With all of the offseason splurges the Red Sox made on the hot stove of 2014-15 offseason, you would surely think that some good would come from the upcoming season. It has, but not in the way you would think. Not in the immediate future like the organization had hoped.
Yes, the Red Sox finished last in the AL East again, but there is more hope than what last years team had to offer at the end of the year. With a solid final two months of play, the Red Sox, particularly the young players, really morphed into what could be the core future of this team. There is more optimism about the future of the Red Sox going into this offseason compared to last year. Two reasons why? Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.
The Red Sox are Competing in a Young Man’s MLB
In what seems like more of a young man’s game these days with the likes of Trout, Harper dominating the MLB among other young players, the Red Sox have a few young stars-in-the-making of their own in Betts and Bogaerts. At the age 22, they have both arguably been the best player on albeit, a sub .500 team.
In a way, it was a blessing in disguise that the Red Sox played poor for as long as they had. Sure, it was frustrating to see them lose the amount of games they did after the high expectations of the offseason, especially early on into mid-July. But if you had to pin-point some of the guys who helped them out of the trenches? Well, it starts with the young guys who had been playing consistently on both sides of the ball. That would be Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
Betts was one of the better players across the league this year, finishing 7th in the AL in WAR (6.0). Mookie was also the most complete player at the plate (.291 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 21 SB and 92 R) on the Red Sox. He finished third in the AL with 42 2B and in the top 10 in extra base hits. He also hit .333 with runners in scoring position with 54 RBI.
Bogaerts blossomed into one of the best contact hitters in baseball this season- something that not many anticipated him to become. Scouts pegged him as a power-hitting shortstop, but with 7 HR on the year, he was anything but that…at least this year. Still, there lots to boast about including stellar gold-glove caliber defense at shortstop and a .320 batting average to pair with it- good for 2nd in the American League.
Pending any crazy offseason moves in which Dombrowski feels the need to trade either player, these two will spearhead the Red Sox lineup for years to come at the lead-off spot and three-hole. Fans, however disappointed in the record of the team this year, should know that they are in better hands for the future. It appears the baton is starting to be passed next season. What a refreshing and exciting thing.