Tuesday was Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox, they beat the Indians 6-2. When I did my little Opening Day blog I added pictures from the 3 World Series Champion teams of this century and it got me reminiscing about the players that made up those teams. It got me going down memory lane, which for me is something that happens about every-other day. So many of my favorite memories are wrapped around sports in one way or another.
A big thing on the internet recently has been build your favorite/best team "Draft Kings style", (for those of you who don't know what that means is basically everybody is given a dollar value and you have to build your team and stay under the salary cap) This trend has been going on not just with sports but with tv/movie characters and music too. If you read my blog on picking your 5 best office characters, basically that type of thing.
Last night I watched a video on the 2007 Red Sox and I decided to build my best team using players from each Red Sox World Series champion team. Now as this is just my start-up blog and I'm also HORRIBLE with math instead of going through all the work of giving everybody a dollar value to make it truly draft kings style, I decided to do a limit of players you could pick from each year.
The team consists of all C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF, DH, Starting Pitcher, Relief Pitcher, and Closer. Giving you the grand total of 12 players.
I decided to make it 4 players from each year, the only stipulation being you can only have one pitcher per year. So for example you couldn't have 2013 Jon Lester and 2013 Koji on your "dream team". It's gonna be 3 position player (2 and a DH for one year) and 1 pitcher from 2004, 2007 and 2013. The only exception being for players that were either injured or in a platoon situation such as Gabe Kapler and Trot Nixon in 2004 (injured) or Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes in 2013 (platoon). If you were to some how pick them that still only counts as 1 player.
Final thing is you are taking the player from that entire season and playoff run. Only those stats matter, don't think of other seasons when doing this. So if you take Pedro it's 2004 Pedro. Don't think about his crazy 1999 and 2000 years when doing this.
Alright enough with the rules. Let's get started!
Here's a refresher on all the rosters incase you forgot! Not gonna list every starting and relief pitcher just because there are obvious players you wouldn't take on your dream team.
Here are my picks. Stats I'm showing are: age, games, home runs, rbis, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage, on base + slugging, wins above replacement.
2004 Jason Varitek: (32) 137 games 18 HR 73 RBI 10 SB .296 BA /.390 OBP/ .872 OPS/ 4.0 WAR
2007 Jason Varitek :(35) 131 games 17 HR 68 RBI 1 SB .255 BA/ .367 OBP/ .787 OPS/ 2.3 WAR
2013 Jarrod Saltalamacchia: (28) 121 games 14 HR 65 RBI 4 SB .273 BA/ .338 OBP/ .804 OPS/ 2.9 WAR
With Catcher Jason Varitek was the primary catcher for 2 of the 3 Red Sox World Series Victories. It was Salty behind the plate in 2013.
With Catcher 2004 Varitek is clearly the best selection but again it is important to remember the year limit so you can't just pick the best player available for every spot. Kind of like draftings...
However in this case I am going to and 2004 Jason Varitek is behind the plate for my dream team, the dude nearly hit .300 as an everyday catcher, that is almost unheard of in the majors. Many forget this was a contract year for Tek and he sure did deliver with the highest batting average of any full season in his career. He was rewarded by being appointed the captain of the Red Sox in 2005 although over the years the importance of that has been ridiculed.
2013 Salty was solid but he lost his job in the World Series to David Ross which loses him a major points. Tek was solid for sure in 07 but was starting to show signs of his age, with these three 2004 Varitek is clearly superior so he's my guy.
2004 Kevin Millar: (32) 150 games 18 HR 74 RBI 1 SB .297 BA/ .383 OBP/ .857 OPS/ 2.8 WAR
2007 Kevin Youkilis: (28) 145 games 16 HR 83 RBI 4 SB .288 BA/ .390 OBP/ .843 OPS/ 2.4 WAR
2013 Mike Napoli: (31) 139 games 23 HR 92 RBI 1 SB .259 BA/ .360 OBP/ .842 OPS/ 4.0 WAR
Unlike Catcher, with 1st base there is no clear cut winner IMO. All three guys beat the other two in at least one stat category. Mike Napoli clearly has the highest WAR but I don't think that's all that matters. I do appreciate SABERmetrics and think they matter, but at the same time I think nerds rely on them for too much.
