Last night was an extremely tough game to watch as a Red Sox fan. We have seen this team consistently mash the cover off of the baseball, yet the Red Sox were held to seven (!) runs in their three games against the Cleveland Indians. Ultimately, the Red Sox starting pitchers could not pitch effectively and deep into ball games, the offense could not win a close game for them, and the bullpen could not keep them within shouting distance.
Nevertheless, as much as I don't think John Farrell should be the manager of this team, he was spot on last night in his postgame press conference. This series should not deter the Red Sox and their fans as to just how much they improved in 2016. Lets give some grades to these Red Sox players....
2016 Hitting Stats: 154 Games, .318 AVG, 15 HR, 74 RBI
The now-longest tenured member of the Boston Red Sox was able to stay healthy for the first time since 2013 and his performance on the field showed just that. Pedroia played an elite level of defense and thrived offensively once John Farrell decided to move him into the leadoff spot. As always, Pedroia showed the grit and determination that fans of all the Boston sports teams love to see.
Final Grade: A-
2016 Hitting Stats: 157 Games, .294 AVG, 21 HR, 89 RBI
As the American League starting shortstop at this year's All-Star Game, it is difficult to say that Xander Bogaerts underperformed, but unfortunately he did. Bogaerts was able to hit .320 in 2015, but only knocked out seven home runs. This season, his average took a dip but we saw a lot more power out of Bogaerts. Unfortunately, as Bogaerts realized that he had above-average power, he became pull-happy and tried to hit every pitch out of the ballpark. Next season, Bogaerts desperately needs to learn how to hit the off-speed pitch and get back to hitting the baseball to all parts of the stadium.
Final Grade: B
2016 Hitting Stats: 158 Games, .318 AVG, 31 HR, 113 RBI
Mookie Betts had arguably the best season of any positional player in all of baseball in 2016. Sure, his power does not rival Edwin Encarnacion and he does not spray the baseball all over the field like Jose Altuve, but Betts is the epitome of a five-tool player. Every single facet of Betts' game is above-average. Fans really saw Betts' stats match his play once being moved to the middle of the order. Expect a massive season from Mookie Betts next year as he solidifies himself as one of the best players in all of baseball.
Final Grade: A
2016 Hitting Stats: 151 Games, .315 AVG 38 HR, 127 RBI
Simply put, David Ortiz statistically had the best final season by anyone in the history of baseball. He hit for power, average and drove in runs. Ortiz led the league in doubles, RBI, slugging percentage and OPS. What more can you ask of this guy at 40-years-old? Sure, he slowed down at the end of the season and was almost nonexistent in the playoffs, but Ortiz will go down as the most impactful player in franchise history. Looking at you, Ted Williams....
Final Grade: A
2016 Hitting Stats: 147 Games, .286 AVG, 30 HR, 111 RBI
Expectations could not have been lower for Hanley Ramirez at Spring Training. People were lobbying for the Red Sox to retain almost all of his salary in order trade him. Fast forward seven or eight months and people are envisioning Hanley Ramirez hitting mammoth home runs over the Green Monster in April of 2017. Ramirez showed his power, ability to drive the ball to all parts of the ballpark, and his elite defense at first base. Moving forward, Ramirez could be the DH or continue playing at first base.
Final Grade: A-
The Other Guys:
Jackie Bradley Jr.: B
I like what I saw from JBJ early in the season, but things got away from him in the second half. Bradley needs to learn to shorten up his swing in certain situations, but overall he had a great season.
Andrew Benintendi/Chris Young/Blake Swihart: B-
Each guy had his own ups and downs, but the left field position was relatively steady for most of the season. I would like a little bit more solidification at the position, but beggars can't be choosers at this point.
Brock Holt/Travis Shaw: C
As the lone All-Star in 2015, I was expecting a bit more out of Brock Holt this season. Granted, he dealt with injuries for a lot of this season and was the best player for the Red Sox in the postseason, but I did not feel confident when he came to the plate for large chunks of this season. Travis Shaw was lost this season and could never really recover. I would be surprised if he is a Red Sox at the start of next season.
Sandy Leon/Christian Vazquez/Ryan Hanigan/Bryan Holaday: C-
I thought this was the weakest part of the Red Sox' lineup, and it really showed during the postseason. The Red Sox caught lightning in a bottle with Sandy Leon for a good chunk of the regular season, but his true colors showed in August and September. The Red Sox need a major improvement in this area in 2017.
Be on the lookout for our Final Grades for the pitching staff and the coaching staff.