Next up on the Uncut MLB Season Series is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are stuck in a competitive AL East this season, with playoff-ready teams like the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays. To be honest, Red Sox fans do not have a lot to look forward to this season. It’s been a rough go for New England sports fans these past few months.
The Patriots didn’t make the playoffs, Brady won a ring in Tampa, and the beloved Red Sox finished in last place. In this UNCUT MLB Season preview, I will take a look at the Red Sox roster and analyze the potential they have for this upcoming season.
The Red Sox bats should be the one bright spot of the team this season. Although they don’t have the same stars as they did in 2018, they have some young sluggers. Entering his 9th season, Xander Bogaerts has hit for above .300 average the past two seasons and should be a consistent weapon this year. In addition, the man in the hot corner Rafael Devers is poised to hit well this year. A great power hitter, Devers will look to duplicate his 2019 season in which he led the league in doubles.
Another power hitter to watch is former San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays player Hunter Renfroe. Projections show that Renfroe will launch 25 homers this year while rounding in 61 RBI’s, which would be huge for the Sox this season. Clearly, the Red Sox have some talented guys in the batter’s box and will need them to produce.
Starting pitching is a HUGE question mark for the Red Sox right now. Ace Chris Sale is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and will likely return any time between late May through July. Besides Sale, the rest of the staff doesn’t look too hot. However, Eduardo Rodriguez has the chance to make me look like an absolute fool by coming back and pitching as he did in 2019.
After missing the 2020 season due to COVID, Rodriguez would like to duplicate that season where he finished 6th in Cy Young voting and had 213 strikeouts. The Red Sox will need that type of production until Sale comes back, so they can have a strong Ace. Veterans Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez will need to bounce back after struggling these past few years if the Red Sox want to make some noise.
After having the most innings in relief of any team in the league last year, the Sox bullpen may be the strength of the team this season. Adam Ottavino had an atrocious 5.89 ERA last season but will look to bounce back with his new squad this year. Closer Matt Barnes had nine saves over 60 games last year and will look to increase that number with a full workload this season. The strength of this bullpen is the depth of numbers.
In addition to the guys previously mentioned, the Sox have dependable arms in Ryan Brasier and Darwinzon Hernandez who should help out when their number is called. Unfortunately, this is a best-case scenario for the Red Sox bullpen. If the Sox starters can pitch deep into ball games this year, the bullpen has the potential to stay fresh and shine when called upon.
It’s no secret that this Boston Red Sox team is not the same one that won a World Series in 2018. Since that season, the numbers have been slowly diminishing for the Sox. The team finished third in the AL East back in 2019 and was the last place team during an abysmal 2020 campaign. Stars from that 2018 team like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts have moved on to different clubs, leaving this Red Sox team stripped to the core.
The 2020 season indicated that the Boston Red Sox are in the middle of a rebuild, and shouldn’t be expected to bounce back this season. This team will likely finish fourth in their competitive division, with a record better than the woeful Orioles.