Each guy brought something different to the table and all had their big moment(s) in the postseason. Kevin Millar's walk in 4 game of the 04 ALCS led to the most famous steal in Red Sox history. Kevin Youkilis hit .500 with 3 HR and 7 RBI in the 07 ALCS and if it wasn't for Josh Beckett would have been series MVP. Mike Napoli's HR in game 3 of the 2013 ALCS was the only run scored in a 1-0 win against Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
One thing they all do have in common is very high on base percentages. These three knew how to work the count. Another major similarity is that they all lost their starting jobs at 1B in the World Series when games were played in the NL park to David Ortiz.
When building my dream team I'm taking 2007 Kevin Youkilis and this is why: Defense.
In 2007 Kevin Youkilis was a gold glove winner, and although that award has it's critics you can't take that away from him. In 2007 Youk didn't make a single error at first base. He would break the record for my consecutive chances at 1st without an error over 2007 to 08 (record since broken). Match that with his similar offensive numbers as the other two guys and high OBP, 2007 Youk is my 1st basemen.
2004 Mark Bellhorn: (29) 138 games 17 HR 82 RBI 6 SB .264 BA/ .373 OBP/ .817 OPS/ 3.7 WAR
2007 Dustin Pedroia: (23) 139 games 8 HR 50 RBI 7 SB .317 BA/ .380 OBP/ .823 OPS/ 3.9 WAR
2013 Dustin Pedroia: (29) 160 games 9 HR 84 RBI 17 SB .301 BA/ .372 OBP/ .787 OPS/ 6.3 WAR
Mark Bellhorn in 2004 became a folk hero. Despite leading the league in Strikeouts he was a productive player. In the postseason he hit a home run in 3 straight games (ALCS games 6 & 7, WS game 1). Bellhorn was a big part of the team in 04 but he's not in the discussion for me when picking my 2B.
In a battle of Pedroias there is 2007 Rookie of the Year Dustin and 2013 All star and gold glove winning Pedroia. Both Pedroia years were much better defensively than Bellhorn as well. You really can't make a bad decision here with either Dustin.
I'm giving the slight edge to 2007 Pedroia just because his post season numbers were better. In 07 Pedey started slow but Terry stuck with him and it definitely paid off. He became ROY, won MVP the following season and became one of the most important players on the entire roster for years to come. I'd say in 2013 Pedroia was much more important to the Red Sox success just because the 2007 Sox were more talented than 2013, but again with the stipulations at hand you gotta make the tough decisions, so 23 year old, Rookie of the Year, old slightly balding Pedroia is my 2nd basemen.
2004 Bill Mueller: (33) 110 games 12 HR 57 RBI 2 SB .283 BA/ .365 OBP/ .811 OPS/ 1.2 WAR
2007 Mike Lowell: (33) 154 games 21 HR 120 RBI 3 SB .324 BA/ .378 OBP/ .879 OPS/ 5.0 WAR
2013: Will Middlebrooks: (24) 94 games 17 HR 49 RBI .227 BA/.271 OBP/ .696 OPS/ -0.1 WAR
We can all cross Will Middlebrows off the list right away. One of the biggest busts in recent Red Sox history. What hurts the most about him is unlike many busts he actually showed legit glimpses of promise at the major league level. Other than hitting a double in game 2 of the ALCS and being the obstruction guy in the World Series he did nothing in the postseason as he was benched for rookie Xander Bogaerts.
I love Billy Mueller, he was huge in 04. His walk-off HR against Mariano Rivera in July of 2004 is one of my all time favorite red sox moments and one of the most memorable regular season games of my fandom. He was a huge part of the 04 team despite not playing in 52 games.
