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Showing posts from May, 2016

Is Xander Bogaerts the Best Hitter in Baseball?

Don't look now but Xander Bogaerts has become a superstar shortstop. His three run homer yesterday was the difference in a Red Sox victory as David Ortiz got a well deserved day off. Bogaerts is now leading the American League in hits with 53, his .338 is fourth best in batting average. Even more telling is that he leads every shortstop in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. Does that make him the best hitter in all of baseball though? According to a catcher for the Oakland A's it does. Here is a quote from David Ortiz that showed up in this ESPN article: “The A's catcher told me the other day that Bogaerts might be the best hitter in the game. He said that to me as I was walking to the plate. He got a two-strike base hit up the middle and he says that to me. When you hear things like that and think back to a guy who two years ago was trying to make it at the major league level. We are talking about guys in their 20s and not even in their mid-20s…

How the Red Sox Got Lucky with Jackie Bradley

Five years ago next month Jackie Bradley was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. While Red Sox Nation knew very little about him, I already knew plenty about him. He was a fellow Gamecock, a guy I had watched from his very first game his freshman year at The University of South Carolina. The last five years have been filled with ups and downs for JBJ. I took his struggles personally since I always felt the need to defend him. It was strange watching my two passions, the Gamecocks and Red Sox, merge into one in the form of Jackie. The truth is, the Red Sox were lucky to get Bradley in the draft. Red Sox fans at the time didn't see it as luck as they questioned the drop in his numbers during his final year in college. A combination of a bad wrist and the pressure of being heralded as a potential top five pick in the MLB Draft made Bradley's numbers look pedestrian and it scared off a handful of organizations to the benefit of the Red Sox. It appears JBJ has arrived a bona fide big l…

Willie Would Have Had It

"Willie would have had it." I heard it the first time I went to a baseball game and have heard it or thought about it at every game since. The words would come from my father as he tried to teach me about the greatness of Willie Mays. Fly balls that hit the warning track or that would drop in front of or to the side of an outfielder would get the same comment from my Dad, "Willie would have had it". My father grew up a Mays fan and was surrounded by Mickey Mantle fans. His neighborhood was just one of the many neighborhoods where fans of all ages debated over who was better. Mantle fans would talk about his ability to switch hit and when Mantle would struggle to match up with Willie they would argue it was only because of his bad knees. My father would respond accordingly, "fine, Mickey is the best center-fielder with bad knees and Willie is just the best center-fielder". I was born in 1974, a year after Willie Mays played his final game. I never got to …

Clay Buchholz: The Mental Giant?

I have been back and forth when it comes to Clay Buchholz the pitcher. Before last season I was optimistic that the lack of an "ace" may force Clay to move into that role mentally and finally reach his potential. That didn't happen and on April 29th of last year I wrote him off calling him The Mental Midget. I don't know what is more infuriating when it comes to Clay, his great starts or the starts when he physically and mentally implodes. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone with talent unable to fulfill it on a consistent basis. That has been Buchholz in a nut shell for his whole career. Did he turn the corner last night? If you just showed me his pitching line I would tell you of course not. I would explain that this is what Clay does. He gets shelled for a few starts and then pitches great and you convince yourself he has in fact turned the corner. Of course, that has always turned out to be false. Was last night different? Is Clay setting me up…