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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Fixing the Power Outage

October 24th, 2014 at 2:45 PM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Fixing the Power Outage

The Red Sox have been known as an offensive powerhouse in recent years, but that was far from being the case this season. They spent the majority of the time in the basement of the American League in runs scored, with a late season surge pushing them up to 11th by the end of the year. Boston finished 12th in the league with 123 home runs and 14th in slugging at .369 this season. When they led the league in runs scored during their World Series year in 2013, Boston finished first in slugging and 5th in home runs. It's clear that many of the teams struggles this season can be traced back to a lack of power in their lineup.

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Boston Red Sox Have Three Players Nominated for Gold Glove Awards

October 23rd, 2014 at 5:01 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox were a mess offensively this season, but they did some good work with their gloves. Three Red Sox players have been nominated as finalists for the Rawlings American League Gold Glove award, which recognizes the best defensive player at each position.

Dustin Pedroia is nominated at second base, along with a group that includes Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers and Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners. Pedroia is a three-time winner of the award and has made a strong case to add another to his collection. His 2.5 DWAR trailed only Kinsler (2.9) among AL second basemen and he led the position in Range Factor (4.94). He also had 17 Defensive Runs Saved. Kinsler is his strongest competition, while Cano seems to have been nominated more on reputation.

Yoenis Cespedes received a nomination at left field, joining Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals and Michael Brantley of the Cleveland Indians. Cespedes led all AL outfielders with 16 Assists this season. His cannon arm is his best trait, but his overall defense has been inconsistent. Brantley actually rates poorly by most advanced metrics and should be considered a long shot. It would be a surprise if Gordon doesn't run away with the award at this position, with his 2.6 DWAR and 27 Defensive Runs Saved.

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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-season: Finding a Closer

October 23rd, 2014 at 2:44 PM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Finding a closer:

For the better part of the past two seasons, a 9th inning lead for the Red Sox was about as secure as could be. Koji Uehara took over the closer role in June 2013 when every option the team had turned to had either failed or was lost to injury. It didn't take long for him to leave everyone scratching their heads, wondering why they didn't give him the job sooner. Uehara produced one of the greatest seasons ever by a closer, saving 21-of-24 opportunities with a sparkling 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and 101 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. He was nearly untouchable during Boston's march to the Wold Series, allowing one earned run in 13.2 postseason innings and cementing himself among the league's elite closers.

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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Filling the Hole at Third Base

October 22nd, 2014 at 3:04 PM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Filling the hole at third base:

We know who's on first and what's on second, but I don't know's on third. The classic Abbott and Costello routine seems fitting for the Red Sox, who will enter next season with a huge question mark at the hot corner.

Will Middlebrooks was a disaster this season, hitting a baffling .191 and spending more time in the trainer's room than on the field. While he was never expected to compete for a batting title, nobody expected him to be this lost at the plate. Even if he couldn't hit for average, we expected him to at least produce some power. Instead, he managed only two home runs with a disappointing .265 slugging percentage that isn't much more than half of what he produced in his promising rookie season in 2012.

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Boston Red Sox Keys to the Off-Season: Filling Out the Starting Rotation

October 21st, 2014 at 11:42 AM
By Sean Penney

This week we will examine the five biggest keys to the off-season, as the Boston Red Sox look to form a roster capable of rebounding back to contention in 2015.

Filling out the starting rotation:

The Red Sox rotation underwent a drastic makeover mid-season when they traded away Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. That left the struggling Clay Buchholz as the only holdover from the rotation the team started the season with and he may have been shipped out of town too if he had a shred of value at the time. Boston filled out the rest of it's rotation by auditioning a collection of young pitchers to get a look at which ones showed enough potential at the big league level to earn a spot for next season or build trade value.

The young pitchers went through some growing pains and none of them were able to drastically separate themselves from the pack. Boston's rotation was decent through the first half of the season, combining to post a 4.09 ERA, but the starter's ERA rose to 4.93 after the trade deadline.

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