With 10 days to go, what do we know?
An analysis of Red Sox position players as spring training winds down
FT. MYERS, Fla. -- Knowing that spring performance is not nearly as important as past regular season performances, heres a quick evaluation and report card on the 2005 Red Sox position players based on their Grapefruit League games to date:
1B, Kevin Millar: He was the fans choice, and teams choice, to stay in Boston over ball-hog Doug Mientkiewicz, who was traded to the Mets. Millar is an integral part of the idiot fringe, important friend of Manny Ramirez, and new buddy of David Wells. Not known for his defense at first, he showed up a little heavy this spring, attributing it to the addition of muscle from a vigorous offseason weight training program. So far the extra weight hasnt paid off. Millar has been slow to take the extra base when given the opportunity this spring, and the added muscle hasnt given him any more strength at the plate. In 29 spring at-bats, Millar has just two extra-base hits and one RBI (a base hit against Cincy this past Tuesday night), and is batting .241.
Spring grade: C-
2B, Mark Bellhorn: Bellhorn is known as a guy who typically either strikes out (10 times in 31 at-bats this spring) or walks (5 in 31). While he wont be confused with Pokey Reese, he has made some nice plays in the field this spring. But so far, Bellhorn has had only one breakout game at the plate against the Devil Rays in St. Pete, where he hit two RBI doubles after working the count. If Bellhorn cant improve his 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, or his .161 spring average (just 5 hits and 8 total bases), look for the surprising Ramon Vazquez to get a few chances to start at second base this season.
Spring grade: D
SS, Edgar Renteria: This new edition is the four-year bridge between Nomar Garciaparra and Hanley Ramirez. He comes to us with a solid clubhouse reputation, a steady glove, and ever-improving bat. So far this spring he has been an enigma. While not making an error, and playing steady at short, Edgar has been disappointing at the plate with just one RBI on a solo home run and two doubles in 32 at-bats (.219 average). Color me concerned about Renterias adjustment into the American League as it looks like hell get off to a slow start at the plate. Clubhouse intangibles aside, if youve got him on your fantasy team (as our sports editor does), you may want to consider trading him for the Cubs hot-hitting Nomar Garciaparra if you can.
Spring grade: C
3B, Bill Mueller: Steady Bill Mueller, like Jason Varitek, is a true dirt dog on this team. He even backed out of participating in the Queer Eye makeover as he continues to bounce back from surgery. All the guy does is play, but you have to be concerned about his troublesome knee and grateful that Kevin Youkilis is ready to step in if needed. Mueller has only had 18 at-bats this spring but has hit the ball hard on several occasions and played a solid third base (outside of one error on a handcuffed hopper) in his limited time in the field. Hes batting .333 with two doubles and a home run in just eight games. Considering hes rushing himself back to be ready for Opening Day, you have to be pleased with his progress to date. Continued...