The 2013 regular season has come and gone as the Boston Red Sox return to the playoffs following their unlikely American League East divisional crown.
In a year that saw a lot more go right than wrong, it is time to give out some awards to those who went the extra mile to make this season a special one.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Iglesias showed a great glove at short, the ability to get on base and was the key piece in landing Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox.
Although Jackie Bradley was the buzz of spring training, his lack of offense ended up seeing him sent back to Pawtucket for a chunk of 2013.
Xander Bogaerts is the clubhouse leader to win the award for next year—like Jacoby Ellsbury’s great performance in the 2007 World Series before his official first year—but it is hard to ignore Iglesias’ .330 batting average and his 13 extra base hits in 63 games.
MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER
The Red Sox thought they had found the answer to replacing Jonathan Papelbon when they acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Hanrahan went down to injury, they turned to last year’s stopper Andrew Bailey. After Bailey blew five out of 13 save chances, manager John Farrell turned to 38-year-old Koji Uehara.
Uehara excelled in the role.
With a WHIP of 0.565 and an ERA of 1.09, Uehara slammed the door 21 times and gave Boston a needed firewall at the end of games. Uehara struck out an astounding 101 hitters in 74.1 innings while walking just nine.
That is right. For every 11.22 betters he fanned, he walked one.
With great seasons from Jon Lester, John Lackey and a tremendous half-year from Clay Buchholz, Uehara and his ERA+ of 376 overshadowed them and he is one of the big reasons that the Sox are playing in October.
MOST OUTSTANDING BATTER
David Ortiz is paid to hit, which is exactly what he did in 2013.
His franchise-tying—matching Ted Williams—seventh 30 home run and 100-plus RBI season was the complement to an offense that found its footing again and produced a league-high 853 runs.
Ortiz led the team with 70 extra base hits, scored 84 runs and stole four bases while hitting a team best .309.
At 37, Ortiz’s role for the Sox is just as indispensable now as it ever has been. Feared by opposition pitchers, Ortiz drew 27 of Boston’s 51 intentional walks.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
In a year where everyone who played made a contribution to winning the division, picking one player above all the others was a hard chore.
Newcomers Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Peavy and Mike Napoli all had outstanding seasons. John Lackey is easily the comeback player of the year and the reemergence of Lester and Buchholz in the rotation gives playoff teams legitimate reasons to worry.
The firecracker that plays second base has become Boston’s best overall player. The only Sox to play in more than 150 games in 2013, Pedroia led the team in hits and doubles and was only one run behind Ellsbury for runs scored.
Like Carl Yastrzemski a couple generations before, Pedroia relishes the role of supplying whatever spark Boston needs to win. Need a homer or a play in the field? Ask Pedey.
Signed through the 2021 season and only 30, Pedroia has become the heart and soul of the Red Sox. He grew up at the feet of Jason Varitek and Terry Francona and cashed in on those lessons.
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