As Mookie Goes, So Go The Red Sox

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Mookie Betts slow start in 2019 highlights why he was the MVP in 2018

One of the great debates in the Red Sox historic 2018 season centered around who between Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez was more deserving of the American League MVP.  Each had huge seasons and convincing cases were made for each player to take the crown.  Ultimately the award went to Betts, thanks to his strong finish and a bit of a tailing off for Martinez in power numbers after the All-Star Break.  Winning the AL Batting Title and a Gold Glove were also major boxes checked in Betts’ favor.

Photo courtesy of usatoday.com
This season Betts has gotten off to slow start at the plate, while Martinez has continued to be a hitting machine.  In a strange way, the struggles by Betts so far this season have somewhat validated his selection over Martinez last year.

The Red Sox record stood at 10-15 going into Thursday night’s game against the Tigers.  Let’s look at the splits between the two players in games won and games lost this season.

Betts

Team Result
Games
Runs
AVG
OBP
SLG
Win
10
10
.314
.429
.486
Loss
15
8
.211
.324
.404

Martinez

Team Result
Games
Runs
AVG
OBP
SLG
Win
10
7
.353
.488
.559
Loss
15
6
.339
.391
.525

While it is no surprise a players’ stat line is lower in loses than it is in wins, the drop-off in Betts’ numbers are striking.  Though Martinez shows a drop off of only 14 points in batting average, Betts average in losses is 103 points lower than in wins.  Though Martinez displays consistently solid offensive numbers, it is apparent his performance alone makes little difference to the Red Sox fortunes when compared to Betts.

The numbers are even more striking when looking at some of the Red Sox other regulars; Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers.

Benintendi

Team Result
Games
AVG
OBP
SLG
Win
10
.314
.429
.486
Loss
12
.310
.400
.381

Bogaerts

Team Result
Games
AVG
OBP
SLG
Win
9
.333
.410
.545
Loss
15
.255
.349
.455

Devers

Team Result
Games
AVG
OBP
SLG
Win
10
.194
.310
.306
Loss
15
.319
.407
.340

While Bogaerts splits show a bit of a drop-off, it is not as drastic as Betts, and still very respectable numbers. 

Benintendi’s splits are virtually the same despite the team’s results.  While not a superstar, Benny is becoming a very solid everyday major league player.

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The case of Devers is the most curious of all.  His splits are significantly and inexplicably better in losses than they are in wins.  Obviously his performance has had virtually no bearing on the Red Sox fortunes.

While other factors obviously factor into a team’s won-loss record, most notably pitching, more often than not as the star players go, so goes the team.  Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are certainly the two biggest offensive stars for the Red Sox.  But Betts struggles this season this season clearly shows that he sets the tone for the team, and his performance is more valuable in contributing to wins.  

The good news for Red Sox fans is in the last seven games Betts is slashing .423/.531/.692.  The Red Sox have won five of those seven games, including Thursday night’s 7-3 win over the Tigers to gain a split of the four game series.  It’s no surprise the Red Sox recent resurgence correlates with Betts finding himself at the plate.  As Mookie goes, so go the Red Sox.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: As Mookie Goes, So Go The Red Sox
As Mookie Goes, So Go The Red Sox
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