Despite things not working out exactly how Dave Dombrowski may have envisioned, there have been bright spots for the Red Sox this season. Halfway through the season, there’s still hope, and Rick Rowand is here to present the 2016 Boston Red Sox midseason awards, featuring the most valuable players from the position players and the pitching staff.
The Red Sox have played 82 games, which makes now a good time to discern who are their Sons of Sam Horn first-half Most Valuable Players. While there are many worthy candidates, there can be only one pitcher and one position player to win this prestigious award in its inaugural season.
Before we get into this any further, let’s go over the rules. Unlike many awards by baseball web sites, this is an entirely subjective award. Yes, stats will enter into the discussion, but they are not the deciding factor. I was asked earlier today by a co-worker what the deciding factors would be if not stats. My answer to him is the same as my answer to you. It’s me! That’s correct. I am the deciding factor.
This is normally where I’m supposed to apologize if you disagree with the criteria. But, I won’t. I’m the one who took the time and did all of this work, so the way I figure it, I should also be the decider when it comes to who wins the awards. If you disagree, please feel free to come up with your own half-season MVP awards. If you don’t have the time to go through all of the players and judge their individual contributions, we welcome comments in the section labeled “Comments” at the end of the article.
From the pitching staff, the winner is… Steven Wright!
Normally, the winner would be the pitcher currently sporting a 10-2 record and a 3.82 ERA through 17 starts on this list, but Rick Porcello makes $20 million a year. He’s supposed to pitch like he that. Sorry, Bubba.
The same cannot be said about Steven Wright. Hell, Wright wasn’t even supposed to be in the starting rotation, but because of Eduardo Rodriguez’ spring training knee injury, he won the fifth-starter job as the team broke camp.
In 16 starts, Wright has a 9-5 record with a 2.42 ERA all the while throwing the knuckleball paired with a fastball that tops out around 86 mph,. He’s also only making $500K this year. My vote is for the “Everyman” of the staff and the pitcher voted by fans as the the starter they’d most like to meet at the corner bar for a beer.
I have to say that naming the everyday player MVP was a very time consuming decision, but after much debate the decision was reached, and BTW, it was a unanimous decision. The 2016 Sons of Sam Horn first half MVP is… BrockHolt!!
Yes, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are much more talented outfielders and are outperforming Holt at the plate and in the field and have played many more games than he has. Yes, Betts is hitting .296/.335/.523 with 18 home runs while playing in all 82 games and JBJ is hitting .294/.381/.546 with 13 home runs in 78 games.
Bogaerts has played in 80 games and is sporting a .336/.392/.481 line with nine homers while playing very good defense at the most important position on the field.
Dustin Pedroia has been playing like the Dustin Pedroia of old. He’s hitting .306/.368/.445 with eight homers in 80 games and he’s been playing stellar defense as always.
Finally, there’s David Ortiz. What hasn’t he done this year? Big Papi has played in 76 games and is hitting .339/.443/.679 with 19 home runs and 34 doubles. That’s only 5 fewer doubles than base hits! He leads MLB in OBP and slugging and is fourth in batting average. This is all at the age of 40 with bad heels, feet, knees, and hips and so on.
At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “How in the hell did he name Holt as the MVP with those five guys on the team?” And you should be saying that. I would be if I were you. All four have played in more games and are doing much better at the plate than Holt ever will. He’s hitting a utility man-like .254/.322/.297 with just four homers, and he’s only played in 38 games!
After looking at the gaudy offensive statistics of the previous five guys, and watching the stellar defense of four of them I couldn’t make up my mind as to who deserved to win, so I looked deeper and noticed that all five had one thing in common.
With the five of them playing the vast majority of the games all season the Red Sox have a 45-37 record. When Holt starts in left the Sox have a 24-8 record. Also, when Holt missed all of those games with his concussion in June, the Sox were 10-16. As soon as Holt came back from the disabled list, the Sox won the three games he started and lost the only one he didn’t play in! By my calculations if Holt hadn’t gotten hurt the Sox would almost certainly finish 2016 with a 141-21 record. That would likely win the AL East title and make them the favorites to win the World Series. And that my friends is why BrockHolt! is your MVP for the first half of the season.
Rick Rowand has written about Boston’s young stars, David Ortiz’s career, Brock Holt’s aura, and Boston’s starting third baseman.
Follow Rick on Twitter @rrowand.