Triston Casas had a busy year in 2021, bouncing between Double-A, the Team USA Olympic squad and Triple-A. “I was bouncing all over the place,” Casas said to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. “I did my best to take it one day at a time and I’m happy with the way I handled it. But hopefully I’ll be a little more settled this year.” All of that bouncing around did nothing to slow Casas down, as the Red Sox first base prospect hit .279/.394/.484 for a wRC+ of 141 in 86 games, between Double-A and Triple-A. That showing has him on the cusp of making his major league debut, though he doesn’t yet have a spot on the roster. That means he’ll have the extra challenge of having to earn that roster spot before getting called up, but also comes with the positive of Casas not being locked out and thus eligible to participate in Spring Training. “I absolutely appreciate what they’re doing,” Casas said of the MLBPA’s efforts in the lockout. “I know they’re working diligently to make sure baseball is a fair game. I don’t know all the information, but they’re making a sacrifice to help younger players.” As for what comes next for the 22-year-old, “My goal is to make the major league team.” The Sox currently project to have Bobby Dalbec at first base and J.D. Martinez in the DH slot most of the time. However, Martinez is a free agent after 2022, meaning that, even if Casas struggles to force his way into the lineup this year, his chances of doing so will be much greater one year from now.
Elsewhere in the East…
- Though Shawn Armstrong is a minor league free agent, the rules specifying which players are locked out have kept the right-hander on the open market and unable to sign even a minor league deal, according to The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. It’s a tough blow for the 31-year-old, especially since Armstrong said he heard from over 20 teams in November prior to the lockout, with the Rays (Armstrong’s former club) and roughly a dozen other teams offering minor league or split contracts. Armstrong opted to wait for a guaranteed offer, but now finds himself stuck waiting to determine the next step in his career. “I know, it’s going to be very, very quick when the lockout ends versus being able to talk and communicate and counteroffer and those types of things,” Armstrong said. “But it is what it is. Nothing I can do about it. Just got to stay ready.”
- Braves outfield prospect Michael Harris II had a solid year in 2021, playing 101 High-A games and hitting .294/.362/.436, wRC+ of 114. But he might just be scratching the surface of what he’s capable of, at least according to fellow Braves prospect Braden Shewmake. “I think (Harris) could help (the big club). I definitely do,” Shewmake tells Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When he gets his chance, I think he’s going to stick. I don’t think he’s going to be a guy that bounces back and forth.” Despite his promise, Harris is aware that he still has to make strides, telling Toscano that “There’s always somewhere to improve, so I don’t really focus on one specific area.” Harris doesn’t yet have a roster spot, meaning other outfielders like Drew Waters and Cristian Pache have a clearer path to playing time than he does. But unlike them, Harris has the advantage of not being locked out, and thus able to participate in team activities and access team facilities.
Casas was not likely to make the opening day roster regardless of how good a spring he had(has?). The pressure is more on Dalbec to keep his roster spot than for Casas to earn his.
Rsox = Dalbec has a lot more pressure than Devers did to keep his spot in 2019. Devers was the worst defender at 3B and hit .240 in a year when Boston won a ring yet despite his terrible performance his position was guaranteed.
Ironically, Dalbec struggled for only half a season unlike Devers 2018 struggles and then came on strong in the second half yet fans, the media and the front office treat him more like Chavis and Benny than Devers. I never understand why politics affect the careers of players but boy do they impact Red Sox players.
Dalbec’s second half showed he can make adjustments during the season, it showed he has power that is elite (top 5% of all players), he’s doing a good job adapting to a new position defensively and should become league average or better in his second season while 5 years after rising to the majors Devers is still over 20 points below league average on defense. Politics.
Casas seems to have Devers-like support not Dalbec, Benny and Chavis=like support and that bodes well for him. People are handing him Dalbec’s spot on sites like this one, in the media and even the Red Sox front office interviews. I would love it if he’s as good as he’s being promoted to be BUT I learned a big lesson from the Devers situation. He was labeled as significantly improving his defense and a Papi=like hitter. As it turns out, his defense has been bad since High Sxhool and he hits every other year whereas Papi hit every year.
