When Matt Collins used Out of the Park Baseball to simulate the 2017 season, I knew right away what my response had to be. It had to be to do a simulation with the superior game, MLB 17 the Show (which was released on Tuesday, and played extensively until the time of this article).
There are a few notes I have to explain first, before I get into the meat of the simulation:
- If a player hasn’t played in an MLB game, they will not be included in the default roster set. It’s a licensing thing. So no mid-season Sam Travis call-up.
- If a player has played in an MLB game, but didn’t pitch in the majors in 2016, there’s a chance they won’t be in the game. Additionally, even if a player “did” pitch in 2016, for one reason or another, they might not be in the game. Kyle Kendrick stands out as a player who will be missing from the Sox roster in MLB the Show.
- I did 30-team control and set ALL of the actions, be it injuries, trades, free agency signings, management, lineup construction... you name it, to automatic, meaning that there was zero interference from me. I would stop simulating to look at numbers, but otherwise, I let the game run itself.
- I simulated two full seasons. I will cover 2017 in depth (and tl;dr warning, this is going to be an enormous post), and then very very little from 2018. I remember these two seasons pretty well, so if you have a question, I might have an answer. But don’t bet on it.
- This is a simulation, but there are going to be silly inconsistencies that are already proven false. For example, the Red Sox go with a totally different solution at catcher, and trade away a utility player for a starting pitcher they use out of the bullpen, and rarely at that.
- This is a fun exercise, so let’s try to remember that.
Spring Training 2017
Entering Spring Training, the 2017 Red Sox had ridiculously high expectations, even with David Ortiz retiring. With the trades for Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg, and the vote of confidence in Mitch Moreland, the Sox would head to Fort Myers with every belief they could win the World Series.
Notable Red Sox in ST
Dustin Pedroia - .247/.316/.337
Xander Bogaerts - .310/.351/.529
Mookie Betts - .186/.245/.384
Chris Sale – 5.26 ERA/1.49 WHIP
Joe Kelly 0.77 ERA/1.46 WHIP
David Price – 5.58 ERA/1.43 WHIP
2017 Regular Season
So with Spring Training over and done with, the Red Sox notably had a few concerns. Sale was not sharp, and neither was Price. Mookie had a terrible spring that was so uncharacteristically bad, that people were whispering whether he had actually been kidnapped in the off-season.
They would open the season in earnest against the Pirates, though, with a clean slate.
For the Red Sox, Chris Sale was reliable, hopefully proving his spring was just a fluke. Going 6.1 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 ER, while striking out 8, Sale was what the Red Sox were expecting. Tyler Thornburg would put give up a HR to Andrew McCutchen (who did HR twice in the game) and that would be the extent of the Pirates scoring. Fernando Abad and Craig Kimbrel would close the door, and give the Sox a 5-3 victory. The bigger story though, was Jackie Bradley Jr coming out of the gates swinging. He homered twice, and Moreland brought one of his own. Andrew Benintendi would be hit by a stray Gerrit Cole pitch, supposedly, no idea if it was intentional. Mookie, Benintendi, and Swihart (who somehow won the OD job!) would be the only hitless Red Sox.
The Red Sox would struggle out of the gate. After 10 games they were only 3-7, with Chris Sale’s third start in the rotation coming around. Needing a huge statement game to kip up the team, Chris Sale would fire a shutout against the Rays (4 hits, 2 walks, and 12 strikeouts). In Sale’s fourth start (and the team’s 16th game overall), he would fire another shutout, this time against the Blue Jays. This one would be less pretty, as he would allow 6 hits and a walk, and only strikeout 7, but he would give the tired Boston pen another day off, and quickly become the team’s favorite pitcher. His spring may have been awful, but he certainly showed up for the regular season.
The Red Sox would close out April at 15-10, mainly behind Chris Sale’s dominant pitching. After the 3-7 start, they would go 12-3 the rest of the month with only one of the losses being a total blowout (April 29th against the Cubs, they would lose 10-0, after Pomeranz and Wright combined for 8 innings, 11 hits, 8 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 6 ER. Timely errors by Xander Bogaerts would allow 4 unearned runs).
