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Tomase: Three players who should be part of the solution for Red Sox

NBC Sports
Trevor Story

There will be a baseball team in Boston next year, we at least know that much.

What it will look like is anyone's guess, but rather than go doom and gloom again, let's highlight three players we look forward to watching for a full season.

Whatever solution Red Sox management devises, these guys should be a part of it.

1. Trevor Story

Is he a perfect player? No. But he's absolutely a winning one, and the Red Sox need as many of those as they can get.

Story is the perfect example of how certain players can only be appreciated when you see them every day. His numbers -- .221 average, .289 on base percentage, 200-strikeout pace -- do not scream All-Star.

But then you watch him. While it's true that he swings and misses too much, especially on sliders away, Story is always a threat to leave the park, as his 15 homers in half a season attest. Once on the bases, he's a difference maker, not only stealing 10 bases in 10 tries, but aggressively doing little things like going first to third, making dirt-ball reads, and scoring from first on doubles.

The best part of Story's game, however, is on defense, where his athleticism shines. After a brief struggle with second base, Story turned off his shortstop clock, realized he had an extra second to make throws, and became a force. His range, instincts, and accuracy are among the best in the game, and it's no coincidence that since he broke his wrist after being drilled by a Corey Kluber offering on July 12, the Red Sox have gone just 13-22.


When Story comes to camp next spring, he'll have a year in Boston under his belt, and that experience should mean he makes even more of an impact in 2023.

2. Christian Arroyo

Everything you need to know about Arroyo happened on the worst play of his season.

In early July, Arroyo lost a Joey Gallo fly ball to right field, an unnatural position for the career infielder. Arroyo did a foot fire in distress, waving his arms at a ball he could not see. It landed 30 feet behind him and rolled towards the corner as the bases cleared.

Rather than hang his head in shame, Arroyo got on his horse. He raced back and fired a strike to Story, who cut down Gallo at the plate. Two runs scored, but the Red Sox were spared the embarrassment of an inside-the-park three-run homer. (They wouldn't be so lucky a couple of weeks later when Jarren Duran watched an inside-the-park grand slam against the Blue Jays kick around in center field).

Should Arroyo ever have been in right field? No, but the Red Sox failed to sign a right-handed hitter to share the spot with Jackie Bradley, so he gamely gave it go. Arroyo is an infielder with a propensity for hitting the ball hard, and he has made his value clear over the last month with the Red Sox dying for a spark.

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They're probably going to miss the playoffs, but it won't be Arroyo's fault. Since returning from a groin strain at the trade deadline, he's hitting .377 with a .927 OPS, and it's not luck. Arroyo hits the ball as consistently hard as anyone in the lineup, and though injuries have consistently slowed him throughout his career, the Red Sox could do worse than a Story-Arroyo middle infield if Xander Bogaerts leaves.

3. Brayan Bello

The way we evaluate young pitchers is absurd. For every Clayton Kershaw who dominates at age 21, there are 10 Kevin Gausmans or Robbie Rays who practically need a decade in the big leagues before they break through. Fronting a rotation takes time.

Patience is not a hallmark of baseball fans -- particularly Red Sox fans -- so the "is that it?" response to Bello's underwhelming debut shouldn't be a surprise. We demand immediate greatness or we move on to the next guy.

But the Red Sox clearly have something in Bello, a 23-year-old with electric stuff but also a lot to learn. His fastball has reached 100 mph and his sinker isn't far behind. His changeup moves, but is pushing 90 mph and needs more separation. His slider has been tattooed.


Regardless, the ingredients are there to make an effective pitcher. In Bello's last "start," a bulk relief effort behind opener Austin Davis vs. the Brewers, he delivered his best results, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a pair of runs.

He's rehabbing a groin strain at Triple-A Worcester and should return to the big leagues soon. Don't be shocked if sometime in the next three years he makes the leap, even if it's not right away.