Boston Red Sox offense needs a spark; is it time for Triston Casas?

Triston Casas of the Worcester Red Sox (Mandatory Credit: Worcester Telegram)
Triston Casas of the Worcester Red Sox (Mandatory Credit: Worcester Telegram) /

The Boston Red Sox have started their 2022 campaign with a slump. The only series they’ve won came against the Detroit Tigers, and they have now lost every divisional series they’ve played so far. Most frustratingly, the pitching staff hasn’t been the main issue like most people feared; it’s been the lineup.

Christian Vazquez, Kiké Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, and Bobby Dalbec are all hitting below the Mendoza Line, in a downward offensive trend that is plaguing Major League Baseball. Rafael Devers’ 110 wRC+ is pretty average, considering the amount of money he is looking to get paid. Elsehwere, J.D. Martinez has been plagued with a nagging ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for the previous four games.

As a team, the Sox have an abysmal 83 OPS+, and are presently ranking below the league average in runs per game, home runs, batting average, and just about every other important offensive category.

April overreactions aside, the Boston Red Sox need an offensive spark plug

For the second straight season, it looks like first base is going to be an issue for the Red Sox. Bobby Dalbec is batting .154. His wRC+ is 38 which, when you consider the league average is 100, is pretty terrible. Even worse is Travis Shaw, whose wRC+ is NEGATIVE ONE HUNDRED! Nostalgia aside, he is a pure detriment to the team at this point; this is not the 2015 Mayor of Ding Dong City anymore.

Meanwhile, Triston Casas is slashing .262/.395/.508 with four home runs on the year for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, the Worcester Red Sox. Every time I open up Twitter there’s a new video of him tearing the cover off the ball, if not hitting it halfway to New Hampshire. He’s proven he’s a baller at every minor league and amateur level so far, including the Olympics. Despite the Sox recent offensive struggles, he is still in Worcester.

In a way it makes sense. If I’m Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, I’m not using a second of Casas’s service time to do anything less than start if he comes to Boston. Casas is not a replacement for Shaw; he would have to leapfrog Dalbec.

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Dalbec has been bad, no doubt about it, but he still shows a ton of promise. His Barrel Percentage of 11.1 is in the league’s 72nd percentile. His .229 XBA isn’t great, but it shows that maybe we shouldn’t give up on Bad Luck Bob.

His exit velocity is trending down from last season, which could be an indicator of the league changing the balls up, or he might just have to tweak something in his swing; he might just need some nurturing like Kyle Schwarber provided last season. To translate from nerd to normal – he’s pretty unlucky and might need to make some minor swing adjustments.

I also can’t help but be fearful of the recent trend of the Red Sox developing Quadruple-A hitters. Casas has given every indicator that he’s legit, but the Red Sox haven’t produced a decent bat from their own farm system since Rafael Devers.

What happens if the front office overreacts to a bad month and Casas comes to Boston and looks like Jarren Duran or Michael Chavis? What if all this hope surrounding Casas crushes Red Sox nation, and we spend 2023 talking about whether we should trade him or send him back down to Worcester, which is basically the same conversation we’re having about Dalbec today.

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I say don’t rush him, and let the player development team stick to their course with Casas. Dump Shaw, and give Franchy Cordero another shot at the Major League level.

The Boston Red Sox have Martinez getting healthier. Devers will break out of his streak of being pretty average. Hernandez will come through in big spots, and Dalbec will find his groove. Jackie Bradley Jr. is uncharacteristically hot right now, Alex Verdugo is continuing to establish himself as a leader, and Xander Bogaerts is playing like he wants a $300 million deal next offseason. It’s April, we have a lot of baseball to play folks.