At this point in the season, some interesting players were put on the Trade Block (I like to believe that these players get pages on MLBTR). The Red Sox placed Drew Pomeranz on the block.
May had been rather uneventful, through the midpoint of the month. Outside of a near cycle by Mitch Moreland (who apparently finished a triple short of the cycle), it had been business as usual for the Red Sox.
But on May 16th, the Red Sox would make a controversial trade that the Red Sox fan base hated instantly. The Sox would trade Brock Holt to the rival Baltimore Orioles for… Chris Tillman. At the time of the trade, Holt was hitting .323/.368/.515, with 4 home runs. Tillman, on the other hand had 47.2 IP, 15 BB, 30 Ks, a 3.40 ERA, and a 1.20 WHIP to his name, and was actually moved to the bullpen, due to just not having a role in an Orioles rotation that had decided Dylan Bundy’s 5.80 ERA was not a big deal, and worth working through. Holt would become the Orioles DH against right-handed pitching, and their starting second baseman against lefties (which would lead to Jonathan Schoop becoming a platoon player). Tillman would slot in as the Sox second long man, alongside Steven Wright. At the time of the trade, the Sox were 23-16. So if the Sox start to nose-dive, we’ll know who to blame.
After the disaster trade, Moreland would flirt with a cycle yet again! Again needing just a triple, he would fall “just” short of history (he would do this a few more times, at that). He would settle for a home-run (his second of the game), however, extending the Sox lead to 12-1. This got me curious as to how Moreland was playing in mid-May… and he had a .292/.333/.619 line, with 10 HR in 44 games.
The Red Sox would finish May with a 33-20 record, which would give them a 4.5 game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays, and keep them solidly in the postseason hunt in the early goings. Meanwhile, Triple-A catcher Christian Vazquez (?) would find himself sidelined, probably ending his chances of being a real contender to help the major league club.
1st Year Player Draft
The month starts with the first year player draft. While none of these players are real, I felt compelled to simulate anyways. The first overall pick (to the Twins) is a reliever named Andres Quevedo, a 21 year old fireballer from Venezuela. Standing 6’5, and weighing in at 225 pounds, there is the expectation that he will make it to the majors quicker than most in the draft class, and become the next in a line of fast moving, unhittable pitchers.
The Red Sox would make their first pick at #24, taking Lawrence Paris, an 18 year old relief prospect, who had grown up watching the Red Sox from his home in Massachusetts. He has a low ceiling, but a high floor. What is most intriguing about his status is his pitch repertoire. He boasts a solid running fastball, changeup, slider, AND curveball. Having the ability to throw two innings at a time, and impeccable control for a prospect, there is the feeling that he will eventually become the type of reliever the Sox will be grateful to have, especially in a post-Robbie Ross/Heath Hembree world.
The other draft picks by the Sox would be Jack Crozier (a 21 year old right-fielder with a super high floor, but a super low ceiling – big power, especially), Ronald Acosta (a 19 year old CF from Cuba, with no ceiling or floor, a total headscratcher by the Boston front office), Nick Dotson (22 year old PA born third baseman, who is known for his slick fielding, but little else), Ricky Carter (22 year old from MS, with major control issues), and Willy Cardenas (21 year old first baseman from Vermont with a lot of power). In all, it was a very weak draft by the Red Sox.
In the first game of June, Swihart would be the next player to threaten for the cycle, again, needing the triple (would merely end up as a single according to the box score).
On June 3rd the Red Sox would make another trade, this time, trading a minor league second baseman of no import to the Reds for catcher Tucker Barnhart. I didn’t quite get it, because Swihart and Leon were being plenty serviceable, and Barnhart wasn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball (defensively, he would be an upgrade over Swihart, but not by a ton).
On June 16th, Mitch Moreland would accomplish the greatest feat on the Red Sox to date, he would walk away from a game against the Astros with three home runs. He might not be Big Papi, but he is providing more than his fair share of pop.
