Tomase: Three players who should be part of the solution for the Red Sox appeared first on NBC Sports Boston
Next year there will be a baseball team in Boston, at least that much we know.
What that will look like is anyone’s guess, but rather than doom again, let’s highlight three players we can’t wait to watch for a full season.
Whatever solution Red Sox management comes up with, these guys will have to be a part of it.
Is he a perfect player? No. But he’s absolutely a winner, and the Red Sox need as much of him as they can get.
Story is the perfect example of how some players can only be appreciated when you see them every day. His numbers — .221 average, .289 on-base percentage, 200 strikeout rate — don’t scream All Star.
But then you watch him. While it’s true that he swings and misses a lot, especially when he gets away with sliders, Story is always a threat to get out of the park, as his 15 homers in half a season attest. Once he gets on base, he makes a difference, not only stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts, but aggressively doing little things like going from first to third, making dirt reads and scoring from first on doubles.
The best part of Story’s game, however, is on defense, where his athleticism shines. After a brief battle with second base, Story turned off his clock, realized he had an extra second to make throws, and became a force. His range, instincts and accuracy are among the best in the game, and it’s no coincidence that since he broke his wrist after being hit by a Corey Kluber pitch on July 12, the Red Sox have gone just 13-22.
When Story comes to camp next spring, he’ll have a year in Boston under his belt, and that experience should mean he’ll make an even bigger impact in 2023.
Everything you need to know about Arroyo happened in his worst game of the season.
In early July, Arroyo missed a Joey Gallo fly ball to right field, an unnatural position for a career hitter. Arroyo took a dangerous foot shot, swinging his hands at a ball he couldn’t see. It landed 30 feet behind him and rolled toward the corner as the bases cleared.
Instead of hanging his head in shame, Arroyo mounted his horse. He ran back and fired a strike to Story, who cut down Gallo at the plate. Two runs scored, but the Red Sox escaped the embarrassment of a three-run inside-the-park homer. (They wouldn’t be so lucky a few weeks later, when Jarren Duran watched an inside-the-park grand slam against the Blue Jays hit center field.)
Should Arroyo ever have been in right field? No, but the Red Sox failed to sign a right-handed hitter to share the spot with Jackie Bradley, so he gamely gave it away. Arroyo is a hitter who tends to hit the ball hard and has made his value clear over the past month with the Red Sox dying for a spark.
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They will probably miss the playoffs, but it won’t be Arroyo’s fault. Since returning from a groin strain at the trade deadline, he’s hitting .377 with a .927 OPS, and it’s no fluke. Arroyo hits the ball as hard as anyone in the lineup, and although injuries have steadily slowed him down throughout his career, the Red Sox could do worse than a Story-Arroyo in center field if Xander Bogaerts is gone.
3. Brian Bello
The way we evaluate young pitchers is absurd. For every Clayton Kershaw who dominates at age 21, there are 10 Kevin Gausmans or Robbie Rays who need practically a decade in the major leagues before breaking through. Fronting a rotation takes time.
Patience is not a hallmark of baseball fans — especially Red Sox fans — so the “is this?” The response to Bello’s impressive debut should come as no surprise. We demand immediate greatness or move on to the next guy.
But the Red Sox clearly have something in Bello, a 23-year-old with electric stuff but also a lot to learn. His fastball has reached 100 mph and his sinker isn’t far behind. His changeup is moving, but he’s pushing 90 mph and needs more separation. His slider is tattooed.
Regardless, the ingredients are there to make an effective pitcher. In Bello’s last “start,” a massive relief effort behind opener Austin Davis against the Brewers, he produced his best results, striking out the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a pair of runs.
He is rehabbing a groin at Triple-A Worcester and will return to the big leagues soon. Don’t be shocked if sometime in the next three years he makes the jump, even if it’s not right away.