For the Red Sox, it’s not necessarily the number of wins and losses that count, but how they lost. They stand at 5-10, last place in an AL East division that boasts the Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles, and the Rays all with nine wins. When they pitch well, they don’t hit, or the bullpen flounders. When they hit, they don’t pitch, and the bullpen flounders. They need a better bullpen if they want to win, but until then, the focus will be on the positives. ACE Player of the Week goes to David Ortiz this week for his outstanding and consistent hitting among the disappointment that has so far been the Red Sox 2012 season.
On the young season, Ortiz is hitting at .436 in 14 games. His stat line is 55 AB, 9 R, 24 H, 8 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO, 0 SB, 1 CS, .475 OBP, .691 SLG, and 1.166 OPS. Though in his career he has been slow to start, Ortiz is proving he’s worth his new one-year deal that many were complaining was too high for an aging DH. In the 15-9 loss to the Yankees this weekend, Ortiz went 4-4 with a double, walk, RBI, and run scored, but the pitching stifled his performance.
The left-handed hitting DH/first baseman started his career major league career in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system in 1992-1996. He never made it up to the big leagues with Seattle, but he was traded to the Minnesota Twins and made his debut in September 1997. Ortiz suffered from wrist injuries and could not find his groove at the plate, his highest average coming in at .327, but that was just over 15 games in 1997. In 130 games in 2000, he hit a respectable .282, but with just ten home runs and 63 RBI. Ortiz hit .272 in 125 games with Minnesota in 2002, with 20 home runs and 75 RBI, but due to his consistent bouts with injuries, was released by the Twins at the end of the season. Through his Twins’ career, Ortiz had 58 home runs and 232 RBI.
The Boston Red Sox picked him up as no-risk free agent during the beginning of the new management and ownership’s tenure in John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, and Theo Epstein. Though Jeremy Giambi was the DH at the time, Ortiz took over the starting role in June of 2003. That season, he finished with a .288 BA, 39 2B, 31 HR, and 101 RBI in 128 games. The Sox were one game from going to the World Series, but lost to the New York Yankees in devastating fashion in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. 2004 was an even better for the Sox and Ortiz when he hit .301, with 47 2B, 3 3B, 41 HR, and 139 RBI over 150 games. Thanks in large part to Ortiz’s clutch play in the playoffs, the Sox swept the Angels in three games off of Ortiz’s walk-off home run in Game 3, came out the victor in an ALCS rematch against the Yankees in seven games, after falling behind 3-0 in the series to win four straight, and had a four game sweep of the Cardinals to win the World Series.
In 2005, Ortiz hit 47 home runs and his highest career total of 148 RBI and came second in AL MVP voting. He followed up with a 2006 season that saw him hit 54 home runs to set a new Red Sox record for most in a season with 137 RBI. The 2007 World Series Championship season had the Red Sox place first in the division and Ortiz have another outstanding season with 52 2B, 1 3B, 35 HR, 117 RBI, with a .332 BA. His numbers started to drop a little in 2008 and 2009, but despite making slow starts, has always come back and given the Red Sox all that he has, which is no small feat.
Ortiz’s lowest average with Boston came in the 2009 season at .238 and at the time, many thought he might be done. Since then, he has proved doubters wrong, hitting .270 in 2010, and .309 in 2011. His average won’t stay at .436 over the course of 162 games, but if he remains consistent, he will continue to be successful. His RBI total in 2009 was 99, he reached 102 in 2010, and 96 in 2011. Ortiz has stayed close to the 30 home run mark with 28 in 2009, 32 in 2010, and 29 in 2011.
Now in his tenth season with Boston, Ortiz has racked up the awards during his decade with the team. He has five Silver Slugger Awards, coming in 2004-07 and 2011. He was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award in 2011, the Thomas A. Yawkey Red Sox MVP in 2004-06, the MLB.com Hitter of the Year Award in 2004-05, MLB Players Choice AL Outstanding Player Award in 2005, the Hank Aaron Award in 2005, and the ALCS MVP in 2004. Ortiz has made six All-Star appearances, 2004-07 and 2010-11, and has been named Player of the Week five times and Player of the Month four times. Not to mention two World Series Championship wins in 2004 and 2007, two teams of which he was an integral part of the team.
Ortiz’s career stat line is in 1756 games, he has 6270 AB, 1068 R, 1784 H, 3420 TB, 464 2B, 16 3B, 380 HR, 1278 RBI, 960 BB, 1343 SO, 11 SB, 8 CS, 285 BA, .379 OBP, .545 SLG, and a .924 OPS. He is the only player to have a triple in each of the past twelve seasons and it will be fun to see if he can make it a thirteenth year in a row.
Primarily a DH, unless when the Sox use him in interleague play, Ortiz only hits. He does all that is asked of him and he does it well, but the rest of the team needs to start roaring because he can’t do it alone. If the season continues the way it’s been going, the Red Sox should just throw him out into the bullpen because it likely can’t get any worse.