When you look up and down this Boston Red Sox roster that took the field on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, there are a number of folks you could look at and consider to be key pieces. Overall, though, this is an incredibly well balanced roster any way you slice it.
In trying to look for the most valuable member of this team, one would have a difficult time. They lack a true superstar on offense, and while their rotation is solid, they don’t have boast a true Cy Young contender in the American League. Then you realize that this is a team that employs Koji Uehara and the conundrum becomes that much simpler.
Uehara was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series in which the Red Sox dispatched of the Detroit Tigers. Uehara went 1-0 during the six games that it took for Boston to knock off the American League Central champs, in addition to recording three saves.
Two of those three saves required Uehara to not only maintain a one-run lead, but get more than three outs in order to do so. He obviously emerged with the save in each. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when you look at what Uehara has managed to do for the Red Sox all season.
After signing a one-year deal for $4.5 million, Uehara emerged as one of the game’s very best relievers. He made 73 appearances for the Red Sox during the regular season, recording 21 saves, striking out 101 hitters, and posting a 1.09 ERA. A pitcher notorious for throwing nothing but strikes, he walked only nine hitters during the season.
Uehara threw just a touch over 1,000 pitches over the course of the regular season, with over 750 of them going for strikes, just to give an indication of how efficient he was. While some doubted him because of his peripherals, there’s no doubt that his success in 2013 is very real. He’s easily the most valuable player for this Red Sox team in 2013, both during the regular season and thus far in the playoffs.