The Red Sox regular season is just about over, which means it’s time to reflect on the year that was and look back at some of our preseason predictions. We predicted a lot of things before the season, and one week in particular was dedicated to some superlatives. Everyone on the staff selected someone for each superlative as did the community as a whole. Below, is everyone’s selections for every category to refer to as we go through each category to see how things really turned out.
|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|
Heading into the season, the staff was a little split on who the Team MVP would be but the community was not. Mookie Betts was the overwhelming winner in that vote and it seemed like the safest best by a longshot. Betts has been fine this year as his elite defense and baserunning provides a high floor for him regardless of what he provides at the plate. That being said, he’s been a little too inconsistent and his overall performance a little too low-end for him to be considered an MVP. Instead, the clear answer in my eyes is Chris Sale. Even though the ace has been a little worse towards the end of the year, he was utterly dominant for most of the year and carried the team at times. Joiner wins this one.
Everyone except Mike (what you doin, Mike?) picked Sale to be the best pitcher on the team including the community as a whole. Clearly, he is the pick here and everyone was right. It was the increasingly rare case of a big-time Red Sox acquisition playing up to his potential to start his career in Boston. Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz would be runners up in this case. Everyone but Mike gets a point here.
As with best pitcher, this was a pretty much unanimous call before the season and it’s fairly easy to call now that the season is essentially over. Everyone on the staff and the community as a whole saw Jackie Bradley Jr. as the best defensive player on the team and that has turned out to be the case. Granted, Betts is also outstanding, but Bradley has had enough game-saving catches to take this award. Everyone gets a point for this one.
This was the first vote where things were mainly split. Votes among the staff went to Sandy Leon, Joe Kelly, Xander Bogaerts, Sam Travis and Pablo Sandoval while the latter also took the community vote. The community was very, very wrong, of course. Among the names who got votes, I would say Kelly is the closest. However, ignoring the votes, the biggest surprise in my eyes would have to go to Christian Vazquez. His offensive performance came out of nowhere and I don’t think many foresaw him taking control of this catching situation as thoroughly as he has.
This was another split vote, with votes going to Kelly, Rick Porcello, Sale, Drew Pomeranz and David Price with the community voting for Pomeranz. Once again, the community was very, very wrong as were some staff members. One of our writers did nail this pick, though, and it was Joiner again. There were multiple disappointments on this roster, but Porcello takes the cake as the biggest. After winning the Cy Young in 2016 Porcello was expected to be a huge part of the rotation this year but has been average-at-best, and often much worse.
This was an inherently hard category for which to vote, and that was clear from the results. We got votes for Chris Young, Carson Smith, Eduardo Rodriguez, Marco Hernandez and Mitch Moreland with the community combining to vote for Moreland. Among those listed, Moreland would likely be the best call, but he’s played a bigger role than expected so calling him “unsung” may be a bit unfair. That said, there really isn’t a great unsung hero on this team in the mold of a big bench player or a consistent middle reliever. If I had to pick someone I’d probably go with Joe Kelly.
Biggest Clutch Performer
This vote was mainly a reflection of the first year without David Ortiz, who had obviously been the clutch performance on this roster for years. The most popular pick in this vote, including the selection of the community, was Betts, which makes sense considering most thought he was the best hitter on the team in general. Instead, simply going by the numbers, Vazquez was the clutchest hitter on the team. To be fair, if we’re strictly talking about everyday players the answer would be Betts.
Andrew Benintendi was the overwhelming favorite in this vote, and the clear winner as well. This is the most important category, so congratulations for Benintendi for the victory.