We all know about Jonathan Papelbon, who accrued 20 saves and a 0.31 ERA before being charged with his first blown save on June 9, the hottest start by any MLB reliever. Unfortunately, injuries cut his season short, and while he may be seen as a long shot Rookie of the Year winner, he was named an American League All-Star.
Another All-Star, Freddy Sanchez, will headline our annual Alumni Dinner on December 1 as winner of the Dick Berardino Alumni Award. Sanchez, a Spinner in 2000, led the National League with a .344 batting average, becoming the first former Spinner to win a batting title. Sanchez is scheduled to be in attendance for the Alumni Dinner event.
A third former Spinner, shortstop David Eckstein, was named to the All-Star team. Eckstein was the St. Louis lead-off hitter for the bulk of the season and helps lead the Cardinals through the playoffs (along with former Spinners pitcher Josh Hancock), in search of his second World Championship ring.
Former Red Sox top prospect and 2002 Lowell Spinner Hanley Ramirez made the Marlins in Spring Training and got off to an incredible start, batting .309 with 16 stolen bases in the first two months of the season. Then he finished the season batting .311 with 21 stolen bases in August and September combined, leaving him with a .292 batting average, 17 home runs and 51 swipes, third most in the National League. He’s a strong Rookie of the Year candidate.
The other Sanchez, 2004 Spinners starter Anibal Sanchez, went with Hanley to the Marlins in last off-season’s Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell trade. Sanchez didn’t make the Majors until the end of June, but in his short stay he made quite an impact. On September 6th he spun a no-hitter against Arizona in only his 14th Major League appearance, ending the longest no-hitter drought in Major League history.
An ’03 Spinner, outfielder Matt Murton hit .297 as the Cubs primary left-fielder in 2006, only his second season in the Major Leagues. The right-hander hit well against both lefties (.301 batting average) and right-handers (.295 batting average).
Two more former Spinners made their Major League debuts in 2006: thirdbaseman and 2000-01 Spinner John Hattig, Jr. hit .333 in 13 games with Toronto, and outfielder and 2003 Spinner David Murphy appeared in 20 games with the Red Sox.
Not to mention the many former Spinners climbing the ladder to Fenway, headed by recent Red Sox Minor League award-winners Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeff Natale, and Clay Buchholz.