Now that the Red Sox have finally and officially won the American League East, as was my prediction back before it all began, I thought it might be interesting to take a return visit to see just how much I actually got right and where I was totally off base. After, of course, a suitable period of gloating…
Once again, I predicted that they would win the AL East and they did, although with no small help from the inconsistent pitching of Baltimore and Toronto, plus earlier on at least, the aging roster of the Yankees. You can argue that in the end it was the fact that they were the first ones who were able to put a strong offense together with consistent starting and relief pitching, when it counted in September, that allowed them to pull away. It was the outstanding seasons of veterans David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, along with the continued maturing of youngsters Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley, as well as the return to form of Hanley Ramirez that powered the Sox.
All of these people were put in place by either Theo or Ben Cherington, with very little in the way of contribution by president Dave Dombrowski. Even the staff was led by last year’s addition, Rick Porcello, and not Drombowski’s David Price. I obviously was wrong in that I thought he would make a key move as the season progressed but he never did. In fact, the smartest thing he did was to do little.
One of my bolder predictions was that Travis Shaw would be moved to first, and that the young Cuban sensation, Yoan Moncada, would take over at third. Although it seems likely he is their third baseman of the future, he was clearly not ready to hit major league pitching, registering something like nine strikeouts in a row at one point. Shaw did himself no favors with a so-so year of .244/16/71. In fact, although it was quickly squelched, there was recent speculation that Pablo Sandoval might actually return this season; showing you just where people’s heads are at regarding this position.
Of course, much of my prediction was based on the assumption that Ramirez was done, but his .288/29/110, went a long way to undermining that prediction as well as helping to power Boston’s offense.
I thought the the division was going to be tighter from top to bottom, with only a few games separating one from five, and that everyone would be above .500. I wasn’t totally off as the battle for first–as well as for the Wild Card–went well into September. Given that the two WC teams may actually come from that division, gives hope that the “Beast that is the East” has returned. We shall see.
There were a few totally forgotten individuals who I thought might have contributed, who totally fell out of the picture, namely Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. Neither of them made as much as a ripple in the big pond this year, and appear they never will again. For awhile, I thought Joe Kelly was following them, but he has come on to be a decent bullpen addition (Game 2 excluded) although it’s unclear if he will be on the playoff roster.
But so much for looking backward. When I get a chance, I will tell you just how far they will go in the playoffs. But let’s face it, the national media is hoping they face the Cubs in the series. Those stories are just going to write themselves.
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016