Another week is in the books, and the Boston Red Sox are still atop the American League East and possess the best record in baseball. During the week starting on May 3, the Sox finished with a record of 5-1. It’s been said that a sign of a good team is them beating up on inferior opposition. Against lesser opponents in the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles, positive results were expected this week. It was the perfect week for those whose stock was low to make an impression and end up on the rise list. Let’s see who took full advantage and who still hasn’t quite gotten it all together just yet.
Red Sox Risers
Hunter Renfroe- Oh what a difference a week makes. Renfroe found himself on the downside of last weeks’ list. It hasn’t been a pretty season at the dish for the 29-year old but this week has provided Red Sox Nation with some hope. In May he has a .914 OPS. In just this week he’s raised his batting average 30 points (.191 to .221). He even belted the team’s longest home run this season against the Orioles (450 feet), to boot.
It should also be acknowledged that despite Renfroe’s slow offensive start, he has been the team’s best defender so far this season. His 2.5 UZR leads the team and is good for fifth in all of Major League Baseball. If we go even further into the numbers, his UZR/150 is second in MLB to only Byron Buxton, at 22.1. With gold-glove-caliber defense, Renfroe’s bat is the key to unlocking his full potential. Let’s hope this week isn’t just a whisper in the wind.
Jarren Duran (AAA Worcester)- If you didn’t know, the Minor League season kicked off this week. As one of the most hyped prospects within the organization, Duran is already turning heads. In his first five games, he’s batted .300/.364/.450. He also showcased some pretty impressive power when he launched his first AAA homer.
Jarren Duran TANK pic.twitter.com/KgykZD3JgG
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) May 9, 2021
With the noted struggles of Franchy Cordero, there may be an opportunity for Duran to sneak up to the big leagues later in the year. Most scouts expect him to be ready to go in 2022 but the organization’s hand may be forced due to the lack of offensive production from the corner outfield.
Still Rising: J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts
Austin Brice- It’s been rough this week for the big right-hander. May 4 against the Tigers he gave up four runs on three hits in just 1/3 inning. That’s good for an ERA of 108.00. In his next appearance, there was an improvement (if that’s what you want to call it). Against the Orioles, he gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings of work. That’s good for a 10.80 ERA–much better than his previous outing. His slider, in particular, was hit pretty hard. Brice garnered -2.2 runs above average while using it.
Christian Arroyo– This doesn’t have as much to do with his performance, but more about the fact that he was recently placed on the 10-day IL with a left-hand contusion after being hit on the hand. In a small sample size this week he went 0-7. With him being the primary leadoff man, his absence has the Sox experimenting–trying to figure out who can pick up the slack. They’ve already used Michael Chavis and Marwin Gonzalez. This hiatus could leave a chance for someone like Chavis to make a great impression and threaten Arroyo’s consistent playing time. Chavis has already made an impact in his short time up.
Tanner Houck (AAA Worcester)- Houck was just shut down by the organization to rest a sore elbow. Alex Cora insisted that they weren’t “overly concerned” about the injury, but whenever you hear about a pitcher with an elbow problem, you hold your breath. When looking at Houck’s numbers during his first AAA start, it was apparent that something was wrong. In three innings he gave up three runs on eight hits. Hopefully, this isn’t a persistent injury and Houck can get back into the rotation. Houck’s presence is important to the big league club. He serves as an emergency starter on top of the fact he’s the sixth-ranked prospect for the Red Sox.
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