Ideally, I hope Devers gets traded for a young super star Center Fielder who can hit lead off, Dalbec and Casas end up the 1B/DH combo and Boston’s trades for a strong defensive 3B who can hit for average and has a high OBP.
The best way to make the team better in preparation for Mayer and Yorke is to fix the places that are broken right now. As of today, they need a 3B, LF, CF and #5 SP. They also could use a closer if Whitlock isn’t the answer.
In the future, because Bloom won’t pay big bucks or for the Bloom supporters, Bloom isn’t allowed to pay big bucks, there will be no JD, Bogey, Devers, Eovaldi and eventually Sale. Thus the future will need to be young and inexpensive!!
Catcher – inexpensive tandem of good defensive catchers who handle the staff well and hit at least .250.
1B/DH – Dalbec and Casas
2B – Yorke
SS – Mayer
3B – TBD
LF – TBD
CF – TBD
RF – Verdugo until his control runs out
SP1 – Sale until he opts out or finishes his contract
P2 – Houck
SP3 – Pivetta
SP4 – Mata
SP5 – TBD
Closer – Whitlock or TBD
Stress Inning – Whitlock or TBD
Relievers – six young pitchers who can throw hard with good control
Bloom needs to fill in the holes if he hopes to fix the mistake he made when he and ownership dealt Mookie and Price. He also must do it using players costing less than $12MM per year. I don’t believe a sustainable winning team can happen until super stars exist on the team and that only happens if young guys like Houck, Casas, Dalbec, Mayer and Yorke graduate to the majors and become all-star level players.
That’s why I see the future as rather bleak. 2022 will be a partial season like 2020 so who knows what will happen but 2023 will be a purging by Bloom. He inherited 6 expensive players and Devers when he arrived in 2019 and by 2023 all six expensive contracts could be gone, Devers could be gone, the historically bad choices by ownership will have dropped off the books and Boston could have one of the youngest and least experienced teams in baseball. That does not bode well for the success of the team in 2023. How long will it take for Mayer and Yorke to graduate and become all-star level players? That will dictate the next time Boston will have a chance to win a Division or a Ring.
KD, Boston will always pay,. By getting under the taxes and by rebuilding the farm, Bloom has done more than we have a right to expect. The team went to the AL championship round when not many expected it. Wait until the new CBA arrives. Managing payroll requires a long term plan. As for Dalbec, we just don’t know. He had a hot two months but did not back it up in the playoffs. As for Devers, he’s a beast at the plate but a butcher at third and is in a make or break season. Otherwise, he will be the moving forward DH but will cost himself big bucks. No one is paying $30m a year for a DH.
3B Blaze Jordan
OF Jarren Duran
its dumb to me that guys who ended the year in the Majors cant sign in the Minors. if you’re afraid a guy like Correa’s going to try and sneak around your rules by signing a real lucrative MiLB deal than you inform him he risks expulsion from the union if he does so. Shawn Armstrong and Carlos Correa, while both union members, are not in the same spot as players.
DarkSide – that is not how it works. It has nothing to do with where a player played last. It is whether they are on the 40-man roster and still under team control or not. Players with expiring contracts can sign MLB contracts which require a 40-man spot or minor league contracts. Players signing minor league contracts are not guaranteed MLB minimum and other MLB negotiated perks.
That being said last year Bloom signed 2 players to $800,000 minor league “split” contracts, so that when these players were sent from MLB to the minors they would clear waivers because other teams did not want to pay the higher contracted salary. One was Munoz
Dalbec is the 1 who needed ST. That wild swing of his needs trimming down some, or the team needs someone who thinks he’s actually worth something decent in a trade to offer a decent prospect in return and Boston find a cheapo vet to play the position for half a season until Casas gets called up.
