Over the last week, as we try to pass the excruciatingly long final few days of spring training, we’ve been voting on some superlatives to watch for over the regular season. In case you missed them, you can find them here.
- Team MVP
- Best Pitcher
- Defensive Wizard
- Biggest Surprise
- Biggest Disappointment
- Unsung Hero
- Best Clutch Performer
- Best Hair
We’ve counted the votes, and everyone on staff has made their own picks. Here were the results.
|MVP||Andrew Benintendi||Chris Sale||Mookie Betts||Mookie Betts||Hanley Ramirez||Mookie Betts|
|Best Pitcher||Chris Sale||Chris Sale||Joe Kelly||Chris Sale||Chris Sale||Chris Sale|
|Defensive Wizard||Jackie Bradley||Jackie Bradley||Jackie Bradley Jr.||Jackie Bradley||Jackie Bradley||Jackie Bradley|
|Biggest Surprise||Sandy Leon||Xander Bogaerts||Joe Kelly||Sam Travis||Pablo Sandoval||Pablo Sandoval|
|Biggest Disappointment||Joe Kelly||Rick Porcello||Chris Sale||Drew Pomeranz||David Price||Drew Pomeranz|
|Unsung Hero||Chris Young||Carson Smith||Eduardo Rodriguez||Marco Hernandez||Mitch Moreland||Mitch Moreland|
|Best Clutch Performer||Mookie Betts||Andrew Benintendi||Hanley Ramirez||Dustin Pedroia||Mookie Betts||Mookie Betts|
|Best Hair||Andrew Benintendi||Dustin Pedroia||Robbie Ross||Hanley Ramirez||Andrew Benintendi||Andrew Benintendi|
Not a major surprise here, as Mookie Betts ran away with the community vote and was the only player with multiple votes from staff members. It makes sense considering he was second place in MVP voting for the whole damn American League a year ago, and he’s still just 24. Personally, I voted for Andrew Benintendi. That was, due to a few reasons. For one, I wanted to be different. I thought everyone would vote for Betts, and that’s kinda boring. Secondly, baseball is weird. Weirder things have happened than Benintendi being the best player on the Red Sox in 2017. Finally, people only remember bold predictions when you’re right, and I crave your praises. Still, Betts is the safer choice, of course.
Again, this one was not hard to predict. Even I couldn’t bring myself away from the pack. Chris Sale dominated the community poll, and would have had a clean sweep if it wasn’t for Mike choosing Joe Kelly. The hell, Mike?
I was a little surprised by how lopsided this one was, but I probably shouldn’t have been. In the original post, I mentioned just how many elite defensive players this team has. Mookie Betts is a Gold Glove winner, Christian Vazquez is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, Dustin Pedroia has been an elite defensive second baseman forever, Mitch Moreland is a former Gold Glove winner. In the end, no one can beat Jackie Bradley, though. He swept the category including a runaway victory in the community polling.
This is where things get a little more interesting. As a staff, we all picked different names. I picked Sandy Leon, and if you read this site often enough you basically know how I feel about him. The winner of the community vote — and also Jake’s pick — was Pablo Sandoval. This isn’t a huge shock, given the spring we’ve seen from him. I won’t be completely sold until I see him do it in real games, but the last six weeks or so have been hugely encouraging.
Just like the biggest surprise category, this one had different answers from each staff member. Oddly enough, all of the answers — including the community voting winner — were pitchers. Perhaps that’s not odd, given how the staff’s performance has been in camp compared to the lineup’s. I chose Joe Kelly, because I will always be worried about Joe Kelly even if he wins the next ten Cy Youngs. Drew Pomeranz took the community vote, and that’s looking like a more solid choice after the lefty hit the disabled list on Thursday.
This was kind of a hard one, since it’s difficult to know how people will feel about certain players, never mind figuring out who will be good. Given that, it’s not surprising to see that once again the entire staff had different answers. I went with Chris Young, because at the very least I think he’ll be a strong platoon partner and those players can always be underrated. The community, along with Jake, voted for Mitch Moreland. That is also a good point, as no one appreciates good defensive first basemen and there’s the added wrinkle of him also (probably) being a platoon player.
Best Clutch Performer
If you thought the Unsung Hero category would be difficult, this one was nearly impossible. Whether or not clutch is a real, repeatable trait, the idea of clutch hits is very real. Trying to predict who will get them is not easy. Me, Jake and the community as a whole all agreed Mookie Betts is the right choice here. We don’t know who will get the most opportunities in important situations, so it’s safe to just go with the best hitter.
This was the most important category, and I’m glad you made the right decision. Andrew Benintendi clearly has the best hair on the Red Sox, and you all agreed. On the other hand, it’s a crime that Josh Rutledge only got one vote. Finally, 16 of you plus Bryan voted for Dustin Pedroia. This was a test, and you failed. You are all banned effective immediately.