Each World Series-winning Red Sox team since 2004 has had some unexpected players step up in key spots and has had an unlikely veteran or two have a career year. If the 2017 Red Sox go on to championship glory, Mitch Moreland will be remembered as this team’s Bill Mueller, Mike Lowell or Shane Victorino.
Moreland, who is 31-years-old and spent the first seven years of his MLB career with the Rangers in Texas, is tied with Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez for the team lead in home runs on the season as they each own nine. He also has 36 RBIs on the year, and is on pace to smash both of those individual season marks.
That’s not to say that Moreland was useless in Texas. Far from it, actually. In 2013, 2015 and 2016 he belted over 20 homers and he had an 85-RBI campaign in 2015.
What has separated Moreland from the pack this season is his propensity for hitting doubles. The lefty loves pulling the ball to right field at Fenway where the ball can bounce around in the outfield. This season Moreland already has 18 two-baggers, which is fifth best in the American League. The doubles high for an individual season in his career is 27 in 2015, a mark he should easily surpass this season.
“[Hitting doubles] is not something I’m really concentrating on I guess, but when I go to the plate I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible and get a good pitch to hit and try to get the barrel to it,” Moreland said. “If they go for doubles I’ll take them all day long.”
Moreland broke a Red Sox franchise record earlier this season by hitting doubles in seven straight games. David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Bill Regan all shared the previous record of six.
Moreland is also tied with Mookie Betts for the most walks on the team with 31 and he has the best On Base Percentage on the team, getting on .382 percent of the time.