June would end up being a huge month for the Red Sox, taking their record from 33-20 to 54-27, going 21-7 for the month, and distancing themselves from the rest of the AL East pretty handily. The second place Rays would languish below .500, at 14.5 games out of first. The Orioles, who have been doing silly things all year are in last where they belong.
The Red Sox would do a semi-major trade of their own before the all-star break, moving two relief prospects to the Twins for Drew Stubbs. They approach the break at 59-30, on pace for a really special season.
The following would be the lineups for the AL and NL
LF – Mookie Betts 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
DH – Xander Bogaerts CF – Charlie Blackmon
RF – JD Martinez DH – Joey Votto
1B – Edwin Encarnacion SS – Corey Seager
SS – Troy Tulowitzki 3B – Nolan Arenado
C – Gary Sanchez RF – Bryce Harper
3B – Adrian Beltre C – Buster Posey
2B – Ian Kinsler 2B – Daniel Murphy
CF – Carlos Gomez LF – Yoenis Cespedes
SP – Chris Sale SP – Madison Bumgarner
AL Bench – Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers, Danny Duffy, Luis Severino, Edwin Diaz, Zach McAllister, Francisco Rodriguez, Ken Giles, Cody Allen, Kelvin Herrera, Zach Britton, Corey Dickerson, Stephen Vogt, Welington Castillo, Jose Abreu, Brian Dozier, Kyle Seager, Yunel Escobar, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Jackie Bradley Jr, Rajai Davis
NL Bench – Max Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, Noah Syndergaard, Johnny Cueto, Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Maurer, Carl Edwards Jr. Shawn Kelley, Tony Watson, Seung Hwan Oh, Mark Melancon, J.T. Realmuto, Jett Bandy, Brandon Phillips, Maikel Franco, Aledmys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte, Brandon Belt, Jay Bruce, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Heyward, Christian Yelich
The American League would beat the National League, 3-0, behind two innings of Sale (who is named player of the game, after striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced). The NL would only muster three hits all game, one off Verlander, one off Giles, and one off McAllister. The AL would get a home run from Mookie Betts off of Madison Bumgarner to lead off the game, and that was that.
Return to the Regular Season
With the All-Star game in the past, there was a regular season to get back to. Immediately after the break, the White Sox would claim Robby Scott (who the Red Sox had DFA’d at some point, without so much as giving him a chance to play), and assign him to AA.
The Sox July was very mixed. There were times they looked nigh unbeatable, like a stretch where they swept the Blue Jays, but they also had weeks where they looked lost, like when they had to hustle to avoid being swept by the Rangers and Mariners. Their record at the end of July, going into the final stages of the season, was 69-38, meaning a 15-11 month was the end result. It could obviously go way worse, but it’s a bit of a letdown compared to their June. They would remain 17 games up on the second place Rays, so it’s not a big deal.
To start off August, Jackie Bradley Jr would give the Sox a win with a walk-off base hit (after homering earlier in the game), their first walk-off win of the season. Midway through August, Sale would get into post-season form, with his third shutout of 2017, this time against the New York Yankees (for those keeping track at home, the only AL East team Sale hasn’t shut out in 2017 is the Orioles), going for only 4 hits, 1 walk, and 10 strikeouts. Then, just two days later, trying to sweep the Yankees, the Sox were down 3-2 with Chapman on the mound. Pedroia, getting his first hit of the game, would drive in Sandoval, bringing the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Hanley Ramirez would hit a single that would score Moreland (who I think was on 2nd). The Red Sox would sweep the Yankees, continuing their statement of superiority in the AL East.
While Chris Sale wouldn’t be able to shutout the Orioles in his next start in August, Rick Porcello made up for it, by shutting out the Blue Jays at the end of August. With four team shutouts, the Red Sox were positively rolling through their AL East competition. They would end August at 86-48, all but guaranteeing themselves a postseason berth. They would be 21 games ahead of the now second place Blue Jays, and around 18 games above the Mariners for the second wild-card spot. This team will be going to the playoffs.
The Red Sox would suffer another injury to a pitcher in their rotation, as this time it was Drew Pomeranz who would be shelved, as he predictably had more issues with his throwing arm. Since Anderson Espinoza doesn’t exist in this game, I like to believe we got him for free, so we can’t be mad.
