The Red Sox have one week left in the regular season and then they will move on to play more baseball in October. There is only one thing on their minds and I can tell you it sure as h*ck isn’t winning any individual awards. Or, at least, it’s not the most important thing on their mind. It’s on my mind, though, because the amount of focus I have on the Red Sox winning a championship has no effect on whether or not they will actually win said championship, a fact that gives me unfathomable freedom. So, for this moment we’re not talking about what comes immediately after the regular season ends. Instead, we’re talking about what comes after the postseason, and specifically which Red Sox players could be in contention for some awards. Let’s do it.
There are a few of Red Sox players who could be in line for a Gold Glove award this year. As we all know, this isn’t the most reputable award and the voting can be questionable at times, though I think that narrative gets overplayed these days. Either way, the top contender on the Red Sox people will be talking about is Jackie Bradley. Obviously as people who watch him on a daily basis we know how incredible he is in center field, yet he’s never won the award. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll get it this year, either. If he does, I certainly wouldn’t argue with it and there’s reason to believe he deserves it. However, there are some incredible center fielders all across the league. Even with Kevin Kiermaier — the best defensive center fielder in baseball in this writer’s opinion — missing time, Kevin Pillar and Byron Buxton will also get plenty of love. My guess would be that Buxton will win, but any of the three could feasibly take home the trophy so that would give Bradley about a 33 percent chance of winning. I assure you that is a very, very scientific probability.
Bradley is the one we’re most concerned with, but the other two outfielders have a shot, too. Mookie Betts is the favorite to take the award in right field, and I would be completely shocked if he didn’t take the award. I’m wary of calling a corner player the best defender in the game, but Betts obviously isn’t your average corner player and if anyone could take that title it’d be him. Benintendi has also been good, and left field isn’t exactly flush with great defensive players. However, playing at Fenway hurts everyone’s defensive reputation and he’s probably a longshot to win.
The other contenders from the Red Sox are Dustin Pedroia and Chris Sale. Pedroia has probably missed too much time and when he has played as been the DH a little too often. Still, despite his age the man can still defend. As for Sale, I have no idea. Pitchers are probably the positions at which the voters are worst at deciding, and name value matters here. I don’t think Sale is the best defensive pitcher in baseball, but maybe he could win the award. Who knows. I’m sure some will ask about Christian Vazquez, too, but I’m not sure he played enough to get real consideration. Martin Maldonado of the Angels is the favorite behind the plate.
In the end, I think the Red Sox get one Gold Glove but they have a chance at at least a couple.
Rookie of the Year
Andrew Benintendi has had an awesome rookie season, and while there have been some bumps along the way he has lived up to our expectations at the plate. He may be the only member of the Red Sox about whom we can say that. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that he’s been the best and most consistent hitter on the Red Sox this year. That he has done that on a playoff team as a rookie is wild. Unfortunately, he had to have his rookie season in the same year as Aaron Judge. Benintendi will finish second and it probably won’t be very close, but Judge will easily win the top spot and will probably do so unanimously.
Manager of the Year
If the Red Sox have a contender for Manager of the Year, it’s John Farrell. Crazy, right? Look, I don’t think he’s going to win and I don’t think he deserves to win, but the man has led this team to its second consecutive division title. No one, not even Terry Francona, has managed to do that. Obviously, the players are the most responsible for that, but Farrell has done enough that he’ll at least get some consideration. My guess is he’ll finish fifth, behind Joe Girardi, Terry Francona, Paul Molitor and A.J. Hinch in that order.
I talked a lot about the top end of the Cy Young voting not too long ago and not much has changed since then. If you’re looking for my in-depth thoughts on the battle between Sale and Corey Kluber, you can find them there. The short answer is that I have no idea who is going to win and that I’d lean towards Sale deserving it at this point but A) I’m biased and B) I wouldn’t be at all upset if Kluber edged him out. I’m also intrigued by Pomeranz’ chances, though. No, he’s not going to contend for the actual trophy, but I’m curious where he’ll finish in the voting. He definitely deserves to get some down-ballot votes, but it’s a crowded group beyond the top three of Sale, Kluber and Luis Severino.
The Red Sox aren’t going to have the MVP winner. Jose Altuve is probably the favorite at this point, though Judge is certainly going to get some love as well. Still, the Red Sox do have some interesting players further down the ballot. Sale is probably going to be the highest finisher among pitchers even if he loses the Cy Young. That’s pretty rare, but that race is close enough that Sale will get the edge for being more important to his team, which I think he inarguably is (again, I’m biased). I also think Betts could get some love, which goes to show how far we’ve come in awards voting. Betts has been disappointing at the plate for much of the year, but his defense and baserunning has still created a ton of value. I’m not the biggest fan of WAR in the world, but he’s seventh in the American League in fWAR even with the subpar batting numbers. It’s easy to forget just how high his floor is with everything he brings to the table.