The Red Sox didn't repeat as World Champions, or even AL East Champions. And in the end, they were beat by a bunch of upstart kids on a team that shouldn't exist in a converted hockey arena of a stadium in a town where the home team is the 3rd most popular team behind the Yankees and Red Sox.
But it was an interesting season. A very interesting season. Manny Ramirez left early, Jon Lester emerged as an Ace, so did Daisuke, the team suffered some key injuries, and Pedroia won the MVP.
Here are the nominees:
Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Kevin Youkilis - 1B
Jon Lester - SP
Jonathan Papelbon - CP
Daisuke Matsuzaka - SP
The winner is...
I know, I know, Pedroia won the MVP and he's not very tall. But Youkilis is 6' 1" and was the better player this season. Sorry folks, it's the truth.
Youkilis his 29 homers with 115 RBI, a .312 average, .390 OBP, and .569 slugging percentage. He was 6th in the AL in OBP, 3rd in slugging, and 4th in OPS. He played Gold Glove calibre defense at 1st, but also played 3rd when Lowell went down. He even spent some time in right field. He started the All-Star Game and won the Hank Aaron Award as the American League's best hitter.
Youkilis filled the offensive gap left by Manny Ramirez. His versatility in the lineup allowed Francona to bat him 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. He hit .374 with runners in scoring position, and .328 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs.
Pedroia got hot down the stretch, but Youkilis was consistent all season long. Youk also had one of the few great performances in the ALCS against Tampa. He was 10 for 30 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, and 6 RBI.
With all due respect to MVPedroia, Youkilis was the best Red Sox player in 2008.