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Baseball's Top Dogs – Adios Big Papi

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11:2 ODDS…………………..10 pays 55

I had to look back at this line 10 times.  Less than 6:1 odds?!?!

no confused shocked syllvester stallone

I’m still in shock.  There are so many unknowns on this team I don’t know where to begin.  Let’s start with the loss of the man, the myth, the legend, BIG PAPI.  Even as a Yankees fan it was hard to hate this dude, he was a boss.

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He was the unquestioned leader of this team for what seems like an eternity.  He carried the Sawx with his stick and he was one of the clutchest hitters of all time.  As a fan on the other side I’ve never feared anyone as much as PAPI.  All 3 of Boston’s titles were won on the big man’s back.  Below are his stats in those 3 championship playoff runs:

2004: AVG – .400      OBP – .515       HR- 5      RBI – 19      14 games played

2007: AVG – .370      OBP – .508      HR – 6     RBI – 10     14 games played

2013:  AVG – .353       OBP – .500      HR – 5     RBI – 13      16 games played

Stud.  By the way he hit .315 with a .401 OBP, and had 38 HR and 127 RBI last year.  Can someone please tell me who’s going to fill that void?  Who’s going to induce the fear of the opposing pitcher and make them pitch strikes to everyone else.  Besides his otherworldly stats and power, he made everyone better just by simply being in the lineup.  His veteran leadership was the cherry on top.  You want a young kid to go talk with someone who’s “been there before?”  Yea I think Papi’s got that covered.

Pedroia is a good player and I’m sure a solid leader, but he’s got some big cleats to fill.  The Sox have some really good talent with the likes of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Xander Bogaerts all coming off career years.  But they’re all young and going to have to IMPROVE upon that production, not simply replicate it.  That’s a tall order.

The pitching staff is highly touted, and very highly paid.  They better use some of that dough towards psychiatry bills because it’s a staff of headcases.  Let’s start at the top with the newly acquired Sale who’s a hell of a talent but last year did this:

“Sale was reportedly so mad that the team had to wear throwback uniforms that he cut up all the jerseys so none of the players would be able to wear them. According to Ken Rosenthal, he thought the throwbacks were uncomfortable. He was then sent home early as a result.

The throwbacks aren’t that terrible, for what it’s worth, and the incident seems to be part of a larger issue between Sale and the White Sox.” (source: SB Nation)

He cut up every jersey in the locker room into little pieces?!?!  If your 5 year old pulled that stunt you would send them to timeout and be FURIOUS.  (Timeout right?  Just a guess from a guy with no kids).  A 27 year old pulling this stunt is…unfathomable?  He’s also never pitched in a game with any significance in his entire life.  Who actually has pitched in some games with significance in Boston?  Glad you asked.  Here’s highly touted (and paid) David Price’s well documented postseason stats in 10 games (excluding 2008’s 5 innings as a reliever):  5.90 ERA, 66 hits, 61 innings pitched.  He’s coming off an inconsistent year where his 3.99 ERA was his worst since 2009.  He got shelled in his 1 playoff start for 5 runs in 3.1 innings.  Yeesh.

Let’s move on to Rick Porcello who’s coming off a career year (to say the least) winning a what-the-fuck?! AL Cy Young trophy.  Here’s the issue…the year before he had an ERA of 4.92.  He just seems to be a guy who has one good year followed by one average or bad one.  The last 4 years his ERA has been 3.15, 4.92, 3.43, 4.32.  He’s coming off a playoff start where he [surprise] got bombed giving up 5 runs, 3 of them homers in 4.1 innings.  He has no other [good] postseason experience to speak of (4.80 ERA in 15 innings in 2011 with the Tigers).  Not exactly the guy I want leading my staff.

Drew Pomeranz is an intriguing 28 year old who’s had some real success in the bigs.  One problem.  He pitched in Oakland for 2 years where runs and fly balls go to die.  After a stellar first half with San Diego in 2016 he really struggled once he was traded to Boston with a 4.59 ERA and a 6.61 ERA in 4 September starts.  The inconsistent knuckleballer Steven Wright rounds out the rotation and “reliability” isn’t his top trait.

The problems are glaring.  The Sale trade has given everyone amnesia to the fact David Ortiz is gone and he ain’t coming back.  The hitting will be worse and the pitching will be slightly better (Sale +, Porcello -).  Remove a legendary leader, add a confirmed nut job.  If you take the Boston Red Sox at these odds, Gawd help you.

 

BREAK OUT STAR:  Andrew Benintendi —   #1 prospect in baseball.  22 years old.  He hit almost .300 in his first big league action last season before injury.  They’re going to need him to become a star if they want to prove the haters (me) wrong.

UNDER THE RADAR:  Mitch Moreland — I’ve always been a fan of Moreland and he’s going to love Fenway Park and the Pesky Pole.  He’ll be in plenty a DFS slate of mine.

DUE FOR REGRESSION:  Ummm everyone?  Sandy Leon/Porcello/Hanley Ramirez Leon started off hotter than hot and at catcher was a huge part of the hitting machine buzzsaw of last year.  But his average went down every month and he ended with a .216 avg in September.  Porcello I’ve discussed, if that guy wins another Cy Young I’ll never drink a beer again (i.e. never happening).  Lastly, Hanley had the 2nd most HR of his career since 10 years ago when he belted 33 HR.  He also had the most RBI of his career.  Pretty sure we’re not seeing that season again without the FBI-level protection Ortiz gave him.

FINAL VERDICT:  C’MON.  I’LL BE TAKING THE UNDER.

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