He’s going to hit 50hr this year
Johnsilver – After watching Dalbec make in-season adjustments and significantly improving during his rookie year why are you so down on him? His Isolated Power is off the charts and if he can bring his OBP to an acceptable level he makes for a great 1B for the next decade. Also, if Devers can be dealt to avoid spending big bucks, Boston could maintain a Dalbec/Casas combo at 1B and DH for the next decade. That’s a middle of the line-up dream lefty/righty combo..
The problem isn’t Dalbec who has shown earlier than Devers that he can adjust to what pitchers are doing to get him out, the problem is Devers. You can’t let him play the field, he’s going to ask for too much money within a year and his offense has been good in 2017, 2019 and 2021. For a DH to be effective he needs to be more consistent especially if he’s going to ask for big bucks.
Why so down on Dalbec after just 159 games?
Why so down on devers? Mans a rake. Every time he swings you never know what he’s capable of, very few players have that flare and ability. Sure the man can’t field but honestly f it the guys a rake and still has youth. Not saying his fielding will improve, but that the guys a core player. Trading mookie gave them time to keep deciding on that player if it comes, and I’d rather throw 400 mil at him than I would mookie albeit nobody is worth that salary.
I was hoping that Dalbec would play some winter ball to work on his glove. He has a 112 OPS+ for his career. At minimum wage, I’m good with that. He also had a 45/15 K/W in Aug/Sept. With his power, especially the opposite way, I can live with a 3/1 K/W.
Exactly, downey! Devers will only continue to improve upon his near superstar bat. He just turned 25 ffs! A male’s brain isn’t fully developed until 25. Devers IS the player you build a team around for the next ten years. If Bloom let’s him go I’ll be done as a 50 yr die hard Sox fan.
downeysoft42 – Flare for the dramatic both good and bad, absolutely. Do his stats suggest he makes contact on those wild swings? Sometimes. The data says every other year. Not down on him just pointing out facts.
Your Mookie statement is ridiculous. Nobody should prefer a guy who can’t field a lick and hits every other year to a guy with offensive stats far superior for a longer time AND is a gold glove fielder who also steals bases.
Devers is one of the most over-rated players in baseball so that should be a perfect indicator for trading him but Bloom isn’t that smart to do the right thing after doing the wrong thing for 2 1/2 years.
Again, not down on Devers just stating the facts.
vtbaseball = Betts is the generational player not Devers. Devers is guy who wants to replicate Papi but doesn’t have the clutch gene and is too emotionally immature to ever be a great hitter. He’ll have plenty of moments of greatness and he’ll have huge slumps just like his first 5 years. He’s not going to suddenly change his spots.
In five years lets count the MVPs for Mookie versus Devers. Mookie is a once in a blue moon super star like Brady who comes from a later round pick and simply develops far more than his competition. We’ll be able to watch him in LA for the next decade!.
I understand the argument defensively against Devers he just hasn’t turned that corner defensively. The argument of Dalbec and Devers offensively is a poor one. Devers was only 21 when he had his down year and yes it matters Dalbec was still in College that that age comparing Devers and Dalbec offensively is a poor argument there really is no comparison. I really like Dalbec and if he can find a way to keep his K rate under control he has a chance to be excellent. Maybe he can take over defensively for Devers at third can’t be any worse. The problem Dalbec has is Casas, Casas is the long term first baseman his upside is huge and he doesn’t have near the downside as Dalbec he has a much better eye and controls the strike zone much better. Casas is also a much better defender at first barring a significant injury I think Boston has found there long term solution at first and his name is Casas.
Bruin1012 – We aren’t going to agree on this one. Age is irrelevant when you start comparing careers except for how many years they might play ball. The player has 6 years of control starting with his promotion regardless of age so when you stack the first 159 games against each other, Dalbec wins AND he fielded FAR FAR better.
