2016 Record: 93-69 (1st AL East)
Now it’s time for the reigning AL East champion Boston Red Sox! We’ll be joined shortly by Jared Carrabis from Barstool Sports. As a Red Sox fan myself, I can easily say he’s the best Red Sox related person to follow on Twitter (@Jared_Carrabis).
As I mentioned above, the 2016 Red Sox finished atop the AL East for the first time since 2013. They lost to the Indians in the ALDS, and also lost David Ortiz to retirement. To help makeup for the loss of Ortiz, the Red Sox traded for former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale to form a big 3 of Sale, David Price and Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello.
The Red Sox did get a scare about a week ago when David Price had to go visit Dr. James Andrews about some elbow soreness. Initial returns said that Price will avoid surgery for now, but that will definitely be something to monitor as the season progresses. Full disclosue, all of my projections were done before the Price news broke and they were done expecting a full healthy season from Price.
So on that note, I have the Red Sox pitching staff as my second overall staff in the American League. Their starting rotation projects second just fractions of a point behind the Blue Jays. I have the Sox bullpen as my sixth best American League bullpen for 2017.
As for the offensive side of things, the Red Sox open the season having not done too much to replace the Papi sized hole in the lineup. However, I project that some of the younger guys will continue their improvement headed forward. I have the Red Sox as my number two overall offense in the AL this year. The starting lineup projects second, with their bench slightly below that at fourth.
Now let’s check in with Jared to see what he thinks about the 2017 Red Sox!
Do you think the Sox did enough to make up for Big Papi retiring? On that note, any chance you think he makes a mid-season comeback for one last October run?
I don't think they did enough to straight up replace David Ortiz, but I also don't think they had to. The Red Sox score 101 more runs than any other team in the American League last year, so subtract Ortiz, add in Mitch Moreland, a guy who's capable of hitting 20+ home runs and driving in 80+ runs, and you've replaced more than half of Ortiz's production, and that's really all they needed to do there. I don't think he comes back unless the Red Sox are REALLY, really struggling offensively, and I don't think they will.
How did you feel about the Chris Sale trade? Do you think Boston gave up too much or was it worth it to form the big 3?
At first, I was shocked, because I thought Yoan Moncada was going to be an untouchable for them. But I think that goes back to the replacing Ortiz point. You don't necessarily have to replace Ortiz with just offense. When you add a guy like Chris Sale, that makes a huge impact in preventing runs, which is just as good as putting them up offensively.
Do you see any fallback from Mookie or do you think he's pissed off he didn't win the MVP and comes out proving he should've won?
I don't think he's pissed off about it, but I'm sure he'll be motivated by getting that close and wanting to get back there again. There's certainly no shame in losing to Mike Trout, especially when he did have the better season. We don't have a ton to go on, but Mookie has had slow starts before, but he always gets hot eventually, and when he does, he doesn't cool off. If he does regress, I doubt it'll be by much. He could even be better than he was in 2016.
How has Pablo looked so far in Spring Training? Are the Sox confident in him being the full time answer at third this year?
I haven't seen too much of him defensively, but he's looked pretty good at the plate. They don't really have a choice but to get behind him, because they traded away all of his competition with Travis Shaw going to the Brewers and Moncada going to the White Sox. I think he's more than capable of returning to his career average-type numbers, but I'm not expecting anything more than that.
Finally, do you see any non-Benintendi prospects making a big impact in Boston this summer?
I don't. Not unless you count Sam Travis, who isn't really in the same category as Benintendi as far as prospects go, but he's a pretty damn good hitter. I think the plan of not pursuing Edwin Encarnacion and going short term with Mitch Moreland at first base says a lot about what they think of Travis. I think you'll see him up at the major league level at some point this year.
I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox will be pretty damned good in 2017. I have them as my second overall team in the AL, just slightly behind Cleveland.
The Sox finished 3rd in the AL last year at 93-69; the Indians finished in that second slot that I think Boston will finish this year and they were one game better at 94-68.
Of course, Vegas is not giving us much wiggle room here as they have the Sox win total at 92.5. I think it’ll be pretty close and we may be sweating it out until the final week but I’ll say the Red Sox finish over 92.5 wins this year.
I think they’ll be close to that 92.5 number but finish a little bit ahead of it. When it’s all said and done, the Red Sox will finish the season at 95-67.