Jays From the Couch brings you 2016 Wrap Ups. This time, we sit down with Off the Bench Baseball and discuss the Boston Red Sox
Jays From the Couch is kicking off a little series of wrap ups of teams around MLB. We’ll sit down with writers from all over the league to get their thoughts on teams we might not have been paying attention to in Blue Jays Land. This time: Boston Red Sox!
For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Ari Glantz of Off the Bench Baseball to chat about the 2016 AL East Champion, Boston Red Sox. After signing David Price to a mega-deal, lots of things went right for this team as they climbed the standings late in the season to snatch the division title from the Blue Jays. They rode an amazing season from David Ortiz and an MVP type season from Mookie Betts.
You can Follow Ari on Twitter @AFineGlance and be sure to head to Off the Bench Baseball for all of their great coverage! Follow them on Twitter @OTB_Baseball
JFtC: If you could sum up the Red Sox season in a paragraph, what would you say?
Ari: David Ortiz, David Ortiz, David Ortiz. (Is that a paragraph?) At times for better, at others for worse, this was the season of Big Papi. As polarizing a figure as he often is (was?), you wouldn’t have known it, as club after club rejiggered pregame schedules to lavish– among other things– clever keepsakes, tasteless art, and egregious poundages of aquatic cuisine upon the ageless slugger. Ortiz’s swan song was alternatively invigorating and distracting for a team of raw young players, but whatever it meant to the on field product, it was clearly the story of the season.
JFtC: What went right for Boston this year?
JFtC: What went wrong for them?
Ari: All pitchers not named Rick Porcello. When Clay Buchholz gets relegated to the bullpen (arguably two seasons too late), and then returns to play your number 2 starter for the stretch run, well, you’ve got problems. And that’s just trying to find something other than David Price to talk about. Even the most emotionless saber devotee will admit that Price’s full 2016 body of work underperformed his ending stats. And the maelstrom of negative press he generated hurt the team.
JFtC: Who stood out on the roster?
Ari: Easy answers are MVP candidates Mookie Betts and the indefatigable David Ortiz, and 22-win-very-possibly-Cy Young winning Rick Porcello. But looking beyond the obvious, the resurgence of Dustin Pedroia, the (possible) emergence of Sandy Leon, and the rebound of Hanley Ramirez are notable highlights from the Sox 2016.
JFtC: Who went under appreciated?
Ari: Well, I may read this in print and regret sorely, but I feel like I have to go with David Price again here. Despite infuriating inconsistency and a failure to pay the stopper like (the World Series champion) Jon Lester he replaced, Price finished the year as Fangraphs’ 12th ranked pitcher in MLB by WAR (4.5), 7th in MLB in SO in strikeouts and the leader in innings pitched. Ask any Sox fan how his season went and they might just punch YOU as a proxy.
JFtC: Who underperformed?
Ari: Dammit… David Price. Contacts sure can throw a wrench analyses like this one. Under appreciated as he might have been, underperform he most certainly did. You can’t sign a 7 year (options, etc.) $200M+ deal and then wait until August to wrestle your ERA below 5.00 and expect to get congratulated, no matter what the advanced stats say. Throw in listing the league in hits-allowed for most of the year, and “choke” becomes a more and more appropriate word choice.
JFtC: Where does this team go this offseason? What do they do?
Ari: The Farm. Despite impressive wave of call-ups, there is still a lot to be excited about in Boston’s movie league system. Despite struggles in limited MLB action, Yoan Moncada has nothing left to prove at any other level. With a thin pitching market, I wouldn’t get my hopes up for his offseason additions like we saw last year, but who knows with Red Sox ownership.
JFtC: What can fans expect from the Red Sox in 2017?
Ari: A mixed bag. The young offensive core should only get better– and they are nothing to scoff at now, mind you– but will be missing the leader they had in Big Papi. Hanley Ramirez took a huge step forward this year both psychologically and offensively, but even if he redoubles that improvement can’t be expected to fill those shoes. On the other side of the ball, Porcello and Price should both gravitate toward their respective means, as should up-and-down-in-2016 closer Craig Kimbrel. At the end of the day, how all that will manifest at the completion of 162 is up in the air. Most likely, we’ll see something similar to last year: a team built to fight through the bitter end, but one still missing the rotation depth to truly threaten a championship.
HUGE ‘THANK YOU’ TO ARI FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRAP UP THE PIRATES 2016 SEASON! MAKE SURE YOU GO TO OFF THE BENCH BASEBALL FOR ALL OF THEIR GREAT COVERAGE!
*DON’T MISS OUR WRAP UP OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES AND THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES!
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.