Both players get 6 years and hopefully Dalbec will make more of his first 6 years than Devers. Devers had an excellent premiere, a bad second year, a great third year, a bad short season and an excellent 2021 season. Dalbec had an excellent premiere, a better second year than Devers and now he needs to follow=up on his faster start. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be excited to see that happen but I am. His type of power is a throw back to guys like McGwire. As long as people judge him on his OBP not his Ks which are irrelevant if his OBP is good then I will be happy. Too many guys don’t get a fair shake in Boston.
Devers had 6 years to prove his greatness and all he’s really proven is that he can’t field and played 5 seasons too long at 3B. He’s also proven his upside as a hitter is excellent and his downside is below average. 2 excellent full seasons, 1 excellent month in 2017, a miserable 2018 when he had his one chance to prove he’s clutch and failed, and a shortened season where his first 30 games were nearly as bad as Benintendi’s!!
The jury is out on Devers until he puts together 2 good seasons offensively. At this point, just moving him off 3B will add maybe as many as 10 wins and significantly lower the team ERA and WHIP.
I think it’s great you’ve fallen in love with Casas.but if a team actually has two guys that can be all-star level players that play 1B it’s logical to move one to DH or alternate. That’s why an expensive Devers who can’t field makes no sense especially after giving away a golden glove, lead=off hitter with both power and speed. Devers is at least two tiers below Mookie from a total package perspective. Dalbec and Casas give you cheap corners or cheap 1B/DH for 6 years!!
Yes KD we are going disagree about the offensive differences between a guy who had a bad year in the big leagues as a 21 year old kid and a guy that had a down year as a 26 year old.
The real stat I disagree with is the 2020 season yes Denver’s started very slowly but by the last month he was raking again. I don’t think it’s fair to say he has an evert other season good bad and expect that moving forward. Devers started slowly in very shortened season. My opinion is I have discounted that year for everyone. Devers has shown after that he is very good, near elite, hitter. Can he take the next step and improve further from his near elite offensive status to the elite status I have my doubts but he is very good offensive player and I am certain if there was a full 2020 season it would of looked very similar to 2019 and 2021 based on how he was mashing when the season ended. I am convinced that he just had a cold start in the 2020 season in a season that was such a short season nothing more then that. He will hit again in 2022 I am sure of that.
The reality is the jury is still out on Dalbec. His K percentage matters because you simply can’t strike out 35% of the time and be real effective getting on base the math simply doesn’t work. Those are facts and have been for 100 years in baseball. He has to get his K percentage down. Sure if Dalbec can hit with a .400 Babip consistently or get a 20 percent walk rate then yes he strike out 35% of the time and still be effective but we both know that’s completely unrealistic. He has to strikeout less period end of story with his power if he can get down to even 28% it plays but he needs to get below 30% to work. I like Dalbec and hope he can make the necessary adjustments to get below a 30%k rate but that is a big if at this time. Devers has never had the k issues that Dalbec had and even his 2018 an argument could be made he was unlucky that year with a babip almost 30 points lower then his second worst year. I just think there is no reason to think thatDalbec can become the offensive force that Devers has become I hope he proves me wrong.
Bruin1012 – It’s unfair to select which seasons get thrown out so your argument is stronger. Either you count them all or you just compare a specific year. Devers is a streak hitter who goes in long hot and cold streaks. In 2018 it was an entire year of cold with a minimal hot streak. In 2019 it was entire year of hot with a minimal cold streak. In 2020 it was 40 of 60 game of cold streak with a very small hot streak. In 2021 it was an entire year of hot with a minimal cold streak. To me, that’s incredibly inconsistent but overall in total his career so far is above average but not elite. Coinciding with Devers career a guy like JD has been incredibly more consistent and so has Bogaerts. Yes even though nobody likes me referencing him even Mookie has been far more consistent than Devers despite finally having an off season in 2021. His off season was still better than most players best years.
Now here are some facts on how OBP is all that matters when you look at a POWER HITTER like Dalbec. High strike outs coupled with low ground outs and fly outs means a high OBP. If a player’s OBP is .350 to .400 it makes absolutely no difference if he is striking out, grounding out or flaying out because he’s adding huge value.
