Travis Shaw has looked effective at first base, but is he really the answer, or has he mostly been lucky?
Bradley adjusted his mechanics and started hitting the inside fastball. Pitchers counter-adjusted and have been pitching him down and out. Bradley will need to reach those pitches if he is to be a productive major-league hitter.
Rusney Castillo understandably looked a little rusty at the start of the season, but is looking like an above-average batter and defender now. I wrote about him at Rusney Castillo is Rounding Into Form.
Jackie Bradley Junior has changed his batting mechanics and has started to crush the baseball in locations he couldn’t hit before.
Catcher Blake Swihart wasn’t supposed to be in the majors this year; he needed at least one more year, probably two, of minor-league seasoning first. But injuries to the Red Sox catchers meant he was called up anyway, and though he hasn’t blown away the field, he has nothing to apologize for this season. I wrote about him in “How is Rookie Catcher Blake Swihart Doing?”
In a later article, I looked at the same effect across baseball: The Effect of Additional Called Strikes with the Expanding Strike Zone. Yunel Escobar was the player most affected by the expanded strike zone in 2014.
I looked at David Ortiz’s 2015 struggles at the plate (David Ortiz Struggles With Fastballs From Left Handers). It looks as if he’s been hitting right-handers fine, and has also done reasonably well against breaking pitches and off-speed stuff from left-handers, but has had a terrible time against left-handers’ fastballs. More charts and comparisons, and some guesswork at the rest of his year, at sonsofsamhorn.com.