Chase d’Arnaud Is One of the Greatest Red Sox Hitters of All Time

When you think of great hitters that have donned a Red Sox uniform over the course of the franchise’s storied history, names that first come to mind probably include legends such as Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, and Nomar Garciaparra.

As revered as those three individuals are, there’s probably one former Red Sox player you weren’t thinking of. His name? Chase d’Arnaud.

You might be thinking to yourself, Chase d’Arnaud only played two games with the Red Sox a few seasons ago. How could he possibly be regarded as one of the best hitters in the franchise’s history?

Well, I’ll tell you why that is. d’Arnaud owns a career 1.000 batting average with the Red Sox. It’s that simple. According to FanGraphs, six players have accomplished that feat and d’Arnaud is the only one who wasn’t a pitcher. Boom.

Claimed off waivers by Boston from the Atlanta Braves on April 27th, 2017, d’Arnaud made his Red Sox debut on May 7th as a pinch-runner and scored a run in a 17-6 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Two days later, d’Arnaud, then 29, got his first plate appearance with the Red Sox in Milwaukee, when he pinch-hit for Drew Pomeranz in the top half of the sixth inning.

Facing off against Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta, d’Arnaud reached on an infield single and came in to score on a Mookie Betts RBI double a few moments later.

The very next half inning, d’Arnaud’s day came to an end with Fernando Abad entering the game in relief of Pomeranz.

d’Arnaud did not appear in another game in any capacity for the Red Sox and on May 18th, he was designated for assignment to make room for right-hander Hector Velazquez.

In total, the California native went 1-for-1 with that single and two runs scored in his brief tenure with the Red Sox. That’s good for an OPS+ of 430 and a wRC+ of 474. Not too shabby when you don’t think about the number of plate appearances. Hall of Fame numbers, really.

So, without taking qualifications into consideration, Chase d’Arnaud really is one of the best hitters the Red Sox have ever seen.

What If the Red Sox Hit a Home Run in the First Round of Every MLB Draft From 2010 Until 2017?

Late last month, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement to cut down on spending in what will likely be a shortened 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting millions across the country and world.

Among the topics covered in said agreement was the 2020 amateur draft. According to Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, this year’s draft “will be cut to no fewer than five rounds (MLB can expand it if it so chooses and several scouting departments hold out hope that it could be expanded to 10 rounds). The draft will be held as early as the current June 10 start date and as late as July 20.”

Since 2012, the draft has consisted of 40 rounds, so up to 7/8ths of this year’s draft-eligible prospects could go undrafted if the 2020 draft is indeed only five rounds.

The Red Sox have been a team that has found success in the later rounds of the draft in recent years, so this cutback only means that they will have to be more spot on with the limited picks they have this year.

That notion, as well as this recent article from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, inspired me to look back at past drafts and ponder what could have been for the Sox if they were perfect, or nearly perfect, in the process.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with just the first round and begin with the 2010 amateur draft. Let’s get to it.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 20 Kolbrin Vitek, 3B Christian Yelich, 1B
1s 36 Bryce Brentz, OF Noah Syndergaard, RHP
1s 39 Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Nick Castellanos, 3B

Analysis: Vitek never made it past Double-A, Brentz has not appeared in a major-league game since 2016, and Ranaudo has been out of professional baseball for three years.

On the flip side, Yelich, who went to the Marlins with the 23rd overall pick in 2010, has emerged as one of the best outfielders in baseball and has finished first and second in National League MVP voting the past two seasons with the Brewers. Syndergaard, who went to Toronto with the 38th overall pick, has been solid with the Mets, while Castellanos, who went to Detroit with the 44th overall pick, earned himself a four-year, $64 million contract with the Reds back in January.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 19 Matt Barnes, RHP Mookie Betts, 2B
1 26 Blake Swihart, C Trevor Story, SS
1s 36 Henry Owens, LHP Blake Snell, LHP
1s 40 Jackie Bradley Jr., OF Mike Clevinger, RHP

Analysis: Barnes was far from a poor pick at No. 19 in 2011, but if Theo Epstein and Co. could do it all over again knowing what they know now, I’d assume they’d jump on the chance to take Betts early instead of waiting for the fifth round like they originally did.

