A fourth installment mirroring Boston Red Sox players of the present with one from my memories of the past. This is the first baseman – Mitch Moreland and Brian Daubach.
Boston Red Sox left-handed first baseman Mitch Moreland is a gritty player who consistently can be put down for 15+ home runs and 65-80 RBI while hitting close to his career .251 average. The well-respected veteran became an All-Star in 2018 and was rewarded prior to the season with a two-year and $13 million contract. Money well spent.
Moreland may not ring up 100+ RBI, but seems to have a knack for getting a timely hit – just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers about that. What Moreland excels at is defense and is rated one of the best defensively with a Gold Glove trophy in 2016.
When looking at Moreland, I think of another left-hand hitter who played first base, DH, and a bit of the outfield – Brian Daubach or the “Belleville Basher.” Daubach made most of his MLB noise with the Red Sox and when you say consistent that was Daubach who in his four full Boston seasons hit 20+ home runs and 70+ RBI while hitting .266.
Daubach had the prototypical “Dirt Dog” style that resonates with Red Sox fans and was a favorite, especially after a historic bench-clearing brawl in 2000 with the Tampa Bay Rays. How bad was it? The Rays pitchers threw at Daubach all game long – plunking him twice – and saw eight Rays sent packing. Pedro Martinez almost tossed a no-hitter and Daubach’s teammate Lou Merloni ended up in the hospital as a casualty of Daubach himself.
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Daubach made the rounds as one would expect of a 17th round draft pick (Mets – 1990) and started his MLB career with Miami before signing with the Red Sox. In 2003, Daubach signed as a free agent with the White Sox where he hit just .230. Boston resigned Daubach for the 2004 season and hit just .227 spending most of the season with Pawtucket (AAA), but still give a ring.
In 2005, Daubach signed with his original team the Mets and hit just .120. Then it was to the Cardinals system before calling it quits after hitting .279 for Memphis (AAA). The final MLB line shows eight seasons and a .259 career average.
The respect Daubach had accumulated within the organization was evident when he was chosen to represent the 2004 team in the ring ceremony honoring the 2007 champions. Daubach – despite not playing in Boston after May in 2004 – still got his ring and a reported full share.
Since retiring, the “Belleville Basher” has been in media with WEEI, coached and managed in the minors, and is now the hitting coach for the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA).
Moreland and Daubach are certainly similar with a bat with one significant difference being the ability to hit lefties. Moreland has a career .241 average and Daubach just .216 against southpaws. Then there is defense. Daubach was no statue in the field and had respectable range, smart decision making, and a good arm, but the edge certainly resides with Moreland, but not by much.