The Red Sox have two very strong options at first base for 2019. Based on this past season who will be the best option for the key position?
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora will be heading into spring training in a few weeks with two strong contenders to play first base. Mitch Moreland was slated to be the everyday first baseman in 2018 but with the addition of Steve Pearce midseason and a late year injury, we now have ourselves a battle.
Both players bring value to the club and are important to the success of the Red Sox in the coming season. And in all honesty, neither is a poor choice to get the call on any given day. Neither player is a spring chicken either, with Pearce turning 36 at the start of the season and Moreland turning 34 to end it.
Both are also going to be in contract years and will be trying to play each day to prove to not only the Red Sox but other teams that they still offer value to a club. I look for that to be a huge motivating factor fo both to try and go all out for the entire season. Players always tend to find that extra gear when a new deal could be on the table. Money is a hell of a drug.
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Moreland had more appearances this year playing in 124 games to Pearce’s 76, which could’ve possibly led to the late-season injury. Both players were as reliable as they possibly could be on the field with Pearce walking away from 2018 with only a single error and Moreland with a pair, not bad at all.
The plate is where these two separated themselves this past season. Pearce posted a .284/.378/.512/.890 line to Moreland’s .245/.325/.433./758. Now, there is a disclaimer as Mitch had nearly double the at-bats that Pearce did. Pearce also had the advantage in the K/BB ratio at 41/29 to MItch’s 102/50.
Steve Pearce’s legendary run through the playoffs also brings him into 2019 with momentum. A World Series MVP will do that for a guy. Pearce stepped up huge once Moreland went down with the injury. He was impossible to get out during the run to the World Series crown and he was flashing leather left and right.
I don’t know how AC is going to make this decision. Obviously, it’ll come down to who has the better spring training, but I can’t imagine it’ll be fully clear cut.
Both guys are level on the fielding aspect, both have made great plays at first to save outs. And at the plate, Pearce looks like the better hitter but you have to remember, Moreland had twice as many at-bats, so the numbers aren’t really that off. Moreland has the slight age advantage as well as 3 fewer years of wear and tear.
If we’re going off of last season’s performances then I’m going with Steve Pearce. It’d hard to argue against what he did with his opportunities in 2018. It’s all going to come down to which of these two comes ready to rock in March in Fort Myers. If they have a similar preseason then I could see AC going with a split shift system at first.
The battle for first base is going to be a hot one this season and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Both Pearce and Moreland are quality players and both are going to be huge pieces to the Red Sox success machine in 2019. I can definitely tell you this though, I in no way, shape, or form envy Alex Cora.