The Pawtucket Red Sox season did not go as well as the team had hoped. The team was picked apart by call ups and had to rely on players that weren’t up to the challenge. Brandon Magee has his first annual Pawtucket Red Sox offensive review.
The Pawtucket Red Sox ended their season 26 games under .500, 22 games back of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the International League North Division and with the third worst record in all of AAA baseball (The New Orleans Zephyrs and Salt Lake Bees each lost one more game). As discussed in the team season overview, the major problem for the PawSox was the anemic offense which this article will look at in greater depth.
The Team Malaise
The Pawtucket Red Sox finished last in AAA baseball in a number of statistical categories: batting average at .238, on base percentage at .309 and slugging percentage at .341. Unsurprisingly, it was also last in hits with 1,157, doubles with 192, and triples with 12. Surprisingly, they were only second-to-last in runs scored, picking up two more than the Louisville Bats, finishing with an anemic 508 over 144 games (3.52 runs per game).
There were a few things the PawSox did do relatively well. They were pretty good at smacking the balls over the fence, hitting 95 which ranked 5th in the 14 team International League. They took ball four 472 times, which ranked 6th in the IL. The team also stole 102 bases (6th) while only being caught 26 times, the fewest in the league.
However, the best way to truly show the dysfunctional offense is to show how often the team failed to score runs:
|Runs Scored||Number of Times||Record|
|Five or more||51||39-12|
Unsurprisingly, when the team scored more runs, they won more games. But when the offense scores less than four runs in a game, which the team did in 55% of the games, it is going to lead to a large number of losses. It is only due to some really good pitching that the team actually won 16% of those games and 22% of the games that they could win.
One of the major difficulties in pinning down blame for the offensive offense is that the names kept changing. Of the 29 players who had a plate appearance for the PawSox, only seven played in more than half of the team’s games. Only three of the players had an OPS of .800 or above, and not a single one hit the magic 72 game mark. Which makes the question of offensive MVP an easy one to answer.
PawSox Most Valuable Player
In between his four call-ups for the Boston Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr. played 71 games for the Pawtucket Red Sox. As the only PawSox representative who participated in the AAA Mid-season All-Star game, Bradley batted .305/.382/.472 with 18 doubles and 9 home runs for the PawSox.
The Failures of Major Leaguers
It seems almost cruel to discuss Allen Craig as a failure in his season for the Pawsox. After all, a .368 On Base Percentage is well above average for the International League. However, for a player who slugged 57 extra-base hits for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, his paltry 18 extra-base hits in 93 games led to a pitiful .350 slugging percentage, the worst of his career. In a 58 game stretch between June 18 and August 25, Craig had eight extra-base hits – all doubles.
36-year-old catcher Humberto Quintero was brought into the Red Sox organization to be a mentor to youngster Blake Swihart. Unfortunately, he lost his protege to the majors and ended up playing in 81 games for the PawSox. The veteran put up the worst AAA numbers of his career, batting .257/.284/.354 for the season.
Quintin Berry has a World Series ring thanks to being fast. And he may help bring a ring to Chicago after being signed by the Chicago Cubs after the Red Sox released him in late August. While he continues to be a stolen base guru this season (swiping 35 bases in 41 attempts for the PawSox), it was about the only positive he brought to the table. In 106 games, Berry struggled to a .228/.329/.287 line.
28-year-old Jemile Weeks has been a consistent minor league performer, putting up above average OBPs since being drafted in the first round in 2008. But Weeks was weak for the PawSox in 2015, struggling to a line of .204/.299/.281 in 70 games – a far cry from the .280/.392/.391 he had for the Norfolk Tides in 2014.
Luke Montz may have played himself out of baseball, batting .167/.270/.333 in 48 games for the PawSox. The 32-year-old was released on June 26 and did not catch on with another team.
Bryce Brentz lost another year due to a season-ending thumb injury in mid-June. Brentz was having a mediocre year in his first 59 games for the PawSox, batting .232/.308/.382 with nine double and eight dingers. It was the third consecutive season the 26-year-old outfielder has played in less than 90 games due to injury.
24-year-old utility man Garin Cecchini had a mediocre first season in AAA in 2014, batting .263/.341/.371 in 114 games for the PawSox. The expected second year improvement never appeared as he floundered to a .213/.286/.296 line in 2015 with eight fewer extra-base hits in 17 more at bats.
23-year-old second baseman Sean Coyle also had a lost season, spending most of the season on the disabled list. Coyle only played in 39 games for the PawSox, where he batted .159/.274/.302. Sean still showed intriguing power potential, with eight of his twenty hits going for extra-bases.
Mike Miller started the season in Portland before being called to Pawtucket in late May to help with a depleted lineup. Miller, with an exception of a four-game trip back to Portland in late July, stayed with the PawSox for the rest of the season, batting .219/.258/.304 in 74 games during his first AAA exposure.
A Smattering of Others
Travis Shaw would have likely appeared in the above listing except that he is batting .263/.328/.519 with 19 extra-base hits in 48 games for the Boston Red Sox. So, what can be said about his .249/.318/.356 line in 77 games for the PawSox? In the first 24 games played in Pawtucket (prior to his first one-day callup), Shaw put up an ugly .556 OPS, but with a BABIP of .197. In his next 33 AA games before his next one-day callup, Shaw put up a line of .304/.389/.432 with a .340 BABIP. It is possible Shaw is just streaky and his overall numbers reflect that streakiness.
Marco Hernandez received a promotion to Pawtucket after representing the Portland Sea Dogs in the Eastern League All Star-Game in early July. The 22-year-old, who had an .832 OPS for Portland, batted .271/.300/.409 with 15 extra-base hits in 46 games for the PawSox.
The 30-year-old Matt Spring has spent the past five seasons for the Red Sox on shadow rosters, waiting for the chance to help out as the third string catcher. That role got Spring into 60 games for the PawSox this season, batting .191/.270/.332 with 16 of his 38 hits going for extra-bases.
26-year-old Jonathan Roof spent the early part of the season with the Portland Sea Dogs, putting up an OBP heavy .645 OPS. When injuries and promotions opened up playing time in the Pawtucket outfield, Roof was sent southward where he batted .214/.251/.292 in 48 games.
In our final installment of our review of the Pawtucket season, next week we will look at the pitching staff.