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Triston Casas’ Confidence Is Back

The Boston Red Sox are all in on Triston Casas and they honestly should be. After batting .197 in his first 95 plate appearances as a Major Leaguer in 2022, the 2018 first-round pick started the 2023 season batting .133.

Instead of showing rash impatience, manager Alex Cora decided to sit the 23-year-old for consecutive games at the end of April to allow him to see the game from a different perspective. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t,” Cora said at the time.

This decision was an important one. Some managers and GMs may panic and send their young stud back to the minors when they are struggling mightily, but taking a more measured approach allows rookies to control the chaos, and that’s exactly what Cora did.

Triston Casas’ Confidence is Back

The Decision Was the Right One

As evidenced by Casas’ recent play over the last two months, the decision paid off. The young first baseman is not necessarily blowing peoples’ minds with his stats, but his steady improvement is becoming more and more apparent by the day.

It feels like no coincidence that, ever since Cora made that decision to sit Casas, the rookie has regained his patience at the plate. According to Fangraphs, Casas ranks sixth in walk rate amongst qualified first baseman since May 2nd (93rd percentile for the entire season), better than some of the more seasoned hitters like Pete Alonso and Yandy Diaz. That’s an encouraging sign for a young hitter, especially since many batters have a hard time finding that type of discipline at such an early age.

His increased patience at the plate has translated into better at-bats and a much better average (.268 during that span), and because of these positive trends, Casas is seeing the ball better and has also gained enough confidence to take some hefty swings at the plate recently, even despite still ranking in the bottom-10 in strikeout rate among first baseman (his whiff rate ranks in the 34th percentile).

During the past two months, Casas’ barrel percentage has ballooned to 17.3 % (89th percentile overall), which is considered elite by MLB standards, and ranks second in his position. Barrel percentage represents the percentage of batted balls that have a combination of exit velocity and launch angle that typically results in extra-base hits.

Casas also ranks sixth at his position in hard hit percentage since May 2, beating out batting maestros like Freddie Freeman and Christian Walker in the process. In other words, these two stats indicate that when Casas truly connects, he’s hitting the crap out of the ball.

How Does Casas’ Success Factor Into the Current Status of the Team?

At the time of writing, the Red Sox are 40-40 and rank 15th in offensive WAR. By many accounts, their middling status halfway through the season is indicative of a team that still has this off-kilter vision.

It’s easy to see the success of Triston Casas, Jarren Duran, and Brayan Bello as a reason for Boston to focus solely on the future, but the signings of Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, James Paxton, and Adam Duvall represent a willingness to also win-now. It’s a weird situation if you ask me; one that can be attributed to Cora and GM Chaim Bloom’s reported competing interests.

Despite what appears to be an awkward transition period for the Red Sox, it seems like one of their top prospects is finding his stride.

While his surface-level stats aren’t eye-popping, Casas is starting to slow the game down to his desired pace while simultaneously building more confidence with each at-bat (he has a .319 average when swinging at the first pitch of the at-bat).

His advanced stats show a guy who’s finally putting his burly 6’5″ 244 lbs. frame to use, and the Sox hope his recent success continues.

Main photo credits:

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Players mentioned:

Triston Casas, Pete Alonso, Yandy Diaz, Freddie Freeman, Christian Walker, Jarren Duran, Brayan Bello, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, James Paxton, Adam Duvall


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