Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas is a finalist for AL Rookie of the Year after hitting .263 with a .490 slugging percentage and .856 on-base percentage. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

After a season of adjustments, Triston Casas is a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year.

Six Red Sox players have won the award since the league adopted the accolade in 1947: Dustin Pedroia (‘07), Nomar Garciaparra (‘97), Fred Lynn (‘75), Carlton Fisk (‘72), Don Schwall (‘61), and Walt Dropo (‘50). Casas is the organization’s first ROY finalist since Andrew Benintendi in 2017.

Much like Pedroia’s Rookie of the Year season, Casas got off to a slow start after making his first Opening Day roster. On June 13, he was hitting .197 with a .683 OPS, with 36 hits in his first 59 games of the year. At least publicly, Manager Alex Cora wouldn’t entertain the possibility of sending him to Triple-A.

Between June 14 and season’s end, Casas, hit .312 with a .982 OPS, and 76 hits over his last 72 games. He finished at .263/.367/.490 over 132 games, with 113 hits, 21 doubles, 24 home runs, 66 runs, and 65 RBI. As he began figuring it out, his manager made the Pedroia comparison more than once.

Casas also made a significant impression on one of the previous Red Sox winners.

“He made one of the larger adjustments I’ve seen,” Fred Lynn told the Boston Herald in a phone interview on Monday. “He started to go the other way consistently, and what that allows you to do is see the ball longer.


“He started hitting the ball the other way, and all of a sudden, his average just took off, just going up, and up, and up, and he became a really tough out. I saw him hit home runs, not only to left field, down the left-field line, which is outstanding for a left-handed hitter at Fenway Park.

“It was nice to see somebody in the Major Leagues make an adjustment, because I see a ton of them just do the same thing over, and over, and over,” Lynn added with a chuckle.

Two offseasons ago, Lynn went viral on X (then Twitter) for calling out players who complained about defensive shifts.

“I believe they shifted on Ted Williams and didn’t he hit .406?” he pointed out in a particularly memorable tweet.

“I’m on my soapbox here,” he said, “but I’m really happy that he made that adjustment, because a left-handed hitter at Fenway that can go the other way can do a lot of damage. And I really expect him to actually hit more for a better average as he gets a little bit more comfortable and figures things out. He’s a big kid, so home runs are gonna come, but as long as he doesn’t try to hit ’em, he’ll be OK.”

Fred Lynn, left, stands on the field with Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 26, 2012. Lynn, the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP with the Red Sox in 1975, had high praise for Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas, a finalist for the rookie of the year award this season. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson and Guardians pitcher Tanner Bibee are Casas’ competition for the award, though Lynn thinks it will come down to Casas and Henderson.


“It’s hard for (pitchers) to win that award, unless your team just blows people away,” Lynn said. “It’s really difficult to garner those kinds of votes because you don’t pitch every day. You’re out there one of every five if you’re a starter, maybe, in today’s game. An everyday player definitely has an edge on a pitcher, just because of the amount of games that you play and the amount of influence you have on your team.”

How much did Casas influence the Red Sox this year? He led the team in walks, on-base percentage, and OPS. He played the fifth-most games, but finished with the fourth-most RBI and second-most home runs on the roster. He’s the fifth player in franchise history to hit at least 24 home runs in their rookie season before turning 24, and the first since Garciaparra in his own ROY season. Casas also joined Ted Williams as the only two Red Sox players under 24 to reach 24 home runs and 70 walks in their rookie season.

“Seventy walks, that’s impressive, too,” Lynn said. “It’s probably more than I had!”

Indeed, Lynn collected 62 free passes in 145 games – a 10.3-percent walk rate – during his own ROY campaign. Casas drew walks at a 13.9-percent clip.

Unfortunately, Casas also played on a last-place Red Sox team, and those collective results often have a way of impacting these individual awards.

“The O’s won a hundred games, right? So that’s going to carry some weight, unfortunately for Triston,” Lynn said. “But he made just a tremendous adjustment. Whether he wins the award or not, the fact that he’s up in the voting means a lot. I expect big things from him now on.”


Lynn’s ROY season was a different story. The 1975 Red Sox went all the way to Game 7 of the World Series, only to lose to the Cincinnati Reds, extending Boston’s championship drought. For their rookie, his individual achievements (Lynn was also named the American League MVP in 1975) just days later was small consolation.

“I was so upset that we lost the World Series,” he said. “Having won three NCAA titles at USC, I won the Triple-A World Series, so I was used to winning. When you get to the big game, I hadn’t lost one. So, when we got to Game 7 and lost in the fashion that we did, it took me, well, I don’t think I ever got over it, really, but a very long time to get that out of my head.

“When the awards started coming out, you thank your teammates, you’re happy to receive the award, but it was just a big ‘ol hole for me, because WE didn’t win,” he added. “It took many years for me to realize that what I had accomplished my first year, no one had ever done it. It took me quite a while to just enjoy the fact that I did it.”

Lynn hasn’t had a chance to speak with Casas one-on-one, but he had two pieces of advice for him.

First: “Just make contact!”

“Max Muncy with the Dodgers, and (Kyle) Schwarber for the Phillies, they both hit like, .200, but do a lot of damage with home runs,” he explained. “So what that tells you is that when they make contact, really good things happen. Just imagine if he made more contact!”

“I hated walking back to the dugout (after) striking out. Apparently, it doesn’t bother these guys, but it bothered the heck out of me. I didn’t even like making outs, but striking out was the worst.”

Second: Find a way to block out the noise.

“Back then, we didn’t even see what we were hitting until Sunday when the averages came out,” Lynn recalled of having to get the newspaper just to know how everyone was hitting. “It was easy to just play the game and not be overwhelmed by all the other stuff. Today’s players, they can’t do that. I don’t know how they do it, to be honest, because they can’t get away from all that chatter.”

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