David Ortiz: His 2012 Season Is Starting to Look a Lot Like His 2006 Season

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIJuly 2, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 28:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during batting practice prior to the game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 28, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 2012 season is just about halfway over, and David Ortiz is producing one of the finest seasons of his career.

For the eighth time in the last nine seasons, Ortiz has been named to the American League All-Star team. He has already racked up 21 home runs with 54 RBI. He has 86 hits with 24 doubles.

His 45 extra-base hits leads the American League and is second only to Cincinnati's Joey Votto in all of baseball.

As it stands, Ortiz is on pace for 40 home runs with 100 RBI. Though he came close in 2007, the last time he achieved that feat was the 2006 season.

With his 24 doubles, Ortiz stands a chance of surpassing his career-best 54 in the category.

A more telling stat is the fact that Ortiz leads the American League in intentional walks with 10. That ties him with the Mets' David Wright and places him just two behind Joey Votto.

While some may look at that stat as being inconsequential, to me it says that pitchers are starting to fear Ortiz's bat once again and are pitching around him. He is on pace to surpass his personal best in this category as well (23), set in 2006.

To gain some perspective on this, Ortiz drew 12 intentional walks in 2011, 14 in 2010 and just five in 2009. That's 31 IBBs in 1,583 at-bats. This season, his 10 intentional walks in just 285 at-bats.

While it is unlikely we'll see Ortiz finish the season with 50 home runs, he is putting up numbers that rival his best seasons from the mid-2000s. That would align with what many believe to be a ballplayers prime years of their career: 28, 29, 30 and 31.

Yet here we stand, watching a 36-year-old David Ortiz prove himself to be one of the most feared sluggers in today's Major League Baseball, compiling a .997 OPS, second only to Josh Hamilton, the 31-year-old left fielder for the Texas Rangers—a player many consider the best in the AL and in the prime of his career.