House of Shlain: Bound to Leave Boston?

House of Shlain: Bound to Leave Boston?

This article is part of our House of Shlain series.

September baseball means pennant races for a select few major league teams, but for us rotoholics it more than likely means your team is locked into points for better or for worse. Well, cheer up, as in this week's House of Shlain I present a few storylines I'm thinking about as we wind down the season and start to look towards 2015.

What's up with Mookie?

The Red Sox have said that they didn't want to change Mookie Betts' defensive position multiple times after moving him to the outfield in midsummer, but after Dustin Pedroia's season ended with surgery on his left wrist, Betts will play second base for the rest of the season. Even though he's in decline and seemingly needs surgery every year, expect Pedroia to be back at the keystone in 2015 and beyond as Boston still owes him $96.5 million through the 2021 season. The Red Sox also have Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who made his MLB debut Wednesday night, and Jackie Bradley Jr., who might be the best defensive center fielder in baseball, to play center next year. What this means for Betts right now is unclear. The reps he lost defensively at second base from his move to the outfield might be showing, as he made an error in the game Tuesday night. Betts has the speed for center field, though, and I have to imagine teams will be calling about him this offseason while the Red Sox's crowded outfield and

September baseball means pennant races for a select few major league teams, but for us rotoholics it more than likely means your team is locked into points for better or for worse. Well, cheer up, as in this week's House of Shlain I present a few storylines I'm thinking about as we wind down the season and start to look towards 2015.

What's up with Mookie?

The Red Sox have said that they didn't want to change Mookie Betts' defensive position multiple times after moving him to the outfield in midsummer, but after Dustin Pedroia's season ended with surgery on his left wrist, Betts will play second base for the rest of the season. Even though he's in decline and seemingly needs surgery every year, expect Pedroia to be back at the keystone in 2015 and beyond as Boston still owes him $96.5 million through the 2021 season. The Red Sox also have Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who made his MLB debut Wednesday night, and Jackie Bradley Jr., who might be the best defensive center fielder in baseball, to play center next year. What this means for Betts right now is unclear. The reps he lost defensively at second base from his move to the outfield might be showing, as he made an error in the game Tuesday night. Betts has the speed for center field, though, and I have to imagine teams will be calling about him this offseason while the Red Sox's crowded outfield and need for starting pitchers could make him expendable.

Masahiro Tanaka

As of this writing, Tanaka is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday against Toronto. He will be on a pitch count of 70-75 pitches. This is important for a myriad of reasons. The Yankees, and fantasy owners for that matter, need to see that Tanaka can pitch effectively without pain right now. If for some reason he fails to do so after receiving platelet-rich plasma injections and rehabilitating, the next move might just be Tommy John surgery. Obviously, that would be the worst-case scenario, but seeing what comes from Tanaka's return will help with determining his value for next season.

Cleveland's Rotation

Of course you already know about Corey Kluber, who has 244 strikeouts this year, and our very own Jensen Lewis, a former Indians hurler himself, covered how helpful Carlos Carrasco has been down the stretch for the Indians, but I still think the Cleveland rotation is underrated. The Tribe has five young cost controlled starters, which is very difficult to assemble. Every team sets out to have a young rotation full of good starters, but the Indians have the best young rotation from top to bottom with Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer coming into their own and the emergence of T.J. House. Salazar, of course, was the most overhyped pitcher coming into the season and didn't make the miracles many expected from him. Over his last six starts, though, Salazar has a 3.06 ERA in 35.1 innings with 34 strikeouts, 33 hits and eight walks allowed. In Bauer's last nine starts, he has a 3.69 ERA in 53.2 with 50 strikeouts, 43 hits and 26 walks allowed. T.J. House has a 3.42 ERA and 3.69 WHIP in 16 starts. I think you get the point.

Springer Shutdown

Astros outfielder George Springer won't play again this season after his most recent comeback attempt was shut down. He ran the bases over the weekend, but that was the extent of his activity. Springer finishes the season with a .231 average, 20 home runs, five stolen bases, and 51 RBI in 78 games. Springer was held without a home run in his first 19 big league games and then bashed 20 dingers over his last 59 games before a quadriceps injury landed him on the disabled list. It's difficult to judge this kind of a season. You can basically throw out his first two weeks in the majors when he really struggled and in doing that his triple slash line goes up to .244/.356/.534, which is probably what you can expect from Springer when he's right. Obviously, the problem this year was that he couldn't get back on the field in the second half of the season. Also, even when he was playing, Springer didn't steal bases like he did in the minors. He stole five and was only caught twice in the majors, so it appears the problem was that he wasn't comfortable running against big league batteries. Hopefully, he'll take the nice, long offseason and get his legs healthy both for a full season and more stolen-base attempts in 2015.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Shlain
Nick analyzes prospects for RotoWire and focuses on the Midwest League during the season.
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