Where There’s a Wilyer There’s a Way
Wilyer Abreu (BOS): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
The Red Sox are almost 10 games over .500. I feel like this gets lost in the shuffle cause 1, they are in the AL East which is notoriously a difficult division. And 2, they don’t have a bonafide star on their team to help them make noise with the media, so any hype mostly falls by the wayside. I think Rafael Devers is a star, but I’m not sure the national media feels this way.
On Thursday, the Red Sox put on an offensive clinic against the Houston Astros beating them 17-1. Throughout this article, I will bring up a few Red Sox names, but to understand this shellacking we have to first talk about Wilyer Abreu.
Wilyer Abreu pronounced Wheel-yair per Baseball Reference, has been in the Red Sox system since 2022 coming over from Houston in the Christian Vazquez deal. Abreu is Venezuelan, specifically from Maracaibo, which is a city in northwest Venezuela closish to Aruba. Maracaibo is home to names such as Jhoulys Chacín, Yusmeiro Petit, Rougned Odor, José Alvarado, Silvino Bracho, Ender Inciarte, Jonathan Herrera, and most notably Carlos González. Man, do I miss CarGo.
Abreu has never been seen as a top prospect in the Red Sox system, but he also is no slouch. The power is legitimate, and in 2022 he stole 31 bags (less so this year—8 in AAA), but he also has never been much of a swing-and-miss risk in his career. He falls into the dreaded Joey Meneses category—good, but since never great, may get overlooked.
It’s hard to overlook what Abreu did Thursday, especially since with Jarren Duran going down, it seems he has a starting role for possibly the rest of the year if he can keep it up. There aren’t a ton of ways to look at minor-league defensive stats so for now, we don’t have much information as far as how he grades out in the field. I bring this up because the 2023 Red Sox are not great defensively. According to Fielding Bible and DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), they are fourth to last only ahead of the White Sox, Mets, and A’s. DRS isn’t a perfect stat, no stat is, but it’s a good snapshot of a team’s defense. -73 from the A’s is absolutely outrageous. It almost makes the Red Sox -21 look not as bad. Still bad though.
If the Red Sox want to go anywhere, they have to improve defensively. If Abreu grades out to even be just a decent outfielder, and it looks like he has a cannon, it wouldn’t come as a shock if he gets ample starts down the stretch. If you have a spot to stash someone, snag him.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Connor Wong (BOS): 4-6, 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI.
The Red Sox put up 17 runs Thursday, so I hope it’s cool if we talk about a few of them. Connor Wong contributed to the offensive onslaught scoring 4 runs, knocking in 2, and adding a home run. One of the bright spots defensively for the Red Sox, Wong has been rock solid so far this year. He isn’t a huge threat at the plate, but as seen here, he is capable enough to put up numbers. I’m not sure any of it lasts, but in 2 catcher leagues, he may be someone to keep an eye on.
Shea Langeliers (OAK): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The first two write-ups are catchers, now that’s fun. Shea Langeliers has my favorite baseball name since Magglio Ordonez. Imagine naming your child Magglio. truly the easiest way to set the young man up for greatness.
Langeliers helped the A’s to a win on Thursday slugging 2 home runs in a win over the White Sox. Being a catcher is brutal in the MLB and being a young catcher is even harder. The Adley Rutschmans of the world do not grow on trees. Langeliers has been up and down, to put it nicely, to start his career. He has shown power, so he can be a source for that. Not sure I trust anything he does long-term, however.
Michael A. Taylor (MIN): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
This is the third time I’ve written about Michael A. Taylor on a Thursday. I’m unsure of this Thursday phenomenon for Taylor, but hey, whatever works for the Twins outfielder. The Twins stole a win from the Rangers late on Thursday, slugging five home runs total. There isn’t much to say about Taylor as a fantasy player; he is much better as a real-life player than for fantasy purposes. He’s been great for the Twins this year.
