With a new Major League Baseball season in full swing comes the latest installment of San Diego Studios ‘MLB The Show’ video game.
Similar to ‘NBA 2K’ or ‘Madden,’ one of the biggest talks surrounding the annual release is a simple, yet guaranteed debate-generating topic: The ratings. Before the game initially hit retailers on March 24, a few pre-release ratings leaked, including that of Boston Red Sox star Rafael Devers, who reacted after being revealed his 84 overall rating during spring training.
But, like the game itself, these ratings left room for several areas of debate, and improvement.
With that being said, here’s how the 2023 Red Sox roster members were rated, according to ‘MLB The Show 23’:
Rafael Devers (84 overall)
Adam Duvall (78 overall)
Kiké Hernández (77 overall)
Justin Turner (75 overall)
Christian Arroyo (75 overall)
Alex Verdugo (73 overall)
Bobby Dalbec (73 overall)
Jorge Alfaro (70 overall)
Yu Chang (69 overall)
Rob Refsnyder (69 overall)
Reese McGuire (67 overall)
Triston Casas (66 overall)
Jarren Duran (64 overall)
Masataka Yoshida (not yet rated or included in the initial roster)
Chris Sale (86 overall)
Kenley Jansen (83 overall)
John Schrieber (82 overall)
Garrett Whitlock (81 overall)
Chris Martin (79 overall)
Corey Kluber (78 overall)
Tanner Houck (77 overall)
James Paxton (77 overall)
Nick Pivetta (73 overall)
Richard Bleier (68 overall)
Joely Rodriguez (66 overall)
Ryan Brasier (65 overall)
Kutter Crawford (59 overall)
As is always the case, mistakes are destined to be made (subjectively speaking), however, while some light should be shed on where the folks over at San Diego Studios went wrong, let’s begin by first acknowledging the three Red Sox players who were appropriately rated.
Three Hits (Sale, Kluber and Turner)
This trio of Red Sox veterans, including a pair of newcomers in Kluber and Turner, each begin their latest big league campaign in a similar place. While Sale, Kluber nor Turner are in their prime form, each of the multi-time All-Stars is more than capable of contributing a bounceback-year-like season in 2023 for the Red Sox.
Sale is coming off the roughest (and unluckiest) year of the bunch. First, he missed the first 87 games of the 2022 season due to a rib stress fracture. And just two starts deep into his return in July, Sale returned to the injured list once more, this time never to return for the remainder of the season. In the last two years combined, Sale has made just 11 starts, but made at least 25 during the first three seasons of his Red Sox tenure.
Meanwhile, Kluber and Turner were both serviceable veterans for the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively. Kluber made 31 starts, even pitching to a 2.54 ERA with 24 strikeouts and three walks through five starts in the month of June. Turner, on the other hand, while undergoing a dip in power (13 home runs) still batted .278 while also driving in 81 RBIs. Not to mention there’s the added upside of Turner’s defensive versatility if needed, plus the bonus that he’ll be allowed to primarily focus on hitting, serving mostly as Boston’s designated hitter for 2023.
Now… where they missed the mark.
Three Misses (Devers, Whitlock and Jansen)
To put it simply, these three were underrated.
Devers is among the best of the best when it comes to third basemen in baseball today. He’s among the most feared left-handed bats and a more than reliable defender. Not making Devers the highest-rated player on the team makes virtually zero sense, as does having him below the 88-90 range. In 2022, Devers also finished second among all players in baseball with 1,078 total bases — two shy of the league lead (Freddie Freeman, 1,080) and led all third basemen in baseball with an 8.0 expected weighted on-base average.
Surely with a payday this past offseason and an inherited leadership role, Devers will prove this rating to be faulty.
Similar to Devers, Whitlock and Jansen were also improperly rated. Whitlock, who granted, underwent a relatively down year in 2022, is still a top-three pitcher on Boston’s roster. Just two seasons ago, Whitlock was among the most dominant relievers in all of baseball, recording an impressive 1.96 ERA through 46 appearances his rookie year. And Jansen, while post-All-Star form, led the National League in saves last season with the Atlanta Braves (41) with a 3.38 ERA in 65 appearances out of the bullpen.
Final verdict: Somewhat accurate, but sprinkled with inconsistency.