Swihart and Owens, meanwhile, own career bWAR’s of -0.3 and 0.1 respectively. Since they were still on the board at the time Swihart and Owens were selected, Story, who has won Silver Slugger awards in each of the last two seasons with the Rockies, and Snell, who despite struggling last year is still a Cy Young Award winner in his own right, would have been better picks in hindsight.

As for the Sox’ last pick of the first round in 2011, Bradley Jr. was a pretty solid choice out of the University of South Carolina, but given how much the Sox have struggled to develop starting pitching, Clevinger, who posted a 2.49 FIP with the Indians last year, probably would have been the way to go.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 24 Deven Marrero, SS Alex Bregman, 2B
1s 31 Brian Johnson, LHP Matt Olson, 1B
1s 37 Pat Light, RHP Joey Gallo, 3B

Analysis: Marrero was regarded as one of the best infield prospects in the 2012 draft thanks to his glove. That defensive prowess stuck with him as he rose through the ranks of the Red Sox’ farm system, but he was really never able to put it together offensively.

Johnson was another well-regarded draft prospect, but he dealt with numerous on and off the field issues before making his major-league debut in 2017 and has since been taken off the Sox’ 40-man roster. It did look like he had a solid chance to make the team out of spring training before the league shut everything down, though.

As for Light, there’s not much to say, as he owns a lifetime 11.34 ERA over 17 major-league relief appearances between the Red Sox and Twins. He is a quality follow on Twitter, though, so I’ll give him that.

Turning to the ‘perfect’ picks, Bregman himself said he would have signed with the Sox if they took him with the 24th overall pick in 2012, but they didn’t. Instead, Boston took Bregman in the 29th round, and since he had already committed to LSU, the New Mexico native went the college route instead.

Olson and Gallo, meanwhile, were not taken off the board until the former was taken by the Athletics with the 47th overall pick and the latter was taken by the Rangers with the 39th overall pick.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 7 Trey Ball, LHP Aaron Judge, OF

Analysis: Trey Ball, man. Oof. The first left-handed pitcher taken off the board in 2013 never made it past Double-A and even tried to resurrect his career as an outfielder before his minor-league contract expired at the conclusion of last season.

Besides the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, the best player taken in the first round of this draft to this point in time has been none other than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who has mashed 110 home runs in his first 396 games in the majors. Would have been nice.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 26 Michael Chavis, SS Jack Flaherty, RHP
1 33 Michael Kopech, RHP Brian Anderson, 3B

Analysis: Chavis just made his major-league debut last April, while Kopech was a key piece in the blockbuster trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston back in 2017. It’s still too early to say where those two stand in terms of their paths to big-league relevancy. But, Flaherty emerged as a legitimate ace during the latter half of the 2019 campaign with the Cardinals and is still just 24 years old. Anderson, meanwhile, slashed .261/.342/.468 over 126 games with the Marlins last year.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 7 Andrew Benintendi, OF Walker Buehler, RHP

Analysis: As big of an Andrew Benintendi guy as I am, it’s pretty crazy that Walker Buehler was not off the board until the Dodgers took him with the 24th overall pick in 2015. It just goes to show how good Los Angeles is at drafting and developing their own talent.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick ‘Perfect’ Pick
1 12 Jay Groome, LHP Pete Alonso, 1B

Analysis: Groome has pitched in just 20 professional games since signing with the Red Sox in July 2016. He missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery and he appeared in three games between the GCL Red Sox and short-season Lowell before last year’s minor-league campaign came to a close. He is still just 21 years old though, and is still ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Sox’ No. 7 overall prospect.

