The Top-20 Most Valuable Players On The Red Sox
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The Top-20 Most Valuable Players On The Red Sox

Numbers 10-6

4
The Top-20 Most Valuable Players On The Red Sox

For the past few weeks, I've been ranking the top-20 players on the Boston Red Soxin order for all of you to get an idea of which figures will be the most valuable in 2016. Here are my 20-16 and 16-11 rankings. Read on for 10-6.

10.) Rusney Castillo – Outfielder

Let me start off by saying Castillo is well worth the seven-year, $72.5 million deal that the Red Sox signed him to in late 2014, although it may not have seemed like it at first.

When the Red sox signed Castillo, they were hoping to get a speedy, energetic and versatile outfielder that can hit well enough to make a difference. It also helped that he happened to be a stalwart defensively, displaying a wide outfield range with impeccable arm strength and accuracy.

Well, in his first stint at the major league level this year, the Cuban prospect struggled mightily. Hitting for a measly .230 average in 26 games, Castillo was sent back down to the minors as Boston searched for a solution to his woes. Many had written off Castillo while he remained in the farm system, and speculated as to whether or not he was a free agency bust.

But then, he was given another chance.

Since being called back up to the majors on July 27, Castillo has hit for an exceptional .294 batting average, which includes a career-long 10-game hitting streak. While Castillo’s five-foot, eight-inch frame prevents him from exploding for 20-plus home runs per season, his ability to reach base safely is already enough to almost confirm his predicted offensive value.

The only thing standing in the way of breaking out large expectations for him is his questionable consistency, but that will come with time as he adjusts to hitting in the majors. Right now, the Red Sox are counting on him for 2016 to occupy a spot in what could be one of the most talented outfields in all of baseball. I’ll give more on that later.

9.) Eduardo Rodriguez – Starting Pitcher

The best way to summarize Rodriguez’s debut season with the Red Sox is short and sweet – promising, but inconsistent.

First off, “E-Rod” is only 22. Any 22 year-old pitcher is going to have some bad come with the good. On one hand, Rodriguez has 11 starts in which he has allowed one or less earned runs, and six starts where he has struck out at least seven batters. On the other hand, he has four starts in which he has allowed at least six runs, rounding out his ERA to a rather high 3.94 mark.

Rodriguez is already a good pitcher at his young age, which makes him so valuable to the team for right now, as well as for the future. The Venezuelan clearly has the ability to pitch well, which is seen in his 14 quality starts on the year. The only problem is that he sometimes lets his fastball cover too much of the plate, making it easy for a team to explode on him in games. He’s no ace, but he certainly should have a spot in the rotation next year.

8.) Blake Swihart – Catcher

Nobody expected Swihart to be just about an everyday starter this season for Boston. But season-tabbed starter Christian Vasquez went down for the year with Tommy John surgery, forcing the Red Sox to sign Sandy Leon as a replacement. Then, the other half of the platoon position (Ryan Hanigan) went down for two months with a broken knuckle.

Swihart was given a shot.

Already regarded as one of the top prospects in the program, Swihart has impressed everyone with the rare ability to hit well for his position. SO far this season, Swihart has batted an admirable .277 at the dish, while also driving in 25 RBIs.

While that doesn’t jump off the page, let me tell you something that will. In August, the 23 year-old (yes, he’s really that young) hit for a spectacular .373 mark, which ranked highest out of all catchers in the AL. Month’s like that suggest that there is a lot to come from this young athlete, and there’s a lot of time for him to only get better.

Look for him to platoon with Vasquez in 2016, he’s earned it.

7.) Brock Holt – Utility Man

For the past two years, the third-year man has been extremely valuable to the Red Sox because of his ability to play any position outside of pitcher and catcher. That kind of versatility doesn’t come around very often, as Holt actually made history this season by becoming the first player to ever be selected to the All Star Game after starting at seven different positions before the break.

Never, in any circumstance, underestimate the value of versatility in a player.

Whatever the Red Sox need him to do, Holt almost always comes through for his team. Last year he was needed in the outfield for 53 games when the talent pool was thin, so he went out and played all three spots without committing a single error. This season, Dustin Pedroia went down to leave a void at second base. In come Mr. Holt, and he plays 46 games of four-error ball. Not bad for utility-man.

Holt’s rare ability to play every position earned him a spot in the everyday lineup, where he went on to hit for a solid .281 average in 2014 and a .280 average this season. At a small five-foot, ten-inch frame, Holt isn’t going to put out high power numbers, as he only has six dingers in his career. But the man is a serious contributor for Boston, which can be seen in an admirable 3.0 wins above replacement (WAR) rating.

After all, he was the only All-Star selection on the Red Sox this year, so he must be worth something.

6.) Jackie Bradley Jr. – Outfielder

The recent emergence of Bradley Jr. leaves me with reason to believe that this young outfielder is bound to be a star, and could potentially end up being number one on this list by next year if he can stay consistent.

From the start of August until September 7, Bradley Jr. hit for an eye-popping .380 average which ranked first in all of baseball. Entering the last day of that span with a seven-game hit streak, Bradley went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, finishing the game a triple short of the cycle. In that time covering a little over one month, the highly rated prospect managed to lift his season batting average from a .125 mark to a .312, all while slugging for a mighty .692 percentage. To top it off, 22 of Bradley’s last 36 hits have gone for extra bases.

The funny thing about all of this, though, is that Bradley Jr. is even better with his glove than he is with his bat.

In 2014, Bradley Jr. nearly earned his first Gold Glove Award because of his ability to cover ground, as well as his ability to throw runners out when trying to advance bases. The rookie’s 13 outfield assists only trailed Yoenis Cespedes’ majors-leading 16, but managed to get the leading feat in outfield-turned double plays with eight on the year. As for field coverage, his range factor measurement, which tells us how far players can track on fly balls, ranked second in the majors as well.

With a deadly combination of speed, power, and gold glove-caliber fielding, Bradley could very well be the next great outfielder. The only question is; can he keep it up?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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