The choice here however to me is extremely easy, in 2007 Mike Lowell. His stats were amazing. As the #5 hitter in the Red Sox line up he was a force. 5th in the MVP voting in 2007. He went from throw-in in the Josh Beckett-Hanley Ramirez trade to World Series MVP. 2007 Mike Lowell is one of the easiest decisions on this list. He was an All Star for the Sox as well. Pencil him in at 3rd base for the dream team.
2004 Orlando Cabrera: (29) 58 games 6 HR 34 RBI 4 SB .294 BA/ .383 OBP/ .857 OPS/ 1.8 WAR
2007 Julio Lugo: (31) 147 games 8 HR 73 RBI 33 SB .237 BA/ .294 OBP/ .643 OPS/ 0.6 WAR
2013 Stephen Drew: (30) 124 games 13 HR 67 RBI 6 SB .254 BS/ .333 OBP/ .777 OPS/ 3.0 WAR
Shortstop has been a revolving door for the Red Sox from 2004 to basically last season. Cabrera, Renteria, Gonzalez, Lugo, Green, Lowrie, Scutaro, Aviles, Drew, Bogaerts. I'm probably forgetting some but those are all the guys who have played SS for a major period of time off the top of my head. Out of all of the positions on all the World Series teams this is by far the weakest. Gotta pick somebody though.
I'm all out of 2007 position players, but even if I wasn't theres no chance I take Julio Lugo. I hated Julio Lugo, looking at his 07 stats though they are a lot better than I would've guessed. I can't believe he drove in over 70 runs, and had 33 stolen bags. Really don't remember that and I watched probably 90% of the Red Sox games in 07. My biggest Julio Lugo memory is being in a Facebook group back in high school called "I'd trade Julio Lugo for a bag of stale Doritos" He's garbage.
After they trading away Nomar in July of 2004 Orlando Cabrera was the Sox SS in the 2nd half of the season. Wasn't that outstanding but a very solid SS who played gold-glove quality SS in 2004. Can't remember a big Cabrera moment in 2004 but that's because my brain has too many memories from 04. Plus I was 12 and my mind gets worse by the day. I'm sure he had some big moments....Just looked it up 11 RBI in the 2004 postseason. Good for you O-C.
Stephen Drew got a lot of shit in 2013, mainly in the playoffs when he became an automatic out. However during the season his stats weren't awful. I feel like he was much, much better in the first half of 2013 than he was in the latter half and postseason. His defense though in the playoffs was huge, I can remember a sliding stop he made in game 6 of the ALCS (I was there NBD) that took runs off the board. Defense is why Farrell stuck with him throughout the postseason. The one time he took him out, Will Middlebrooks came in and Bogaerts moved to SS and we all know how that ended as Will Middlebrooks only World Series high light was an obstruction call.
It was fitting after how much Drew struggled in the playoffs that he hit a homer in game 6 of the World Series. This line up I'm making has a ton of great bats but I need Stephen Drew to sure up the D, him as a 9 hitter isn't awful. Shockingly, Stephen Drew makes this roster.
2004 Manny Ramirez (32) 152 games 43 HR 130 RBI 2 SB .308 BA/ .397 OBP/ 1.009 OPS/ 4.1 WAR
2007 Manny Ramirez (35) 133 games 20 HR 88 RBI 0 SB .296 BA/ .388 OBP/ .881 OPS/ 2.5 WAR
2013 Daniel Nava (30) 134 games 12 HR 66 RBI O SB .303 BA/ .385 OBP/ .831 OPS/ 2.8 WAR
2013 Jonny Gomes (32) 116 games 13 HR 52 RBI 3 SB .247 BA/ .344 OBP/ .771 OPS/ 1.1 WAR
07 was one of Manny's worst seasons with the Red Sox which is saying something because he still had a solid season. Everybody will remember his walk off homer against K-rod in the ALDS from that year. As much as I love Daniel Nava (fuck Jonny Gomes, Nava got screwed by not getting a lot of postseason playing time in favor of Gomes, despite hitting .303 and being 5th in the AL in OBP) the obvious choice he is 2004 Manny Ramirez.
