Red Sox: Five keys to a successful 2017 MLB postseason
When it comes to reliable rookie performances, the Red Sox are no such strangers. Since 2013, the Sox have been awarded the good fortune of having an impressively deep farm system. In doing so they have routinely called up some of their top prospects in recent years who in turn have provided valuable contributions to the big league ball club when needed.
Looking back in time, including this year, the Red Sox have called up their top prospect(s) in 4 of the previous 5 seasons:
- 2013: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts
- 2014: Mookie Betts
- 2016: Andrew Benintendi & Yoan Moncada
- 2017: Rafael Devers
Considering five of those players account for 55% of the starting lineup and Moncada was used as the center piece in the trade for Sale, Boston’s farm system has done an outstanding job at developing major league ready talent.
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This year, with two rookies in the everyday lineup in Benintendi and Devers, the Red Sox will once again be leaning heavily on their youth as they push into October.
With Benintendi being in the everyday lineup since Opening Day, the Red Sox can feel confident in knowing they can rely on his performance at the top or in the middle of the lineup come postseason time. Devers on the other hand, as a less polished and much younger rookie (20 yrs old vs. Benny at 23 yrs old), will still be prone to growing pains as he develops at the major league level.
So far though, both players have shown they’re more than capable of handling major league pitching. While Benintendi gave us a glimpse of his promise in 34 games last year and was possibly the teams best hitter in their three-game sweep at the hands of the Tribe in 2016, he’s grown into an incredibly valuable player to this team in just a years time. Over the course of his first full season, Benintendi has been able to post numbers of:
- .277 AVG
- 19 HR
- 19 SB
- 25 2B
- 87 RBI
- .789 OPS
- 106 OPS+
- 2.4 WAR
Devers meanwhile, in his first 47 games at the major league level, has shown the power that makes many believe he’ll be a force in the middle of the Red Sox lineup for years to come. In his first taste of major league pitching, Devers has posted:
- .289 AVG
- .825 OPS
- 114 OPS+
- 8 HR
- 10 2B
- 21 RBI
For the Red Sox to play deep into October, both Benintendi and Devers will need to be a big piece of the puzzle. They’ve both shown already that they can be counted on to provide huge hits for this team when needed and the Red Sox should feel very confident in leaning on these two young players when the game is on the line.