The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have been rivals in every sense of the word this year. They are neck and neck in the American League East race, both have Cy Young and MVP candidates and they are both near the very top of the list of any World Series oddsmaker.
The infusion of intrigue in the ancient rivalry really started in the offseason, when both teams added slugging outfielders to accentuate their already strong lineups. The Yankees made a move for defending National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and the Red Sox countered by signing J. D Martinez. In the wake of those moves, there were Twitter wars aplenty about which team got the better player. Some argued that Martinez was just Stanton but for a cheaper price. Those on the Stanton side just pointed to the former Marlins’ MVP award.
Now that we’ve reached the halfway mark in the season, we can finally start to see which argument was right, at least for this year. Let’s take a look at both players. (Stats are prior to Thursday’s action).
J.D. Martinez - .329/.396/.654, 25 home runs, 181 wRC+, 175 OPS+, 3.2 fWAR, 3.4 bWAR
Giancarlo Stanton - .265/.337/.510, 19 home runs, 128 wRC+, 126 OPS+, 2.4 fWAR, 2.3 bWAR
Those are both some might fine half seasons, but clearly Martinez has had the upper hand. In the long run, that might not end up carrying over. Stanton is two years younger than Martinez and anyone can have an awesome first half. Remember 2005 Matt Clement?
Martinez definitely isn’t going to crater like Clement did. His first half certainly seems more sustainable than that considering his recent track record. If he does sustain his current pace, or come close to it, then the Red Sox will have at the least neutralized the Yankees’ big offseason addition, if not surpassed it. The hope is that they’ll also surpass them in the standings and when all the chips are down in October. It wouldn’t hurt to start with some wins this weekend either.
What does the second half have in store for the Red Sox? (Nick Cafardo; Boston Globe)
Why exactly did the Red Sox trade for Steve Pearce? (Chad Jennings; The Athletic) ($$)
Here’s an ever deeper dive into J.D. Martinez’s big first half. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)
Jackie Bradley Jr. had another amazing catch last night. So did Andrew Benintendi. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Tyler Thornburg still plans on contributing this season. (Stephen Hewitt; Boston Herald)
Here’s an examination of a critical part of a recent start for Eduardo Rodriguez. (Chad Jennings; The Athletic) ($$)