John Farrell has led the Boston Red Sox to the best record in all of baseball. At the beginning of the season, this seemed like a ludicrous notion, but the Nation knew it could happen.
Because of his efforts thus far, it is important to give Farrell a report card through his first 27 games in the Boston dugout. In this article, we will look at his role as a manager and how he has fared thus far.
Note that all statistics are courtesy of ESPN.
Player Rotation: A
The Red Sox are lucky enough to be a very deep team. Farrell has been tasked with making sure his All-Stars get their time while also utilizing the other performers on the team.
It's evident how well Farrell has handled this issue by looking at the total games played by every player.
Only Pedro Ciriaco has played less than 10 games out of the 27 total. This means that every batter has played nearly half of all the games Boston has played.
For example, David Ross has been given 10 games at catcher, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia has played 20. Even Mike Carp has played 13 games, which just goes to show how well Farrell has spaced out playing time for everyone.
Bullpen Usage: B
Boston has arguably the best bullpen in baseball. Farrell is sitting pretty with such a luxury and has made some very wise decisions. The Red Sox manager has already established everyone’s roles within the bullpen.
Koji Uehara has been utilized to perfection, while Clayton Mortensen has accepted his role as a spot reliver. Andre Bailey has been moved back to closer and Boston now looks comfortable throughout all nine innings.
The only issue with Farrell’s usage of the bullpen is his tendency to rely heavily on a few arms.
Bailey, Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have all pitched over 10 innings and have been given the bulk of the playing time. Mortensen has also pitched over 10 innings, but has been used in games that were basically already over.
Other arms will need to be given more time so that they can settle into their roles and be more reliable. But for now, Farrell has done what he needs to do.
Roster Management: B
John Farrell has had a couple of issues to deal with concerning the Red Sox roster. For the most part, he has been terrific, but there were moves that could have been better.
The best move at this point has been bringing Andrew Bailey back to the closer role.
Joel Hanrahan was having a terrible start to the season, and now it is not known what his role will be. But Farrell made a wise decision by not trying to fix what was clearly working.
Farrell also made another good move in sending Jackie Bradley Jr. back down to the minors. The young outfielder was a spark at the beginning of the season, but was clearly not ready and was batting only .097.
Bradley needs to develop more, and Farrell knew it and chose not to force him purely based on potential.
However, two moves stand out as questionable.
To begin with, Jose Iglesias began the season by batting .450 and playing incredible defense before being sent down with the arrival of a healthy Stephen Drew. Though Drew was to be the starter, the moving of Iglesias could have really shaken his confidence.
The second move is one that fans know all too well.
When John Lackey hit the DL, Alfredo Aceves stepped in to replace him. Fans have not liked Aceves since last year’s blowup, and many were worried when he was added to the starting rotation.
Granted Farrell did not really have many other options, but it took way too long for Aceves to be sent down to the minors.
Overall, Farrell has made some wise decisions and fans should be very pleased.
Lineup Choices: A
One area in which Farrell has highly impressed is that of his lineup choices.
The Boston manager has not been afraid to mix up his batting order, and it has paid dividends. Most managers do not like to change things, but Farrell takes the lineup one game at a time.
This is evident in the case of Will Middlebrooks, who has fallen down in the lineup based on his batting so far. The move has taken pressure off his shoulders, as the third baseman has now begun to find a groove.
But Farrell has also done an incredible job of finding the perfect spaces for Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava in the lineup. The duo has been highly impressive this season, and Farrell constantly rewards them by giving them strong positions in the batting order.
However, arguably the best lineup choice was that of Mike Napoli.
At the beginning of the season, the first baseman was not playing his best. Farrell could have moved him down in the order, but the manager held firm that Napoli was going to get hot.
The confidence has paid off, as Napoli is batting .287 with 31 RBI and six homers. Farrell has found Napoli’s perfect role and continues to put everyone in the best spot to perform at the highest level.
Man Management: A+
This season has been the complete opposite of the Bobby Valentine era. The clubhouse shows signs of happiness and joy, and this has no doubt come from the way John Farrell runs his team.
Farrell has kept everyone happy, which has made Red Sox Nation extremely joyful as well. At this point in the season, it is hard to say that Farrell has been anything but outstanding. He is exactly what fans were hoping for and has given Boston hope.
John Farrell gets a solid "A" for his overall grade through 27 games. There are not many negatives to how he has run the clubhouse so far, and it shows, as Boston has once again become a force in baseball.
How would you grade John Farrell so far? How far can the Boston Red Sox go this season? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on the Boston Red Sox.