I'm sure we all remember where we were when David Ortiz hit that grand slam against Joaquin Benoit in the 2013 ALCS. His heroic perfomance in the World Series that earned him the World Series MVP trophy is maybe the best hitting show that a Red Sox member has put in the October Classic. And then came 2014, when David saw his batting average go down to .260, the second lowest in his Red Sox career. However, he ended up hitting 30 home runs with 100+ RBIs. It was obvious to Red Sox Nation that maybe Father Time was finally catching up with Big Papi, and the doubters began to question him.
Several questions surrounded Ortiz entering this season, most of them focused on his age and capability to still produce as a designtated hitter. He underperfomed in the first half of the season with a mediocre .231 batting average, but 15 home runs. His problems were more noticeable against lefties, where he posted a .170 batting average. Thanks to his underachieving perfomance against LHP pitching, Ortiz found himself benched on July 10th against Orioles' lefty, Wei-Yin Chen. Since then, he is having a .277 batting average with 17 home runs and 44 RBI. His home runs since that date are the 73.9% from his season total.
As Eric D. Schabell noted last week, Ortiz was hitting into his 2016 vesting option. His option was activated last Saturday in a game where he produced three runs with a double and his 23rd home run of the season. The double was his 425th plate appeareance of the season, which kicked in his 2016 option and $11M. The option can vest to $12 million for 475 plate appearances, $13 million for 500 PAs, $14M for 525 PAs, $15M for 575 PAs and $16M for 600 PAs. I don't know about you, but in that game I saw Papi's swag back. "It feels good. It's how I've always been," Ortiz said after Saturday's game. "As the season goes, you start catching up better."
The Red Sox Official Facebook Page
posted this picture after last season's regular
game. Ironically, it seems that Ortiz
is the only one who is back.
Maybe he won't get back to hit at least 270, but Big Papi just gave us another reason to continue watching this season. Maybe the Red Sox would like to add a countdown board to Fenway before the team returns from the road, because I'm sure that Ortiz will hit his 500th before the last day of the season. "To be honest with you I try not to think about it," he said when asked about his 500th home run "When I'm hitting, I'm just trying to put a good swing on the ball. I'm not trying to go out there and juice every single pitch I see. I think when we do that things get worse. I'm just sticking with the plan, putting a good swing on the ball and whatever happens happens. But yeah, that's all people talk about so it kind of gets in your head a little bit."
Ortiz says he is not thinking about that, but I'm sure that he is planning on how he is going to trot the bases when he hits that home run.
How do you think the Red Sox are going to handle Hanley Ramírez with Ortiz securing his spot as a DH for next season? Will Big Papi be a powerful hitter next year? Leave your comments below and don't forget to follow us ton Twitter at @RedSoxLife and follow me at @iamjorgecamargo for more Red Sox stuff.