Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Yeah, I know, it’s early. But the Red Sox have been something else so far, and it’s not just the players you expected it from who have performed well. So who is your biggest surprise on the Red Sox so far? – Michael R.
Well, I’m not sure I would have predicted that Joe Kelly would become a Boston folk hero who gets standing ovations at Bruins games. That’s a bit of a surprise.
With the obvious caveat that it’s still ridiculously early, with 90 percent of the schedule to go, I’d say three players come to mind. Take your pick:;
- Hanley Ramirez: We know how talented he is, but I was still as little skeptical of Alex Cora’s decision to bat him third. But it’s worked perfectly. Ramirez has a .955 OPS and leads the league in RBIs (15). And he seems happy and engaged this year.
- Bobby Poyner: He looks like a legitimate asset out of the bullpen. Not bad for someone who was expected to summer in Pawtucket.
- Rick Porcello: I suppose a good performance from a former Cy Young Award winner who is still just 29 shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. But he was abysmal last year (he led the league in losses, homers allowed, and hits allowed) and so he was something of a mystery entering this year. So far, he’s been superb (3-0, 1.83 ERA)
Cora also should be somewhere on this list, and not just because they’re 13-2 and have a more upbeat culture on his watch. He‘s secure enough to be accountable (I can’t see John Farrell admitting he forgot to make a defensive sub), takes no nonsense from opponents (get lost, Phil Nevin), and has proven adept enough at running the game. I thought he’d do a good job. But maybe not as soon as he has.
What do you guys think? Who has been the biggest surprise on the Red Sox so far? I’ll hear you in the comments.