As of this morning, the Red Sox have eighty-four wins. That was my preseason projection. Sometimes, you take your medicine and move on.
What went well? The Red Sox have gotten MVP caliber seasons from Mookie Betts and David Ortiz and a possible Cy Young performance from Rick Porcello. Sign him to a long-term extension? Done, by the vilified Ben Cherington, now of the Toronto Blue Jays.
How good has Betts been? Jacoby Ellsbury’s magnificent 2011 season carried an 8.1 WAR. With two weeks left in the regular season, Betts is at 8.5. Willie Mays in 1954, at age 23, had a WAR of 10.6. Certainly, that’s not saying Betts will be Willie Mays; it’s just a reference point.
I think of a WAR of 5 as all-star caliber play. Anything over 8 puts you at a possible MVP-type season. 10 is god-like. Babe Ruth had nine WAR seasons over 10. Willie Mays had six. Mickey Mantle had three. Carl Yastrzemski’s 1967 campaign was 10.2. His next highest season was 8.2.
Since returning from knee surgery, Craig Kimbrel has been lights out with 14 1/3 innings of one-run ball and twenty-seven strikeouts. David Price hasn’t been lights out, but he’s been excellent down the stretch, discounting yesterday’s so-so day.
Hanley Ramirez has twenty-six homers, 102 RBI, and has been steady at first base. We expected that? Dustin Pedroia is competing for a batting title, has a WAR of 5.5, and has his career average is back over .300. Xander Bogaerts had seven homers in 2015 and hit his 20th yesterday.
The naysayers will say, “none of this matters; the season isn’t over.” The 1964 Phillies proved that chicken-counting can go bad. But I… was… wrong.
Read more from Ron on Red Sox Reality Check.