Projecting Red Sox player awards for 2022
MLB predictions are all the thing this time of year with the dawn of a new season. I will not be left wilting at the altar on this one and will dust off the crystal ball and look into the future of the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox team MVP will contain several possibilities and circulate some impressive batting statistics. In the end, the winner will be based on solid offensive and defensive numbers, and that will be Trevor Story.
Story is in a perfect spot with Boston, which has a rich lineup of power hitters so that he will get his pitches. A great ballpark, a division with spotty pitching and excellent hitters parks.
The Spahn Age-42 Award
At age-42, lefty Warren Spahn went 23-7 for the Milwaukee Braves, and Boston’s lefty Rich Hill is also 42. Hill has never won more than 12 games, but he will match that this coming season. In 2021, Hill made 31 starts, and he’ll tack on 30 more this season. For five or six innings, Hill will impress.
Patrick Wisdom played for the Cubs in 2021 and hit a slew of home runs (28) in 375 plate appearances. Wisdom also whiffed at 40.8 K% – tops in MLB (250 PAs). Bobby Dalbec managed a 34.4 K% and will be in that vicinity in 2022. Dalbec views walks (6.2 BB%) like a sailor views STD.
Dalbec’s time in the lineup will be monitored, but he will provide solid hitting at the bottom and will improve on his defense. Expect a few strikeouts followed by a Statcast tape measure home run.
The Stanley Steamer Award
For years, Red Sox righty Bob Stanley was a lynchpin for the pitching staff. Stanley would start, close, and toss multiple innings. At times it was ugly and brutal but mostly a lifeline. Garrett Whitlock will assume a similar role. Expect the right-hander to be an extended opener, or closer, or a multi-inning security blanket.
Bless you, Scott Boras Award
Agent Scott Boras is hated by fans, feared by owners, and loved by players, and that love is expressed in contracts such as the one Xander Bogaerts signed with an opt-out. Bogaerts will get a pile of dough from Boston or elsewhere and expect XB to win another Silver Slugger Award.
Pitcher of the Year
It could be Whitlock, but I will look elsewhere and go with Nick Pivetta. The righty does one thing that is highly impressive for me: taking the ball and throwing it, and Pivetta is not hesitant. Expect Pivetta to get double-digit wins, blasted a few times, and 30+ starts.
Medoza Line Award
With a team that will slug-like Boston, maybe the Mendoza Line should be moved to .230? There will be little competition, but I have to go with Jackie Bradley Jr., coming off a scintillating .163 in Milwaukee. Anything above Mendoza Line will be a plus.
Tenth Man Award
Remember that Tenth Man Award? In 2022, Christian Arroyo will get 300+ at-bats and stay reasonably healthy. Arroyo played solid defense at second but can play anywhere in the infield and has dabbled with the outfield. The right-hand hitter swatted .262 last season with six home runs in just 57 games.
I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This Award
Injuries are part of the game, and lefty Chris Sale has suddenly collected them. Is Sale cursed? The latest rib injury is nasty (my own experience), and recovery could be problematic. Too much depends on a healthy Sale.
Home Run Leader Award
There was an old baseball saying about home run hitters driving Cadillacs, but every player today can afford a Caddy. Possibly change it to a Bentley or Bugatti? This team will pile on home runs, and you may have a half dozen slam 30+, but when the season is done, Rafael Devers will top J.D. Martinez and Dalbec.
We Better Sign Him Award
In 2021 the free-agent signing of Enrique Hernandez was a significant plus for Chaim Bloom. Hernandez hit 20 home runs and hit a hard .250 along with highlight catches. Expect more of the same and great versatility for just $8 MM.
Rookie of the Year
This is a very thin group, and rookies may be brought up not on minor league performance but on need. I look at not position players since Boston has depth but where this team eventually has issues – if you said pitching, we are on the same page.
Connor Seabold and Josh Winckowski are both right-handers and will be with Worcester (AAA) for part of the season. So, folks, take a coin and flip it – heads it is Seabold, and tails it is Winckowski. One or both will contribute to steady a shaky staff.
A Great/Bad Time To Be A Free-Agent Award
What’s not to like about Nathan Eovaldi? Eovaldi is in the last year of a bad contract signing (four years – $68 MM) that suddenly seemed great with an 11-9 record and a serious run at the Cy Young award – Nasty Nate finished fourth.
The righty stands to pinch another sweet deal with a repeat season, but history has not been kind to Eovaldi. Injuries have been the occasional killer for the hard thrower, and coming off a 200+ inning season (includes playoffs) could see a return to bad times. Much of the season will depend on Eovaldi picking up 30 starts.