FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
What is there really to say about Betts's season? He was the AL MVP and won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. He became just the second Red Sox player to join the 30/30 club, hitting 32 home runs and stealing 30 bases. He is the first Red Sox player to win the batting title (.346) since Bill Mueller in 2003. It was an absolutely incredible season for the leadoff hitter. The only criticism is that he struggled in the postseason.
For the second straight season, Sale looked like the best pitcher in the league until the last month or so of the season when injuries slowed him down. Sale had to settle for fourth in the AL Cy Young vote and did not pitch enough innings to even qualify for the ERA title. As it was, Sale turned in another terrific season, going 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and striking out 237 while walking 34 in just 158 innings.
This was the breakout season we have all been waiting for from Bogaerts. He has had good seasons in the past, but he truly reached expectations in 2018 by hitting .288/.360/.522 and crushing 23 home runs. He knocked in over 100 runs for the first time, finishing second on the team with 103. He also hit 45 doubles. Bogaerts was steady in the field, but not exceptional.
Benintendi had a year very similar to his rookie season. It was very good, just not quite the step forward that people were expecting. As it was, he was somewhat overshadowed by his more famous teammates, though he did hit .290/.366/.465. His home runs were down to 16, but he did drive in 87 runs, stole 21 bases, and hit 41 doubles and six triples.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
JBJ really struggled at the plate in the first half of the season, but came on strong in the second half. He did continue to play outstanding defense and won his first Gold Glove Award. He hit just .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs. He also stole 17 bases. Bradley was the ALCS MVP despite having just three hits. But each of those hits was huge.
While Sale was down with a shoulder injury, David Price carried the team on his back. He started the season somewhat unevenly but went on a massive hot streak for a significant portion of the year. That allowed Price to finish with a record of 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA. He struck out 177 batters and walked 50 in 176 innings. Price saved his best for the postseason.
One of these years E-Rod is really going to break out. This felt like the season until he suffered some injuries. As it was, he finished with a record of 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA. He struck out 146 and walked 45 in 129.2 innings. He had a great, gutsy performance in World Series Game 4.
The utility man extraordinaire had one of his best seasons in 2018. He provided his typical versatility, mostly playing second base. He had a late-season power surge that allowed him to finish with a line of .277/.362/.411 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs. Holt became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game when he did the deed in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Who else could it be? Martinez signed late in the offseason and provided the kind of production at DH that Red Sox fans came to expect from David Ortiz. He challenged for the Triple Crown at one point, but ended up only leading the league in RBIs (130). He came in second in batting average (.330) and home runs (43). He won the Hank Aaron Award and two Silver Sluggers, something that has never been done before.
FAVORITE MID-SEASON ACQUISITIONS
Acquired in a June trade with the Blue Jays, Pearce did what he does best: crush lefties. Pearce had an epic game against the Yankees when he hit three home runs against them. For the Red Sox, he hit .279/.394/.507 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs.
Eovaldi was picked up in a trade with the Rays, the first major trade those two teams have ever completed. He immediately helped stabilize the rotation and in particular did some damage against the Yankees. He pitched in 12 games for the Red Sox and was 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA and struck out 48 while walking 12 in 54 innings.
Brasier came into the season as a complete unknown. The 30 year old had not pitched in the Majors since 2013. He quickly came to be one of the most important members of the bullpen though. He pitched in 34 games in relief and finished with a 2-0 record and a 1.60 ERA. He struck out 29 and walked seven in 33.1 innings.
After a terrific rookie season, Devers experienced some growing pains in 2018. He struggled defensively at third base, and had a rough season at the plate. He still displayed flashes of the player he could become however. Devers hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Pomeranz was terrific in 2017, not so much in 2018. He struggled with injuries for most of the season and was ineffective when he was on the mound. After winning 17 games in 2017, he was just 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA. He struck out 66, but walked 44 in 74 innings.
Well obviously I am going to start out with the World Series MVP. Pearce hit .333/.500/1.167 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Two of those home runs were in the clinching Game 5. He became a folk hero in Boston this postseason.
Nathan EovaldiEovaldi was lights-out in the post-season. He was also willing to do whatever was asked of him, starting games in the ALDS and ALCS and appearing in relief in four more games across the postseason. All told, he pitched 22.1 innings with a 1.61 ERA, winning two games and notching two holds. He struck out 16 and walked just three. His biggest moment was pitching seven innings in relief in Game 3 of the World Series. Though he ended up losing the game, he managed to keep it close and saved David Price from having to come in. Which brings us to...
It has always been a criticism that David Price did not perform well in the postseason, so much that he was called one of the worst postseason pitchers of all time. After Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees, it was looking like more of the same. But then Price pitched reasonably well against the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS. And then he turned in three straight fantastic starts against the Astros and Dodgers, even winning the clinching game of the World Series. Price is no longer a postseason joke.