By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Make no mistake about it: there are still jobs to be won on the Red Sox postseason roster.
Last week, I took a first stab at who would make the 25-man ALDS team. Since then, a few more of the potential decisions have come into focus.
With a week and a half to play, here’s the latest guess as to who will make the ALDS roster:
Changes from last week’s projections are underlined.
Starters: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez
Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Steven Wright, Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman
Matt Barnes was left off the initial projected roster due to his hip problem, but he appears to be moving closer to a return and is a lock to make the team so long as he is healthy.
Heath Hembree appears to have fallen out of favor and the grand slam he served up to Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday didn’t help his case.
Joe Kelly is pitching his way off the roster and has been removed from this week’s list.
Brian Johnson is currently the best left-handed option out of the ‘pen, but watch to see if Bobby Poyner wins that job over the next week and a half.
Workman has pitched better than Kelly, Hembree, and Tyler Thornburg down the stretch and appears positioned to beat all of them out for the final spot.
Infielders (7): Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Nunez, Steve Pearce, Brock Holt, Rafael Devers
A week ago, it looked like Brandon Phillips was going to compete for the final infield spot on the team, but Alex Cora has barely played him since, an indication that perhaps Rafael Devers will make the roster. Devers has a significantly higher offensive upside, but remains untrustworthy defensively and on the bases. This job is still up for grabs, but it looks like Devers has the edge right now.
Outfielders (4): Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez
There’s still not much to say about this group. All four are locks.
Catchers (3): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart
Alex Cora has indicated that the team will carry all three catchers in October. This gives him flexibility to pinch-hit for not only the light-hitting Leon (who recorded his first hit in the month of September Wednesday night), but for Vazquez too if Leon is pulled early in the game for a better hitter. Swihart’s versatility in the field, at the plate as a switch hitter, and as a pinch runner is a manager’s dream in the postseason. Look for him to play a big role if Cora uses his bench aggressively.
You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.