How the Red Sox discovered Junichi Tazawa

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Why the stats vs. scouts thing is a dumb debate? There are some things one of ’em can do that the other can’t. Like finding a guy such as Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa.

A great story today by Alex Speier over at WEEI about how the Red Sox found and scouted this guy, involving treks up mountains and a white guy scout trying to blend in at a nearly empty Japanese stadium in the middle of nowhere lest others figure out that Tazawa was being scouted.

Neat stuff.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.