Beyond the Batter's Box

March Madness Edition: who is the face of the Boston Red Sox?

Vote to determine the “face of the Boston Red Sox.”

Featured Image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (Oct. 24, 2017 – Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

We are in the midst of March Madness, the most exciting tournament in sports. With every game that is played, my hopes of winning my bracket pool keep diminishing. Yes, I picked University of Virginia to win the whole thing.

As such, I need a new type of bracket, one where UMBC does not mess up everything I hold dear. So, I have created a bracket of 16 of the best Boston Red Sox players. The “sweet sixteen” will be competing for the distinguished honor of being named the “face of the Boston Red Sox.”

Since David Ortiz has departed, there has not been a clear-cut leader of the team. No one has emerged as the “face” of the Red Sox and it is unsettling, kind of. Ask one Sox fan and he will definitively exclaim that Dustin Pedroia, who has been with the team for two World Series rings, is the face of the team. Ask another and she will smirk and say “have you heard of Mookie Betts, one of the best players in baseball?” What about Chris Sale? Or Andrew Benintendi? J.D. Martinez is going to hit forty dingers this year and Craig Kimbrel is pretty freaking great, himself.

The Red Sox have a litany of really good players, making this exercise especially captivating. You could choose anyone and not be wrong. This is a subjective thing, people!

So, how does this work and how did we determine the seeding?

The Seeding:

Typically, the better the player, the more likely they are to be anointed “face” of their team. This is not foolproof but I wanted to be somewhat objective with this exercise. I thought about randomly assigning the seeds, however, that would just incite controversy. Maybe I should have done that. Oh, well.

Instead, I went to Steamer, via Fangraphs, and they gave me the highest-projected fWARs for 2018 among Red Sox players. Now, WAR is not perfect and a lot of you may not believe in the stat. That is completely fine and dandy. With that said, it was a wonderful way of organizing the better players, position players and pitchers, and seeding them accordingly.

I looked for the top-eight projected fWARs, for both position players and pitchers. If you had the highest projected fWAR of the bunch, you got the top seed and if you had the lowest, you got the worst seed and have to face the top seed the first week.

Now, I did have to make some judgement calls, here, so I was partially arbitrary! I took players who I concluded had no shot at being the “face of the Red Sox” and substituted them with players who I thought did.

Christian Vazquez, who would have been the last seeded position player, was replacedwith Hanley Ramirez. I also took Steven Wright out of contention and put Brock Holt, who is in every Red Sox advertisement ever, in his spot. As such, we have nine position players and seven pitchers. Please do not crucify me. I am an amicable person.

Here are the matchups for the first round:

  • #1 Mookie Betts vs. #16 Brock Holt
  • #2 Chris Sale vs. #15 Joe Kelly
  • #3 Xander Bogaerts vs. #14 Hanley Ramirez
  • #4 David Price vs.  #13 Eduardo Rodriguez
  • #5 Jackie Bradley Jr. vs. #12 Craig Kimbrel
  • #6 Andrew Benintendi vs. #11 Drew Pomeranz
  • #7 Rick Porcello vs. #10 Dustin Pedroia
  • #8 J.D. Martinez vs. #9 Rafael Devers

How it works:

Our seeding is all determined, so now the matchups are set. They will be open for voting for three days and the next round will begin after that. The winners from the first round will advance to the next one, leaving us with eight players. After that, it will go to the third round, where we have the “final four.” Finally, the final round will determine the “Face of the Boston Red Sox.”

I have wasted multiple hours trying to get a picture of the bracket uploaded onto this page. Sometimes you just have to accept futility.  Maybe expect that for the next round.

Without further ado, here are the matches!

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