The Red Sox are determined to bounce back from a spectacularly disappointing 2014 season. Are the offseason changes enough to bet them in our MLB picks for the upcoming season?
Boston Red Sox Offense
Red Sox fans have never witnessed a more tumultuous rollercoaster ride than the three consecutive seasons in which Boston went from an atrocious and contentious 2012 campaign with manager Bobby Valentine at the helm to a veritable renaissance in 2013 where they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. But a lack of pitching and hitting saw the defending World Series champs morph into chumps yet again as they ended last season with only 71 victories cementing them firmly at the bottom of the American league East standings.
But hope springs eternal and so does spring training as the Red Sox moved heaven and Earth to revamp their anemic batting order. The two biggest free agent hitters were plucked from the open market and landed in Fenway Park when the Sox signed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. These two additions alone will ensure that Boston has plenty of thump in their lineup but Ramirez will have to make the switch from shortstop to Fenway’s daunting left field. Ramirez’s other big task at hand, besides becoming adept at his new position, will be to stay healthy. He is no longer the lanky 17-year-old kid Boston signed 14 years ago as he has developed into a 6’3” 240 pound tower of power but plagued by injuries.
The Kung Fu Panda Pablo Sandoval will be taking his talents to Fenway and if the former San Francisco Giant can take advantage of a short left field porch and continue his prodigious clutch hitting then the Sox will have a bona fide superstar in Boston.
Below is what the Boston Red Sox starting lineup could look like on Opening Day.
1st Base – Mike Napoli
2nd Base – Dustin Pedroia
3rd Base – Pablo Sandoval
Shortstop – Xavier Bogaerts
Left Field – Hanley Ramirez
Center Field – Rusney Castillo
Right Field - Mookie Betts
Catcher – Christian Vazquez
Designated Hitter – David Ortiz
Bench Players in the Mix – Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Ryan Hannigan along with other possibilities.
Red Sox Pitching
The Red Sox have been retrofitted to be potentially explosive at the plate but their chief concern heading into spring training is their dearth of starting pitching. History tells us that does not bode well for a team looking to make a splash in the postseason. Below is how we see the order as currently constituted. However, it would be nothing short of astounding if GM Ben Cherington remains idle with the pitchers he has plugged into his starting rotation.
What he has now is a back-of-the-order guy in Detroit Rick Porcello appearing to be the ace on a staff of only serviceable pitchers. However, that formula worked well in Baltimore last season and Boston is hoping the same will be true for their 2015 staff. But don’t bet on Cherington standing still as he has trade value in some of his veterans and prospects.
#1 – Rick Porcello
#2 – Clay Buchholz
#3 – Justin Masterson
#4 – Wade Miley
#5 – Joe Kelly
Boston Red Sox MLB Future Odds
When the final pitched was thrown to end the 2014 World Series the Boston Red Sox were slated at 22-1 to win the 2015 World Series. Considering they were among the league’s dregs that would appear to be a rather short number being dealt by the offshore bookmakers. However, the oddsmakers getting paid to protect their books understood full well that Boston’s deep pockets would make certain that wholesale changes were made in the offseason and of course they were right on target. After GM Ben Cherington’s wheeling and dealing the MLB odds have plummeted to 9-1 making Boston the third choice behind the Washington Nationals and the LA Dodgers.
As for the season win total it should be noted that 19 of the 30 teams have win totals between 80-87 ½ win totals with the defending World Series champs the San Francisco Giants pegged at 85. The Red Sox MLB odds are being offered at 86 wins and if the pitching falters then the ‘under’ looks like a lock. However, I believe the Sox will shore up their starting pitching before the season and if they are in contention come the trade deadline they will absolutely make a move for a big time starter which will insure this total goes over the 85 wins on the season.