The Red Sox aren’t hitting home runs by design
Here’s a stat that’ll make you feel something (good, bad, I really don’t know). On April 27th maybe like 3:20 p.m. EST, the Boston Red Sox had played in 20 games, which is like an eighth of their season. In that timeframe, they ranked dead last in home runs with just 11.
In their defense, the Red Sox did battle the flu to start the year–and some teams even had played more like 23 games. Plus the northeast ain’t ideal for April ballgames. But then you have a team like Brewers who has 40 home runs and their guy Eric Thames who had hit 11 home runs in that span. So yeah, that one dude had as many homers as the Red Sox. Uh. Yeah.
So what’s up? I’ll tell you if you hit the lights real quick.
Here’s the truth: maybe the Red Sox don’t have as much HR power as we (and by we I mean everyone but me) thought.
Hanley Ramirez was only a 30-home run guy twice in his big league career. He’s more like a 19 home run a year guy throughout his career. Jackie Bradley Jr. never showed the kind of power he did last year in years prior. Mookie Betts is a talented hitter, so is Xander Bogaerts and even Andrew Benintendi. But it’s tough to project how many homers those “pure hitters” will give you. After all, Mookie had 18 jacks in 2015, Bogaerts had 7, and Benintendi hasn’t done a full MLB season yet.
Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez never really hit well for an extended period of time at the big league level. Think Leon in 2015 and Vazqy (as Brian Johnson called him yesterday when I was interviewing him for something else) in 2014. They’re defensive-minded guys. They’ll help a team win games, but not by clubbing balls over the fence.
As long as Mitch Moreland keeps hitting doubles, you can’t complain there. At least he has 13 extra base hits. And then Pablo Sandoval and Dustin Pedroia are 10-15 home run a year kinds of guys. So yes, the team’s home run numbers are underwhelming right now, but they’re not really built to be a big homerun threat anyways…