That is certainly encouraging, but after the season rookie first baseman Pete Alonso just put together for the Mets, where he crushed a record-setting 53 home runs and drove in 120 runs over 161 games last year, that certainly appears to have been the pick to make.


Round Pick No. Actual Pick Perfect’ Pick
1 24 Tanner Houck, RHP Nate Pearson, RHP

Analysis: Houck is developing at a solid pace and it looks like he’ll open the 2020 minor-league season, if there is one, as a member of the PawSox’ starting rotation.

Pearson, however, was taken by the Blue Jays shortly after the Sox selected Houck and has emerged as one of the brightest pitching prospects in all of baseball thanks in part to having a 100+ MPH fastball at his disposal.

Neither Houck or Pearson have made it to the majors yet, but as far as projections go, those seem to be favoring the 23-year-old Pearson rather than the 23-year-old Houck.

Pitchers: Noah Syndergaard, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Jack Flaherty, Walker Buehler, Nate Pearson

Catchers: None

Infielders: Trevor Story, Alex Bregman, Matt Olson, Brian Anderson, Pete Alonso

Outfielders: Christian Yelich, Nick Castellanos, Mookie Betts, Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge

16 players total, 10 All-Stars, two MVP Award winners, one Cy Young Award winner, one top pitching prospect, and no catchers.

It’s far from a complete roster, but it’s certainly a great place to start in terms of building through the draft.

Of course, the MLB draft is regularly regarded as a lottery, so it’s virtually impossible for any club to draft this well in a single year. This isn’t to say that this is how I expect the Red Sox to draft under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in the future, I just thought it would be fun to look back and go back in time to a certain extent. And you know what? It was fun.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale Speaks on Tommy John Surgery for First Time Since Undergoing Procedure Last Month

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery late last month.

Speaking via a conference call with several reporters, the 31-year-old said that he’s “really happy” with where he’s at right now and he’ll get his cast taken off sometime on Thursday.

From there, Sale said that he will “probably” begin the rehab process at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, but if worst comes to worst in regards to the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, he could start working out again at his own house in nearby Naples.

“We could have done this six months ago,” Sale said in regards to the procedure. “But I’m okay with that. I didn’t want to jump the gun, I wanted to make sure this was something that needed to be done.”

After being shut down last August due to inflammation in his left elbow, Sale was eventually given the go-ahead to begin throwing again right around Thanksgiving.

Heading into the start of spring training, Sale was completely healthy outside of a bout of pneumonia he dealt with earlier in the year.

“I truly thought I was in the clear,” the hurler said. “I had all the confidence in the world coming into spring training that my arm was going to be as good, if not better, than it was my entire career.”

That turned out not to be the case though, as Sale experienced soreness in his left elbow in early March, shortly after he faced live hitters for the first time since before he was shut down last August.

Later diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain, Sale was prescribed a two-week period of rest and did not begin throwing again until the middle of March.

Even after that period of rest, Sale again experienced discomfort in his left elbow while throwing and that’s ultimately how the decision for the Florida native to undergo Tommy John was reached.

“It was a punch to the gut,” he said. “It was tough to let my teammates down.”

As tough as it may have been, Sale did say that he “sleep[s] easier knowing we did everything we could. We turned over every stone.”

Sale’s rotation-mate Nathan Eovaldi has undergone Tommy John surgery twice in his career. When seeking advice from Eovaldi, Sale was advised to “set little goals” for himself and to not look at the recovery process as a year-long endeavor, but instead focus on two weeks at a time.

“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Sale said. “Well, I guess I have a chip in my elbow, too.”

The typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually 14-15 months, so we probably won’t see Sale on a big league mound again until June 2021 at the earliest.

On a positive note, Sale did say that he throws a “mean” right-handed cutter with a wiffle ball to his sons, so that’s pretty neat.

