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The good, the bad and the expected

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 13, 2011 10:30 AM

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As the Red Sox prepare to take on the Yankees this weekend, let's take a look at where the players stand through the early part of the season.

OVERACHIEVERS

Alfredo Aceves: For a no-risk, low-cost signing, he has been solid. Screwball personality needs to be dialed back a touch.

Matt Albers: An under-the-radar signing, the reliever has a 1.88 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 10 appearances. His sinker has been deadly.

Josh Beckett: He has bounced back from the worst season of his career to go 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts. The No. 4 starter? Not any more.

Jacoby Ellsbury: It was hard to know what to expect after he played 18 games last season. A .292/.342/.451 start bodes well for the future.

Jed Lowrie: The utility man has become the starting shortstop, hitting a surprising .327 so far with a 137 OPS+.

David Ortiz: After poor starts in 2009 and 2010, Ortiz is hitting .291 and showing some power. He's also going the other way consistently.

Jonathan Papelbon: An inconsistent 2010 season followed by a rocky spring training raised questions. But the closer has been dominant again, striking out 19 in 14.2 innings.

AS EXPECTED

Daniel Bard: His ERA (2.89) is a little high because a few rough outings. But the strikeouts are there and he's hard to hit.

Adrian Gonzalez: Expectations were through the roof and he has largely met them, hitting .328 with seven homers and 29 RBI. Gonzo is an MVP-level player.

Jon Lester: He was expected to be the ace and at 4-1, 2.96, he has been. The lefty wanted to cut down on his walks and hasn't done that yet, however.

Daisuke Matsuzaka: Expectations were in the basement to start the season. He's 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA. Sometimes, good, sometimes bad. Never trustworthy.

Hideki Okajima: He returned from the minors and has been used in low-leverage situations for a most part. His stats so far have been a little better than last year.

Tim Wakefield: He has a 5.40 ERA, a little high but pretty much what you expect to get from a mop-up man and occasional starter.

UNDERACHIEVERS

Clay Buchholz: He's trending upward. But 3-3 with a 4.19 ERA is not indicative of his talent.

Mike Cameron: The expectation was he would have a big role. But the veteran has only 37 at-bats and hasn't done much (.162) with those. Might as well trade him.

Carl Crawford: He has been himself in May. But a historically bad April hasn't been erased. That will take a while.

J.D. Drew: He still has a good eye (18 walks and a .364 OPB). But he has just seven extra-base hits and eight RBIs.

Bobby Jenks: In March, some fans wanted him installed in closer. Now he's being stashed on the disabled list after giving up 13 hits and 9 walks in 8.2 innings. So far, a disaster.

John Lackey: He seems to hate playing in Boston and his performance (2-5, 8.01) reflects that. Personal issues are at least partly to blame.

Darnell McDonald: His two most notable plays this season are base-running mistakes. Not good.

Dustin Pedroia: His lack of power (seven extra-base hits) is troubling as are the 28 strikeouts in 139 at-bats.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: He looked lost at times early in the season, which isn't the case any more. But the idea that he was ready to be an everyday catcher proved premature, if not incorrect.

Marco Scutaro: He lost his job to Lowrie then landed on the disabled list.

Dan Wheeler: A shockingly poor start (11.32 ERA in 11 appearances) led to a stint on the disabled list.

Jason Varitek: He's a 40-year-old old backup catcher, so a low batting average isn't exactly a shock. But the hope was he would hit lefties better.

Kevin Youkilis: His low batting average has been offset by good power and 26 walks. He's been pretty decent and Youkilis is usually much better than that.

What's your take on these ratings? Any that you would change?

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