Boston Red Sox free agent aquisition Mitch Moreland has shown he’s here to play and he’s here to stay if given the chance
The Sox gave Mitch Moreland a chance this off season to play in Boston. It was a relatively low risk one year contract worth $5.5 million. We needed a defensive player to handle 1st base with Hanley potentially moving into the DH role. It’s just a little bit lower than his $5.7 million contract last year. It seemed like the perfect move by Sox GM Dave Dombrowski. Moreland gave more yes, more, during Spring Training in 2017. After hitting a home run and 16 RBI’s with a .341 batting average this spring, it looked like Moreland was going to have solid playing time after displaying the ability to hit both lefties and righties. Moreland finished with the second most amount of RBI’s only behind Pablo Sandoval who had 20.
With Hanley Ramirez missing some time due to an illness, Moreland was going to get a shot at earning more playing time and the chance to start every day. After starting the season 0/9 Moreland has been absolutely on fire. In just his second game he missed two home runs getting robbed by Andrew McCutchen in right and the wind in center. He was just starting to break out of his shell in Boston. Moreland now 31, is in his 8th season and 1st with the Sox after spending the first 7 as a member of the Rangers. Moreland is praised for his power and has hit the 20-20 number in three of his last four seasons.
Comparing his line from 2016 to now, Moreland has seen his batting average rise over .120 points from .233 to .358 and is well on his way to shattering his career best in doubles. Through 14 games, Moreland has 10 doubles. Last season he had 21 in 147 games. While I don’t think Moreland is going to hit 100+ doubles in the season, I do think that he’s going to lead the league in doubles baring any set backs. He’s seeing the ball extremely well and is hitting the ball the opposite way against the shift. I like the nickname I heard about Moreland, Mitchy-Two-Bags. Definitely curious to see how far #MitchyTwoBags goes. With that kind of name, you’re going to slowly become a fan favorite.
Even though we just started the season a few weeks ago, it’s clear he’s playing for a contract extension and if he keeps this up, it’s gonna be hard not giving him a raise for 2018. I don’t know why but Moreland reminds me of a hybrid version of Kevin Millar and Mike Napoli. Nap had the power and the beard but Millar had the legendary smile and charisma. Moreland is just that. Full beard with a hearty smile. While we’ve had a relatively small sample size to see what he can do, he’s solidified his spot in the line up and will hold onto the position for the foreseeable future.
The Sox haven’t been hitting home runs left and right like last season but they’ve been knocking runs in by way of the double like it’s their job. The Sox have managed to win four in a row improving to 9 – 5 on the season. The Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees are now in a three way tie for 1st in the AL East. With plenty of baseball left, it’ll be exciting to see who pulls out as the winner of the division.
Photo Credit – Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports