Leandre: First Impressions of Red Sox Spring Training
(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins - Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox have picked up right where they left off last season, winning the first three Spring Training games of 2019.
While one of the three wins came against the Northeastern Huskies, there’s a lot to be excited about from the first sprinkle of exhibitions played down in Fort Myers, FL. We all know what the major league regulars are capable of, but what makes Spring Training so exciting for the baseball fan is that we get an extra look at some prospects we otherwise wouldn’t be able to watch much.
Here are some first impressions from Red Sox camp through the first few games.
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s new swing looks pretty good
We heard all winter that the 2018 ALCS MVP did a lot of work with his swing in the second half of last season and during the offseason. Working with J.D. Martinez to figure out what was wrong with the mechanics of his swing. However, until today, we hadn’t been able to see those adjustments put to the test against a live pitcher.
It didn’t take long for those adjustments to pay dividends, as Bradley jumped an off-speed pitch from Twins left-hander Martin Perez for a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.
Jackie Bradley Jr still in CRUSH EVERYONE mode. pic.twitter.com/aIITDKBorq
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) February 24, 2019
The Red Sox actually have bullpen depth
There were only two relievers that Alex Cora went to today that will likely see major league playing time this season. That being said, both Brandon Workman and Colten Brewer were lights out in the lone inning they each pitched. When combining the two, they went two innings, allowed zero runs on zero hits, walked none and struck out all six men they faced.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the six punchouts is that they all came on really sharp breaking balls.
Michael Chavis has a true raw power swing
Michael Chavis jumped Drew Hutchison for a three-run homer on Saturday against the Yankees. That home run went to right-center field.
Michael Chavis 3 run blast ! ??
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) February 23, 2019
That being said, Chavis started his day 0-1 with a strikeout looking –– but he took to the box in the bottom of the eighth with the Red Sox trailing 5-4 and absolutely annihilated the first pitch of his at-bat against left-hander Pat Dean. Sending it over the JetBlue Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 7-5 lead.
Michael Chavis dropped ANOTHER 3-run bomb making it two days in a row.
— Red Sox on CLNS (@RedSoxCLNS) February 24, 2019
Like Chavis, the ball explodes off the bat of Bobby Dalbec
It’s still hard to imagine that the Red Sox only have one top-100 prospect in baseball. While Michael Chavis is definitely walking the walk, Bobby Dalbec has chipped in nicely as well.
Dalbec blasted a solo homer against Northeastern’s David Stiehl to start the party at Fenway South on Friday. And while he didn’t go bridge again on Sunday, he did hammer a single into left field in the eighth inning to provide an insurance run for Kutter Crawford to come on for the save.
The Sox have relied on playing from behind too much
Yes, it’s Spring Training. Yes, the Red Sox have yet to send a major league regular to the mound for a start. However, the Red Sox have combined to allow seven runs in the first two innings of their last two games. That certainly has to be improved upon.
Obviously, it’s still Spring Training, and that’s not a good indicator of things to come once everyone kicks it into gear in April. In the same breath, the resilience thus far has been fun to watch.