Projecting the Red Sox ALDS Roster, Version 3.0
By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
With just a few days remaining in the regular season, the Red Sox still have a number of postseason roster jobs still up for grabs.
There aren’t too many changes from last week’s projections, as the likes of Joe Kelly and Heath Hembree have done nothing to improve their status on the bubble.
Here’s the latest best guess as to who will make the 25-man ALDS roster:
Changes from last week are underlined.
Starters: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi
Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brandon Workman, Brian Johnson.
It looks increasingly likely that Nathan Eovaldi could get a start in the ALDS, especially if the Red Sox play the Yankees. Eovaldi has held New York scoreless over 14 innings in two starts in a Boston uniform, while Rodriguez walked seven men in his start in Yankee Stadium last week.
In the bullpen, Kimbrel, Barnes, Brasier, Wright, and either Rodriguez or Eovaldi seem like locks. Workman’s performance in the second half of the season and his experience in high leverage situations in 2013 earns him a spot on the roster. After a rough start to the year out of the bullpen, Johnson is sporting a 1.82 ERA as a reliever since May 18 and edges out the likes of Bobby Poyner, Hembree, and Kelly as a result.
It seems like Alex Cora has been trying to get Kelly going with the hopes he can turn his performance around before the playoffs, but Kelly has struggled mightily in his 10 September appearances, allowing 17 batters to reach base in seven innings of nine-run ball. He cannot be carried in October with the way he is pitching now.
Infielders (7): Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Nunez, Steve Pearce, Brock Holt, Rafael Devers.
At the start of the month, it looked like Devers might not even make the postseason roster. Now, with concerns about Nunez’s health, Devers could find himself starting games at third base in October.
Brandon Phillips appears to be on the outside looking in, and will likely only make the roster if Nunez’s hamstring is still a problem.
Outfielders (4): Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez
All four are locks.
Catchers (3): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart
Barring some type of injury, Alex Cora has indicated he will carry all three catchers in October. While it seems unlikely at this point that Swihart will start many games behind the plate, he could see plenty of action off the bench as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. Swihart’s versatility gives Cora the luxury to substitute not once, but twice for his light-hitting catchers, a move few other managers can make in the playoffs.