How will the Red Sox perform in the second half?
The second half of the Red Sox season is underway, after a first half that exceeded everyone's expectations. And hopes. Their 68-30 record ranked among the best in franchise history at that stage of the season, and they managed to hold first place for 76 of the season's first 109 days.
That was then. This is now.
What can we expect of the Sox now that the second half is here? Much will depend on things we don't, and can't, know -- will they acquire anyone at the trade deadline? will their rivals? will there be injuries? -- but there's one element we can explore: Is it reasonable to expect the players currently on the roster to improve, or decline, in the second half?
We'll list their current stats, their career first-half numbers, their career second-half numbers, and then try to guess if they'll get better or worse from here on in. Continue with this gallery for the hitters and click here for the pitchers.
NUMBER 2 -- XANDER BOGAERTS
CURRENTLY HITTING: 79 games, 310 at-bats, 16 HR, 64 RBI, .284 batting average, .353 on-base percentage, .535 slugging percentage, .889 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 419 games, 1,630 at-bats, 41 HR, 226 RBI, .291/.351/.443, .794 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 283 games, 1,098 at-bats, 26 HR, 121 RBI, .270/.326/.395, .721 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? Last year he was hampered by a bruised hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch just before the break, and his slash numbers went from .303/.359/.447 in the first half to .235/.324/.347 in the second. That makes his career second-half stats look worse than they probably are. However, he did drop off in the second half in both 2015 and '16, so there could be reason for concern.
NUMBER 3 -- SANDY LEON
CURRENTLY HITTING: 47 games, 149 at-bats, 4 HR, 19 RBI, .242 batting average, .283 on-base percentage, .369 slugging percentage, .652 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 166 games, 513 at-bats, 11 HR, 56 RBI, .246/.297/.359, .655 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 119 games, 368 at-bats, 8 HR, 45 RBI, .239/.314/.364, .678 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? None of those numbers are very good, but there's a new element in play this season: Unless Blake Swihart steps it up -- more on him in a moment -- Leon probably will do the bulk of the catching with Christian Vazquez sidelined. He may start wearing down (he's never played more than 85 games in a single season), and that could make his stats even worse.
NUMBER 11 -- RAFAEL DEVERS
CURRENTLY HITTING: 89 games, 340 at-bats, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .241 batting average, .292 on-base percentage, .424 slugging percentage, .715 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 89 games, 340 at-bats, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .241/.292/.424, .715 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 58 games, 222 at-bats, 10 HR, 30 RBI, .284/.338/.482, .819 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? Notice that two of the lines are identical? That's because Devers wasn't called up last year until right around this time, so this season's first half is the only first half we have to go by. History, therefore, can tell us nothing.
NUMBER 12 -- BROCK HOLT
CURRENTLY HITTING: 60 games, 187 at-bats, 1 HR, 25 RBI, .289 batting average, .363 on-base percentage, .385 slugging percentage, .748 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 247 games, 864 at-bats, 10 HR, 99 RBI, .294/.363/.411, .773 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 256 games, 780 at-bats, 4 HR, 55 RBI, .238/.300/.310, .610 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? His 2018 stats to this point are in line with his career first-half numbers. And you see what's happened in the second half throughout his career. Is this the year he breaks the mold?
NUMBER 16 -- ANDREW BENINTENDI
CURRENTLY HITTING: 91 games, 350 at-bats, 14 HR, 57 RBI, .297 batting average, .380 on-base percentage, .517 slugging percentage, .897 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 165 games, 655 at-bats, 26 HR, 108 RBI, .289/.369/.484, .853 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 95 games, 373 at-bats, 10 HR, 53 RBI, .271/.349/.421, .770 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? If this is Benintendi's breakout year -- and it might be -- the past might not mean as much as you'd think. Good thing, because otherwise you'd have to expect a dropoff.
