Red Sox's Breakout Players, Most Disappointing to Start 2022 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2022

Red Sox's Breakout Players, Most Disappointing to Start 2022 Season

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    After an ugly 10-19 start to the 2022 season, the Boston Red Sox have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, clawing their way back into contention in the AL East and quickly shifting the narrative from lost season to hot streak.

    The pitching staff sits in the middle of the pack in most categories, and closing out games has been a major issue with 11 blown saves in 19 chances. It's hard to imagine where they would be without some unexpected contributors, including Michael Wacha, Nick Pivetta and John Schreiber.

    On the offensive side of things, the trio of Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts continue to do much of the heavy lifting, with several others underperforming. The biggest struggles have come from first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who is steadily losing playing time to Franchy Cordero while the organization continues to wait on the development of top prospect Triston Casas.

    Ahead, we've taken a closer look at the biggest breakout players, as well as the most disappointing one, on the Red Sox roster through the first quarter of the 2022 season.

Under-the-Radar Breakout: RHP John Schreiber

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Boston Red Sox claimed John Schreiber off waivers from the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2021 season, and the move received little attention at the time as he had a 6.28 ERA in 28 appearances over the previous two years.

    The 28-year-old made just one appearance at the big league level last season, and he was in camp as a non-roster invitee this spring, and he began the year at Triple-A Worcester before getting promoted to the MLB roster on April 27.

    Over the past month, he has developed into one of the team's most reliable relievers, allowing just five hits and one unearned run in 10.1 innings with a pristine 11-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He tallied his first career save on May 10, and he also has three holds as he has begun to be used in more high-leverage situations.

    With a terrific slider, a mid-90s fastball and a heavy sinker all from a deceptive sidewinder arm slot, don't be surprised if Schreiber is closing games before 2022 is over.

Biggest Disappointment: 1B Bobby Dalbec

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Bobby Dalbec was a popular breakout pick this year after the way he finished the 2021 season.

    While the 26-year-old finished his rookie season with a lackluster .298 on-base percentage and a 34.4 percent strikeout rate, he did slug 25 home runs, and he finished the year on a high note with a .288/.369/.684 line that included 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 48 games over the final two months.

    Slotted in the starting first base job to begin the 2022 campaign, Dalbec has hit just .159/.248/.234 for an ugly 34 OPS+ in 121 plate appearances.

    As a result, Franchy Cordero has played his way into a platoon at first base, making 10 starts in May after opening the year at Triple-A.

    It's only a matter of time before the job belongs to Triston Casas, and the door may be slamming shut on Dalbec's opportunity to be an everyday player in Boston.

Biggest Breakout: RHP Nick Pivetta

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    Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Going back to the 2018 season when he racked up 188 strikeouts in 164 innings, Nick Pivetta has long possessed the potential to be a frontline starter.

    However, in the years since, he has been unable to string together quality starts and rein in his command, and the result has been occasional glimpses of productivity followed by stretches of poor performance.

    The 29-year-old stumbled out of the gates this year with a 7.84 ERA over his first five starts, but he seemed to turn a corner when he tossed six scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox on May 7.

    Over his last four starts, including that strong outing against the White Sox, Pivetta has a 1.61 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and a .152 opponents' batting average in 28 innings. He allowed two hits and one run in the second complete game of his career against the Houston Astros on May 18, and he's looking very much like the best pitcher on the Boston staff right now.

          

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

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