David Ortiz, 2006
2006 was another mediocre year by the Red Sox as a whole, but as usual David Ortiz made sure that everyone tuned in regardless. Big Papi absolutely mashed in ’06, putting up a line of .281/.413/.636 with a whopping 54 home runs (career-high) and 137 RBI. Ortiz also had a career-high in walks with 119.
Ortiz was third in AL MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger award for his efforts. One could make the argument that he should have been ahead of both Derek Jeter and Justin Morneau and won the MVP outright, but the lack of success by the team as a whole hurt his chances as he didn’t receive any first-place votes.
Despite a lack of recognition, Papi gave fans a reason to watch every night even with the Red Sox not meeting expectations during the season and ultimately missing the playoffs. It can be hard to sit through 162 games when there’s no postseason appearance to pay it off, but Ortiz made it a bit easier by being so entertaining to watch at the plate.
Ortiz has had more memorable moments in his career than his accomplishments in the 2006 season, but for pitchers around the majors that year he might have been at his most terrifying. When he wasn’t getting pitched around, he was hitting a ball over the fence. You could pretty much apply that statement to his entire career and it would still be accurate.