In 2021 here are the players with the highest OBPs yet struck out over 130 times.
.Harper .429 OBP and 134 Ks
India .376 OBP and 141 Ks
Moncada .375 OBP and 157 Ks
Judge .373 OBP and 158 Ks
Ohtani .372 OBP and 189 Ks (MVP)
Riley .367 OBP and 168 Ks
Devers .352 OBP and 153 Ks
Dalbec’s second half – .344 OBP and 61 Ks
These facts suggest to me that Dalbec’s strikeouts are grossly over=exaggerated due to his slow start in his first half of his first full season. After making adjustments he was awesome. If he can put up a .350 OBP with 3 dozen home runs I don’t care if he Ks 150 times or even 175 times.
During his 23 game debut in 2020 (half season) his numbers were
.359 OBP and 36 Ks
Devers in 2020 played in 57 games with an OBP of .310 and 67 Ks.
The data is what I base opinions on and to me this data shows an outstanding upside for Dalbec despite the negativity of guys like you and so many others that are either Casas supporters or simply taking the front office opinion which once again appears to be skewed.
If you want to use the contrived video game stats like BABIP to prove someone is LUCKY you’ll have to get into a hell of a lot more detail so I can prove to you how screwed up BABIP stats are. Let’s stick with real numbers not averages of averages that don’t apply to the players that get assigned their arbitrary values.
Luck is always present in every game and predicting luck or even trying to normalize it is foolish since it’s not predictable. There is nothing in baseball that suggests a player with a BABIP that suggests he was lucky will turn it around the next year or any specific year in the future and have luck on his side. The game is played in the moment and is not predictable like the modern metrics suggest.
You are proving my point by using the guys you have used to compare Dalbec. I have acknowledged that if Dalbec can get his K percentage down to below 30% and especially if he get below 25% then he has a chance to be Devers equal offensively. There is simply no way that he can be as effective as Devers offensively with a 35% K percentage. The only guy that is even effective with that super high K percentage that I can even think of is Gallo. Gallo also has an elite walk percentage and still he is not the equal of Devers on offense. let me be clear Gallo is an outlier and lets ask the Yankee fans if they would rather have Devers or Gallo offensively. My point is K percentage is important especially when it gets up over 30% its just hard to be really effective when you are striking out 1/3 at bats.
Babip is a whole another story while agree with you in a nutshell about Babip it does do a couple of things pretty well. If you have an established player and he had an historically low year in his babip it is an excellent indicator of a player that is going to have a rebound year. There is another time that I think that Babip is also a very solid indicator and that is when you have a player that has a super high babip for an entire season that is also a very good indicator of a regression to the mean. I do agree with you that for the most part but I find it to be a pretty reliable indicator in the situations above.
I will say that I am hopeful for Dalbec and I will be watching closely to see if he can get his K rate down and his BB walk rate up as well as keeping his Power numbers he will be a very important player for the Red Sox. I really hope you are right that he does turn the corner but he cant do it with his overall peripherals.
Bruin1012 – Your rule of thumb about K rate for me is such a generalization that exclusions to your rule should happen all the time.
You are looking ONLY at 2021 for Devers and that was arguably his 2nd best year of 5. I’ve argued all along that until he puts up back to back years Devers can’t be viewed as you are viewing him. I want consistency from star players. Inconsistency takes Devers down a notch or two, especially when you consider he can’t field and hurts the team when he does.
Dalbec will be just fine as a fielder, He’s had his first full season and he struggled in the first half and did well enough in the second half that if he had not struggled in the first half he would have won ROY. Now he’s played 3 half seasons and has 2 out of 3 with excellent numbers for a player breaking into the majors yet too many people dismiss him like you do because of Ks. For me, Ks are irrelevant if his other key factors are good. Just like low Ks doesn’t make for a better player.
