Utterly shocked to find my call for the youth movement answered in the month leading up to the All-Star break, but this is how the Red Sox now respond to talent surging up from Triple A. They did the same last year, giving Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Rubby DeLaRosa and Xander Bogarts a shot at making the team. Workman and Bogarts made a difference down the stretch, justifying the faith of the parent club.
Now come the killer B’s: Bogarts (again), Bradley, Betts and Brock (Holt), bringing some bravado to the flagging Red Sox. With the exception of Bogarts, they are all risks. The club can afford them, because it have nothing else on the bench. I’m really hoping most of them prove themselves before Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks come along to take their place. They are, after all, the future of a team that reached its prime in 2013. Victorino is a winner, but a very fragile one, and Middlebrooks has almost used up his “Get Out of Jail Free” cards.
While they were at it, they decided to bring on Christian Vasquez and ditch A. J. Pierczinski, thinking this would at least be a defensive upgrade. Vasquez is a bigger risk because he also has to gain the confidence of a pitching staff used to veterans calling their games. So far he has looked up to the task, and how could he have a better mentor than David Ross?
Think of the future if Vasquez, Bogarts and Bradley fulfill heir potential: the Red Sox solid up the middle for another decade. Traditionally this has not been the strength of the team. Their catchers and shortstops have always been known for hitting more than fielding. Those positions have been a revolving door for a decade. A strong presence up the middle would transform this team.
The final “B” is Brock Holt. What a great name for a baseball player or maybe a quarterback or a decathalon champion! He may not be the second coming of Jacoby Ellsbury, but he fills the lead-off spot with flair. He looks like trouble at the plate and he is. He is patient and aggressive, shows some speed and can bunt. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher since coming up to stay, and those positions don’t seem out of reach. He brings what the Red Sox have so badly lacked in the first half of the season: confidence and energy.
And this is what we see in the newest Red Sox recruits: confidence and energy. Yes, Bogarts is looking a little shell-shocked lately, but no one doubts what he can do. John Farrell treats them all like they belong here, and soon most of them will know that. Maybe Victorino will send someone packing, but time is on the side of the Killer “B” ‘s (and “V”). Whatever happens to the Red Sox this year, the next generation has arrived.