Let me start by saying that Mitch Moreland does hit home runs, 14 of them so far this season, in fact. And there was that small matter of a walk-off homer in last night’s 3-2 victory over the White Sox, the team’s second walk-off win this week. But with Mitchy, it’s even more about the 86 hits he’s had. Mookie Betts aside – since he’s leading the team in basically everything – Mitch has the most doubles (23) and 50 RBIs in 101 games. In short, if he’s up, you can count on him to drive in a runner and reach base safely.
Moreland is a clutch player in ways that we sometimes overlook in our quest for homers and grand slams. He hits consistently, even if every hit isn’t over the Monster, and he’s a strong first baseman, even winning the AL Gold Glove for it in 2016. He drives in runners, while other players leave him stranded. He’s emerging strong from his July slump, when he simultaneously recovered from and played with a broken toe, but he still managed to hit two doubles and have four RBIs. I didn’t even walk when I broke my toe in 8th grade.
The Red Sox are back in first place, and I’m pretty sure we’ve got a chance at the playoffs if we can keep our heads above water. Flashy homers are always fun, but players who hit consistently are just as, if not more important to the makeup of a team. If we go by the Moneyball model rather than the standard measurements of batting averages and RBIs, Moreland is an even stronger player. His OBP is .333, and he’s slugging at .429, and those numbers have been pretty consistent since his MLB debut in 2010. Considering this team either scores tremendously or completely tanks, we could use more hitters like Moreland. The trade deadline might’ve passed, but maybe Dombrowski and the Sox will look at Moreland as the kind of affordable (1 year, 5.5 million), stable player the Sox need more of, rather than overpriced wastes like Pablo Sandoval.