2015 Boston Red Sox Preview

Posted: February 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Boys from Boston will hit in 2015.  Will they pitch is the question?

Ramble:  While the off-season additions to the offense are to be applauded (though the money spent was ridiculous), the bats will center around David Ortiz.  If Papi is healthy, thus productive, the Red Sox thrive.  Sandoval, Ramirez, Pedroia, Betts, Bogaerts and Napoli will prosper with Ortiz in the middle who will create a sizable secondary effect for Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.  Sandoval and Ramirez in Fenway could post better numbers than ever before, especially Sandoval.  Napoli, who seemed to just miss lofting that deep fly ball over the Monster countless times in 2014, will have a better than average year as he ends his contract with Boston (and, no, Ben better not re-sign him).  Chili Davis as the hitting coach should spur on the boys through thick, thin and long road trips.  However, no media relationship advice will be offered.

Outfield:   Jackie Bradley Jr had his chance in 2014, but t’was not to be.  His behavior issues in Pawtucket, post-Boston, should earn him an opportunity elsewhere.  Thus, Mookie Betts.  Mookie in center is a good fit.  He covers ground, and Lord knows he will need to with Hanley Ramirez attempting to absorb a quick learning curve in left.  As opposed to Bradley Jr., Mookie was a quick study at the plate.  Shane Victorino in right is not definite.  Shane, along with Allen Craig, are the two veterans without a guaranteed position.  If Victorino hits, he plays.  If he struggles, he’s traded, and traded quickly.  The mystery man is Rusney Castillo.  Victorino stands in the way of required at bats.  Rusney needs to play.  And, as always (well at least the last few years), Daniel Nava stands in the shadows waiting for somebody to ask him to dance.

Infield:  Set.  Naps, Pedrioa, Sandoval and Bogaerts.  Napoli has developed into an above average first baseman.  Dustin is the ultimate dirt dog.  Xander needs to continue to master the small things that make a great shortstop (moving him to third is ill advised).  Pablo, with little range, plays a smart hot spot, less the occasional dirt flop as the ball scoots into left.  Brock Holt brings value at a great price.

Catching:  Ryan Lavarnway went from heir apparent to first baseman/dh suspect for untold reasons.  Christian Vasquez, without David Ross, has a lot to learn in a short time.  The Blake Swihart succession talk must stop.  Blake needs at least one more year riding buses, maybe two.  Ryan Hanigan, given half a chance, may well give Vasquez a challenge for playing time.  Who, oh who, will gather the starting pitching’s confidence?

DH:  Ortiz in the batter’s box is always a sight to behold.  Think Santa down the chimney.  Never gets old.  As rest is required, look for Allen Craig, Napoli and possibly Castillo (get those at-bats)  to find Sunday time as the designated hitter.

Starting Pitching:  Otherwise known as What Makes 2015 A Boom Or Bust.  Buchholz is the number one starter.  When reading the Globe, I marvel at the inability (refusal?) to acknowledge that Clay is the number one guy.  Who else?  The guy who listens to the radio via headset a few rows from the protective netting?  In no particular order or until John Farrell and Juan Nieves are ready to say:  Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Brandon Workman will form the two-five spots.  A deep group from which to choose.

Relief Corps:  Perhaps Koji Uehara closes.  Perhaps implies perhaps not.  Alexi Ogando was a quality signing.  Granted, he struggled in 2014 with Texas, but the numbers prior bring hope.  Craig Breslow is testament to why lefty pitchers are reluctant to retire.  Nice to be wanted.  With Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross Jr, Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree the bullpen will be a strong point through the never ending test of 162 games.

AAA/AA Help:  Blake Swihart (c), Sean Coyle (inf), Derrick Gibson (of), Henry Ramos (of), Henry Owens (starter), Brian Johnson (starter), Eduardo Rodriguez (starter), Miguel Celestino (relief).

Prediction:  First in the A.L. East, A.L. Champion, World Series Champion.

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