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« on: June 13, 2019, 10:23:15 am »

HOUSTON (AP) — Jackie Bradley Jr. had only three hits in the AL Championship Series. He certainly made them count.Batting at the bottom of the order Lou Brock Jersey , Bradley homered twice and drove in nine runs to win Most Valuable Player honors as the Boston Red Sox powered their way past Houston and into the World Series.Bradley connected for the go-ahead hits in two Boston wins and a game-sealing grand slam in another. He was selected ALCS MVP after the Red Sox clinched the pennant with a 4-1 victory over the Astros in Game 5 on Thursday night.“It’s amazing,” Bradley said. “This is what we set out to do when we come to spring training. And we battled — we’ve been battle-tested, played against a lot of great ballteams. This is definitely a special moment.”Even though the center fielder hit only .200 (3 for 15) in the best-of-seven playoff, Bradley was a big reason Boston knocked out the defending champions after losing to the Astros in the Division Series last year.Bradley had the fewest hits and lowest batting average for any position player to win MVP of a league championship series. But he delivered a three-run double and a two-run homer to go with his clutch grand slam.“There’s nobody on this team that I can think of in baseball that deserves it more than Jackie. Just, one, the player that he is and, two, more importantly, the person that he is. He continues to work. He continues to grind,” said Red Sox pitcher David Price, the Game 5 winner. “He continues to push forward through everything that he has to go through. Watching him line out, hitting balls 100-plus miles an hour, routinely this year and last year, to see him get that MVP award, to get those big hits, I’m so pumped for him.”The Red Sox are going to the World Series for the first time since 2013, when they beat St. Louis in six games. They host Game 1 on Tuesday night at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers.When Boston last played at home in Game 2 Ken Boyer Jersey , after losing the ALCS opener, Bradley’s three-run double off the Green Monster in the third inning put the Red Sox ahead to stay at 5-4 on the way to a 7-5 victory.After the series shifted to Houston for Game 3 on Tuesday, Bradley’s slam capped a five-run eighth against closer Roberto Osuna in an 8-2 win. Bradley homered again the next night in Game 4 with a two-run shot in the sixth that made it 6-5 — a game Boston won 8-6 to get within one victory of clinching.The Red Sox are 14-0 this year, including the postseason, when Bradley homers.“The confidence has always been there, I think from the day the season started, no matter how much he struggled or not,” teammate Xander Bogaerts said. “And I think it’s just good to see the results coming in big situations for us and helping us win games.”The 28-year-old outfielder, chosen by the Red Sox with the 40th pick in the 2011 amateur draft, is best known for playing outstanding defense in center. But he became the first player in postseason history with three consecutive multi-RBI games from the Nos. 8 or 9 spots in the lineup.“I felt good. I think it kind of just all boils down to having a game plan and obviously executing,” Bradley said. “You can have a game plan but sometimes it might not work out. But as a batter you want to swing at good pitches. You want to swing at pitches you can handle.”During the regular season, Bradley hit .234 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 144 games. He was batting .198 on July 7 before surging in the second half.“He’s a different hitter. Halfway through the season he found it, he found his stroke, he’s staying through the ball,” manager Alex Cora said before Game 5. “He’s hitting the ball in the air. He’s going the other way. And we know he’s going to swing and miss. We can live with it. But the quality at-bats have been great.”And now, JBJ is an MVP. He was ranked as the 75th best player in baseball by ESPN"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Royals Trade Rumors & Hot StoveRoyals Minor Leagues & ProspectsRoyals Review ClassicRoyals Review Users GuideThe 100 Greatest Royals Of All TimeRoyals Editorials & ReactionsIs Whit Merrifield underrated? New,19commentsHe was ranked as the 75th best player in baseball by ESPNEDTShareTweetShareShareIs Whit Merrifield underrated? Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsDespite only playing in Kansas City for a little over three months , Ben Zobrist will go down as one of my all-time favorite Royals. Zobrist is one of the coolest guys in baseball, had some huge hits during the 2015 postseason, and named his daughter Blaise Royal. His time in Kansas City was short, but it was special.Before he came to Kansas City, however, I knew him as the first player to ever be so uniformly recognized as underrated that the very term lost all meaning. From 2009-2016, Zobrist had at least a 4.0 fWAR in six of those eight seasons and he had a wRC+ of 126. Of batters with at least 4,000 plate appearances during that span, only two primary middle infielders had a better wRC+. That’s not to mention that he probably should have won the American League MVP in 2009 with an 8.6 fWAR.Instead, he finished eighth in the race and none of the players in front of Zobrist had a higher fWAR or rWAR than him. That officially began the “Ben Zobrist is underrated” campaign that is probably still kicking to this day. If Joe Flacco was elite, then Ben Zobrist was certainly underrated. But in reality, he was just really, really good. For that reason, I was skeptical when people began comparing Whit Merrifield to Zobrist, simply because Whit wasn’t as good and likely will never be that good. Sure, they had similarities. Both were non-prospects who at one time were in loaded farm systems and both played their first full season in their age-28 seasons.But I had never really thought of Merrifield as underrated because he seemed to be respected around the league. Any lack of buzz surrounding his play was most certainly due to the Royals being a terrible team. But then, I saw the ESPN top-100 players for 2019 list and saw Whit sitting at 75. Now Whitey Herzog Jersey , the Royals are bad again and when they are bad, we don’t really have anything better to do than fight for the honor of our few good players. I fought that battle on Billy Butler’s behalf for years. However, 75 is a really high number on a list looking to answer a simple question:Who will be the best players in Major League Baseball for the 2019 season? And in 2018, there were only 15 position players in baseball with a higher fWAR than Merrifield.This fact alone shows that Merrifield’s value isn’t completely appreciated. A subsequent article was published to find out where ESPN had messed up with their 2018 list. One of the goals of that piece was to find “glaring omissions,” from last year’s top 100 list. Merrifield was not present on that list and of the five players that were — Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, Mitch Haniger, Javier Baez, and Ronald Acuna Jr. — only Baez had a higher fWAR in 2018. So, I think the idea that Merrifield isn’t appreciated enough is a valid one. Fangraphs gives a good “rule-of-thumb” chart for how to give context to WAR. This chart paints with a broad brush, but generally speaking, players with a 5-6 WAR are superstar-level players. Whit had a 5.2 fWAR and a 5.5 rWAR which means that using this rule-of-thumb, he performed at a superstar level, or at least something resembling a superstar level, in 2018. There have only been 21 seasons in Royals history where a position player had a better fWAR than Merrifield’s 5.2 mark. Of those 21 seasons, 18 were completed by George Brett, Amos Otis , Willie Wilson, and Alex Gordon. Some of the players to have never reached that mark include Frank White, Mike Sweeney, Eric Hosmer, Freddie Patek, and Salvador Perez. Since 1945, only two players have ever led Major League Baseball in both hits and stolen bases like Whit did in 2018. There were doubts about Merrifield’s 2017 success and he responded with a superstar-level season.Now, there are certainly questions about Merrifield’s long-term viability as a star and his long-term value to whatever team employs him. It’s also important to note that his position isn’t even the most egregious player on this list, with Lorenzo Cain being recognized as just the 56th best player in baseball. So, the credibility of the list isn’t great. It is also a list, which carry about as much weight as power rankings. At the end of the day, it isn’t a big deal.It does, however, show us that Merrifield is one of the more underrated players in baseball. If he can continue playing at the level he did in 2018, however, maybe that won’t be true for long.