2008 Red Sox Mid-Season Grades

C Jason Varitek – Varitek has had a tough season this year, particularly over the last month and a half. He has a .220 average, has hit 7 home runs, and has driven in 27 runs. His OBP (On Base Percentage) is barely above .300 at .303 and his OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging) is a miserable .664. ‘Tek has made only 2 errors this year, but has thrown out only 18.6% of runners this year. After hitting only .122 in June, Varitek has had a couple of hits in the last couple games and is hopefully getting back on track after a brutal first half of the year.
Versus Expectations: C, Versus Players: D

1B Kevin Youkilis – Youkilis has had another great year, boasting a .308 average with 13 homers and 53 RBI. He has a .375 OBP, a .908 OPS, and is second on the Red Sox with 93 hits. Youk set the MLB record for most consecutive games at first base without making an error, beginning last year and ending this year when he made his first and only error of the season. Youkilis could easily be the starting first baseman for the AL All Star team.
Versus Expectations: A-, Versus Players: A-

2B Dustin Pedroia – Pedroia’s second year has been even better than his rookie season. The Sox second baseman struggled at the beginning of last year, but that was not the case this year. He leads the Sox with a .314 batting average and has also hit 9 homers and driven in 39 runs. He has a team-leading 114 hits and 60 runs. He has even stolen 9 bases without being caught and has made just five errors this year. A candidate to start at second base for the AL All Star team, Pedroia has had a fantastic season.
Versus Expectations: A-, Versus Players: A-

SS Julio Lug0 – Lugo has had a bad year, though not nearly as awful as last year. He has a .263 average, but has only hit one home run and has only 19 RBI. His .352 OBP isn’t terrible, but his .329 slugging percentage is miserable.  50 of Lugo’s 64 hits have been singles and he has stolen only 11 bases after getting those singles. The big problem for Lugo has been defensively where he has committed a team-leading 16 errors and is being replaced late in games by Alex Cora for defensive reasons.
Verus Expectations: B-, Versus Players: C

3B Mike Lowell – It is a contract year for Lowell and he is playing like it. His average is just a point under .300 at .299 and Lowell has hit 13 home runs while also accumulating 53 RBI. He is fourth on the Sox with an .882 OPS and has made only 5 errors this year. Lowell is also a candidate to make the All Star game, though A-Rod has the starting position locked up.
Versus Expectations: B+, Versus Players: B+

LF Manny Ramirez – Manny has had a mediocre year this season. He has only a .279 batting average, after starting July 2 for 15. Ramirez has hit 16 homers, has driven in 53 runs, and is second on the team with a .377 OBP. Those are all good stats, but for a superstar like Manny, they are sub-par. He has made just one error this year and even stole a base. Manny will almost certainly start for the American League in the 2008 All Star game and has had a good year, but I expect even more from Manny.
Versus Expectations: B, Versus Players: A-

CF Jacoby Ellsbury – Ellsbury has had a so-so rookie season, hitting well for times and struggling at other times. He has batted .272 with 5 homers and 26 RBI this year, but has stolen a league leading 35 bases. His .346 OBP is not very good, especially for a leadoff hitter, but Ellsbury is still a rookie and has time to improve as the year continues. He has not committed an error this year and even has 2 assists.
Versus Expectations: B, Versus Players: B+

RF J.D. Drew – After a tough first year in Boston, Drew has had a fantastic season this year. He is tied for the lead on the Sox with  16 home runs and has 51 RBI. He is batting a point above .300 at  .301, but most importantly, Drew leads the team with a .411 OBP, the only player above .400. He also leads the Sox with a .572 slugging percent and a .982 OPS. Drew has made just 2 errors in right field this year and should definitely be on the AL All Star team, though it looks like he will not be a starter.
Versus Expectations: A, Versus Players: A-

SP Josh Beckett – Beckett has had a rollar-coaster year which so far has led to a good performance overall, no where near his incredible season last year though. His 3.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP are both excellent, but Beckett has given up 12 home runs in his 16 starts. His 105 strikeouts  in 107 innings is extremely good. His 8-5 record is mediocre, but that is just because he has not gotten great run support from his team.
Versus Expectations: B+, Versus Players: B+

SP Daisuke Matsuzaka – Dice K has also had an up-and-down year, but like Beckett, it has turned out to be a good performance overall. He started the year phenomenally, but after going to the DL, he has not come back quite as strong. Either way, his ERA is still just 3.12 and he still possess a 9-1 record. He has walked a ton of guys (49 in 75 innings), which leads to his high WHIP (1.39). As he continues to work his way back from the DL, Dice K should return to the form he was at earlier this year.
Versus Expectations: A-, Versus Players: B+

SP Tim Wakefield –  Wakefield isn’t an overpowering pitcher, but he has continued to be a consistent pitcher the entire year. He has a 3.72 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Though he is under .500 with a 5-6 record, that is also because of run support. He has also walked a lot of guys with 45 walks in 109 innings, but even so, he has been solid the entire year.
Versus Expectations: A-, Versus Players: B+

SP Jon Lester – Lester has been the ace of the staff of the year with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He has just an 8-5 record, but is deserving of better. His no-hitter is the highlight of the year for the Sox and he has been the stopper when the Sox are in a slide. He has walked a lot of batters (41 walks in 117 2/3 innings), but has worked out of some james.
Versus Expectations: A, Versus Players: A-


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