Though the Red Sox Are Struggling, David Ortiz Just Keeps Rolling Along
The Boston Red Sox haven't been very good this year. At 58-75, Boston is 18 games out of first place in the AL East, a truly disappointing follow-up season to last year's world championship.
Youngsters like Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and Jackie Bradley haven't performed like the team hoped they would, Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes have had down seasons and Shane Victorino has been injured for most of the year. And much of the pitching staff hasn't been up to snuff, with Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy having disappointing seasons as well.
But one long-time Red Sock has continued to perform with the consistency of a metronome. Designated hitter David Ortiz just continues to do his thing.
The 38-year-old Ortiz has a slash line of .267/.363/.523 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs this year, just more of the same from one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. Compare this season to his four most recent seasons with Boston.
Ortiz has been doing this since he joined the Red Sox in 2003, when he crossed the 30-homer threshold for the first time. His nERD of 2.02 means a lineup of Ortizes would score 2.02 runs a game more than a league-average player, good for 30th in all of baseball.
His 12.9% walk rate is just a tick below his career average of 13.2% and he's striking out in just 15.0% of his plate appearances, below his career average of 17.7%. And as his weighted runs created of 137 shows, Ortiz has created 37% more runs than a league average hitter. Plus, there's this:
Most HR, last 365 days: Giancarlo Stanton 41 Chris Carter, David Ortiz 36 Nelson Cruz 34 Jose Abreu, Mike Trout, Anthony Rizzo 33— High Heat Stats MLB (@HighHeatStats) August 27, 2014
So he's keeping pace with the young fellas, as well as making some old-timer history, too.
David Ortiz is the first player with 30+ HR in his Age-38 season or older since HOF'er Frank Thomas in 2006; http://t.co/ypvoHhW1rE— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) August 21, 2014
That has been done only 15 other times in Major League history. Here's the full list courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Boston is certainly thankful for Ortiz' production, given he is earning $15 million this year and is under contract with them next season at a cool $16 million. There are also team options of $10 million for 2016 and 2017, with vesting options each of those years as well.
But Big Papi is showing no signs of slowing down, and our numbers don't expect him to either, at least for the rest of this season. We project a .293/.383/.535 slash line the rest of the way, with an OPS of .918, a wOBA of .383, six home runs and 18 RBI, and a Fantasy Score of 8.21 which is third in all of baseball. However, we are only projecting one stolen base for Ortiz.
They can't all be Dee Gordon, you know.
The Red Sox hope to be back in contention next year and will expect more of the same from Ortiz in 2015. And right now, there's certainly no reason to expect he won't continue to be one of the best sluggers in all of baseball once again next season.