Sandy Leon: A-
Leon was perhaps the most unexpected participant in this season for Boston. He went from being potentially a fourth option to start, to the number one option for the majority of the year and now going into the playoffs. Sandy may have even gotten a higher grade, but he tailed off horribly at the end of the season, with his average dropping nearly 100 points, as it was hovering around .400 for most of the year. He finished at .310 with seven homers and 35 RBI and for a guy who was so low on the catching list, to be consistent offensively and a very dependable catcher, Leon deserves an A- for his season.
Ryan Hanigan: D+
Hanigan is a little tough to grade because he just didn't make an impact at all this year. He missed a month of the season in June, and when he did back-up catch, he was ineffective at the dish. He hit .171 with a homer. Not that he was expected to do much, but he seemed to have more big hits last year and make more impact.
Christian Vazquez: D
For all the hype surrounding Vazquez, this was a wasted year. Coming off Tommy John surgery, fans and management expected the young catcher to have a breakout season behind the plate and improve his hitting. Instead, after playing for the first three months, he spent the rest of the season in AAA and for the final month of the year on the bench as a September call-up. He had one homer this year, a go-ahead blast against the Yankees on May 1, and hit .227. All in all, a lost season for Vazquez.
Blake Swihart, Bryan Holaday: INC
Hanley Ramirez: A
Ramirez gets this great grade for multiple reasons. The first reason being that he was so bad in 2015 that anything looks good in comparison. But the real reason being that no matter what happened last year, Hanley had a fantastic year and was a huge difference maker. He hit 30 homers and drove in 111 runs. He led the charge on offense during Boston's 11-game win streak at the end of the year and had two such occurrences when he hit a laundry list of homers in a short time period. Oh, and I hadn't even mentioned his defense, where he moved to first base from left field. He was much more confident in the infield, seemed to enjoy himself, played solid at the bag and dare I say it? He actually contributed with positive chemistry at first base and in the clubhouse. Quite the opposite of last year. Give this man a well-deserved A!
Dustin Pedroia: A
Some may disagree with a solid A for Pedroia, but Pedey was one of the most dependable players this year at age 33. His defense was superb as always, and nine years into his career, his bat was better than any year except maybe 2008... when he won MVP. What most fans will remember about his season was when he raised his batting average from .295 on August 7 to .332 on September 13. He went on an absolute rampage from the leadoff spot, and as a result, cracked 200 hits for just the second time in his career. He finished with 201 hits, 105 runs, a .318 average (T-2nd in AL), 15 homers, 36 doubles and 74 RBI. Between his hitting, his exquisite fielding, and his leadership, how can you not love this guy?
Xander Bogaerts: A-
This was one of the tougher grades to give. Bogaerts has been rock solid for two straight years now, but he slipped a little too much at the end of the season to give him a full A. The X-Man was lighting it up for the majority of the season, getting his average up to .330 on July 30 and producing a 26-game hit streak. Unfortunately, he lost his way a little and he finished the year at .294. Other than that slide, however, he tripled his home run production from last year, with 21, drove in 89 runs and nearly reached the 200-hit plateau that he nearly hit last year too. He finished with 192, a very impressive tally. With above-average fielding and a career-year at the plate, Xander no doubt deserves an A-.
Travis Shaw: C+
Shaw beat out Pablo Sandoval to begin the year with a solid spring training. He busted out of the gate with a good start to the year, with power and good-enough fielding at third base. As the year progressed, Shaw's batting average took a heavy slide and his fielding was not as sharp. He was nearly taken over at third by the youngster Yoan Moncada, and he tends to go into very inconsistent hitting patterns. Shaw completed the year at .242 with 16 homers and 71 RBI. With 16 errors in the field, his homers and RBI were the only thing giving him a grade in the C-range. This position will be a serious point of interest in the coming years, as this was Shaw's chance to determine if he deserves a permanent spot. It remains a question mark.
