The 2016 Red Sox have been, for the most part, a very fun team to watch. However, they have had their ups and downs, especially when it comes to the management. Many thought John Farrell should not have been the manager to start the season, nevermind still be the manager halfway through August. Carl Willis has been so useless that the Sox have brought in a "second pitching coach" in Brian Bannister.
There have been many struggles with the Red Sox starting rotation, and even in the bullpen with consistency. That being said, this 2016 offense has been nothing but spectacular. Sure, there have been a few quiet games, but that will happen in a 162-game season. With the pitching struggles, we hear for the calling of Farrell and Willis' jobs, but no credit given to Chili Davis for the success of this offense.
Davis was brought to Boston in 2015 in an attempt to bring a 71-91 team some success. He made an immediate impact as the Sox went from the 18th ranked offense (runs scored) in 2014 to the 4th ranked offense in 2015. They made a more difficult and impressive jump in 2016 and are currently the #1 ranked offense in all of baseball. You can argue whether or not runs scored really represents how good an offense is, but the Sox are clearly the best offense this season.
We've all come to know and love the young players on this team, and their progress since joining the Red Sox has been blatant. After showcasing just one All-Star in Brock Holt last season, the Red Sox sent 6 players to San Diego. Those players included Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, all players who have made tremendous leaps since last year.
Xander Bogaerts is currently in a bit of a slump, therefore his average has dipped a bit in the last few weeks. However, Bogaerts was hitting nearly .330 heading into the All-Star break, 25 points higher than the previous season. Even with the struggles, Bogey is currently higher in OBP, SLG and OPS than last year.
The big problem with Jackie Bradley was that he gets very hot for a month, then disappears for weeks after. There was no consistency at the plate, but his defense made up for it. This year is a different story. In 2015, Bradley's worst months came in May and July when he hit for .154 and .182. This year, his worst months have been April and June, but the average has come up significantly to .218 and .272. A lot more consistency between the hot streaks for the centerfielder.
Mookie Betts was a star from beginning to end last season, and the only thing that has changed is that he's gotten even better. Heading into the All-Star break last year, Mookie was hitting .277, and hit .311 after the break. This year, he went into the break at .304, and is currently hitting .351 since the midseason classic.
Betts finished the 2015 with a .291 average, 18 homeruns and 77 RBI. This season he is currently hitting .315 with 28 homeruns and 89 RBI with 44 games still to play. Safe to say that an improvement is a bit of an understatement.
So, since we can blame Farrell and Willis for the pitching woes, is it ok to praise Chili Davis for this offense? Not only do the Red Sox have the best offense in the MLB, but their young players are making giant steps in their development, which is pivotal for the future of this organization. So while you're yelling for Farrell to lose his job, don't forget to give some love to Chili Davis every time Mookie has a 3 homerun night.
By Matt Watts