Big Papi’s World Series Dominance

Big Papi’s unbelievable World Series has led to a number of articles trying to quantify and otherwise explain how unstoppable he has been.

For those of you who want a pure recap of that stats Papi has been putting together there are a couple of pieces from ESPN that talk just about his numbers.

Bill Chuck, over at Gammons Daily started the stories of Papi’s dominance before Game 5:

But in this constellation that GM Ben Cherington brilliantly assembled and Professor John Farrell manages, on this “team,” a description in the truest sense of the word, there has been no brighter star this World Series than David Ortiz.

I often refer to the consummate designated hitter and sometime first baseman as “Diva” Ortiz. He preens, has baseball’s slowest tater trot, and demands special attention. “Diva” is only inaccurate because I should use the masculine “divo.” However, it is most accurate in that this person is also considered an outstanding talent in the world in which she or he is participating.

I honestly believe this brilliant World Series performance by Big Papi has nothing to do with the St. Louis Cardinals. I don’t care who he might be facing, David Ortiz is a man on a mission: the ring.

and then pointed out how close Papi is to historical milestones as Game 6 approaches:

Ortiz will have either one or two games to enter into the elite territory of batters who have had 12 or 13 hits in a single Series

Names like Stargell, Brock, and Clemente populate that list.

Tom Verducci also attempted to put Papi’s World Series performance in historical context, both in Boston and nationally:

On the brink of such team history, one man has elevated his stature in baseball and in the deep-rooted culture of the Sox more than anyone else. It might not quite be Ruthian what is going on here, but it’s the next best thing to see a garrulous big man becoming a legend of the fall.

It was eight years ago that the Red Sox presented David Ortiz with a plaque that called him “the greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox.” Ortiz’s performance in this series has moved him far beyond plaques. It is pushing him toward having his number hang from the right-field roof at Fenway, having a statue outside the old ballpark and an official spot in the namesake town of his clubhouse nickname: Cooperstown.

With three more hits in a 3-1 Game 5 victory, Ortiz is batting .733 (11-for-15) in this World Series and .476 (20-for-42) in his World Series career — the best average in history among all men who have at least 50 plate appearances in the Fall Classic.

Brian MacPhereson from the Providence Journal talks about both the statistical impact Papi has had, as well as his leadership:

The statistics are astounding, eye-popping, laughable — take your pick of incredulous adjective. He’s hitting .733 with a .750 on-base percentage and 1.267 slugging percentage. He singled twice and doubled in Game Five, and his slugging percentage went down.

And that’s after Ortiz pulled the entire Boston team aside in the middle of Game Four to deliver a passionate pep talk immediately before Jonny Gomes hit a three-run home run. There’s nothing that has happened in the World Series that the Red Sox can’t credit to Ortiz.

If you prefer to look at things on a micro-level, then this in-depth look at one at-bat from Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs is probably right up your alley:

If you were watching, you understand, because the extended at-bat felt a little like theater. There was nobody on and there was one out, but it felt like a moment with substance and meaning. It felt like it meant more than it did, and Wainwright got an ovation after Ortiz was retired. The thing is, any pitcher should probably get an ovation at this point if he’s able to get Ortiz out. In the first inning on Monday, Ortiz doubled on the first pitch. In the fourth inning, he singled on the second pitch. I don’t need to tell you about his numbers in the World Series; I’ll just remind you that those numbers don’t include what could’ve been a Game 1 grand slam. Ortiz has been the story, so pitching to Ortiz must be a story as well.

Lastly, in a Evan Drellich piece detailing all of Papi’s accomplishments, it is this quote that stands out:

“I was born for this,” Ortiz said.

After how he has played so far this World Series, it is tough to argue with that.