Putting Craig Kimbrel’s 2017 Season Into Perspective

After being named the Red Sox’ president of baseball operations on August 18th, 2015, one of Dave Dombrowski’s first orders of business in his first offseason at the helm in Boston was to acquire a topnotch closer to supplement the back end of his bullpen.

That November, Dombrowski did just that, as the Red Sox acquired then-four-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in exchange for a package of four prospects.

With three years of club control remaining after signing a four-year, $42 million extension with the Braves that included a club option for a potential fifth year prior to the start of the 2014 campaign, the Sox were getting one of the best late-inning hurlers in the game in the form of the flame-throwing Kimbrel.

Kimbrel was an All-Star in each of the three seasons he donned a Red Sox uniform, and he capped off his tenure in Boston with his first World Series ring in October 2018.

For this piece specifically though, I’d like to focus on Kimbrel’s 2017 season.

2017 was a rather forgettable year for the Red Sox despite them winning 93 games and the American League East for the second straight year, but Kimbrel was as dominant as ever coming off a somewhat bumpy first year in Boston.

Appearing in 67 games in his age-29 season, Kimbrel posted a 1.43 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP, and a 1.50 xFIP over a nice 69 innings of work. He converted 35 of a possible 39 save opportunities, was named the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year that October, and finished sixth in American League Cy Young voting that November.

To put those numbers into perspective, Kimbrel was worth 3.2 fWAR in 2017, per FanGraphs. Using that metric, that’s the best year any Red Sox reliever has had since at least 1901, which is as far back FanGraphs goes on its leaderboard page.

Out of the 254 batters he faced in 2017, Kimbrel struck out 126, or 49.6%, of them. That’s the highest mark for any reliever to work at least 60 innings in a single season since the turn of the century. In that same time frame, the Alabama native also posted the highest K/9 average in 2017 (16.43). Surprisingly enough, Matt Barnes, who averaged 15.4 punchouts per nine innings last season, is right behind him.

It probably would have been better to write something like this while Kimbrel was actually still on the Red Sox. But with the lack of things to write about lately and all, I thought what the former Sox closer accomplished in 2017 was worth taking another look at.

Now a member of the Chicago Cubs, Kimbrel may not be the dominating late-inning force he once was, but he’s still one of the best to do it in this era. That’s for sure.

A Look Back at Recent Red Sox Home Openers at Fenway Park

Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day at Fenway Park for the Red Sox. They were scheduled to take on the Chicago White Sox in the first of a three-game series at approximately 2:05 PM EDT.

Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected millions across the country and the globe has pushed back the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season for the foreseeable future.

In these times, baseball should take a backseat to more pressing issues we are all facing, but not having the comfort and distraction sports can provide over these past few weeks has certainly been odd.

So, since Thursday was supposed to be the first game played at Fenway Park this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some memorable Fenway Opening Day moments in recent years starting with the 2013 home opener. Let’s get to it.

April 8th, 2013: Red Sox 3, Orioles 1

Daniel Nava provided the only offense the Sox needed in this one to secure their fifth win of the year.

Going into their half of the seventh inning having yet to really muster anything offensively, Nava came through big time in his third trip to the plate against Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen, as he took the left-hander deep to left off a 1-1, 91 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate to drive in both Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli to make it a three-run contest.

Former Sox closer Joel Hanrahan wound up giving one of those runs back on an Adam Jones leadoff homer in the ninth, but the right-hander held on to notch his third save of the season in what would turn out to be a 3-1 victory for Boston.

This took place exactly one week before the Boston Marathon bombings, and as we already know, the 2013 season that ended in a World Series title was a very emotional one for the Red Sox.

April 4th, 2014: Brewers 6, Red Sox 2

Speaking of World Series titles, the Red Sox received their 2013 World Series rings on this day in 2014.

Will Middlebrooks also homered in this contest, although Boston would eventually be swept by Milwaukee in their first three home games of the year in what would turn out to be a mostly forgettable title defense.