In 2004 Manny was a monster. Lead the AL in HR and OPS, was an All Star, won a Silver Slugger and finished 3rd in MVP race. In the post season Manny was great as well (not really in the ALCS) as he won World Series MVP.
Gotta have 04 Manny in Left.
2004 Johnny Damon: (30) 150 games 20 HR 94 RBI 19 SB .304 BA/ .380 OBP/ .857 OPS/ 4.2 WAR
2007 Coco Crisp: (27) 145 games 6 HR 60 RBI 28 SB .268 BA/ .330 OBP/ .712 OPS/ 3.3 WAR
2007 Jacoby Ellsbury: (23) 33 games 3 HR 18 RBI 9 SB .353 BA/ .394 OBP/ .902 OPS/ .6 WAR
2013 Jacoby Ellsbury: (29) 134 games 9 HR 53 RBI 52 SB .298 BA/ .355 OBP/ .747 OPS/ 5.7 WAR
In 2007 it wasn't really a platoon. Coco was the starting CF basically the entire season, Jacoby just got called up late in the year and was hot. In the ALCS he took over for Coco so when talking about building a dream team of the World Series winning teams you have to include Jacoby from 07. Regardless they aren't my pick. Just had to give Tacoby Bellsbury a nomination.
It's between 2004 Damon and 2013 Ellsbury. Both left handed centerfielders who sold out and went to the Yankees. Although when Damon went it hurt a lot more as most Red Sox fans knew Ellsbury was gone and frankly many expected it. I felt straight up betrayed when Damon joined the Yankees and cut his hair and shaved off his beard. Luckily for the Sox both were not the same player after leaving Boston. Ellsbury is much faster than Damon. He is a better fielder IMO than Damon too, but not by much, both were good defensive CF's in their time with Boston.
It's a tough choice because Ellsbury was great in 2013 but for my dream team I'm going 2004 Johnny Damon.
In the lead off spot Johnny Damon had nearly 100 RBI. A lot of new age baseball people will say RBIs don't matter I don't think you can say that. The things Johnny Damon did offensively to set the table in 2004 were huge and are ultimately what separates him from Ellsbury. Johnny was the face of the 2004 Red Sox "Idiots" persona with his long hair and beard. I hated him for a long time after leaving the Sox but looking back now in 2016 you cannot take away from what he did. His 2004 season was outstanding, his grand slam in game 7 of the ALCS will never be forgotten in Boston. Give me the idiot in center.
2004 Trot Nixon: (30) 48 games 6 HR 23 RBI 0 SB .315 BA/ .377 OBP/ .887 OPS/ 0.9 WAR
2004 Gabe Kepler: (28) 136 games 6 HR 33 RBI 5 SB .272 BA/ .311 OBP/ .700 OPS/ 0.1 WAR
2007 J.D. Drew: (31) 140 games 11 HR 64 RBI 4 SB . 270 BA/ .373 OBP/ .796 OPS/ 2.1 WAR
2013 Shane Victorino: (32) 132 games 15 HR 61 RBI 21 SB .294/ .351 OBP/ .801 OPS/ 6.1 WAR
People forget that Trot Nixon missed most of 2004 but he did, due in part to a herniated disc. Everybody loves the dirt dog, he was what it meant to be a Red Sox in the early 2000's but he just wasn't a big enough part of the 2004 regular season to get serious consideration. Luckily for Trot and Sox fans, he was healthy enough to play in the playoffs.
JD Drew really underperformed in 2007 but his grand slam in the ALCS makes it all worth it. Just wasn't a true Red Sox player. Hard for fans to like him.
