Injuries to Outfielders Set Red Sox Back

Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury are now both on the disabled list, even though both were out for a few days before the Red Sox made the official decision. Jacoby was hitting decent with a line of 0.333/0.333/0.467 while Mike was not fairing as well with a line of 0.233/0.361/0.333. The Red Sox were 3-3 while they had both players on the team, but then have gone 3-7 since. The offense has gone from scoring 5.5 to 3.1 runs per game. The loss of these two can’t be the only reasons for the drop, but it for sure isn’t helping.

To take their roster positions, the Red Sox have brought up Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald. The team also had Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida on the team already to field the outfield. Since the two starters have gone down, all four of these players have started in the outfield at sometime, but they do not measure up to the players they replaced. Here are the 2010 projected wOBA from ZIPs for all 6 of the outfielders

Starters on DL
Mike Cameron
Jacoby Ellsbury 0.343

Replacements
Jeremy Hermida 0.340
Darnell McDonald 0.314
Bill Hall 0.299
Josh Reddick 0.299

Of the available replacements, Jeremy Hermida looks to be a decent offensive sub for the two on the DL. The other 3 aren’t close offensively.

On the defensive front, it is a little tough to come up with any great numbers for comparision since some of these players are from the minors and Bill Hall is completely out of position. I looked at several sources, the defensive numbers here at Frangraphs and Tom Tango’s Fan Scouting Report, and got the following information. Josh Reddick is probably the best of the 3 replacements and is probably a better defender than Ellsbury. Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald are similar and look to be average defenders. Jeremy Hermida is by far the worst of the 4.

What kind of options do the Red Sox have right now? They might just wait for both players to return and see if they get a competitive boost. Ellsbury is planning to return to the team immediately after his time is up on April 27th. A return timetable for Cameron has not been set yet.

I think the team needs to make a move for bat, preferably someone that can play outfield for now, but can move to DH once both Cameron and Ellsbury return. The DH position for the Red Sox has been hitting a pathetic 0.159/0.243/0.286 so far this season. They could make a move for a someone on a team not looking to make the playoffs like Michael Bourn on the Astros. Adam Dunn would be a nice fit, but with the Nationals only 2 games out, they will probably not ready to trade one of their top hitters yet.

The season is fairly young and no team is totally out of contention of yet. After losing two of their starting outfielders at the same time and not getting any production from the DH, the Red Sox are in a hole. In any other division, I don’t think it would be a problem, but they are in the AL East with the top 2 teams in the AL. They are currently 6 games behind Tampa and 5.5 games behind New York. Boston needs to start looking into options to get themselves back in the race or even just back to 0.500 before any chance to make the playoffs is completely gone.



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


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Mike
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The Red Sox this year remind me of the Yanks from 2005-2008, where they would start insanely slow. The difference is, the Yanks put together 90 win seasons with guys like Kevin Brown, Jared Wright, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano, and a ton of call up starters…The Red Sox have much more depth at pitcher, and they just aren’t pitching well at all. Once the pitching staff begins to right itself, it will be a huge help. They have much less room for error now though, with David Ortiz not producing, they need to get him out of the line-up asap. When he was in the 5 whole, he was up with 2 on and 2 out almost every at bat, he was a giant gap. With that said, JD Drew won’t be this bad all year, and all the errors they are committing are completely unlike the players, I feel like the team is pressing or something, the 2 walkoffs against Texas are going to help spark the team, and with series against Balt/Tor/Balt, they should get back over .500 this week. It isn’t time to panic yet, they just need to make some adjustments, like get Ortiz out of the line up. I still think the Red Sox will be a 90+ win team, they just need to get out of the team wide slump they are in.

Steve
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Steve

Right, except the big difference is that if the Rays were THE RAYS from 2005-2008, the Yankees would not have been able to close the gap and make the playoffs every year.

Which is what happened in 2008.

Dirty Water
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Dirty Water

No, they don’t need any adjusting. They don’t need anything except time, which, as usual, the remaining 90% of the season will provide.

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