Even though it’s only May 23, the Red Sox have already managed to lose a comical number of players due to injury. Seemingly every position has been affected, although some have seen more attrition than others; per a story by Jonah Keri at Grantland today, the Sox have now managed to put 12 different players in the outfield this season.
A reality of all these injuries is that some of these players have more of an impact than others.
It’s a lot easier to stomach losing Darnell McDonald than it is Jacoby Ellsbury.
Inevitably, though, some of these injured players will make their way back to Boston. When they do, the team will welcome the slew of MLB-ready reinforcements as they try to push their way out of the AL East cellar.
For a team that is off to its worst start in nearly 20 years, the Sox are desperately in need of healthy bodies. The fill-ins have done a remarkable job in keeping the team right around .500, but it is completely unrealistic to think they can sustain even that modest pace over the course of 162 game season.
As the return of some of the key (and not as key) members of the Sox grows increasingly imminent, let’s rank the impact that these returning players will have: