Only one team across Major League Baseball received a higher grade than the Boston Red Sox in a column by David Schoenfield published Tuesday on ESPN.com.
Schoenfield handed out grades for all 30 teams through one month of the 2021 MLB season, taking into account each club’s performance thus far relative to its preseason expectations.
The Red Sox received an “A,” trailing only the “A+” awarded to the San Francisco Giants.
The Kansas City Royals also received an “A” from Schoenfield.
Here are the other grades within the American League East, per the longtime baseball scribe:
Baltimore Orioles: B
Toronto Blue Jays: B-
Tampa Bay Rays: C-
New York Yankees: D+
The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers received the worst grades among all MLB teams, with Schoenfield tossing a pair of “F” marks in their direction.
Obviously, we’re dealing with a very small sample size — the Red Sox went 17-10 in April — and a lot can change over the next five months. But the “A,” coupled with the “D+” given to the Yankees, really encapsulates how this season has gone for Boston.
The Red Sox, coming off a last-place finish in 2020 but armed with reinforcements, were difficult to project this season, but it’s fair to say they’ve exceeded expectations. They entered Tuesday atop the AL East standings. Their playoff odds entering Monday, per Schoenfield, sat at 51.9%, up 13.8% from before the season began.
Schoenfield pointed to J.D. Martinez’s resurgence as the “best storyline” surrounding the Red Sox, with Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo joining the All-Star designated hitter to form one of the league’s top offenses. But Boston’s pitching has improved greatly, as well, and manager Alex Cora deserves a ton of credit for pulling the right strings in his return to the dugout.
May hasn’t been quite as kind to the Red Sox, who dropped back-to-back games in Texas to open the new month. But the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park on Tuesday night to begin a three-game series with the toothless Tigers.