Editor’s note: NESN.com is holding a three-week tournament to determine “Boston’s Best Newcomer.” The Red Sox added a lot of new faces in 2013, and the results have been impressive. It’s time to determine which new addition from 2013 best embodies Boston baseball.
Mike Napoli is a slugger through and through. Sure, he swings and misses, but he also possesses the power to drastically alter the outcome of a game.
Napoli was part of an interesting offseason saga. There were reports that he had agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, but after it was discovered that Napoli has a hip condition (that he hasn’t shown any symptoms of), he signed a one-year, $5 million pact with Boston. The thought was that his swing is tailor-made for Fenway Park, and he has certainly done some damage.
Napoli started his 2013 season with a big April, racking up 27 RBIs and holding down the cleanup spot in David Ortiz‘s absence. He was exactly what Boston needed while its most prolific slugger was sidelined for the first 15 games, and he has enjoyed plenty of memorable moments since.
There came a point this season when Napoli struggled mightily. But as frustrating as that stretch was for Red Sox fans, Napoli has more than made up for it with his overall production. He’s always a threat to go deep, and he is the perfect right-handed compliment to Ortiz when he’s swinging a hot bat.
It also helps that some of Napoli’s best work has come in the clutch.
Vote for “Bostons’ Best Newcomer” at the matchup links below.