34 ERA over 40.1 innings with 40 Ks and 13 saves) last year. His pitches held value over 34 games in the regular season for Boston (1.60 ERA and .171 BAA) with follow through in the postseason (one run and 12 baserunners over 8.2 innings with seven Ks). His AFB (96.9) does offer an edge (.127 BAA) while his slider (.238 BAA) did make a step forward in 2018. The growth in command (1.9 walks per nine – 3.4 in the minors) does give him a chance to have further growth when added to his two top pitches. His resume doesn’t match his success, but most of minor stats did come from him as a starter with poor command. A possible hidden gem, but don’t overpay for his short resume.