This week the Boston Red Sox clinched the American League East division title. It was their first since 2013, which was the last time the Sox won the World Series.
A great deal is different at Fenway Park now than just three years ago, including front office executives and nearly the entire roster. Besides Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, the other position player on that roster in 2013 was Jackie Bradley Jr., but he only had 107 plate appearances.
Three pitchers are left from then including Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Clay Buchholz. Steven Wright was also on the roster but made one start and four appearances during 2013.
This makes it all the more fitting that Ortiz will be taking his final bows during the postseason because this season has seen the torch being passed from the few remaining stalwarts to the new breed of Red Sox.
Two of the top five offensive players for Boston, Ortiz and Pedroia are the old mainstays, while the other three – Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. – are the new young guns. Between the three younger players, there is just six years of MLB experience.
Add to that players such as Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi and the future of the Red Sox looks bright even though Ortiz’s bat and clubhouse experience will be greatly missed.
Betts, who is just 23, is now a legitimate candidate for league MVP. On the Boston roster, Betts is the best player.
Bogaerts is also just 23. He signed back as a teen with Boston out of Aruba. He is one of the league’s best prospects and could be a career-long shortstop for Boston.
Bradley is 26 and comes from the University of South Carolina. His career with Boston started slow, as he hit just .196 in his first 530 appearances at the plate. He is a strong outfielder in center and has become a better than average hitter.
David Dombrowski the Red Sox head of baseball has used some trades to bring in veteran talent that has helped the team this season. However, his predecessor, Ben Cherington liked what he saw in the farm system and that is now paying off for the Sox even though he is not with the team to enjoy it.