September/one game in October
The final month of the season begins, and just like last month, it begins with a walk off, this time courtesy of a Xander Bogaerts single that drove in, who else, Pablo Sandoval. The Red Sox would finally clinch a playoff spot in a win against Oakland on September 12th, and then the division three days later in a win against Tampa Bay on the 15th. While celebrating at Fenway would have been nice, they got to rub it in on the Rays turf.
Chris Sale would have the best start to a game in his Red Sox career on September 28th, his last start before the playoffs began. Perfect through 6 innings, I was prompted to take control. I told the game no, and it responded by letting Sale give up a hit somewhere in the 9th inning, as he would be pulled after 8.2 innings. He wouldn’t end up with the perfecto, but we learned then and there, Sale was exactly who we had been looking for all these years. The end of the season would come for the Sox, as they did something that they haven’t done since 1946: win 100 games. To be precise, they finished at 104-58, the best record in baseball.
Standings after 162 games (tiebreakers to be played!)
1. Boston Red Sox – 104-58
2. Toronto Blue Jays – 81-81
3. New York Yankees – 76-86
4. Tampa Bay Rays – 75-87
5. Baltimore Orioles – 73-89
1. Cleveland Indians – 96-66
2. Detroit Tigers – 94-68
3. Kansas City Royals – 77-85
4. Minnesota Twins – 75-87
5. Chicago White Sox – 59-103
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 89-73
2. Texas Rangers – 89-73
3. Seattle Mariners – 86-76
4. Houston Astros – 78-84
5. Oakland Athletics – 75-87
1. Detroit Tigers – 94-68
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 89-73
3. Texas Rangers – 89-73
4. Seattle Mariners – 86-76
5. Toronto Blue Jays – 81-81
1. Washinton Nationals – 89-73
2. New York Mets – 88-74
3. Atlanta Braves – 86-76
4. Miami Marlins – 75-87
5. Philadelphia Phillies – 70-92
1. Pittsburgh Pirates – 93-69
2. Chicago Cubs – 90-72
3. St. Louis Cardinals – 83-79
4. Milwaukee Brewers – 75-87
5. Cincinnati Reds – 59-103
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 99-63
2. San Francisco Giants – 88-74
3. Colorado Rockies – 87-75
4. Arizona Diamondbacks – 64-98
5. San Diego Padres – 57-105
1. Chicago Cubs – 90-72
2. San Francisco Giants – 88-74
3. New York Mets – 88-74
4. Colorado Rockies – 87-75
5. Atlanta Braves – 86-76
6. St. Louis Cardinals – 83-79
As you may have seen, there are two tiebreaker games to be played. One between the Angels and Rangers for the division crown, and one between the Giants and Mets in a rematch for the 2nd NL WC spot and a chance to face the Cubs.
In the first match, between the Angels and Rangers, Andrew Cashner would put up a good fight, but be no match for Tyler Skaggs and the Angels, as they manage to hold off a hot Rangers team and win the division crown.
In the second, between the Giants and Mets, the Mets would avenge their loss to the Giants last year. They would do this by not letting the Giants score any runs. Or more specifically Steven Matz and Jeurys Familia wouldn’t. So the playoff field was set.
AL WC – Rangers @ Tige
NL WC – Mets @ Cubs
ALDS1 – AL WC winner @ Red Sox
ALDS2 – Angels @ Indians
NLDS1 – NL WC winner @ Dodgers
NLDS2 – Nationals @ Pirates
Game 1 of the ALDS was a complete and utter disaster, as Chris Sale would have one of his worst starts of the season, going only five innings (he would start the 6th), allowing 4 earned runs. Tyler Thornburg would come in to relieve him, and give up three more runs in the 6th inning, leaving the Sox down 7-0 after 6 innings.
That’s right, 0 runs, as in the Sox mustered nothing off of Tyson Ross through 6 innings. Ross would eventually give up 2 runs, the only runs the Red Sox would score, courtesy of a Pedroia double and Mookie sac fly, but there was no hope of winning this game. Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes, and Fernando Abad would come in, and save the big guns from having to come out.
