For the third time in the last four years, Boston finished in last place in 2015. Much of the reason was the disappointing performances of three expensive acquisitions. There was a glimmer of hope though as the team continued to bring up exciting young players from the minors.
FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
At age 39, David Ortiz put together one of his best seasons in years. Ortiz hit .273/.360/.553 with 37 home runs and 108 RBIs. Ortiz played in 146 games, his most since 2011, and had his most home runs in a season since he hit 54 way back in 2005.
After a disappointing first full season in 2014 that did see him improve as the season went on, Bogaerts proved why he was Boston's top prospect prior to that season. He won the Silver Slugger Award after finishing second in the batting race at .320 and drove in 81 runs. Bogaerts was a little lacking in home run power, but did contribute 35 doubles.
Mookie emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league in 2015 by hitting .291/.341/.479 while blasting 18 home runs and stealing 21 bases. He also racked up 42 doubles and eight triples while mostly hitting out of the leadoff spot for Boston. He was also an excellent defensive outfielder and made one of the best catches of the year nearly tumbling over the bullpen fence to catch the last out of a win for Rich Hill.
Despite playing in just 93 games, Pedroia proved that he still had something left in 2015 by hitting 12 home runs, his most since 2012. He did not steal many bases, but his slash line was a good .291/.356/.441.
Koji was in his third season with the Red Sox in 2015. At 40 years old, Koji was still very impressive, though he slipped a bit toward the end of the season and had to be shut down for the season. He was 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA and saved 25 games. He walked nine and struck out 47 in 40.1 innings.
It was another injury-plagued year for Buchholz, but when he was healthy, he was very good. Unfortunately Buchholz is either good but unhealthy, or healthy and bad. Buchholz was 7-7, but with a 3.26 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings.
For about two months, Bradley was one of the best hitters in the game. He was a terrific defensive player, and finally began to prove his worth with the bat. For the season he hit .249/.335/.498 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in 74 games.
Holt was Boston's lone All Star in 2015. The utility man extraordinaire played every position except pitcher and catcher for the Red Sox in 2015. Holt was a decent hitter, without much power, and a very good defensive player no matter where he played. Holt hit .280/.349/.379 with just two home runs. One of those home runs though came on a day when Holt hit for the cycle.
One of the few new acquisitions who actually performed to expectations, Miley led the team in wins and innings pitched. Miley was not a great pitcher, but he was not expected to be. He was brought in to be an inning eater, and he performed that function admirably. He finished 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 193.2 innings.
FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
Alejandro De Aza
The Red Sox outfield got a little bit of a boost when De Aza was brought in. He started off hot but did eventually cool down and was traded away. But Boston did not make a lot of deals during the season, so De Aza kind of wins this by default. He hit .292/.347/.484 and hit five triples in short work.
In 2014, Boston traded lefty reliever Andrew Miller to Baltimore. Their return was Eduardo Rodriguez, who was a highly touted southpaw. Rodriguez was called up to Boston for the first time in 2015 and performed well. He finished the season at 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA. He looks like a terrific bet to be a solid number two in Boston.
After Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan went down with injuries, Boston was forced to rush top prospect Swihart to the Majors to catch. He experienced growing pains, but ultimately put together a pretty decent season, hitting .274/.319/.392 with five home runs and 31 RBIs in 84 games.
Shaw quietly put together an impressive power display in Boston, hitting 13 home runs in just 65 games. He was one of Boston's best hitters down the stretch and ensured that he would be in the mix for a role in Boston in 2016.
One of two high-priced free agent signings, Ramirez was moved from the infield to left field to accommodate fellow new signee Pablo Sandoval and young shortstop Xander Bogaerts. For the first month, he was hitting well, but then he crashed into a wall making a play and he was never the same. He was a disaster in the field and only hit .249/.291/.426 with 19 home runs. Almost all of that production occurred in April.
As bad as Ramirez was, Sandoval was worse. He was also terrible in the field and pretty much useless at the plate, He hit just .245/.292/.366 with just ten home runs and 47 RBIs.
The Red Sox traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers for Porcello after signing Ramirez and Sandoval. They might have been better off keeping Cespedes. Porcello, despite occasional flashes of brilliance, was inconsistent and subject to getting hit hard. He was better after an injury and a brief stint in the minors and finished the season 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.