Defending Champion Red Sox Still A Nice Value For Season Wins

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 7:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 7:46 PM UTC

Boston is the co-favorite to win the American League and the World Series. Coming off their 2018 World Series title and with so much competition in the AL, can we truly expect them to repeat?

Red Sox World Series Odds: +600 (BetOnline)American League Pennant Odds: +300Season Win Total: 95.5

While the Red Sox should be riding high in spring training, they are dealing with a tragedy. Catcher Blake Swihart’s brother and former college football player at New Mexico, Romell Jordan, died Wednesday at age 23.

Not only is this a hard way to begin spring training, but the Red Sox community is also just getting done mourning the death of long-time Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo. A team that is supposed to be riding high and preparing to defend their World Series title has spent the first days of spring training dealing with tragedies.

It may be a rallying point for this team to try and win another title to honor those who have been lost, but it could also hamper their preparation for a season that is fast approaching.

The Red Sox may be favorites to repeat as champs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a ton of competition. While the Sox are returning basically the same team that won it all last season, the rival Yankees have stocked up on talent in the offseason. BetOnline has the Yankees with the exact same odds as Boston. New York added Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu to their lineup and bench, while also trading for James Paxton to serve as their No. 2 starter.

That is a lot more firepower for a young team already stacked with talent. If things start to go right for the Yankees when it comes to injuries, they may actually be a better team than the Red Sox on paper.

However, what Boston still has going for them is one of the league’s most dangerous first four hitters and a rotation that is definitely able to go toe-to-toe with the re-stocked Yankees. Chris Sale may be the best starting pitcher in all of baseball and with the way Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and David Price pitched last year, I’m confident they have the formula to win again.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

OTD a year ago, J.D. joined the @RedSox and … well, you know the rest. 👀 pic.twitter.com/gcC2W4UAEU

— MLB (@MLB) February 27, 2019
\n\n"}[/]

Season Win Total Outlook

The problem is, after winning 108 games last season, the Red Sox are probably going to take a big dip from that total. The Yankees are of course better and healthier than 2018 and they still won 100 games last year. While Toronto will likely regress some this season, the Rays should be much better and the Orioles should be at least 15 to 20 games better this season than last.

A total of 95.5 might still seem like a reasonable "over" bet, but the Sox were pretty lucky last year when it came to injuries. If they start to lose some of their hitters at the top of the order, or if Sale, Porcello, or Price go down for six weeks, that may be all it takes to turn this team from 108 wins to the low 90s.

All this is purely speculative, though. Despite the Yankees being better, the Sox still play in a relatively weaker division in the AL with the three other teams expected to be at or under .500.

The Sox bullpen still has some questions that should be answered by the end of spring training, but other than that I see very little reason to believe that the Sox will finish under 95.5 wins. It’s close, but I think the high 90s or low 100s is still a reasonable expectation for the defending champs.

Season win total pick: "Over" 95.5

comment here