Game 2 was much better, but was just as scary. Cole Hamels faced off against David Price, as Price tried to shake off his own playoff performances in the past. Hamels was excellent, going 6 innings, allowing only two earned. Price was not excellent, going 5 and giving up 4, only striking out 2. Through 6 innings, the score was 4-2. The Sox looked to be headed for a second straight loss. Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, Tyler Thornburg, and Carson Smith would combine for four scoreless (and nearly perfect) innings. In the bottom of the 9th, needing a miracle against Sam Dyson, the Rangers closer, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Young provided the offense needed, and walked off with three straight runs in the bottom of the 9th (with two outs, no less). It was tied at 1, and we had a series.
Game 3 would be a heartbreaker though, and ultimately be a signal of what to expect going forward. Rick Porcello would face off with Yu Darvish in a veritable ace-off. Porcello went five innings, and allowed one run. Darvish went 6.2 and allowed 1 run, before being relieved by Quackenbush who put an end to a Boston rally. Relieving Porcello was Robbie Ross, who pitched two perfect innings. Tied at 1 in the 9th inning, Alex Claudio held the Red Sox to their sole run, and took their chances in the bottom of the 9th. In the bottom half, Joey Gallo would hit a walkoff triple against Tyler Thornburg, who, you guessed it, was left in an inning too long. After a flawless 8th, Farrell left him out there for the 9th, and he finally gave up a single run, which was enough to signal a loss.
All out of chances, the Sox would bring out the tired Chris Sale on three days rest against the Rangers midseason acquisition Mike Foltynewicz. It went exactly as you expect, as Sale went only four innings, and gave up five runs, somehow having a worse start than he did in his first post-season start. Foltynewicz on the other hand would only allow one through 5.1. Baseball. Joe Kelly would make his first appearance, and promptly surrender two more runs. Matt Barnes would come out in garbage time and put together another shutout inning, leaving his post-season ERA at 0.00. The Sox would only score the one run, on a Bogaerts single, and that was it. Despite winning over 100 games, the Red Sox were out in the ALDS. They lost 7-1.
The Dodgers and Angels would meet in an LA based World Series, a matchup that has never happened. So this is new. Suddenly, Los Angeles is the center of the baseball world, and everybody on the East coast switches their mindset to hockey or whatever non-baseball terrible sport they prefer.
The Dodgers are the first beneficiary of the new rule that determines home-field advantage in the World Series. Even though the AL won the All-Star game, the game truly means nothing now. The Dodgers won 99 games, whereas the Angels only won 90. So the Dodgers will be the home team in 4 of the hypothetical 7 games.
In Game 1, the Dodgers would throw out Kershaw to continue his story of post-season redemption. Andrew Heaney would be his opposition. Both teams came out swinging and scored first inning runs, and in the second, the Dodgers added another run. In the fourth, the Angels would tie it back up, and in the fifth, the Dodgers would take the lead back. And in the lead they would stay, tacking on another run for good measure. Kershaw would emerge the victor, and the Dodgers took a 1-0 series lead.
In Game 2, Garrett Richards, and Kenta Maeda continued the new tradition of first inning runs, with Richards allowing two of them, and Maeda allowing a singular one. The Angels would tie it up in the second inning, and it would stay deadlocked through 5 innings, when both starters were removed. The 6th would be uneventful, with both teams emerging unscathed. In the 7th though, the Dodgers would roar against that Angels no-name callup, and take a 6-2 lead. In the top of the 8th, they would get revenge on Adam Liberatore, who gave up 3 runs of his own, making it 6-5. In the top of the 9th, with their backs up against the wall, they fell to Kenley Jansen, who notched his 6th post-season save. It would be 2-0 Dodgers.
Game 3 was close for 8 innings. Matt Shoemaker allowed one run through five, and Scott Kazmir allowed one through six. Neither team scored in the 7th or 8th, and then the floodgates came loose. The Dodgers rallied for five runs in the 9th inning against Cam Bedrosian, who has become the team’s goat. A 7-1 win makes it 3-0 Dodgers. Would Game 4 be the last game?
