Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red Sox 2016 POY: Mookie Betts

The Boston Red Sox finished 93-69, recovering from back-to-back last place finishes to win the American League East Division crown.
The BoSox were quickly swept out of the American League Division Series in three straight games by the eventual pennant-winning Cleveland Indians, with two of the three decided by a single run. 
While manager John Farrell and his team were disappointed in the postseason ending, this was a big year for a number of young players who are paving the way for future Boston success.

Red Sox 2016 Statistical Leaders

One of those youngsters was 23-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He hit .294 with a .356 on-base percentage, producing 21 homers, 89 RBI, and 115 runs scored.
26-year-old center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of the best defenders in the game today. This year he stepped up his offensive contributions with 26 home runs, 87 RBI, and 94 runs scored.
26-year-old third baseman Travis Shawchipped in with 16 homers and 71 RBI. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi is just 21 years old. He hit .295 with a .359 on-base percentage, roping 11 doubles while producing 14 RBI and 16 runs scored in just 118 plate appearances. He retains rookie eligibility for the 2017 season.
A trio of veterans produced big numbers for Boston this season. Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia manned the right side of the field, while David Ortiz wound down his possible Hall of Famer career with a final big year.
Ramirez hit .286/.361/.505 with 30 homers, 28 doubles, 111 RBI, and 81 runs scored. Pedroia hit .318 with a .376 on-base percentage. He cracked 15 homers and 36 doubles with 74 RBI and 105 runs scored.
Big Papi hit for a .315 average and led the club with a .401 on-base percentage, .620 slugging percentage, 38 home runs, 127 RBI, 48 doubles, and a 1.021 OPS.

Red Sox Pitching Also Produced

On the mound, Rick Porcello won the AL Cy Young Award. He went 22-9 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.009 WHIP. He allowed 193 hits over 223 innings with a 189/32 K:BB ratio.
Veteran David Price won 17 games while leading the staff with 35 starts, 230 innings pitched, and 228 strikeouts. Steven Wright went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA, allowing just 138 hits in 156.2 innings with 127 strikeouts.
Closer Craig Kimbrel once again dominated as he registered 31 saves. Kimbrel allowed just 28 hits in 53 innings over 57 games with an 83/30 K:BB ratio.

Betts Is the Best

The top player this season for the BoSox was young right fielder Mookie Betts. Playing the season as a 23-year-old (he turned 24 last month), Betts hit for a .318/.363/.534 slash line. Betts was second on the club with 31 homers and 113 RBI, and led the squad with 42 doubles, 122 runs scored, and 26 stolen bases.
For his outstanding season, Betts was a first-time AL All-Star. He also won his first Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. He also finished as a solid runner-up in the AL MVP voting to Mike Trout.
Back in mid-August, Scott Lauber of ESPN quoted Boston reliever Robbie Ross after a typical Betts 2016 performance.
“He’s just got hands. Sometimes that’s all you need. Sometimes you need all the muscle and everything, but it’s just about connecting and gliding with that baseball…it’s the guys who are quiet and don’t try and hit for a massive amount of power that hit it in the upper deck, guys who stay through it and let the bat do the work. He’s throwing his hands through it, and it’s just jumping off his bat. It’s awesome.”
Betts underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last week, but is expected to be ready for 2017 Spring Training. For the 2016 season, Mookie Betts was the Boston Red Sox Player of the Year.

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