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Red Sox star Mookie Betts named best player of 2018 by FiveThirtyEight

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Red Sox star Mookie Betts named best player of 2018 by FiveThirtyEight

Mookie Betts had an incredible 2018 season for the Boston Red Sox, and the accolades keep coming for the 26-year-old outfielder.

FiveThirtyEight recently did a ranking of the best players of 2018 from the NFL, NBA and MLB combined, and Betts was No. 1.

Here's what the website had to say about Betts' stellar year:

In a year that featured a number of standout performances, none was better than that of Boston’s 26-year-old right fielder. Betts earned American League MVP honors by becoming just the fifth player of the 21st century to crack 10.0 WAR in a single season — and he was the rare player to outduel WAR machine Mike Trout for the top slot in the league. Add in Boston’s World Series victory (which Betts punctuated with a home run in the clinching contest), and Betts had himself a year for the ages in 2018.

Betts won the American League MVP, a Silver Slugger, the A.L. batting title, an A.L. Gold Glove and more in 2018. He also helped the Red Sox win a franchise record 108 regular-season games before ultimately winning the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Red Sox have a bright future, and Betts is at the forefront of that optimism. He has a chance to be one of the best players in team history, which isn't an easy thing to do given Boston's illustrious past.

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Michael Chavis compared to former NL East second baseman

Michael Chavis compared to former NL East second baseman

Michael Chavis' hot start for the Boston Red Sox has gotten attention. He has performed better than expected and surprisingly has been able to handle the defensive duties at second base for the Sox. His accelerated development has excited many, and it seemingly bodes well for his future.

And now that he has been in the big leagues long enough, Chavis is drawing comparisons to other pro players. Recently, he was compared to a long-time NL East second baseman.

“He reminds me of Dan Uggla,” said one scout per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe. “It’s not perfect defensively but it’s effective enough, and he hits. He’s a good athlete.”

That's an inspiring comparison for Chavis, as Uggla was once one of the better offensive second basemen in the MLB.

Uggla played 10 years in the majors and early on in his career, he was one of the few power-hitting second basemen in the league. He had at least 27 homers in each of his first six seasons, and he finished his career with 235 dingers. His career average was just .241, but was a better contact hitter in his first five seasons, recording a .263 average. He also had a 33-game hit streak in 2011, so he consistently hit the ball.

If Chavis can provide the Red Sox with the power punch that Uggla had and solid enough defense, that would be huge for their future. Given that he has already cracked seven homers in just 89 at-bats, he seems well on his way to doing that. And right now, he's holding up well at second base, so perhaps he can lock down that position moving forward.

It's also possible that Chavis could have a better and longer career than Uggla. The former Marlin, Brave, and National didn't break into the league until he was 26. Chavis is only 23.

In the piece by the Globe, Abraham also identified Daniel Murphy (.298, 124 homers in 11 seasons) as a player comparable to Chavis. If he continues to hit as well as he has, these comps will certainly be warranted.

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Report: Sandy Leon to return from paternity leave on Monday

Report: Sandy Leon to return from paternity leave on Monday

Sandy Leon was placed on paternity leave on Friday following the birth of his daughter. As expected, his absence isn't going to be very long.

According to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic, Leon is scheduled to return to the Red Sox on Monday, along with starting pitcher David Price, who will be activated off the Injured List.

Leon, 30, is hitting just .200 this year, but his defense and game-calling have both made a difference for the team. The Red Sox are 9-3 in games that he has played in this year (7-3 in starts).

It's unclear if Leon will be in the lineup right away, especially given how hot Christian Vazquez (.531 average in the last 10 games) has been, but Leon will certainly be back on the bench at the very least.

Leon's return also means that Oscar Hernandez will likely be sent back down to the minors. Hernandez was only hitting .111 combined between AA and AAA this season so he was just added to the roster as an emergency catcher with Leon out.

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