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Author: @greg_habeeb

Which Celtics Target Makes the Most Sense at Pick 27?

The Boston Celtics are slotted to select lower than 16th in Thursday night’s draft for the first time since 2012. The last time the C’s picked this low was in 2009. That year, they selected the immortal J.R. Giddens following their first NBA title in 22 seasons. This, of course, is barring any last-second jockeying from President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. He could decide at any moment that the #27 overall pick would be better served as part of one of his infamous trade packages. Twitter has been buzzing with fake trades for Kawhi Leonard or a move into the top five. However, such moves seem unlikely. It appears we’re headed for a (relatively) straightforward night. As of Monday, the Celtics have held pre-draft workouts with 17 different players, including: National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson Final Four Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo Duke guard Grayson Allen Arizona guard Allonzo Trier Villanova forward Omari Spellman Ainge mentioned in interviews earlier this month that he and his team had “tried to laser focus in to about 10 [players] at this point” for the 27th pick, taking a number of different factors into account. But which of those players makes most sense for the C’s? Needs and Wants Guard is the most pressing area of need roster-wise. That explains why Boston has worked out so many high-pedigree players at that position. Marcus...

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Do the Red Sox Have a Balance Problem?

There’s no denying that the Red Sox possess one of the most potent offenses in Major League Baseball. That’s what you get when you put together a lineup anchored by MVP favorite Mookie Betts and destroyer-of-right-field-bleacher-creatures J.D. Martinez. As of Saturday morning, the Sox rank: 2nd in the Majors in runs 2nd in HR 3rd in SB 2nd in ISO 2nd in batting average 4th in OBP 2nd in slugging (and 2nd in OPS) 3rd in wRC+ I could go on, but you get the picture. Boston’s ability to score repeatedly is one of the main reasons why they have the most wins in baseball and the second-best run differential. Yet, while the overall performance of the lineup on a night-to-night basis has been a strength, there are a few red flags regarding the sustainability of its production. Most immediately pressing? A void between the “good” and the “bad” so wide and deep that Michael Cera or Aziz Ansari might crawl out of it at any moment. Highs and Lows Here’s the Red Sox most-used lineup this season, substituting Mitch Moreland for the recently deposed Hanley Ramirez (wRC+ and plate appearances in parentheses): Betts (204 in 232 PA) Andrew Benintendi (149 in 300 PA) Moreland (137 in 197 PA) Martinez (177 in 286 PA) Xander Bogaerts (130 in 237 PA) Rafael Devers (83 in 281 PA) Eduardo Nunez (66...

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Joe Kelly’s a Hero

In January of 2015, five and a half months after the Red Sox acquired him from the Cardinals in a deadline day trade, Joe Kelly predicted he would win the AL Cy Young Award. A lot has happened since then, including 31 mostly mediocre starts across his first two full seasons in a Red Sox uniform, a demotion to the bullpen, a change in hairstyle, a foray into on-field reporting, and becoming Public Enemy No. 1 in New York. There’s also this: Kelly has become the most reliable arm (outside of Craig Kimbrel) in Alex Cora‘s bullpen arsenal. This didn’t happen overnight. Kelly’s evolution from failed starter to quality set-up man has taken time; time that has yielded one of the more unique (and seemingly contradictory) pitch mixes in the majors. Per Brooks Baseball, Kelly’s fourseam fastball “generates an extreme number of groundballs” when compared to other RHP’s. His sinker “is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers”. His two main offspeed pitches (slider and changeup) have generated a ton of flyballs too. Despite this, Kelly’s groundball rate is as low as it’s been since 2016. Red Sox fans probably won’t remember Joe’s performance that year too fondly. He posted a 5.18 ERA and allowed home runs on a career-worst 17.9% of flyballs. So what changed? First, and perhaps most importantly, Kelly has figured out how to make his blazing fourseamer wiggle...

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