Hyun-Jin Ryu was hoping so. Andrew Heaney was trying to prevent tragedy. Neither was long for the game, and both exited before the 6th inning, Heaney allowing three, and Ryu two, and handed the game over to the bullpen. The Angels bullpen had been a point of contention all series, but in the end, they didn’t allow a single run. But unfortunately for the Angels, neither did the Dodgers. Jansen got a loud pop-out to Yasiel Puig, whose yell became the symbol of the Dodgers 2017 World Series victory. So there you have it, the 2017 World Series will be won by the Dodgers, somehow. And Kershaw won’t suck in the playoffs this time.
MVP – Edwin Encarnacion (.293/57/151)
Cy Young – Chris Sale (16-8/2.57/231)
Batting Title – Jose Altuve (.322)
Reliever of the Year – Francisco Rodriguez (57/2.27/52)
Rookie of the Year – Yulieski Gurriel (.253/16/49)
Hank Aaron – J.D. Martinez (.303/42/125)
MVP – Corey Seager (.342/42/111)
Cy Young – Max Scherzer (12-6/2.79/264)
Batting Title – Corey Seager (.342)
Reliever of the Year – Tony Watson (53/1.73/57)
Rookie of the Year – Tyler Glasnow (8-5/3.25/170)
Hank Aaron – Corey Seager (.342/42/111)
World Series MVP – Scott Van Slyke (.714/0/3)
Red Sox Season Stats
Blake Swihart - .256/.299/.396, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 27 2B, .212 w/RISP, 2.1 WAR
Sandy Leon - .260/.316/.425, 6 HR, 20 RBI, .250 w/RISP, 0.9 WAR
Tucker Barnhart - .237/.337/.300, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0.6 WAR
Mitch Moreland - .269/.329/.464, 25 HR, 81 RBI, .319 w/RISP, 2.5 WAR
Hanley Ramirez - .268/.347/.463, 25 HR, 87 RBI, 35 2B, .199 w/RISP, 2.0 WAR
Dustin Pedroia - .280/.351/.421, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 55 2B, .257 w/RISP, 3.5 WAR
Pablo Sandoval – .255/.309/.386, 15 HR, 59 RBI, .243 w/RISP, 1.3 WAR
Xander Bogaerts - .287/.360/.452, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 35 2B, .256 w/RISP, 4.4 WAR
Andrew Benintendi - .258/.316/.373, 11 HR, 54 RBI, .266 w/RISP, 1.8 WAR
Rusney Castillo – .296/.332/.446, 8 HR, 27 RBI, .206 w/RISP, 0.8 WAR
Jackie Bradley Jr. - .279/.346/.499, 30 HR, 84 RBI, .229 w/RISP, 4.8 WAR
Drew Stubbs - .249/.319/.385, 5 HR, 23 RBI, .236 w/RISP, 1.1 WAR
Chris Young - .302/.358/.568, 11 HR, 31 RBI, .229 w/RISP, 2.1 WAR
Mookie Betts - .286/.361/.525, 31 HR, 85 RBI, 33 2B, .176 w/RISP, 5.2 WAR
Chris Sale – 16-8, 214 IP, 53 BB, 231 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 25 QS, 5.6 WAR
David Price – 14-11, 206.2 IP, 42 BB, 201 K,4.01 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 18 QS, 5.0 WAR
Rick Porcello – 13-7, 212.1 IP, 44 BB, 194 K, 2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 22 QS, 3.8 WAR
Steven Wright – 13-1, 143.1 IP, 54 BB, 99 K, 3.14 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 1 QS, 2.2 WAR
Roenis Elias -4-0, 29.1 IP, 13 BB, 28 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2 QS, 0.4 WAR
Drew Pomeranz – 9-9, 130 IP, 40 BB, 137 K, 4.08 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6 QS (started 27), 2.1 WAR
Eduardo Rodriguez – 7-4, 130 IP, 61 BB, 109 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 6 QS (started 27), 1.4 WAR
Chris Tillman – 6-4, 74.1 IP, 25 BB, 51 K, 3.39 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 1 QS (started 7), 0.9 WAR
Craig Kimbrel – 50 saves, 61.1 IP, 34 BB, 75 K, 3.23 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6 BS, 9 HLD
Carson Smith – 9 saves, 46.2 IP, 20 BB, 50 K, 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6 BS, 28 HLD
