Betts Ortiz

Drafting the Top Red Sox Moments of 2016 (So Far)

In the spirit of the NFL draft—which started yesterday, is continuing today, and will go on forever and ever, on and on, into the future never ending like the infinite space in Curt Schilling’s head—today we are having a draft. Welcome to Draft HQ and congratulations on getting through that first sentence. The Red Sox are 22 games into the season and so we are drafting the top moments of the season so far. Come with me, won’t you, to the rest of this article where we do the stuff I just said we will do. Yay!

Because this is a draft, we’re going to pick in order, with the best getting picked first and so on. I know that’s no fun but then neither are drafts. Yay let’s pick a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of and honestly have no idea about. It’s like finding a sandwich on a street corner. Sure it looks good, but has a dog peed on it or is that mustard and oil? Also, that better be catsup…

With the first pick in the draft, I select… 

David Price’s start on Opening Day.

This one is about the present but it’s also about the future, or as far into the future as this organization is capable of looking. The Red Sox signed a bonafide capital letter Ace. He picked Boston over some pretty good other organizations and now he’s here, in Boston, wearing a Red Sox uniform and a beautiful dark blue hat with a bright red B on it and he’s striking out other non-Red Sox hitters and isn’t this nice? Didn’t think this would happen, but on Opening Day we saw it with our eyes and they told us it was pretty fantastic. 

With the second pick in the draft, I select…

Any time Rick Porcello pitched because they’re all the same.

Who would have thought that Rick Porcello would be on any list of good things about the 2016 Red Sox, unless his name was followed by “…was traded for [anything] with [other team] assuming his entire contract.” And yet here we are, it’s 2016 and Rick Porcello has been good, he’s been really really good. He’s winning games, which, pitcher wins, so what, but that matters to the players. But more importantly he’s back to getting ground balls AND he’s pumped up his strikeout rate to ridiculous levels. He’s probably not going to keep striking out 30 percent of the hitters he faces (right?), but with a low walk rate, the Ks, and an increased reliance on his sinker, we’re suddenly seeing what Ben Cherington saw in Porcello when he gave him that contract extension. 

With the third pick in the draft, I select… 

Name Your Favorite David Ortiz Extra-Base Hit (currently 14 of them).

I’m feeling a bit guilty for not selecting this first overall. There’s an argument to be made that no player in the 117-year history of the Boston Red Sox means more to the franchise and the city than David Ortiz. In fact, I’m sure about the city part. You can debate value, WARP, WAR, or whatever else and it’s all legit and meaningful in and of itself, but Ortiz’s contributions to the Red Sox expand beyond those measurements. The point though, and this is the really wonderful part, is that we still have the very same David Ortiz! He’s older and slower now, though it’s not like speed was ever a big part of his game, but production-wise he’s the same guy! Know what his OPS+ was last year? 141. Know what his OPS+ was in 2004? 145. We’ve been gifted, at least for now, with a great player in his prime at age 40. Yeah, I should’ve picked this one first. 

With the fourth pick in the draft, I select…

Dustin Pedroia’s two-homer day.

It was against the Braves so it was almost like being on a rehab assignment, so there is that, but two homers in the same day is pretty glorious, even in Triple-A. Pedroia will forever be chasing his old MVP self—he’s not going to be that .325/.375/.500-hitting gold glove guy anymore—but he’s still a beauty to watch in the field and at the bat when he’s having one of those days you wish you could frame and put over the fire place, and he did against Atlanta this week. His two homers, one a grand slam off the pesky pole, offered a peek back to 2008 when a 24-year-old blew right past ‘gritty,’ where most guys his size are forced to sit, and was the best player in the American League. 

With the fifth pick in the draft, I select… 

The time it hit you that Travis Shaw might really be pretty good.

Maybe you haven’t had this moment yet. So let’s get it out of the way now. Who has been the best hitter on the 2016 Red Sox? David Ortiz? Good guess, but no. Dustin Pedroia? Nope. Mookie? Sorry, no. It’s Travis Freaking Shaw (that’s his actual middle name; look it up, I dare you). Shaw is hitting like it’s 2004 all over again and he’s handling the rigors of third base just fine. He’s never going to be a gold glover over there, but when you’re slugging .548 and getting on base over 40 percent of the time, who cares? We’re 22 games in and things can and will change, but the Red Sox keep giving Shaw opportunities and Shaw keeps killing it. The Red Sox almost never pull something out of nothing. It’s usually the reverse. This is way more fun. 

With the sixth pick in the draft, I select…

Jackie Bradley is playing Center Field. Every day.

This is one of the things I comforted myself with this off-season. The Red Sox could be good but they might not be. They’re asking a lot of their young players and they’re rolling the dice on a lot of mediocre pitching. But no matter the outcome of any of that, the Red Sox have Jackie Bradley playing center field and that is awesome. Bradley may or may not be able to hit major league pitching, but he can do this, and this, and also this. And knowing he can, it’s comforting when contemplating a season that might not go the way we want it to. At least Jackie will be out there, doing silly stuff, no matter what. 

With the seventh pick in the draft, I select… 

That time Andrew Benintendi tripled.

You can pick which one you like. There are six. Benintendi (note to self: learn how to spell that) has played 20 games with the Salem Red Sox in High-A. He’s hitting .346/.407/.642, which, what? And he has six triples. In 20 games he has six triples. I’m just going to keep writing that because what? Six triples. Twenty games. Six triples. What?

With the eighth pick in the draft, I select…

Yesterday when you looked up Steven Wright’s ERA and spat coffee all over your work computer.

Steven Wright has thrown 26 1/3 innings for the Red Sox this season. He’s given up four earned runs. That’s a 1.37 ERA! [spits coffee on your work computer for you] You’re welcome! Okay, yes, it’s bit inflated as he’s given up three unearned runs as well (his FIP is 3.10), but even so: wow! Perhaps even more amazing is he’s given up just one homer. I’m not convinced Wright is anywhere near this good (the season is a marathon not a sprint blah blah blah and things can and will change) but those 26 1/3 innings are where ever you keep innings after they’re over. No matter where they are, the Red Sox aren’t giving them back. 

With the ninth pick in the draft, I select… 

Mookie’s Opening Day.

It was a while ago so I’ll refresh your memory. Mookie homered and singled. His homer was the first of the season for Boston and resulted in the first runs scored for Boston this season. It’s also the second time in two seasons Betts has done exactly this. Betts went 2-for-4 with a homer and a single last season on Opening Day too! Mookie homers: an Opening Day tradition. 

With the tenth pick in the draft, I select…

Heath Hembree!

He strikes guys out! His hair is long! He’s walked one guy all year! His names both start with H! 

Here’s to many more happy Red Sox moments in 2016!

Photo by Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports Images

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1 comment on “Drafting the Top Red Sox Moments of 2016 (So Far)”


I’m still mad they didn’t sign Rich Hill.

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