The common perception is the Red Sox are making their first playoff appearance since 2009, and on the whole that point is valid. However, for the individual parts nothing is further from the truth. Five current members of the projected 25-man playoff roster actually participated in last year’s playoffs, and another, Shane Victorino, played in the postseason as recently as 2011 for the Phillies. While the squad isn’t swimming in October baseball experience, there are a total of seven World Series rings belonging to players floating around the Boston clubhouse: two of those are David Ortiz's ('04, '07 Red Sox) while the others were earned by Victorino (‘08 Phillies), John Lackey (‘02 Angels), Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester and Dustin Pedrioa (‘07 Red Sox).
A total of 16 current Sox have some playoff experience during their career, all with varying success. Of the nine who never appeared in October, the spotlight will shine most brightly on starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia who was traded to the Red Sox from a team, the Texas Rangers, that would go onto three straight trips to the playoffs and two to the World Series. Among those postseason neophytes the most elated has to be eight-year veteran Craig Breslow who has pitched in 654 games as a professional, 416 of which came over eight seasons in the major leagues. The left-handed relief specialist who made 58 appearances with a 1.91 ERA this season actually played for two division winners, the 2005 Padres and 2009 Twins, but did not appear in the postseason.
The sample sizes are small so comparisons and trends are to be taken with a grain of salt, however one current Red Sox player has a career .500 on-base percentage and .857 career postseason slugging percentage. Another newcomer for 2013 is out-slugging David Ortiz by 20 points. One reliever has an ERA of zero in three games, while two other members of the staff sport double-digit career postseason ERAs. Who are they? Here’s a breakdown of the projected 25-man roster and how each has performed during their postseason careers (from most-to-least experienced).
- David Ortiz, designated hitter: 7 seasons of playoffs, 289 plate appearances, 12 home runs, 47 RBIs, .283 avg./.388 OBP/.520 SLG, two World Series. Last playoff series: 2009 ALDS.
- Shane Victorino, outfielder: 5 seasons, 198 PA, 6 home runs, 30 RBIs, 8 stolen bases, .269/.338/.446, two World Series. Last playoff series: 2011 NLDS (Phillies).
- Mike Napoli, first baseman: five seasons, 110 PA, 5 home runs, 19 RBIs, 1 stolen base, .272/.373/.457. Last playoff series: 2012 ALWC (Rangers)
- John Lackey, starting pitcher, five seasons, 14 games, 3-4 record, 3.12 ERA, 1.33 whip, 3.00 K/BB, one World Series appearance. Last playoff series: 2009 ALCS (Angels)
- David Ross, catcher, four seasons, 8 PA, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, .429/.500/.857. Last playoff series: 2012 NLWC (Braves)
- Dustin Pedroia, second baseman, three seasons, 132 PA, 5 home runs, 18 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, .252/.344/.461, one World Series appearance. Last playoff series: 2009 ALDS
- Jacoby Ellsbury, outfielder, three season, 77 PA, 11 RBIs, five stolen bases, .261/.316/.391, one World Series appearance. Last playoff series: 2009 ALDS
- Jon Lester, starting pitcher, three seasons, 8 games, 2-3 record, 2.57 ERA, 1.12 whip, 3.14 K/BB, one World Series appearance. Last playoff series: 2009 ALDS
- Stephen Drew, shortstop, two seasons, 53 PA, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 1 stolen base, .320/.358/.540. Last playoff series: 2012 ALDS (Athletics)
- Jonny Gomes, outfielder, two seasons, 7 PA, 0-for-7. Last playoff series: 2012 ALDS (Athletics)
- Jake Peavy, pitcher, two seasons, 2 games, 0-2 record, 12.10 ERA, 2.38 whip, 1.25 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2006 NLDS (Padres)
- Koji Uehara, closer, two seasons, 4 games, no record, 19.29 ERA, 3.00 whip, 2.00 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2012 ALWC (Rangers)
- Franklin Morales, pitcher, two seasons, 8 games, no record, 7.82 ERA, 1.74 whip, 1.00 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2009 NLDS (Rockies)
- Ryan Dempster, pitcher, two seasons, 2 games, 0-1 record, 6.35 ERA, 1.94 whip, 0.57 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2008 NLDS (Cubs)
- Matt Thornton, pitcher, one season, 3 games, no record, 0.00 ERA, 1.20 whip 1.00 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2008 ALDS (White Sox)
- Clay Buchholz, starting pitcher, 1 game, no record, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 whip, 3.00 K/BB. Last playoff series: 2009 ALDS
- No experience in the postseason: Xander Bogaerts, Craig Breslow, Mike Carp, Felix Doubront, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman.
Follow David Sabino on Twitter @SabinoSports for sports stats, facts, figures, trivia and fantasy advise.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.