Brock Holt: C-
Holt just didn't have the same effect that he had last year for the majority of 2016. He was hurt with concussion symptoms and only managed to get into 94 games. An All-Star in 2015 (which was questionable as it was), Holt regressed this year, hitting just .255. His versatility helped the club late in the season and he will be a steady presence in the postseason, but his numbers just aren't getting it done to be a regular player.
Aaron Hill: D+
The Sox traded for Hill to get some insurance at third base for Shaw. Hill had potential to have an impact, but he really fell pretty flat in that regard. He only hit .218 for Boston with two homers. He could still make an impact as a pinch-hitter and maybe to start rarely in the playoffs, but he just didn't seem to produce how the team had hoped when he was traded.
Yoan Moncada, Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero: INC
Mookie Betts: A+
Is an A+ perfect? Maybe it is. But when you are a leading candidate to win MVP of the league, I would say that's as perfect as it gets. Betts, at age 23, had an unreal season in all facets of the game to lead this club. At 5'9", Mookie had 31 homers and 113 RBI (fifth in AL) from mostly the leadoff spot for most of the year. He absolutely torched Baltimore to the tune of eight homers at Camden Yards. In addition to his run producing, he cranked .318 (tied with Pedroia for second), hit 42 doubles (T-6th AL), collected well over 200 hits at 214 (2nd AL), and also added 26 steals while he was at it. Betts has become the everyday No. 4 hitter in the lineup and also has turned into one of the best outfielders in the game. To think that Betts was able to do this at age 23 shows that he has a bright and very terrifying future for his opponents.
Jackie Bradley Jr.: A-
What a whirlwind season for Bradley. He had a 29-game hit streak and had an average (.342) that was tops of the league for a brief moment. It fell all the way back down to .267 by season's end, but more importantly, he hit 26 homers and drove in 87 runs from the bottom of the order. A guy known for his outstanding center field play, to get that much offense out of JBJ was a huge bonus. He quietly had a very strong season. Who knew he had so much power? No doubt, Bradley Jr. is a valuable asset to this club.
Chris Young: B-
Young was brought to Boston to be a platoon outfielder (with Rusney Castillo? HA!), and he did a serviceable job at that. He struggled to begin the season as he faced numerous righties. He, then, pulled his hamstring and missed a little over 50 games, just as he was really getting going. He finished the year with nine homers and and 24 RBI with a .276 average. Nothing out of this world, but keeping in mind he missed nearly a third of the season and didn't play even close to every day, I would say that Young was a pleasant surprise and could make an impact in the postseason.
Andrew Benintendi: B-
Even with all the hype surrounding him, I can't give Benintendi a better grade than Young, because frankly he didn't play enough to have the best sense of him. What I do know is that he an electric player and certainly a difference maker. He fit right into the outfield, perhaps making the catch of the year in left and made tons of fans fall in love despite a two-month stint that he missed several weeks of due to an ankle injury. He should definitely be a starting outfielder in short time and he should definitely bring back his hair!
Bryce Brentz: INC
David Ortiz: A+
And we finish off the segment with the most important member of this, and every year's club. Ortiz had an MVP season in his final season (age 40) in remarkable fashion. Despite having to adhere to ceremonies and media requests 24/7 and aching feet that needed hours of work done every day, Big Papi still went out and hit .315 with 38 homers, 127 RBI, and 48 doubles. He also slugged .620 and his OPS was a whopping 1.021, both of which lead the league. No matter how you look at it, this was one of Ortiz's best seasons of his career, and no doubt his best in the last 10 years. He had fun, he took it all in stride and carried this team on his back all season long. He was locked in from the word "go" and never wavered. With the greatest season ever in one's last season, Ortiz will look to top it off with a fourth World Series Championship at the end of the month. What a season, what a career and what an impact this man has made on Boston and on so many people. One of the best to play the game and my favorite baseball player of all-time. We'll miss you Papi, so take your A+ and go out and win that ring!
I really hope we have a good long month left of David Ortiz. Can't understate the impact that man's had on my life as a sports fan. #RedSox— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) October 2, 2016
Thoughts? Comments? Disagreements? Agreements? Let me know what you think of my grades on Twitter @CLNS_JessSayin!If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!