Tampa Bay Rays vs. AL East 2020 Preview: Red Sox – 2B
By Seth Carter
The first installment of our evaluation of Tampa Bay Rays position players relative to the rest of the American League East in 2020. Today we focus on second base.
The Tampa Bay Rays are in a great spot at second base with Brandon Lowe making the All-Star team in his rookie campaign. On the farm, the Rays boast top prospects like Vidal Brujan and Xavier Edwards.
Not every team in the AL East has had such recent prosperity at second base. So, come along as we preview the keystone for each team in the AL East in 2020. On Deck: Boston Red Sox.
Other AL East 2B Team Previews:
Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles Fangraphs 2020 Projected WAR: 0.9
My how the mighty have fallen. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018 and have since finished third in the division, lost their manager to a cheating scandal, and traded away one of the true superstars of the game.
On top of losing Mookie Betts, David Price, and manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox are facing uncertainty with the health of their ace pitcher Chris Sale. I didn’t even mention their concern over the future of their legendary second baseman.
Yes, that brings us around to Dustin Pedroia. The former Rookie of the Year, MVP, Silver Slugger, 4x Gold Glover, and 2x World Series champion has played in just nine games the past two years due to knee issues.
At age 36, Pedroia has had five knee surgeries including a recent procedure to preserve the joints. He entered the offseason with the intention of reclaiming his role in 2020, but a setback in his rehab efforts have already placed him on the 60-day IL and questioning whether he’ll ever suit up again.
Where does this leave Boston?
Without Pedroia, the Sox are not in a good position at second base. Last season they finished 27th in the league in Wins Above Average (Baseball-Reference) with -2.1 fewer rWAR than league average at second.
This season, Fangraphs has them projected to earn 0.9 WAR from their second basemen.
Last season, Brock Holt had the most appearances with 60, followed up by Marco Hernandez (48), Michael Chavis (45), and Eduardo Nunez (31).
Chavis is slated to platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base this season while Nunez and Holt are no longer with the team. Hernandez has a career OPS+ of 68.
The Red Sox brought in Jose Peraza to fill the position in 2020. Peraza has a career slash of .273/312/.374. He exceeded 20 stolen bases in three consecutive years but only swiped seven bags in 13 attempts last season. Jose was worth -0.9 Wins Below Replacement last season according to Baseball-Reference.