BY JOHN McALEAVEY | I know, I know, the 2015 Major League Baseball regular season is not yet finished, and the playoffs don’t even begin for another week. So, who is already eagerly looking forward to next season? It is someone whose team is not going to make the playoffs. It is someone whose team has a core group of really good young players who are getting an extended chance to play now and are taking full advantage of the opportunity. It is someone whose team has money to spend this off-season on free-agent pitching (hello David Price). It is someone who…all right already, it’s me! And because this blog is called My 2 Sense, and not Your 2 Sense, I’m going to write about Boston Red Sox! Yes, on the whole, 2015 has been an awful season, but with a cache of hyped prospects, the future is bright.The Bosox boast five players 23 years-old or younger who have been driving forces in the clubs 31-22 record in August and September.
Watching them excel over the last few night’s in the Bronx, I was reminded of the great Who song – “The Kids Are Alright”, from the My Generation album. Well, with a tip of my hat to Pete Townshend, here is a quick snapshot of this Red Sox Generation’s talented players:
- Mookie Betts – While it took some die-hard Sox fans to embrace the 22 year-old second baseman turned outfielder because his first name does not conjure up good memories in Beantown, he surely has made New England forget about Jacoby Ellsbury in short time. The 5-9, 155 pound lead-off hitter is batting .293 with 16 bombs and 73 ribbies.
- Xander Bogaerts – After a disappointing 2014 season, the 22 year-old SS is second in the AL batting race behind only the incomparable Miguel Cabrera with a .324 average. This youngster is just scratching the surface.
- Blake Swihart – The 23 year-old catcher wasn’t supposed to be in the bigs until next year but was summoned when starter, Christian Vazquez, injured his elbow in spring training. Swihart has been very solid in his first stint (.272, 5 HR’s, 31 RBI’s) and should form a great duo with the defensive minded Vazquez next season.
- Eduardo Rodriguez – Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles at the 2014 trade deadline for Andrew Miller, this 22-year-old lefty burst onto the scene in May, pitching 7 2/3 innings of three-hit shutout baseball in his Major League debut. Since then, E. Rod has staked a claim as a potential #1 starter in the not so distant future. His final pitching line for the season is: 10-6, 3.85 ERA.
- Henry Owens – Another left-handed rookie pitcher who made his MLB debut this year. The six-foot, six-inch Californian is not a power pitcher. He relies primarily on locating his fastball and then putting people away with an excellent change-up. Owens went 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA. Better days lie ahead either in Boston or perhaps elsewhere as a potential trading chip.
I have not even mentioned young outfielders like Jackie Bradley, Jr. (25), and Rusney Castillo (27). They both took major strides this year and should be mainstays in what on paper looks to be an athletically dynamic outfield for the foreseeable future. Also, do not forget that Boston’s farm system is ranked at or around the top spot by most of the folks who evaluate such things. Here is a name to keep in mind from down on the farm (or Fahm as they say in Boston): Yoan Moncada. Mr. Moncada is the 20-year-old switch-hitting Cuban infielder that the Red Sox ponied up $31.5 million for earlier this spring. He is a consensus top five prospect who oozes talent from each and every pore.
So, while I will have to sit out this dance (the MLB playoffs & World Series), with maturity from those listed above, along with some creative free-agent signings/trades to bolster the pitching staff (are you listening, Dave Dombrowski?!), my dance card might be full again this time next year.
And that my good friends is My 2 Sense for the last day of September. See you back here next week.
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