In an interesting look inside the Red Sox front office, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports on the team’s analytical upgrade efforts. While the organization has long been associated with number-crunching and information hoarding, it has only recently ramped up its full-time staff to launch a new database effort and keep pace with other clubs. It’s an interesting look at the process behind and purposes of the team’s next steps in analytics.
Here’s more from Boston and the rest of the AL East:
- In a look at Red Sox star Mookie Betts, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe delves into the role of off-field earning opportunities in determining the contractual path of Betts and other young stars. “[Getting endorsements] kind of eliminates things I’ve wondered as far as contracts go and the business part of the game,” says Betts. “[But] everything I can ever desire is going to start from me taking care of business on the field.” Whether that precludes a long-term deal — or, at least, drives up the potential price — remains to be seen.
- Sandy Leon seems on track to open the season with the lion’s share of the time behind the dish for the Red Sox, skipper John Farrell told reporters including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). But the manager made clear that he doesn’t intend to rely too heavily on any one man at the catching position, suggesting it’ll be a fairly evenly shared platoon situation between Leon and Christian Vasquez — at least to start the season.
- Star Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson took the field in Grapefruit League action for the first time yesterday, as MLB.com’s Paul Hagen writes. All indications were that his calf issue didn’t hold him back, so it seems that Toronto can still look forward to Donaldson’s presence on the Opening Day roster.
- Rays righty Brad Boxberger isn’t going to be ready for Opening Day, but does hope to be contributing in the majors during the month of April, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. His lat issue will still require at least a week-long layoff before he beings a new throwing program.
- The career of former top Rays prospect Tim Beckham has continued its roller-coaster path, Topkin writes. After a rough end to 2016, Beckham now seems ascendant yet again, with a strong showing in spring and unexpected opportunity at shortstop with Matt Duffy still on ice. Beckham is drawing rave reviews from manager Kevin Cash and veteran players for his commitment and performance, perhaps suggesting there’s still some hope the 27-year-old can turn the corner at the game’s highest level.