Boston Red Sox: building a champion

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox, left, is congratulated by teammates Jackie Bradley Jr. #19, and Mookie Betts #50, after catches a game ending fly ball hit by Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros during the Red Sox 8-2 win over Houston in Game Four of Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox, left, is congratulated by teammates Jackie Bradley Jr. #19, and Mookie Betts #50, after catches a game ending fly ball hit by Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros during the Red Sox 8-2 win over Houston in Game Four of Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 18:  (Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 18:  (Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /

Red Sox–Key Draft Picks

The Red Sox have seven players on their 25-man ALCS roster who they drafted and developed, which is the second-most of any of the teams remaining in the postseason. Only the Astros, with eight, have more. The Red Sox impressive outfield of Mookie Betts, Andrew Beninentendi and Jackie Bradley, Jr. were all drafted by the team, along with two relievers, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman.

RF Mookie Betts (10.9 WAR)—Mookie Betts is only the second Mookie in the history of baseball. The other was Mookie Wilson, who was a big part of the New York Mets team that beat the Red Sox in devastating fashion in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, then beat them again in Game 7. Mookie Wilson had some good years with the Mets, but you could add together the WAR he earned in his three best seasons and still come up short of Mookie Betts’ 10.9 WAR this season.

The Red Sox drafted Betts in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. In the first round that year, the seven most valuable players drafted were Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rendon, George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Jose Fernandez (RIP) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Betts is better than all of them.

LF Andrew Benintendi (3.9 WAR)—Benintendi is one of four first round picks on the Red Sox’ 25-man ALCS roster. He was drafted by the Red Sox with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. The second pick that year was Alex Bregman, who is on the team the Red Sox are playing in the ALCS. As fate would have it, Benintendi made a diving catch to rob Bregman of a hit that might have won the game for the Astros with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4.

After a 34-game stint in 2016, Benintendi finished second to Aaron Judge in AL Rookie of the Year voting last season when he was worth 2.6 WAR. He upped his game this season (3.9 WAR), as he increased his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He was the best 23-year-old position player in baseball this year, which is kind of a random thing but still impressive.

CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2.1 WAR)—Bradley, the third member of the Triple-B outfield in Boston was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 draft. He was a supplemental pick, taken 40th, to compensate the Red Sox for losing Adrian Beltre to free agency. Bradley’s defense in center field is reliably great, but his bat disappears for stretches at a time. Just this season, he hit .210/.297/.345 in the first half and .269/.340/.487 in the second half. He’s also a much better hitter at Fenway Park (.259/.337/.430, 100 wRC+) than everywhere else (.218/.299/.384, 84 wRC+).

RHP Matt Barnes (1.1 WAR)—In the same first round of the 2011 draft that the Red Sox drafted Jackie Bradley, Jr., they also drafted Matt Barnes and Blake Swihart (and Henry Owens). Barnes was taken 19th overall, as a compensation pick from the Tigers for free agent Victor Martinez.

Barnes made his debut in 2014 but didn’t get significant time in the Red Sox bullpen until 2015. He’s improved his ERA, FIP and strikeout rate in each of the last three years and has become one of manager Alex Cora’s main guys in the late innings this season.

Other Draft Picks

RHP Brandon Workman (0.9 WAR)—2nd round, 2010

C Blake Swihart (-0.3 WAR)—1st round, 2011

C Christian Vazquez (-0.8 WAR)—9th round, 2008