Friday, July 15, 2011

First Half Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox enter the second half of the season with a 55-35 record. This is even more impressive when you consider the infamous 0-6 start even though I warned all Red Sox fans in this blog post they will look foolish if they jumped off the bandwagon. It is now time to figure out if this Sox team can win it all. Let's take a look at the key players from opening day and see how they have faired so far. We will place them in one of three categories:  

The Over Performed Category

Too many players in this category and the likelihood of a bad second half of the season is very real.

Jacoby Ellsbury
Adrian Gonzalez
David Ortiz
Josh Beckett

The four players above have had incredible seasons so far. Beckett has found his form. Ortiz looks like he has found the fountain of youth. Ellsbury looks like he has become what Red Sox fans have always hoped he would become. Adrian Gonzalez has been better than ever. There is bound to be some regression in the second half from these players. Beckett has already started to have some health issues. However, Ellsbury may have finally reached his potential and maybe in a year from now this type of production will be the norm for him. Ortiz is not getting any younger but usually his struggles come early in the season, not late. He is playing for a new contract so the regression shouldn't be too much. Then there is Adrian Gonzalez, he has surpassed the crazy expectations and projections so far. He seems to be impossible to get out. It is hard to maintain a .350 average with power but he might just be the best hitter in the game and he is in his prime. The regression risk is low.

Under Performed

Carl Crawford
J.D. Drew
Dustin Pedroia
Kevin Youkilis
John Lackey
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Bobby Jenks

The more guys you have in this category, the more likely a team will have a good second half. Pedroia and Youkilis started out slow but have been hot as of late. Their batting averages are still under what you would expect from them. Look for them both to have a great second half of the season.

Crawford was horrible to start the season. He then got red hot and then got hurt. Carl Crawford is a great player and will have a better second half then he had in the first half of the season. How good that is might determine the ultimate success for the Red Sox.

Matsuzaka is done for the year, thank god! Lackey can't possible pitch worse. He looked much better in his last start but he is still a huge wild card. It is real hard to count on him. Jenks has also struggled and has had injury issues. He is also very hard to count on for the second half.

J.D. Drew may be done. I have always been a big supporter of his and what he can bring to the team but he is definitely on the downside of his career. Does he have that one great month left in him when he can carry a team? I doubt it, but you never know.

As Expected

Marco Scutaro
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Jon Lester
Clay Buchholz
Jonathan Papelbon
Daniel Bard

Lester has been good but I do think he can be even better in the second half. Everyone else has performed like many expected.

The Red Sox are in real good shape. The players who are having great seasons are not likely to have a huge regression. The majority of players who are under performing are very likely to have a big impact on the second half of the season The issue for the Red Sox will be the health of the pitching staff. Buchholz is dealing with lingering back issues, Beckett having issues with his knee, Lackey having elbow problems. The season could become a disaster very quickly if those guys are unable to perform. Andrew Miller may end up being the key to the season. That could be scary or exciting depending on how you look at it

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