Over this past offseason, Mike Napoli underwent surgery to repair his sleep apnea. He called the surgery, “One of the worst things I have ever gone through.” In November, doctors broke Napoli’s jaw in two places in order for them to shift his lower jaw forward to create a larger airway. Before his surgery, Napoli stated that two hours of sleep a night was a miracle. During the baseball season, the 33 year old would have to come out of a game some nights because of dizziness and fatigue. His lack of sleep severely affected him on and off the field. Napoli stated, “I missed batting practice because I would be sleeping, or trying to sleep.” Napoli has been battling his sleep apnea during his whole 8 years in the MLB. The Red Sox first baseman has not been able to fulfill his expectations, despite his stellar 2011 season in which he batted .320 and clobbered 30 home runs, carrying the Texas Rangers to the World Series.
As the 2015 season comes around corner, Mike Napoli’s expectations increase. Napoli will be well rested and able to play more games this season compared to recent years. More importantly, Napoli will see the ball better at the plate and will have a bounce back season. The competition at first base for the Sox is tight this year. Allen Craig and Brock Holt both have the requirements to start at first base. Moreover, David Ortiz plays at first when the Red Sox play National League teams on the road. The surgery Napoli recently had provides him with a mediocre excuse of why his batting average was lower than it should have been. This year, I believe Napoli has the potential to hit 25 plus home runs and bat .280.
After winning the World Series in 2013, Napoli knows how to lead this team to a postseason run. If the lineup can manufacture runs which will not be a problem because of the offseason moves the front office has made, then the Red Sox have a chance to make a postseason run. The recent signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez place Napoli in the middle of the lineup. At age 33, Napoli has hit a career .257 batting average with around 20 home runs every season. The first baseman, also now known as Sleeping Beauty around the Boston area, can look to have a rebounding season and prove to Major League Baseball that his age is not affecting him.
Last season, Napoli battled injuries to conclude his sluggish season. He suffered a hyperextended finger in April that never healed correctly. Also, the first baseman had a toe problem, which required offseason surgery as well. Despite these injuries, Napoli still managed to clobber 17 home runs and post a .370 on base percentage. In 2015, Napoli potentially will break career highs of 500 at-bats and play in 140 games if he stays healthy. Napoli has a reputation to spend some time on the disabled list; however, he will stay healthy and will have a breakout season. For the past eight years Napoli said he has not had a dream; now he can dream for another ring and accomplish his goals.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.