Category Archives: Baseball

Boston’s Future

Red Sox Nation — With the recent departure of David Ortiz, fans all around must be scratching their heads thinking what’s next in store for the future of their storied franchise. Well, one needs to look no further than what’s already in front of them. In this past season, Mookie Betts has evolved into an unbelievable talent, finishing runner up to MVP winner Mike Trout.  Betts finished just 45 points behind Trout in a close 356 – 311 race.

Personally, I feel that Betts had an incredible season that was overshadowed by a 2nd place finish in the MVP race just because it’s one of those instances where nobody really remembers who finishes second. The numbers that Betts put up should not be overlooked however — these were Big Papi type numbers that Red Sox fans would have sorely missed, but did not.

Now, not to take anything away from NL MVP winner Kris Bryant, because both Betts and Bryant play different positions — and to compare an MVP winner’s rookie year numbers to another player based on the future projections of their age is very unfair. The point here is Mookie Betts quietly put up a very good year statistically. Here are the numbers for comparison at age 23 from each of the mentioned players:

AGE AVG OBP HR RBI SB
Betts 23 0.318 0.363 31 113 26
Bryant 23 0.275 0.369 26 99 13

Betts’ numbers eclipses Bryant’s in all major categories. The comparison on this past year’s MVP race between Trout and Betts is so close that Betts may have very well won MVP had it been any other year. Betts hit for a higher average, hit more home runs, collected more RBIs, and had more steals than Trout. The only major category in which Trout flat out won was OBP. Trout’s absurd .441 OBP was .72 higher than Betts which was probably enough to put Trout over the top in the race. If the numbers are indicative of anything, it’s showing that Mookie Betts is already up there with some of the best, and doing so at the age of 23.

If that’s not good enough, Boston’s star-studded outfield includes rookie Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi is young and has had a very successful first stint in the majors this past year posting a .295 average and .359 on base percentage in 105 at bats, impressive numbers for any 22 year old to put up.

Boston Red Sox batter Andrew Benintendi, right, hits a single off Minnesota Twins pitcher Casey Fien as Twins catcher Juan Centeno watches in the seventh inning of a spring training Grapefruit League game at JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Fla. on Friday, March 18, 2016.Image by The Boston Herald

Benintendi’s quick arrival means good news for Red Sox nation. After getting drafted in the 1st round in 2015, Benintendi excelled in minors. Without even finishing his full second year in AA, the Boston brass made the decision to call up Benintendi. Typically, even some of the most talented players need at least two years in the minors to polish up their game. Benintendi is one of the few exceptions.

I think Benintendi is going to turn out to be a lot better of a player than most people may perceive. At just 5’10″and 180 pounds, Benintendi brings a whole lot of pop to the table, an area I feel most people would write him off without even giving a second look.  Benintendi has shown the ability to hit for average and steal bases in the minors. I think this is imperative for a player his size when being evaluated. The best part is that Benintendi has shown that he is more than that.

On top of all that, Benintendi’s college career entails a list of some of the highest accolades. We’re talking about Baseball America’s College Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes Award. These honors backs what Benintendi has been able to do against some of the top competition in college. And given some more time for growth in the majors, Benintendi may very well contend with those at the highest level.

Whether a player will excel or flop is not something that is easy to project. Benintendi and Betts have already shown that they are both rising talents with Betts already making his name known. With Big Papi now out of the picture, Red Sox Nation can rest easy with two young rising stars picking up the load.

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Rushed Call-Ups

original photo by Keith Allison

In the world of baseball, a highly touted prospect by the name of Alex Bregman has made his way onto the MLB scene. Bregman made his debut on July 25th against the New York Yankees and has shown minimal production in the 9 games since then. His production level isn’t just poor, it’s almost non-existent. This post will talk about why the Astros’ decision to have him called up was rushed.

Disclaimer: The flavor of this post may be biased based on my personal feelings at this particular point in time. Opinions stated are to be viewed and interpreted at your own discretion.

Bregman put up solid numbers in the minors. In 2015, he put up a slash line of .294/.366/.415 in his split time between A and A+, respectable numbers for year number one in the minors. At the beginning of this year, Bregman was promoted to AA and put up an even better slash line of .297/.415/.559, which likely prompted his promotion to the Astros’ AAA affiliate. It was his time in AAA that opened some eyes. In just 18 games, Bregman caught fire and slugged 6 home runs while batting .333/.373/.641. That spurt of production gave the Astros organization the green light to call up Bregman.

Since his debut, Bregman has held a batting average of .053 in 10 games. That is the definition of a slump in every way, shape and form. And if not, then worse — it is a sign that he is not ready at the major league level. One could argue that 10 games of poor production is a small sample size, but then again, so is 18 games of excellent production at the AAA level.

Byron Buxton was another highly rated prospect who had a similar rough start to his MLB career after putting up gaudy minor league numbers. He has only maintained a batting average around the Mendoza line since being called up in 2015. Similarly, all signs point for a bad time at the MLB level for Bregman, but only time will tell whether this post’s evaluation holds true.