Displeased with Triston Casas’ defensive issues this season, the Red Sox are zeroing in on making him a better defender, first and foremost.
The Boston Red Sox have concocted a plan to retain Triston Casas as an integral piece of the roster: make him a better first baseman. Simple in theory, but difficult in execution.
So far this season, Casas has been batting .200 with a .692 OPS and has seven homers along with 19 RBIs. It’s clear his offensive production could use a facelift, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora wants to start with improving his defense first.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox revealed a slightly different defensive alignment in which veteran Justin Turner started at first base instead of Casas.
Cora told The Athletic (subscription required) that he doesn’t want to send Casas to Triple-A for extra reps; instead, Red Sox coaches are going to help Casas polish his glovework throughout the season.
“You give yourself a chance to win games (by) catching the baseball. We went with our best defensive alignment [on Tuesday]. It’s not that we’ve given up on Triston, but we’ve got to keep working with him because he needs to be better, too.”
Red Sox want to turn Triston Casas into a defensive star
One Red Sox coach even told Triston Casas he was capable of winning a Gold Glove in his career, but not at this rate.
In 2023, Casas has recorded three errors and graded at minus-6 defensive runs saved and minus-4 outs above average in 51 appearances, and the Red Sox can’t stress enough how they want more consistency and effort out of him on the field.
The club has already begun changing some of Casas’ pregame training, such as adding extra agility drills and having him focus on perfecting his defense on routine plays.
Again, Casas’ defense isn’t the only issue hounding the first baseman in 2023. The 23-year-old hasn’t lived up to his billing as one of baseball’s top offensive prospects when he arrived in Boston last year, and his batting percentages have only marginally improved from Year 1 to Year 2.
Yet given what the Red Sox coaches have emphasized about Casas’ areas for improvement, Boston may be starting Justin Turner over Casas because the club believes Turner is a better defender. If Casas wants the first baseman job back, he knows what he has to do.