Valentine lauded reliever Andrew Miller, who has had a break-out year in the Boston bullpen.
Miller is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA while limiting opposing hitters to a .191 batting average. He's also stranded 37-of-42 inherited runners, good for an 88.1 success rate, third-best among American League relievers.
"I think Andrew's developed into a terrific pitcher," said Valentine. "I think he started in a very questionable place and now has a very secure foot-hold on being able to compete at the major league level. I think he can be a dominating force in the bullpen."
Lefties are hitting just .134 (11-for-82) off Miller this season and he's registered 47 strikeouts in 38 13 innings and has held opponents scoreless in 40 of his 49 appearances.
"He can be very proud of his development," said Valentine. "And he's still developing. He's working on a two-seam changeup to righthanders that I will think will put him a little over the edge next year, into another
Miller has had some difficulty with righties, who have hit him at a .278 clip. Hence, the work on the changeup to give him another weapon when facing righties.
The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.
In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal.
"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."
After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.
"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."
The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.
"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."
Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning? Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.