Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boston Red Sox 2017 season preview

    With a record of 93-69, the Boston Red Sox finished 1st in the AL East, with the 2nd place Orioles and Blue Jays 4.0 GB. In the ALDS, the Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians, who went on to the World Series, but lost in 7 games. Slugger David Ortiz then retired. GM Dave Dombrowski made some moves over the offseason. Let's look at those moves.

      Key additions: SP Chris Sale, 1B Mitch Moreland, RP Tyler Thornburg, 3B Matt Dominguez, OFs Brian Bogusevic, Junior Lake, SP Kyle Kendrick.
      Key subtractions: DH David Ortiz, 2B Yoan Moncada, 3B Travis Shaw, RPs Junichi Tazawa, Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara, C Ryan Hanigan, 2B Aaron Hill, SP Clay Buchholtz.

       Biggest move: The Red Sox didn't make a big move this offseason is what I'd say if I felt like lying. They made the biggest move of the offseason, sending 2B Yoan Moncada and SP Michael Kopech and others to the Chicago White Sox for ace lefty Chris Sale. Joining him with last year's Cy Young winner Rick Porcello would be a dominant duo, not to mention former Cy Young winner David Price, although he might not be healthy.
        X-factor: When the Red Sox signed 1B Hanley Ramirez 2 offseasons ago, they thought the were getting a star. Though Ramirez hit 30 HRs for the first time since 2008 in 2016, he's dropped his speed. He was once a 20-30 steal guy, now, he's not a double digit steal guy. Maybe 10 steals and 25 HRs an average of about .280 can keep Hanley at the top of the lineup.
         Biggest bounce back: When the Sox traded pitcher Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners, they received pitchers Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. They had an idea that Smith would be a good set up reliever for star closer Craig Kimbrel. But injuries limited Smith to just 2.2 IP in 2016. If Smith can have a healthy, solid 2017, the Red Sox will be improved mightily, especially after losing 3 big bullpen arms.
          Biggest breakout: left fielder Andrew Benintendi was named the number 1 prospect in the MLB, and after hitting .295 in 105 AB in 2016, Benintendi will most likely get the starting job in LF. If the 22 year old can do well in 2017, he can reach stardom quickly.
          Guaranteed star: After an outstanding 2016 where he hit .318, 31 HRs and 113 RBIs, RF Mookie Betts is poised for a better 2017. He's only 24, and there's no telling what he can do in his prime.
          The Sox starting lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Jackie Bradley Jr.
2. SS: Xander Bogaerts
3. RF: Mookie Betts
4. 2B: Dustin Pedroia
5. DH: Hanley Ramirez
6. 1B: Mitch Moreland
7. LF: Andrew Benintendi
8. 3B: Pablo Sandoval
9. C: Sandy Leon
             Their rotation will probably be this.
1. Chris Sale
2. Rick Porcello
3. David Price
4. Drew Pomeranz
5. Steven Wright
              SS Brock Holt, 1B Steve Selsky, LF Chris Young and C Christian Vasquez will be on the bench.
              Craig Kimbrel will be their closer, with Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith setting him up.

              For my prediction, I think the Sox will win the AL East again, but lose to the Tribe again, but this time in the ALCS.

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