Red Sox Who Improved Their Chances of 2013 Roles/Debuts This Spring
The Boston Red Sox have had an up-and-down spring training.
For starters, John Farrell has been much more composed, and it seems to be less of a circus than previous seasons.
While there is a spotlight on David Ortiz and his bum wheels, there are several players who have shone during camp.
Here are five players who have improved their chances for either increased roles or their chance to make their big league debut once the season starts.
Ryan Sweeney Has Bounced Back
After starting off hot in 2012, Ryan Sweeney’s temper got the best of him and cost him the bulk of the season. The Red Sox brass have decided to give him a second chance.
While he isn’t tearing the cover off the ball, Sweeney continues to be a solid defensive outfielder. The 28-year-old outfielder is batting .259 with a .359 OBP.
Even though he continues to lack power with Ortiz likely headed for the DL, Sweeney has a chance to start if Gomes slides over to DH.
Jose Iglesias Shows Poise
With Stephen Drew suffering from a concussion, Jose Iglesias has remained steadfast and earned a starting role once camp breaks.
Even though he is only hitting .222 in spring training, Iglesias is making better contact, represented by his .469 slugging percentage, almost double what he averaged in his previous two stints in the majors.
In addition to the improved slugging percentage, Iglesias seems more confident at the plate and hasn’t looked over-matched like he has in the past.
Allen Webster Turns Heads
Entering spring training Allen Webster was compared to Derek Lowe, but after displaying devastating stuff, his ceiling has been raised from middle-of-the-rotation starter to a potential No. 1.
Known for his sinker, Webster has turned heads because of a fastball that has been clocked as high as 99 mph.
In 11 innings, Webster has compiled a 1.64 ERA, struck out 14 batters and surrendered just a single walk.
If all things go well in Pawtucket, Webster could be called up if a starter gets injured during the season.
Rubby De La Rosa Has the Stuff Needed to Succeed
Even though Rubby De La Rosa hasn’t been dominant like fellow prospect Allen Webster, he has shown the stuff needed to have success in the major leagues.
The 24-year-old righty has displayed an overpowering fastball that is consistently in the high 90s and a changeup that he learned to throw from for former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez.
While the Red Sox's desire is to have De La Rosa start in the future, he could make an immediate impact as a late season call-up that can be a dominant arm coming out of the bullpen.
Jackie Bradley Jr. Makes Push to Break Camp with the Big Club
Everyone knew that Jackie Bradley Jr. was good, but he has gone beyond expectations for a player who has yet to have a single at-bat in AAA.
Through 18 games, Bradley has hit .436 to go along with a Barry Bonds-esque .551 OBP.
With Ortiz on the DL and Gomes sliding to the DH role, Bradley would have the opportunity for regular playing time. Before the Ortiz setback it was understandable to send Bradley to AAA in order to get regular at-bats, but the situation has changed.