Fernando Abad – 4 saves, 23.2 IP, 11 BB, 20 K, 1.52 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 1 BS, 17 HLD
Tyler Thornburg – 2 saves, 72.1 IP, 31 BB, 77 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4 BS, 21 HLD
Joe Kelly – 2 saves, 95.2 IP, 34 BB, 81 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 5 BS, 5 HLD
Robbie Ross – 0 saves, 38.2 IP, 16 BB, 30 K, 4.42 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 2 BS, 8 HLD
Matt Barnes – 0 saves, 18.1 IP, 7 BB, 22 K, 4.91 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 1 BS, 3 HLD
Other Odds and Ends (including brief 2018 blurb)
Andrew Benintendi signs a 6/57 extension with the Red Sox
In May 2018, the D’Backs trade Jake Lamb to the Red Sox for Marco Hernandez
In June 2018, the Indians trade Asdrubal Cabrera to the Red Sox for a minor leaguer.
In July 2018: White Sox trade Carlos Rodon to Marlins for three big prospects; Reds trade Adam Duvall to Red Sox for two medium level prospects; Cardinals trade Yadier Molina to Rockies for Ian Desmond; Rays trade Corey Dickerson to Cubs for two prospects.
In 2018, the Red Sox finish third in the AL East, at 93-69, making the playoffs as the second wild card team. The #1 team in baseball? The Washington Nationals, who win 108 games. Only the Phillies lose 100+. The MVPs of each league are Mark Trumbo and Clayton Kershaw. Cy Youngs are Chris Sale and Kershaw. The Red Sox hit gold with one of their rookies, who hits .299, with 37 HRs. His name is Cesar Santana, and he came out of nowhere. I like to pretend he’s actually Rafael Devers. Drew Pomeranz pitches like an ace, when he’s healthy (which is only for half the season), and Rick Porcello regresses big time. New signing Hisashi Iwakuma becomes a worthy #3 pitcher behind Sale and Pomeranz, and the rotation behind him, of Price and Porcello is easily the best in baseball. Shawn Kelley breaks the single season saves record with the Nationals, putting up 67 saves (five more than the current record by Francisco Rodriguez). The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox in the WC game. In the ALDS, they beat the Indians in five games. In the ALCS, they beat the Orioles in 7. In the World Series, they beat the Nationals in 7. The Blue Jays play the maximum amount of playoff games possible, in each series being one loss away from going home. They survive due to the heroics of trade acquisition Nick Castellanos, who on top of being fantastic in the playoffs, hits .500 in the World Series with 2 HRs.
In the off-season, Hanley Ramirez retires to be with his family (.292/.364/.493, 279 HRs, 289 SB), as does Victor Martinez (.296/.362/.459, 255 HRs). So does Adrian Gonzalez (.285/.357/.481, 345 HRs). Jimmy Rollins retires, and is the only player of the class to make the Hall of Fame. He does it while playing for the Rockies, go figure.
Bryce Harper signs before becoming a free agent, for 7/217. The top ten free agents end up being Josh Donaldson (who signs with the Reds for 5/116.7), Manny Machado (D’Backs 7/178.1), Yasmani Grandal (Rangers 4/40.4), Matt Harvey (Cardinals 4/75.4), Gio Gonzalez (Orioles 1/5.2), A.J. Pollock (Indians 4/45.3), Dallas Keuchel (Dodgers 4/59.8), Brian Dozier (Royals 5/60.2), Drew Pomeranz (Angels 4/31), and Adam Jones (Braves 1/6.3). There are other interesting names, but in the end, it is not as exciting without Harper being an option for someone to bid high on.
The Red Sox trade Asdrubal Cabrera, Mitch Moreland (who signed for two more years), and a high level SP prospect to the Orioles for Chris Davis. So I mean, get used to that.