The Red Sox’ Under-the-Radar Contributor

Mitch Moreland is on pace for his best season in a Red Sox uniform.

Mitch Moreland initially signed with the Red Sox before the 2017 season for one year and 5.5 million. He signed again with the Red Sox for 2018 and 2019, this time inking a two year deal that would give him 13 million. Neither were big profile signings, fit for a player in his thirties who hasn’t reached .250 since 2015. Moreland’s numbers with the Red Sox do not lie, but they do not tell the whole story either.

In 2017, he seemed to be on track for a good season. He was one of the Red Sox’ signature small signings, picking up an average veteran and having them turn into a valuable player (see: Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes). In his first 214 ABs, he was hitting .285 with 9 home runs and 18 doubles. Then, on June 13, he was hit in the foot with a pitch on his left toe, fracturing it. His left toe is the one that he pivots on when he hits, so many knew it would be more difficult to perform. They were right. Until the end of July, when his injury began to heal, he hit .157 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs over the course of 127 at bats. He got right back on track in August however, mashing 6 homers and 7 doubles while hitting .342. Moreland struggled once again in September though, and this time it was a meniscus tear in his knee. He hit .198 with 4 home runs and 7 doubles. He was able to contribute on the defensive side still, becoming a Gold Glove finalist.

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2018 was a fresh start for Moreland, and he once again started off well. He even made it to his first all-star game. He was bitten by injuries again though, as he was hurt sliding into a wall trying to make a catch on August 23. His stats before: 340 AB, .259, 20 2B, 14 HR. His stats after: 64 AB, .172, 3 2B, 1 HR. He was far from perfect before his injury, but a slight down season is to be expected for a 32 year old player just exiting his prime years.

This season, Mitch Moreland is healthy and tied for fourth in the AL(as of 5/13) with 12 home runs. He is getting on base, having drawn 16 walks, and is once again playing good defense at first base. His .231 average is not indicative of his performance–he has had terrible luck, with a .192 average on balls in play, and the league average is .300.

Mitchy Two-Bags’s value extends beyond just his stats in other ways too. Mitch has been known to come up clutch in big situations. He has already smacked two go ahead home runs in the late innings of games this season. The Red Sox won both of those games, and those two wins were two of the Red Sox first three wins this seasons. When no one else was performing, Moreland came up big. He also hit .294 during the Red Sox playoff run last year. However, he came up biggest when the Red Sox needed him most. When the Red Sox were down 4-0 in Game 4 of the World Series and it seemed like the Dodgers were about to tie the series, Moreland hit a three run big fly, and was the key piece in the Sox comeback victory. He is always willing to do whatever he can to help the Red Sox win, earning a reputation as a tough player who will play through injuries to keep himself on the field, even if it hurts his stats.

If Moreland can stay healthy this season, he will be one of the players carrying the Red Sox, mashing home runs, coming up clutch, and maybe getting another all-star jersey too.

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