NUMBER 18 -- MITCH MORELAND
CURRENTLY HITTING: 77 games, 252 at-bats, 11 HR, 46 RBI, .278 batting average, .353 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, .853 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 571 games, 1,910 at-bats, 86 HR, 276 RBI, .263/.328/.463, .791 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 428 games, 1,346 at-bats, 57 HR, 203 RBI, .241/.309/.417, .726 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? Doesn't look good . . .
NUMBER 19 -- JACKIE BRADLEY JR.
CURRENTLY HITTING: 86 games, 320 at-bats, 6 HR, 32 RBI, .210 batting average, .297 on-base percentage, .345 slugging percentage, .642 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 362 games, 1,200 at-bats, 36 HR, 160 RBI, .246/.330/.415, .745 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 251 games, 821 at-bats, 27 HR, 105 RBI, .219/.294/.375, .669 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? Yeah, his career second-half numbers have been, well, putrid. But his first-half numbers this year were even worse, and he's not this bad. You've heard the phrase regression toward the mean? He should get better. How much better is a matter of debate.
NUMBER 23 -- BLAKE SWIHART
CURRENTLY HITTING: 44 games, 92 at-bats, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .207 batting average, .263 on-base percentage, .250 slugging percentage, .513 OPS
There's no point in looking at Swihart's career numbers, because he's played so little -- and so sporadically -- in his four up-and-down seasons that they won't tell us anything. Nor do the numbers here, because he basically spent the first half of the season with no role at all; no one could hit well with playing time as random (and spaced out) as he had. Yet he was once regarded as a hot prospect, and the fact the Sox never let him go tells you they still hold out hope. So logic tells us he should get better. And if he does, he could be in for a lot more playing time. (See Sandy Leon.)
NUMBER 25 -- STEVE PEARCE
CURRENTLY HITTING: 36 games, 105 at-bats, 5 HR, 21 RBI, .324 batting average, .390 on-base percentage, .562 slugging percentage, .952 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 352 games, 1,017 at-bats, 45 HR, 158 RBI, .280/.349/.475, .823 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 345 games, 1,040 at-bats, 39 HR, 115 RBI, .235/.320/.418, .738 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? Since a) he's hitting better than he usually does, and b) he historically drops off dramatically in the second half, hard to be optimistic here.
NUMBER 28 -- J.D. MARTINEZ
CURRENTLY HITTING: 92 games, 354 at-bats, 29 HR, 80 RBI, .328 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .644 slugging percentage, 1.037 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 501 games, 1,847 at-bats, 111 HR, 337 RBI, .291/.351/.539, .890 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 363 games, 1,335 at-bats, 70 HR, 219 RBI, .288/.344/.515, .859 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? He should be fine.
NUMBER 36 -- EDUARDO NUNEZ
CURRENTLY HITTING: 81 games, 310 at-bats, 6 HR, 24 RBI, .255 batting average, .283 on-base percentage, .361 slugging percentage, .644 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 400 games, 1,366 at-bats, 30 HR, 143 RBI, .284/.318/.414, .731 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 350 games, 1,108 at-bats, 22 HR, 126 RBI, .272/.312/.402, .714 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? By necessity (i.e., Dustin Pedroia's absence), he's played more this season than he normally does -- far more -- and that, in addition to the fact that he's still recovering from a knee injury of his own, has probably depressed his numbers. He has no history of getting appreciably worse in the second half, so the Sox may get more production if they can somehow manage his playing time in the final 2 1/2 months. But with Pedroia's return nowhere in sight, it's hard to see how they'll do that.
NUMBER 50 -- MOOKIE BETTS
CURRENTLY HITTING: 78 games, 301 at-bats, 23 HR, 51 RBI, .359 batting average, .448 on-base percentage, .691 slugging percentage, 1.139 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN FIRST HALF: 347 games, 1,416 at-bats, 68 HR, 208 RBI, .299/.364/.533, .897 OPS
CAREER NUMBERS IN SECOND HALF: 239 games, 971 at-bats, 33 HR, 153 RBI, .302/.365/.484, .849 OPS
LIKELY TO GET BETTER OR GET WORSE? They don't need him to get better; they just need him to stay where he is. And his history is that he pretty much does just that.