On the 24th June, the Boston Red Sox called up their number one prospect, Rafael Devers. On the 26th June the Boston Red Sox traded a couple of minor-league pitchers for the San Francisco Giants 3B Eduardo Nunez. Some of the Red Sox faithful (myself included) looked back and saw this as a real turning point for the Red Sox season, but who can take credit for it? Devers? Nunez? Well, neither really. The team were pretty good and continued to be pretty good.
We will use the 26th June as the cutoff point for this analysis. From the start of the season to the 25th will be called “Prior” and everything from the 26th onwards will be “Since”.
Let us start off with the bare basics. What was the Red Sox record during these periods?
Prior – 41-34 .547
Since – 33-23 .589
One up for Devers and Nunez, the team are winning more.
So let’s take a look at the team hitting.
Prior – .265/.335/.415
OPS – .750
Since – .258/.333/.408
OPS – .741
Oh, that wasn’t expected. The team are actually hitting worse since the call up and trade. Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts have a lot to answer here (As John McGee rightly pointed out), with the likes of Nunez, Devers and future hall-of-famer catcher Vazquez lifting this team.
That HR number “since” is pretty impressive and shows how much the Red Sox were lacking power in the first half. With 624 less PA, they are 11 HR short of the “prior” total. I like this shift.
4.45 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9
3.03 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
3.49 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
3.58 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
The starters ERA, WHIP and K/9 have gotten better since the change, the relievers are giving away a smidge more runs but walking less over 9 innings.
So what does this all mean? Well, I went into writing this post thinking I would see a dramatic shift in hitting and a real change in numbers between the prior and the since, instead we have seen a Red Sox team continue to perform in recent months pretty much as they were prior to these moves.
More worryingly, they are outperforming their pythagorean record, which they should be very wary of (See Texas Rangers last year). If Mookie and Hanley can start to perform again, Carson Smith return (after a long rehabilitation process) to take over the 8th inning and maybe, just maybe we see David Price return for September, then and only then do I see this team as real contenders for the World Series. But thats a lot of “if” that needs to happen.
I’m not sure if there has been a turning point this season, maybe it’s yet to come and it could literally go one way or the other.