We are now around halfway through Spring Training, which means it’s time to have extreme overreactions to the limited sample sizes that we have seen. So far, the 2021 Boston Red Sox haven’t looked terrible.
While team defense was atrocious in the first few games, Boston seems to have hit its stride, especially at the plate. The Red Sox are top-five in all of baseball in batting average, OBP, SLG, and HR. Some batters, in particular, are more responsible for these elite numbers, while there have also been some pleasant surprises from the pitching staff.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Kiké Hernandez
Through nine games, Kiké Hernandez has made it clear that he deserves a starting job in Boston. To this point, Hernandez has hit .353 with a team-leading six walks, to just four strikeouts. Hernandez has also shown the potential for extra-base hits with a homer and three doubles. He’s also shown the defensive depth that he can offer the 2021 Boston Red Sox. While playing in centerfield, Hernandez made an outstanding throw to gun down a runner at the plate.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Michael Chavis
With the new additions of Kiké Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez, Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis will need to battle for a roster spot. Chavis struggled in 2020, with 50 strikeouts resulting in an abysmal .212 batting average.
To this point in his career, Chavis has been an all-or-nothing guy and is only productive if he is hitting home runs. In 12 spring training games, Chavis already has four home runs, just one shy of the five he recorded in 42 games last season. Although it is a small sample size, Chavis is also hitting .276 with an OPS over 1.000. If he can keep his production up, Chavis could find himself platooning at either first or second base for Boston.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec
Unfortunately for Chavis, Bobby Dalbec is performing extremely well this spring, likely earning himself the starting first base job. Dalbec is another power bat who will be incredibly effective as long as he can keep his strikeouts at a low enough level.
In his 2020 debut season, Dalbec played in 23 games slugging eight home runs while fanning 39 times. So far this spring, Dalbec has continued that trend homering four times in 10 games with 12 strikeouts. However, Dalbec has hit .304 this spring, 40 points higher than his 2020 mark. At just 25 years old, Bobby Dalbec making strides in the right direction and getting out to a hot start is a great sign for Boston.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Martin Perez
Much to the delight of Red Sox fans, Martin Perez was brought back on a one-year deal. Through two starts, the 29-year-old lefty has not allowed a run. This is just six innings, but zero runs, three hits, one walk, and five strikeouts are very impressive. All Boston needs is for Perez to be a competent number three starter in the rotation and his start to spring training should inspire some confidence in the pitching staff that was not present last season.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Garrett Whitlock
The Red Sox selected Garrett Whitlock from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 draft and that move seems to be paying immediate dividends. The 24-year-old right-handed reliever has appeared in three games so far and allowed just one run through six innings while striking out seven.
With a 95 mph two-seam fastball, Whitlock has nasty stuff and should give the Sox pitching staff needed depth for the 2021 season. Make sure to keep an eye out for what Whitlock does for the rest of the spring and the early parts of the 2021 season as the Red Sox may have found a hidden gem.
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