Measuring sticks should be these stats:
1 – Batting average to evaluate how well he puts the ball in play
2 – OBP to evaluate how well he understands the strike zone
3 – Isolated Power to see how effective he is at hitting for power
4 – Stolen Bases to determine if he is a threat to steal
5 – Average with Runners in Scoring Position to determine clutch factor
6 – Defensive fielding percentage
7 – OPS+ to get a very rough guess at how he compares to others
So far, Dalbec has outperformed Devers through his initial 159 games. I am not predicting he’ll be a better player I am arguing that he should be given a fair chance to own 1B for Boston just like Devers got to own 3B despite not fielding adequately. Devers played when he shouldn’t have and Chavis got bumped without getting a fair chance to prove himself and based on the way the front office is treating Dalbec it looks like he’s heading down the Chavis trail rather than the Devers trail and to me that is completely unfair.
If a player proves he can’t do something like Devers fielding an action should be taken and it wasn’t. When Chavis joined the team as a 3B he should have displaced the guy under performing at 3B but he didn’t get a fair chance. Now Dalbec is out performing Devers from a hitting viewpoint AND way out performing him from a defensive viewpoint and I have no confidence Cora, Bloom or ownership will step up and give him a fair chance to be great just like they did for Devers but not for Chavis..
We see a crappy .250 hitter from LAD that played as a child with Cora who gets opportunities far beyond his skills and we see an generational power guy struggling to get playing time at 1B because he didn’t have the needed connection to get the favoritism that Kiki enjoys.
I just want the prejudice to go away so all players have an equal chance to prove their worth. That’s all.
I don’t anyone is necessarily “down” on Dalbec but the fact that his offensive turnaround coincided with the arrival of Kyle Schwarber says a little bit. I like Dalbec and believe the Sox can have both Dalbec and Casas in the lineup long term. J.D. is a free agent next winter and odds are one of them could learn to play a corner OF spot so there are ways to make it work
Rsox – Seriously? Schwarber happened to show up so the coincidence overrules Dalbec making adjustments? WOW That’s not fair to Dalbec. Whether he was motivated more or simply figured it out he should be applauded yet so many inexperienced fans have already replaced him with Casas an unproven AAA player.
Let me ask you. Did someone show up in 2019 to make Devers offense better since he stunk in 2018? No he turned the corner like Dalbec did. Any player that turns the corner deserves the credit for the accomplishment. Devers spent the entire off season making adjustments. That’s why Dalbec’s “in-season” adjustments are even more impressive.
Also, the outfield idea isn’t a good one in my opinion because you have two 6’4″ 250 lb ideal corner infielders/DHs that would probably butcher the outfield like Schwarber does.
I still say a decade of TBD at 3B, Mayer, Yorke and Dalbec/Casas DH/1B would make the Boston offense very strong. Then, if they can find outfielders. who can field, hit and one is a lead off man they will be set offensively.
Michael Harris scary good. Maybe Indians trade for him?
If you want to lose Bieber, then yes Cleveland can have Harris..lol
In other words, it ain’t happening!! This young kid is a future stud, but if he ain’t wearing an Atlanta A on his hat for his ML debut, it’ll really be a shame!!
Thats ESPECIALLY the case if he has to get traded for someone like Olsen, solely because Liberty Media didn’t okay resigning Freeman for 6 years or whatever money he wants!!!
richardc- Liberty doesn’t set payroll, never have -never will. Those choices are made by McGuirk and Schiller in the Braves FO. Not too mention AA has a hand in the decision as well. So Freddie getting his 6th yr from the Braves is something that Liberty Media has no hand in.
It’s Michael Harris’s 21st bday today. Kids a stud. Switch hitting speed demon
Stupid question, so based on the comments on Waters and Paches, that means players on the 40 man are locked out? Not just the 26 man?
That’s correct- guys who are on the 40 man roster are locked out. Some of the guys in the minors who are on the 40 can’t be in ST complexes either.
I’m rooting for Pache. Extremely talented kid whom I fear is a bit of a headcase in the wrong way. Absolutely lost out there