Sunday, November 20, 2016

Season in Review: 2016

The Red Sox went from last place in 2014 and 2015 to first place in the AL East in 2016.  Unfortunately they did not make it far, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Cleveland Indians in three straight games.

David Ortiz
Ortiz announced at the beginning of the season that 2016 would be his last.  But unlike other players in their final seasons, Ortiz went out with a bang.  He led the Majors in doubles, slugging, and OPS, and led the AL in doubles.  He hit 38 home runs with 127 RBIs and a slash line of .315/.401/.620.  In his final season, Ortiz was an All Star, won the Silver Slugger, and the Hank Aaron Award for best hitter in the league.  His number will be retired.

Mookie Betts
Betts emerged as one of the best players in the game in 2016.  He finished second in the AL MVP vote to Mike Trout and was elected to start the All Star Game for the first time.  He also won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards and was named the Top Defensive Player in the Game.  He hit .318/.363/.534 with 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, and had 214 hits.

Rick Porcello
After a rough first season in Boston, Porcello proved to be worthy of his contract in a big way by shockingly winning the AL Cy Young Award, the first Red Sox pitcher to do so since Pedro Martinez in 2000 and only the fourth Red Sox pitcher overall.  A large part of that was Porcello's ML-leading 22 wins against just four losses.  Porcello was also in the top five in WHIP, innings pitched, complete games, and ERA while striking out 189.

Xander Bogaerts
Despite a second half slump, Bogaerts won his second Silver Slugger Award while also being named a starter on the All Star team.  Bogaerts had a 25-game hitting streak early in the season which was not actually the longest for the team.  He hit .294/.356/.446 with 21 home runs, 89 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases.

Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley proved that his late-season surge in 2015 was not a fluke, but that he was just an incredibly streaky player.  He had the Majors longest hitting streak in 2016 with a 29 gamer.  He was also elected to start the All Star game.  Despite his own late-season slump, JBJ hit .267/.349/.486 with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs.  He led the team in triples with seven and played his typical great defense.

Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia had his best season in years as he hit .318/.376/.449 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs while also playing terrific defense.  He proved he is not washed up yet after a couple of down seasons sapped his power.  He does not run as often as he used, nor is he as fast (he stole just seven bases), but other aspects of his game are just as good.  He also had his second 200 hit season of his career.

Steven Wright
The knuckle-baller stuck in the Majors for the entire season for the first time in his career.  He was the team's most consistent starter at the beginning of the season and worked his way into an All Star berth.  Unfortunately injuries cut short his season but he was 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 156.2 innings.

Hanley Ramirez
After a disastrous first season back where his career began, Hanley Ramirez became one of the top power hitters on the team.  He was passable at first base after being one of the worst defensive players in the game in left field.  He had a terrific stretch run that led him to an overall slash line of .286/.361/.505 with 30 home runs and 111 RBIs.  His 30th home run on the last day of the season gave Boston three hitters with 30 home runs.

David Price
He did not have the season that was hoped for when he was awarded a huge free agent contract, but Price's final numbers were nothing to sneeze at.  He ended up 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA and racked up 228 strikeouts in 230 innings.  His strikeout number is a new team record for a southpaw.  

Craig Kimbrel
Boston's other big-name acquisition struggled with command at times, but otherwise proved why he is one of the top closers in the game.  He was an All Star for the fifth time in his career and ended up with 31 saves and 83 strikeouts in 53 innings.  His ERA was a little high though at 3.40 and he walked 30.

Brad Ziegler
The side-arming former closer was picked up in a trade with the Diamondbacks for a couple of low-level prospects.  Ziegler was a reliable arm down the stretch as he pitched to a 1.52 ERA in 29.2 innings.  He struck out 31 and picked up four saves though he was typically used in a setup role.

Drew Pomeranz
It was a controversial trade, and Pomeranz was not the same pitcher he had been in the first half of the season, but he will likely help solidify the rotation for a few more years.  Pomeranz's record was just 3-5 and his ERA was a disappointing 4.59 but he showed flashes of brilliance and struck out 71 batters in 68.2 innings.

Andrew Benintendi
Not many rookies played for Boston for any meaningful amount of time, and Benintendi is not much of an exception as he will not lose rookie status until some time next season.  But Benintendi was terrific in his short time in Boston, hitting .295/.359/.476 with two home runs, 11 doubles, and 14 RBIs.  He also became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run in the postseason.  He is an early favorite for 2017 Rookie of the Year.  

Blake Swihart
He was the starting catcher on Opening Day after a promising season in 2015, but Swihart struggled on defense and was eventually sent to the minors for some more seasoning.  He was groomed to play left field, where Boston struggled to find a fit and came back to the team to play left, but suffered a season-ending injury after playing just 19 games in the Majors.  He will be given another chance at catcher in 2017.

Travis Shaw
After a fast start to the season, Shaw slumped badly and was not able to get back on track.  He struggled defensively early in the season after moving from first to third full-time.  Shaw has a lot of power and hit 16 home runs with 34 doubles and 71 RBIs, but his slash line was just .242/.306/.421.  He heads into the 2017 season as one of several options at third base.

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