Buying or Selling Red Sox's Biggest Breakout Players in 2022 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2022

Buying or Selling Red Sox's Biggest Breakout Players in 2022 Season

0 of 3

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Boston Red Sox made a surprise run to the ALCS last season by upending the rival New York Yankees and the division-champion Tampa Bay Rays.

    The big addition of the offseason was second baseman Trevor Story, but it's the bargain signing of veteran right-hander Michael Wacha that has paid off most in the early going.

    Reliever Hansel Robles thriving in the late innings and recently promoted Franchy Cordero taking over as the primary first baseman are among the other early surprises.

    But are they for real?

    Ahead, we've given our take on whether to buy or sell those early performances based on previous track record and advanced metrics.

1B Franchy Cordero

1 of 3

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    With young slugger Bobby Dalbec off to a slow start, the Red Sox recently promoted Franchy Cordero from Triple-A and he had started at first base in three of the last four games entering play on Wednesday.

    The 27-year-old has always had tantalizing raw power, but he spent most of last season in the minors after he was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in the Andrew Benintendi deal. He hit .300/.398/.533 in 334 plate appearances at Triple-A last year, but a meager .189/.237/.260 with 51 strikeouts in 136 plate appearances in the big leagues.

    Since being promoted from Triple-A this year, Cordero has gone 3-for-10 with a double and, more importantly, he has not struck out yet. However, his 28 percent strikeout rate in the minors to begin the year does not inspire much confidence in an overhauled approach.

    Big picture, he's just keeping the first base position warm for top prospect Triston Casas anyway.

    Verdict: Sell

RP Hansel Robles

2 of 3

    Mike Carlson/Getty Images

    The Red Sox acquired Hansel Robles from the Los Angeles Angels at the deadline last year, and after he pitched well down the stretch, he was re-signed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal in free agency.

    The 31-year-old has experience closing games, including a 23-save season with the Angels in 2019, but a lackluster 5.57 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 90 appearances the last two years explains why he was available at such a reasonable cost.

    Robles has been used as part of a late-inning-by-committee situation this season and has been excellent, logging a 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP with one save and four holds in nine appearances.

    However, looking under the hood, his average exit velocity allowed (95.2 mph) and hard-hit rate (63.0%) both rank among the worst in baseball. Sooner or later, all of that hard contact is going to catch up with him.

    Verdict: Sell

SP Michael Wacha

3 of 3

    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    Once one of baseball's most exciting young pitchers at the onset of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, right-hander Michael Wacha dealt with injuries and general ineffectiveness the last three years while posting a 5.11 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 285.1 innings.

    The Red Sox rolled the dice on a one-year, $7 million deal hoping he could provide some depth at the back of the rotation, and he has instead pitched like an ace.

    The 30-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 26 innings, and his .148 batting average allowed is the lowest among all qualified American League starters.

    He is throwing his curveball more and his cutter less this season, and the 75.2 mph breaking pitch has added another wrinkle to an arsenal that has always included a swing-and-miss changeup and a good fastball.

    Wacha isn't going to pitch to a sub-2.00 ERA all year, but he could wind up being one of the best value signings of the winter.

    Verdict: Buy


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday's games.