Kiké Hernández (LAD): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
We are certain the Dodgers do not possess some sort of devil magic or weird LA magic that turns anyone not named Austin Barnes or Chris Taylor, at least this year, into major league regulars, right? We are sure that they don’t have anything like that? Everyone the Dodgers traded for at the trade deadline, even Ryan Yarbrough, has been better than their usual. Kike just makes sense in a Dodgers uniform and him being back just makes sense.
Alex Verdugo (BOS): 4-7, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Speaking of previous Dodgers, Alex Verdugo was a part of the Thursday night massacre of the Houston Astros at the hand of the Boston Red Sox. The main piece in the Mookie Betts trade, he’s actually been more than solid the last few years. The problem with Verdugo that will always be in the back of every Red Sox fan’s brain is that he’s not Mookie Betts.
Nolan Jones (COL): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
I can’t remember the last time I talked about a Rockie, or at least tried to shoehorn in a Rockie to these articles. You’ll never guess, but the Rockies got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the last 3 days. But hey, the bleak by the peak Rockies, (I just made that up yes/no?) had probably the highlight of their season petting Rays on Tuesday. The franchise should be viewed as if it is run by children because it is, but since a broken clock is right at least twice a day, credit does have to go to them for acquiring Nolan Jones. He, in fact, does not suck, shocking I know. His BABIP is absurdly high at .390, but it’s clear he is the new face of the Rockies along with Ezequiel Tovar. Both might be decent but, as someone born and raised in Denver, I’ve already started putting on my Avs gear.
Royce Lewis (MIN): 3-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI, BB.
He’s healthy! When Royce Lewis is healthy, he’s a top-100 player. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true, the dude is a stud. Lewis was a part of the home run parade Thursday helping the Twins outlast the Rangers. Take my hand, dear reader, I just washed it. Join me in a prayer to the higher power of your choice to ensure that Royce Lewis stays healthy down the stretch.
Gabriel Arias (CLE): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Who is going to be the Guardians shortstop of the future? I know many are on the edge of their seat watching intently to see who will take over the coveted position. Arias put his hat in the ring with gusto on Thursday, smacking his first career home run and even adding a stolen base. He’s my favorite for the position, I don’t know if they trust Brayan Rocchio yet. Short stop is stacked but if you need a middle infielder in deep leagues, Arias could be your man.
Luke Raley (TB): 2-3, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Raley has slowed down a bit in the second half of the season but he is still capable of hitting monster home runs. The Rays swept the Rockies Thursday and Raley’s blast helped secure the victory. Shoutout to Josh Lowe for hitting the game-winning home run. Raley is a great option at first base if you need power. He, like every other Ray, can see platoons, but when he is in the starting lineup, he is worth the start.
Mookie Betts (LAD): 5-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
Our first true superstar. And fun we’ve been talking about the Red Sox, Mookie Betts’s preferred team. If only Red Sox management felt the same way Mookie felt about them. Now we get to watch him have a hall-of-fame career for the Dodgers, which is basically to be expected. What do you want to hear? Mookie Betts is maybe the first player I want if I am asked to create a team from scratch tomorrow. Ohtani is number 1 but call me cray, Mookie may be number 2. He never gets hurt and he always produces.
Cedric Mullins (BAL): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Mullins is back baby and I for one, love to see it. I traded for him in a dynasty league last year, and had to give up Jordan Walker, but he helped me win a championship so I love me some Cedric Mullins. Mullins has been banged up for the second half of the season. He’s shown signs of life lately and Thursday he really showed who he is with a home run, and an absolute seed from the outfield (video courtesy of KnB TeamNBSMedia) to nab a runner at third. The Orioles are looking to make a long playoff run. I think they are able to do this if two things happen. the first, Mullins star power shows up. And two, give Félix Bautista some off days. Is it just me or do they throw him out every night? Give him some rest before the postseason.
Michael Busch (LAD): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The last one, I had to shout out Michael Busch. The ever-blocked Dodgers prospect hit his first career home run against the Guardians last night. His AAA numbers are insane, 24 home runs with a slash of .323/432/.615. It felt like he was maybe a part of the Eduardo Rodriguez deal before he vetoed it because the Dodgers continue to block him from playing time. Let’s see how long he is in the majors cause he has nothing left to prove in AAA.