I saw Peter Gammons Tweet this article from the Providence Journal: Red Sox Blunt About Early Defensive Issues. I attended a Red Sox game on Friday and noticed the Sox appeared to have some defensive issues.
Manager John Farrell had this to say:
“[Defense] is a discussion point right now. We know that we’re capable of better, and we’re working to do just that.”
“We’ve got work to do, particularly on some defensive things we’ve got to get ironed out,” Farrell said. “Just basic mechanics of ground ball work. You come off an offseason where you haven’t been at game speed, so some of that comes into play. We’re going through daily work to get caught up to speed. Hanley’s exposure to first has gone as anticipated, largely in part because of the way he’s worked, and that’s a compliment to him. But still, we’re far from a finished product, and in these coming weeks it’s a focal point for us.”
As I noted in the game I attended last Friday at JetBlue, Hanley did not look good at first. He made a costly error and looked like he was having difficulty scooping the ball. Sandoval was the worst defensive third baseman last year, and while he is overweight, he seemed to be moving well laterally with good reflexes. Vertical movement was an issue however. Gravity is not his friend at the moment, and he was unable to reach easy balls over his head. While I am not a fan of the sac bunt, bunting for hits is another thing. I would also test his sprinting ability and endurance with some bunts towards him if I had a particurlarly speedy team. ESPN reports that Sandoval committed two errors on Monday.
These reports seem to confirm my mini-scouting report. See, I bring you accurate news! Seriously, the infield is going to be a hot mess if the Red Sox do not work on these issues, and it appears they will focus on that in the upcoming weeks with additional drills and focus on defense.
Title edit: h/t nbjays 🙂