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Playing Pepper

Here's a little run down of somethings I've been thinkin' bout:
  • Anyone else notice that the Sox are leading the league in runs scored, OPS, total bases, and second in homers. Not too shabby.
  • Mike Lowell should play third so Beltre stops hurting our left fielders. He's broken Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida this year - and Hermida's not too small himself.
  • I'm wondering if we'll hear from Globe blogger Chad Finn about how sorry he is that he has repeatedly called Jacoby Ellsbury soft because of his injuries this year. It was revealed today that Ellsbury hurt himself anew when he briefly returned to the Fens recently. He now has a "non-displaced rib fracture and edema in the left posterior-axillary line". Finn also pouted a bit for taking heat from Ellsbury fans for his attacks, but he seems to have missed the point: that he insinuated a player was soft, and insinuated that there was an undercurrent in agreement with that sentiment, without really showing any basis for it. Did he interview fans at Fenway who thought Ellsbury was dogging it? Did he break 4 ribs then dive on them? Ellsbury might not be Willis Reed, but we seem to conveniently forget that Willis Reed wasn't Willis Reed again after the 1970 finals performance. Likewise, Kirk Gibson only played one full season after his 1988 World Series walk off. I understand that these guys need to play hurt sometimes, but Jacoby is a huge part of our present and future, and we need him to be healthy before we let him on the field. Playing hurt against the Indians a third of the way into the season is not as important as leading off in a Wild Card playoff game in October.
  • I'm really going back and forth about V-Mart's worth after this year. If we resigned him, he'd likely be a 32 year old DH and backup 1B and C. Then he'd be a 36 year old DH by the end of his contract probably. He is not a real power hitter, but his ability to make hard contact is remarkable. He's on a pace this year to strike out 50 times while hitting 23 homers and a .297 average. And that's not too far off his norm. He's very good from both sides.
  • The Sox have a bullpen problem. Paps is still good and Bard has been solid, but after that it's not too pretty. Mini Manny has great stats but he's not too trustworthy. Boof Bonser might be a nice find. Oki has been bad. Ramirez and Atchison are ok but neither of them should be under pressure. Dustin Richardson should help from Pawtucket at some point. But while he's talented, he's very wild. Outside of that, the Sox might need to look for a trade if anyone is available - and if we're in the race.
  • This year's draft seemed solid for the Sox. The biggest hole in the Sox farm system is power. They picked up a few super high ceiling power guys. At least one will completely flop, but one might be that big power guy the Sox need in their future. They picked up infielder Kolbrin Vitek from Ball State who fits into the Pedroia/Lowrie mold - highly productive college infielder with advanced approach at the plate but little power. But they also picked up an 18 year old phenom with massive promise but some injury issues. They picked up 6'7" righty Anthony Ranaudo from LSU who has major league stuff now, but also has injury issues. And "light tower power" college outfielder Bryce Brentz who doesn't make much contact but wows when he does (even though he's not that big). I like it.
  • The Sox just sent down Josh Reddick and called up Daniel Nava. Having a switch-hitting corner outfielder who can really hit will be nice. He's also a hell of a story. From "Initially cut as a walk on at Santa Clara, Nava went to JuCo and excelled, ultimately returning to Santa Clara for his senior season. He went undrafted and again proved the doubters wrong by doing extremely well in independent baseball in 2007, earning the spot as Baseball America's #1 independent prospect. He then proceeded to win the California League batting crown in 2008, albeit at the age of 25. Following an early-season injury in 2009, he went on to dominate the Carolina League and the Eastern League in limited at bats. Nava is a well-rounded player - has a great bat with a little bit of pop, excellent plate discipline, average speed, and a strong arm in right. He still hasn't played against age-appropriate competition, but if he can show some success at Triple-A, he has the makings of a unique success story. " Even if the Sox don't go anywhere this year, it's a team stacked with great stories from Nava to Darnell to Atchison.


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