I was going to pick Victorino regardless even before comparing the stats but after seeing them it really is no contest. I forgot how poor J.D. Drew's stats in 07 were. Many people, including myself bashed the Shane Victorino signing when it happened and sure he was awful in 2014 and 15 but also was hurt most of the time. Can't take away from how huge he was for the 2013 Red Sox. He won a Gold Glove in RF, hit nearly .300 and played through the pain.Which helped him become a fan favorite. I feel like he let himself get hit by a pitch every game in the playoffs just to get on base. His grand slam in game 6 of the ALCS is one of my favorite Red Sox moments. The 2013 team means so much to me. With Victorino in the line up in 2013 we all knew every little thing was gonna be alright. Without Victorino the Red Sox don't win the 2013 World Series. He's manning RF for my dream team.
2004 David Ortiz: (28) 150 games 47 HR 139 RBI 0 SB .301 BA/ .380 OBP/ .987 OPS/ 4.2 WAR
2007 David Ortiz: (31) 149 games 35 HR 117 RBI 3 SB .332 BA/ .445 OBP/1.066 OPS/ 6.4 WAR
2013 David Ortiz: (37) 137 games 30 HR 103 RBI 4 SB .309 BA/ .395 OBP/ .959 OPS/ 4.4 WAR
David Ortiz! David Ortiz! David Ortiz!
Big Papi is the only player who was on all three World Series Champion teams. All 3 seasons he had a great regular season. Each season he was an All Star, and Silver Slugger award winner. In 2004 and 2007 he finished 4th in MVP voting, and finished 10th in 2013.
Personally I feel like the 2007 Red Sox are the most forgotten champion of all the recent Boston championships and I feel like David Ortiz's 2007 is forgotten as well, which is insane because he hit .332 the best in his career and his 6.4 WAR was the a career high as well. He didn't have a historic playoff moment like he did in 2004 or 2013 but will still solid that October. He hit .714 in the sweep of the Angels in the ALDS and had 3 HR and 10 RBI in the 2007 postseason.
In 2004 David Ortiz had the team jump on his back in the ALCS comeback against the Yankees. We all know about the walk off hits he had in games 4 and 5 to keep the Sox alive. He hit a cool .387 with 3 HR and 11 RBI in that 7 game series where he was named ALCS MVP.
As great as 2004 David Ortiz was, I'm out of 2004 spots and am forced to use 2013 David Ortiz as my DH. I shouldn't say forced because in 2013 even at 37 years old David Ortiz was a force and the most feared bat in the Red Sox line up. I recently went into great detail about 2013 David Ortiz in a blog about his retirement. Check it out if you wanna see more about him.
In the 2013 playoffs Papi was a monster. He hit 2 HRs in the ALDS against the Rays and future teammate David Price. He struggled in the ALCS with only 2 hits but made the most of them as one was his series changing grand slam in game 2 that tied the game at 5. In the World Series, David again carried the Red Sox as most of the other bats in the line up got cold, he was on fire. hitting .688 in the series with 2 HR and 6 RBI. It very easily could have been 3 HR and 9 RBI as Carlos Beltran stole a Grand Slam from him in game 1 in a very similar spot to where Torii Hunter fell over the all in right field.
The final spot in my World Series dream team goes to 2013 David Ortiz.
For pitchers again it's one starter, one reliever and one closer. One from each season. I listed a ton of starters from all three teams and you can obviously chose one that I don't list but for me these are the only starting pitchers that have a legit argument to be the guy.
2004 Curt Schilling 21-6 3.26 ERA 226.2 Innings Pitched 203 K 1.063 WHIP
2004 Pedro Martinez 16-9 3.90 ERA 217 IP 227 K 1.171 WHIP
2007 Josh Beckett 20-7 3.27 ERA 200.2 IP 194 K 1.141 WHIP
2013 Jon Lester 15-8 3.75 ERA 213.1 IP 177 K 1.294 WHIP
2013 John Lackey 10-13 3.52 ERA 189.1 IP 161 K 1.157 WHIP
Lackey didn't get run support and had a losing record, but don't let that fool you. He was great in 2013, a real bounce back after an awful 2011 and Tommy John Surgery in 2012. He was big in the postseason going 3-1. Which included 6.2 shut out innings in the Game 3 of ALCS and was the winning pitcher in the World Series clincher. Had a great year and I felt deserved to be recognized with the other great starters from 04, 07 and 13 but he is not my choice.
