The most meaningless thing in sports has to be a spring training baseball game. As bad as preseason football is, spring training games are much worse.
The Red Sox have played games for two weeks in God’s Waiting Room, a.k.a. Florida, and I don’t think anyone has any more of an idea whether the Sox will be good or bad this season.
With Opening Day three weeks away, let’s take a look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Red Sox Spring Training so far.
Travis Shaw has been the star of camp. The man without a position has put up an off-the-charts OPS of 1.430 and is 12 of 23 with two doubles, two home runs, and nine RBIs over eight games. Shaw proved during his limited time in the majors last year that he belongs in the big leagues and he has further strengthened that position this spring. But in baseball, money talks and for the Red Sox it’s roaring with Hanley Ramirez at first base, Pablo Sandoval at third base, and Rusney Castillo in left field. All three are making more money than they are worth, which means the 25-year-old Shaw can start the season the on the bench.
“I’m trying to make it hard on the decision-makers not to start me,” Shaw said according to the Globe’s Peter Abraham. “There are still three weeks of spring training to go. Nothing is set in stone.”
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) March 12, 2016
Jackie Bradley Jr. is always Mr. Fort Myers in the spring. This year no different as JBJ is batting .412 with a homer and seven RBIs. But once he heads north in April, JBJ turns from Willie Mays to Willie Whistle at the plate. Will this year be any different?
Ramirez has been doing what Hanley does best: hitting line drives all over Southwest Florida. HanRam is hitting .333 with a 975 OPS. And according to most reports, he has been a good soldier so far working hard on his defense at first base of late. But we heard the same thing about his great work ethic in left field last spring. Let’s see what happens when the games actually mean something in April. The Globe’s Nick Cafardo had some interesting comments from scouts on how Hanley’s defense could really hurt the Red Sox.
Dustin Pedroia is hitting .143 and David Ortiz is at .083. I am not worried about either of these players. Spring Training is much too long for position players and these two veterans know what has to be done to get ready for the season.
Rick Porcello's spring ERA is only 16.20. But he hasn't walked anyone.
— Eric Wilbur (@GlobeEricWilbur) March 14, 2016
Rick Porcello has made two appearances and has an ERA of 16.20. Not good for a starting pitcher coming off an awful first year in Boston. This may prove to be Ben Cherington’s worst signing. Dave Dombrowski was Porcello’s general manager in Detroit and had no problems trading him to Boston. Maybe Dombrowski knows that Porcello is just not that good.
No, I am not talking about Pablo Sandoval’s waist line. He has not hit at all this spring. In 16 spring at-bats, Sandoval is batting .125 with no pop in his bat. I’ve read all the stories on how hard he worked all winter on hitting right handed as he goes back to being a switch hitter. Count me in as highly skeptical.
Your buddy Pablo Sandoval today: 0-2, two errors (one fielding, one throwing). He's going to need more protein bars. @stevesilva
— Jay Kenney (@JayTKenney) March 7, 2016
Panda is now a below average player who just happens to make close to $20 million a year. Pablo and Porcello need to step up for the Red Sox to contend this year. So far this spring, the results suggest they may do otherwise.