The strategy the Crimson Sox are taking to protection is, properly, indefensible

Crimson Sox

What’s perplexing is that this appears to be by design, as if Chaim Bloom and the Crimson Sox’ analytics employees decided that there could be marginal penalties to neglecting the protection.

Red Sox second baseman Enmanuel Valdez.
Enmanuel Valdez dedicated six errors in 32 video games at second base earlier than being demoted to Worcester. Jim Davis/Globe Employees

Query: In a hypothetical world during which the Crimson Sox lineup was truly constructed with a critical try at defensive cohesion, what number of regulars could be finest suited as a chosen hitter?

I say not less than 4. At the least. Justin Turner has been the DH for a team-high 43 video games, so we should begin there.

Masataka Yoshida? He’s a blast to look at hit, however he performs a Greenwellian left subject. He’s a DH.

Rafael Devers? That is 12 months 7 for him, and he’s nonetheless inconsistent at finest at third base. He’s most likely a DH.

Triston Casas, who was purported to be a defensive improve on final 12 months’s mess at first base, has been stunningly poor. He’s a DH, and that’s assuming he’ll change into a succesful H.

Perhaps I’m nonetheless a naive baseball fan, nevertheless it appears to me that when roughly half of a group’s lineup makes use of gloves made from an alloy that may by no means be confused with gold, it’s a surefire approach to undermine a pitching employees and improve the diploma of problem in securing victories.

That’s precisely what has occurred for this mediocre, typically maddening Crimson Sox group.

What’s perplexing is that this appears to be by design, as if Chaim Bloom and the Crimson Sox’ analytics employees decided that there could be marginal penalties to neglecting the protection.

It’s not simply that the Crimson Sox characteristic a number of poor defenders, significantly within the infield. It’s that they typically have utilized good-to-excellent defensive gamers at a place the place they don’t seem to be practically as competent.

Adam Duvall gained a Gold Glove in 2021 when he totaled 137 video games within the outfield for the Marlins and Braves (77 in proper subject, 51 in left, and 30 in middle). He’d be a improbable left fielder for the Crimson Sox, however they’re taking part in him in middle, the place he’s succesful however not as rangy as you’d like.

The perfect-case state of affairs for Duvall — on the plate and within the subject — is that he’s the trendy model of what Tony Armas was for the Crimson Sox from 1983-85 (he fell off considerably in ‘86), when he performed a reliable middle subject and averaged 36 house runs, 126 strikeouts, and posted a .782 OPS.

Then there’s probably the most egregious instance of an excellent fielder put in a foul spot: poor Kiké Hernández.

As a middle fielder, Hernández is a pitcher’s ally, a spectacular defender with a present for getting roadrunner-quick jumps on fly balls. As a shortstop … say, did we point out he’s a spectacular middle fielder?

Hernández, who entered this season with 64 begins and 618 innings at shortstop in 9 seasons, was put in an untenable place because the on a regular basis participant on the place following Trevor Story’s harm and the entrance workplace’s resolution final 12 months to solely feign curiosity in retaining Xander Bogaerts.

Hernández was recreation, however he was a catastrophe, making an MLB-high 14 errors — 13 approaching throws in a weird tribute to Butch Hobson’s 1978 season — earlier than shedding the job this week to glove-only replacement-level participant Pablo Reyes.

Supervisor Alex Cora sounded lower than thrilled concerning the resolution to maneuver Hernández — a wise if restricted participant who genuinely cares about successful — right into a utility position, wryly noting that when he inevitably has to pinch hit for Reyes, Hernández would be the late-inning shortstop anyway.

Cora himself is likely to be the higher defensive possibility there, however he clearly appreciates Hernández, whose basic failure on the place isn’t his fault, however that of the folks asking him to do one thing outdoors of his ability set.

Asking gamers to take the sphere at unfamiliar positions has been a misguided quirk of Bloom’s tenure. Taking part in Kyle Schwarber sometimes at first base made sense; there was a void on the place, it’s not as exhausting to study as Ron Washington made it appear in “Moneyball,” and he was an offensive drive.

However there have been instances when the Crimson Sox tried to shoehorn a participant right into a place he couldn’t play. If Hernández isn’t probably the most egregious instance, it’s solely as a result of they gave Franchy Cordero 53 video games — 53! — at first base final season.

Casas was purported to be a significant defensive improve. As an alternative, he’s now shedding time within the subject to the 38-year-old Turner, who had performed all of 39 video games on the place in his 14 earlier main league seasons. Turner has performed 18 video games at first already this season, and let’s simply say he hasn’t reminded anybody of 2004 Doug Mientkiewicz with the leather-based.

Sometimes, it really works out when a participant will get a shot at an unfamiliar place. Alex Verdugo has been a lot better in proper subject this season than anticipated. Truly, strike that “sometimes.” That is the one instance that involves thoughts.

It’s simply so unusual. The Crimson Sox goal to win within the margins, but appear to favor gamers who’re prepared to play a number of positions with various levels of aptitude — and, too typically, ineptitude — over those that can play one place properly.

There needs to be a catch right here. However like these assorted Crimson Sox fielders requested to play out of place, I’m simply not getting it.