The Boston Red Sox need more speed.
One might find that sentence hard to comprehend considering the Red Sox have the most stolen bases in the AL with 95 thefts. However, when you look at this team a little closer you start to see that the majority of those bases are pretty much involving four players. Considering Boston is hoping to be playing in the postseason, a little more speed can be a very good thing for them.
The Red Sox have been stealing a lot of bases, but as previously mentioned that is mostly due to four players. Jacoby Ellsbury far and away has the most stolen bases out of anyone on the team with 44. Shane Victorino is next with 17 and Dustin Pedroia is third with 16. The fourth most stolen bases out of anyone on the Red Sox this season is a huge surprise.
David Ortiz is next with four. That’s right. Big Papi is the next in line. Now, Ortiz is a Red Sox icon and he is one of their most valuable players season after season. He could be the greatest designated hitter of all time. But you don’t think of speed, when it comes to Ortiz.
This after all is a player who had a pitcher as a pinch runner, Drake Britton, a week or so ago against the Houston Astros. Not necessarily because they knew Britton was extremely fast. John Farrell just figured he had to be faster than Ortiz. One should not have a pitcher and one of their more important relievers running the bases. That shows a lack of speed coming off the bench.
The Red Sox have a lot of depth and it is that depth that has helped them contend and stay in first place. A lot of that is redundant, however. Jonny Gomes is a very smart baserunner, but couldn’t be considered fast. Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, Ryan Lavarnway; none of those players can be thought of as speedy at all. Brock Holt might be the fastest out of all the reserves and he is profiled as a player that is not fast and has only ever stolen one base in his career.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox showed that speed can help win a pennant. If Dave Roberts doesn’t steal the base against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox go home. They need a player like that, someone you know who can steal a base in the late innings when it counts.
In 2009, Boston had the right idea when they called up Joey Gathright, an outfielder who can absolutely fly. He was even on the postseason roster. During the postseason, it is important to have a lot of different weapons off the bench. The Red Sox have a lot of offense in reserve, but not enough speed. They can always send down a pitcher and acquire that one player who can run a little bit. It could make a big difference.
Boston, feel the need… the need for speed.