April 13th, 2015: Red Sox 9, Nationals 4

Coming off a solid 4-2 road trip in Philadelphia and New York to begin the season, the new-look Red Sox got the home portion of their 2015 schedule off with a bang against Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals.

In his first home start as a member of the Red Sox, right-hander Rick Porcello provided Boston with eight solid innings of work while Mookie Betts and David Ortiz both went deep.

Speaking of Betts, the now-four-time All-Star was just getting his career started at this point in time.

Fresh off making his first career big-league Opening Day roster, the 22-year-old swiped second and third base in consecutive order against Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann right away in the bottom half of the first inning. He also collected four RBI in addition to mashing his second homer of the season.

The Red Sox improved to 5-2 with the five-run victory over the Nats, and they looked like a team poised to bounce back from a last-place finish in 2014. That did not happen though, and come October, the Sox finished in the basement of the American League East for the third time in the past four seasons.

April 11th, 2016: Orioles 9, Red Sox 7

The sixth game of the Red Sox’ 2016 campaign marked David Price’s first start at Fenway Park since inking a then-record-setting seven-year, $217 million deal with Boston the previous December.

Unlike his Red Sox debut in Cleveland, where he fanned 10 over six two-run innings, Price struggled in his first start home, as he yielded five runs, all of which came in the top half of the third for Baltimore, over five innings of work.

Betts did impress once again though, as the 23-year-old plated a pair of runs on a solo homer and RBI single.

Ortiz, meanwhile, also shined in what was his final Opening Day as a member of the Red Sox, which was commemorated with a special pregame ceremony and his daughter, Alex, singing the National Anthem.


April 3rd, 2017: Red Sox 5, Pirates 3

While many expected the newly-acquired Chris Sale to get the Opening Day nod, ex-Sox manager John Farrell went with Rick Porcello, who was coming off winning his first Cy Young Award the year before.

Porcello was solid, racking up five strikeouts while surrendering three runs over 6 1/3 quality innings of work.

Offensively, all five of Boston’s runs came in their half of the fifth inning, with Pablo Sandoval and Dustin Pedroia plating a pair of runs on a pair of RBI singles and rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, fresh off making his first Opening Day roster, driving in three on a three-run blast to right off Pirates ace Gerrit Cole.

Benintendi would wind up finishing second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in 2017.

April 5th, 2018: Red Sox 3, Rays 2 in 12 innings

The only extra-innings game on here wound up in a one-run win for the Red Sox to open up the home portion of their 2018 schedule.

David Price contributed to the cause by hurling seven scoreless frames against his former team, while Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts came through with a pair of run-scoring knocks off Alex Colome in the ninth to make extra innings possible in the first place.

Fast forward all the way to the 12th, and Ramirez delivered in the clutch once more, this time coming to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Ryan Yarbrough and plating Jackie Bradley Jr. from third on an RBI single to right field.

The Red Sox’ first walk-off victory of the season improved their record to 6-1 and they really wouldn’t have to look back en route to capturing their ninth World Series title that October.

April 9th, 2019: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5

Finally, we arrive at the most recent home opener. Another one in which the Red Sox received their World Series rings on what was an otherwise dreary day at Fenway Park.

Things did not get much better after the ceremony though, as Chris Sale surrendered five runs over four innings to eventually fall to 0-3 through his first three starts of the season.

Mitch Moreland and Mookie Betts did both homer, but at the end of the day, the Red Sox fell to 3-9 on the season and they never really were able to recover from that sluggish start despite finishing with a winning record.

So, there you have it. A nice look back at the last seven Opening Days at Fenway Park. Hopefully the next one will happen sooner rather than later.

Looking at How the Red Sox’ World Series Odds Changed Over the Course of a Hectic Offseason

If Major League Baseball is to be played in 2020, the Red Sox currently stand as long-shots to capture their 10th World Series title this fall, or perhaps winter.

