When the Red Sox were practicing their bunting down in Fort Myers this past spring, I would have told you that Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, or David Ortiz would end up being the team’s 2012 MVP. Needless to say, 2012 didn’t go according to plan.
Superstars left. Bobby Valentine stayed. Injuries were abundant. All the excuses in the world aside, it’s a pretty damn tough task to come up with a MVP of any sort on this year’s squad.
Alas, despite years at the bottom of the AL East, the city of Baltimore continued to employ baseball writers, who hungrily awaited a season like this one. The coin has now flipped on me, and I must say it’s been hard to find any inspiration worth putting in (web) ink.
But I’ll trudge on, regressing into Boston traditions of years past like by repeating “There’s always next season,” much in the way that Dorothy willed herself back to her native Kansas by repeating “There’s no place like home.”
So while my TV will cower this October, hiding from the familiar sounds of playoff baseball until the Yankees are eliminated, I’ll at least make an attempt to highlight a few guys who did contribute in a big way for the 2012 Red Sox. This was no Marissa Miller over Petra Nemkova decision, but my 2012 Boston Red Sox MVP goes to…
2012 Boston Red Sox Most Valuable Player: Cody Ross – Cody Ross provided pretty much the only positive memory I have from the 2012 Red Sox season: a walk-off home run against the White Sox way back on July 20. Ross’ numbers were also among the best on the team: .274 average, 21 home runs, and 75 RBI in 119 games. That computes to 162 game averages of 28 home runs and 102 RBIs—not bad for a $3 million player with one of the best arms out of right field in the game.
But more than the late-game heroics or the numbers, Ross appears the be the rare player that thrives in Boston. He wanted to be here, was always smiling, and seemed to excel in front of a packed house of fans just waiting to heckle him to death. He seems to be cut out of a similar mold to Ortiz, and I see him as very much a part of the Red Sox solution rather than the problem. Keeping him around in 2013 should be an off-season priority. Well done, Mr. Ross.
Runner-up: David Ortiz – Big Papi got off to a blistering start this year (for once) and kept it going throughout the year until his season was derailed by injury. Sadly, his numbers are still among the best on the team despite that fact that he only played 90 games: .318 average, 23 home runs, and 60 RBIs. Had Papi stayed healthy, he was on track for a 41 home run and 108 RBI season—not bad for an old DH deemed unworthy of a two-year deal. And despite his injury, Ortiz was standing on the front steps of the dugout, game in and game out, keeping his teammates loose and the fans entertained.
Honorable Mention: Scott Atchison – Scott Atchison is a right-handed reliever who is 36 years old and makes $510,000 per year—the guy must suck, right? Wrong.
Atchison was the best pitcher in the pen for the Red Sox this year, putting together a 1.68 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. In 48 innings pitched, he struck out 35 while only allowing nine free passes. In other words, in a season full of bleeding, Atchison was the closest thing the Red Sox had to a gauze pad. I just have a hard time giving the team MVP to a reliever who only pitched 48 innings.
As for next season, I’m picking Jacoby Ellsbury, although I have a growing suspicion that there won’t be a “B” on his cap come spring.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder & Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston Red Sox blog.