To me it really comes down to 2004 Curt Schilling and 2007 Josh Beckett. Both were runner up in the Cy Young Award voting (Beckett probably would have won in 2007 if he pitched like 30 more innings as his numbers are very close to CC Sabathia's in 07) Both were horses in the playoffs as well. However I'm giving the slight edge to Schilling.
His trade to the Sox helped change the team's culture, his why not us attitude all season helped break the 86 year old curse. He didn't shy away from his goals and his achieved them in his first season as a Red Sox.
Also the Bloody Sock game, enough said.
Big Schill is one the mound for me here.
In 04, 07 and 2013 the bullpens were key. I listed a bunch of guys earlier you could pick from. Timlin, Embree, Okajima, Tazawa just to name a few.
I'm going with 2007 Hideki Okajima
In 2007 Okajima pitched 69 innings over 66 appearances with a 2.22 ERA and 63 K's with a WHIP under 1 at 0.971. He was elected to the AL All Star team as the final vote winner. Although he struggled in the sweep over the Rockies, before the World Series he didn't give a run in 7.1 innings of work between the first two rounds. I loved Oki in 07 and he is an easy pick to me for my reliever. I feel like people have forgotten about him because he was really only good for 3 seasons but in 2007 Okajima was a gigantic key the Sox success.
2004 Keith Foulke: 5-3 2.17 ERA 32 Saves 83.0 IP 79 K
2007 Jonathon Papelbon: 1-3 1.85 ERA 37 Saves 58.1 IP 84 K
2013 Koji Uehera: 4-1 1.09 ERA 20 Saves 74.1 IP 101 K
Closer was a strong position for all three teams, again you really can't make a bad decision here. Folk was great in 04. People forget how nasty Papelbon was. Mainly because of how big of an ass hole he is and how his final appearance as Red Sox was blown save in 2011 that completed their September collapse, but he was filthy. Both had more saves in their World Series seasons but I'm going with Koji in a landscape.
It works out perfectly that he was on the 2013 team for the rules I set up but I was picking him no matter one, 1st pick out of all the pitchers.
Koi in 2013 is basically unhittable. The crazy thing is one he threw like 90 mph (which for a closer is very rare) and two he wasn't even supposed to be the closer; Joel Harrahan was, then he got hurt and Andrew Bailey took over, then he got hurt and Koji became the closer. He was one of the most important members of the 2013 team when he came in not only was it game over, but it was also usually over within 10 pitches. He finished 7th in the Cy Young voting which is amazing when you consider he was only the closer for 1/2 the season.
Koji was the 2013 ALCS MVP, and deservingly so, he went 1-0 with 3 saves, pitching 6 innings over 5 games with 9 strikeouts while only allowing 4 hits. He retired faced 21 hitters in the ALCS and struck out nearly half of them. Koji was NASTY! Didn't allow a run in the World Series either, and had 2 saves in the fall classic. Don't forget his pick off of Kolten Wong in game 4. I LOVE KOJI!!
That's it. Thats my dream Red Sox team using players from the 2004, 07 and 13 World Series Champion teams. Here's how I would fill out the line up card. Position, player, side they hit from, year.
1. CF Johnny Damon-Left (2004)
2. 1B Kevin Youkilis-Right (2007)
3. DH David Ortiz-Left (2013)
4. LF Manny Ramirez-Right (2004)
5. 3B Mike Lowell-Right (2007)
6. C Jason Varitek-Switch (2004)
7. 2B Dustin Pedroia-Right (2007)
8. RF Shane Victorino Switch/Right in the playoffs (2013)
9. SS Stephen Drew-Left (2013)
Starter: 2004 Curt Schilling
Reliever: 2007 Hideki Okajima
Closer: 2013 Koji Uehera
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it. Think you can come up with a better line up? How would you create your team? Let me know in the comments below!!!!