As recently as this past Tuesday, March 31st, the Red Sox’ odds to win the World Series this year stood at +3667, according to In other words, if you bet $100 on the Sox to win the Fall Classic and they do, your total payout would be $3,767.

Compare that to the reigning American League East champion New York Yankees’ most recent odds of winning the 2020 World Series (+367), and it’s clear to see that the Red Sox are underdogs coming off a turbulent offseason to say the least.

Right around the time the offseason began after the Washington Nationals won their first World Series title, Boston’s odds of winning in 2020 stood at +1200 as of November 1st, which were good for the third-best in the American League.

Since that time though, the Sox’ chances of winning have gotten significantly worse, as one might expect with the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in February, as well as the recent news that ace left-hander Chris Sale needed and underwent successful Tommy John surgery last month that will sideline the 31-year-old for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.

With Betts at the top of the lineup and Price maintaining a top spot in the rotation, the Red Sox looked like a team that could still at least compete for a Wild Card spot this coming season even with injury concerns surrounding Sale.

Instead of Betts and Price, who served as important clubhouse leaders in recent years, reporting to Red Sox camp, the two were instead dealt to the Dodgers as part of an earlier-set goal put in place by Sox ownership to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

In his first offseason as Boston’s chief baseball officer, Chaim Bloom did just that by packaging Price, who is owed $96 million over the next three years, and Betts, who will earn $27 million in his final year of salary arbitration, in the same deal.

The Red Sox will pay about half of what is owed to Price over the next three seasons, while Betts was already viewed as a potential trade candidate anyway since he seemed and still seems locked in on becoming a free agent for the fist time this winter.

Despite the financial flexibility gained in parting ways with Betts and Price, the competitive state of the club certainly didn’t get any better even with three controllable players coming back from Los Angeles.

Take these numbers for what they’re worth. On February 3rd, the day before the first, now-voided three-team trade between Boston, Los Angeles, and the Minnesota Twins was reported, the Red Sox’ odds to win the World Series stood at +2067.

Fast forward to February 10th, one day after Boston and Los Angeles agreed to terms on a new trade between just themselves, the Sox’ odds to win the World Series fell to +3433. They have only gotten worse since then, as previously mentioned.

Bloom was dealt a difficult hand as soon as he took over as the head of the Red Sox’ baseball operations department last October. As he said himself at the time the trade was made official in February, “Our biggest goal…is to put ourselves in position to compete and win sustainably for as many years as we can.”

The club will never admit it publicly, but as the oddsmakers and sportsbooks have indicated, trading two of their better players in Mookie Betts and David Price certainly hurt the Red Sox’ chances of competing in 2020 once baseball does finally return.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale Undergoes Successful Tommy John Surgery in Los Angeles

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale has undergone successful Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, industry sources have told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

The typical recovery time from this procedure is anywhere between 14 to 15 months, so Sale will likely be out of commission until sometime around June 2021 at the earliest.

The Red Sox announced that Sale, who turned 31 on Monday, would undergo Tommy John surgery on March 19th, six days after he began throwing again and felt more discomfort in his left elbow following a brief session outside that following Tuesday.

Per Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, Sale had experienced enough pain then to shut things down once more, and “the decision after that became clear.”

Since the club announced that the Florida native would be undergoing Tommy John, things had been relatively quiet surrounding the matter before Monday. That is mostly due to the fact that many states have put limitations on elective procedures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting healthcare facilities across the country.

As Speier notes in the attached article above, “Among the doctors who have stopped performing Tommy John procedures in response to the pandemic is Dr. James Andrews. An Andrews Institute spokesperson said on Monday that the institute had suspended elective procedures, including Tommy John.”

The Red Sox themselves just announced via Twitter that Sale’s procedure to repair his left UCL was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, CA, so there’s that.

Entering the first year of the five-year, $145 million extension he signed with Boston last March, Sale is set to earn approximately $30 million in 2020.