- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

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

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.