Today will kick off a series of retrospectives now that the regular season is over and done with. These will concern themselves only with the regular season and how the teams fared. They will be presented, from first to last, in order of their run differential as given by the BaseRuns formula, which I feel is the best overall measurement of a team’s actual talent level for the season.
Number One: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox occupied the top spot according to BaseRuns and by a fair margin to boot, 35 runs better than the second place team. The Red Sox were 2nd best on offense at a projected 884 runs scored and 7th at run prevention with 699 runs allowed.
Boston’s pitching was well balanced between the rotation and the bullpen. The rotation was anchored by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester and saw a solid, if curious and likely unsustainable, performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka as well. The bullpen was built on the backs of another outstanding season from Jonathan Papelbon and a breakout year for Manny Delcarmen.
On the hitting side there were many people to spread the credit around to. J.D. Drew rebounded from a vilified first season in Boston to post fantastic numbers both at the plate and in the field. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz provided much less value than before but were still helpful contributors. The breakouts though came from Dustin Pedroia (a fine, but nowhere near MVP performance) and Kevin Youkilis, who busted out a never before seen slugging power.
While the catcher and center field positions did what they could to drag down the offense, the rest of the lineup made up for it and with Boston’s immense financial resources they should be in prime position to patch what few holes they have and continue being a dominant force in 2009.