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The Red Sox find their own shortstop, trading Adalberto Mondesi

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Peter Aiken, USA Today Sports

The Red Sox spent most of their offseason with a big hole in their middle of the field. With Xander Bogaerts Departure in free agencyBoston didn’t have a real junior player on the roster. While Enrique Hernandez And Christian Arroyo They each made a handful of starts in Bogaerts’ six days off, no true shortstop limit and both are necessary to run the other quarterback positions, as the team still lacks depth. Yesterday, the Red Sox filled that hole at least partially, trading in the left reliever Josh Taylor For the royal family of the switch hitting player Adalberto Mondisi And a player to be named later.

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A healthy Mondesi is one of the most exciting baseball players to watch. Most fans probably know him because of his incredible speed, which he shows in all aspects of his game. Let’s start with the most obvious of them: basic jogging. Mondesi has multiple seasons under his belt with an average sprint speed of over 30 feet per second, making him one of the most electric sprinters in the game. Since his debut in 2016, 44% of his competitive runs have been designated as bolts, a mark bettered by only four others during that period. Of course, Mondesi has also used his speed to steal bases, and his combination of aggressiveness and efficiency has allowed him to put up ridiculous stolen base numbers despite not getting enough appearances in a full season:

Stolen Base Leaders Panel Appearance, 2018-22

Source: Baseball Reference

Accurate. 1000 Pa

Over the past five seasons, Mondesi has been fourth in total steals, and when you factor in the fact that he’s played in fewer games than the rest of the pack, he blows everyone else out of the water. And he did this despite having far fewer chances of being robbed even when he was playing. See, Mondesi swings at everything, not at Vladimir Guerrero The way he can hit one song against a layer in the dirt. Mondesi chases about 40% of the pitches off the plate, comes out empty on more than a third of his swings, and walks only 4.4% of the time. His .289 OBP ranks near the bottom of the leaderboards, and the only other player with similar stolen base numbers with equal levels of messing around on base, Hamilton capitalized on 58 rushing appearances to boost his steal totals; Mondisi only has three. In 2019, he played only 102 games, but stole 43 bases despite an OBP of just . 291, including a dozen grabs of third place, five times more than the first place finisher.

While Mondesi has similar stolen base numbers to other speedsters like Smith and Berti, the shape of his offensive performance is very different. Most hitters who rely on speed for success like to throw the ball into the ground and let their legs carry it down the line – both Smith and Bertie hit twice as many ground balls as fly balls. The Mondesi, on the other hand, has a more modern look to a batted ball, hitting ground balls and fly balls in equal proportions while posting an above-average draw. Sometimes that works well, like in 2018 when he hit .498 and played at 5.2 WAR per 600 PA. But it often struggles with barrel accuracy, as evidenced by its underpowered trigger and pop rates. And like most hitters with approach issues, his offensive performance can quickly deteriorate when balls stop falling for strikes. With a strike rate so high, Mondesi often doesn’t give himself a chance to use his speed and baseline skills, instead making a slow walk to the dugout. This is why, despite superhuman strength and elite speed, his wRC+ career is sitting at a pedestrian 79.

Mondisi’s blistering pace also makes him an outstanding defender around the field. His limitless range combined with strong hands and action has allowed him to not only reach more other players than most, but also turn those plays into ends. Statcast’s defensive metrics consider him to be a stellar, averaging +12 RAA per 1,500 innings pitched, functionally contributing a complete win every season with just his glove. He was also above average in limited runs at both second and third base, which allows him to serve in a utility role if the Red Sox find other options at shortstop. Mondesi’s presence provides a huge boost to Boston’s defense as a whole, as he replaces Bogaerts, who was worth -26 RAA and -50 DRS during his time there. Combined with the left side partner Rafael Devers (-11 RAA, -44 DRS), produced Red Sox defense Fifth largest difference between actual and projected batting average on ground balls in the majors during the Statcast era. And with Devers stuck in the foreseeable futureMondesi’s fine glove work will anchor his left side, at least for the time being.

But while Mondese is a serviceable player due to his short-game basic and defensive skills, he also has a sizable injury history that has cost him much of the past half-decade. He missed half of 2018 due to a shoulder collision, then was sidelined for two months in the 19th due to shoulder and groin issues. His only full season occurred during the short 2020 campaign, but he has appeared in only 50 games since then. He struggled with oblique and hamstring injuries in 2021 and saw his 22nd season just weeks after his start with a torn ACL. In fact, he is still recovering from that injury, and Unconfirmed availability for opening day. It would be foolish for the Red Sox to make him more than 150 starts, due to the risk of injury and the lackluster quality of his bat. In the absence of other additions, Hern├índez appears to be the best bet to take over at shortstop if Mondesi is out, especially with the addition of Adam DuvallAnd One of the good projects in the field of the center Despite playing in the corner for most of his career. And while Trevor’s story Later in the season, elbow injuries may prevent him from returning to shortstop, as evidenced by his eighth-centennial arm strength and significant improvements in the OAA after moving from shortstop to second base.

Josh Taylor headed to Kansas City for Mondisi. Like Mondesi, Taylor missed almost all of 2022, appearing only in minor league rehab games before he was shut down for the season with a back problem. When healthy, Taylor sets the exact “95 and slider” relief archetype, throwing fastballs and sliders about half the time, with heaters averaging 94.6 mph. Like many other middle relievers, Taylor has an excellent career strikeout rate (29.4%) but is also prone to brutality at times, walking 10% of batters. In nearly 100 career innings, he has 79 ERA- and 75 FIP-, which puts him above average when available.

this trade, Along with the deal that sent Michael A. Taylor To Minnesota in return for a left deflection Evan Sisk and a flamethrower Stephen Cruzcomplements the depth of regression of the farm system that has not achieved the desired development results recently. The Royals system has been a wicked lot For her struggles getting several big-name prospects to be major league starters. As for relievers, only two of the eight guns expected to make this season have been drafted or signed by Kansas City; The remainder was acquired via free agency or trade. Perhaps the Royals are hoping for strong league results from young pitchers who have already had much of their developmental work done by other teams. Taylor promptly entered the bullpen that finished 27th in ERA (and starters ERA) relief last season, while Cesc and Cruz build depth for the future.

I think the Red Sox will end up getting the upper hand in this trade. While Mondesi is in his final year of officiating and is probably averaging his plate appearances in the 30s, Taylor hasn’t moved the needle at all for a team that lost 97 games last year and his biggest upgrade is off the season. Jordan Lyles And Ryan Yarbrough – Two players who will take a greater role in allowing other rookies in the royal family to develop rather than contributing to the victories. Taylor isn’t a bad pitcher, but he certainly won’t be a member of the Royals’ next competitive squad. It could have traded for leads, but they could have done the same with Mondesi, perhaps without sacrificing another prospect like PTBNL. Red Sox, who have already signed a solid relief duo Kenley Jansen And Chris Martinthere is only one left-handed assistant left, the globe specialist Julie Rodriguez. But with the ‘pen already backed up and their short troubled in the free agent market, the Red Sox seized the opportunity to try and fix their biggest loophole.

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