Boston Red Sox fans wish they could erase the 2012 from the record books. The season had every problem imaginable. Manager Bobby Valentine ripped players in the media and lost the team early, veteran mainstays like Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis was sent packing and prized offseason signings from a year ago were send to the Dodgers in an epic salary dump.
The Red Sox are a much different team than took the field on Opening Day last season. That’s good and bad news for Red Sox Nation.
Will Jacob Ellsbury regain his MVP-caliber 2011 form?
Can new manager John Farrell get the pitching staff straightened out or will they have to make more trades?
Key Additions: C/1B Mike Napoli, 1B Lyle Overbay, SS Stephen Drew, 1B Mike Carp, P Joel Hanrahan, P Ryan Dempster, P Koji Uehara, OF Shane Victorino, OF Jonny Gomes, C David Ross, P Brock Holt, P Ryan Rowland-Smith
Key Losses: P Daisuke Matsuzaka, P Mark Melancon, 3B Danny Valencia, SS Mike Aviles, OF Cody Ross, 1B James Loney, P Vicente Padilla, 1B/OF Jerry Sands, P Scott Atchison, OF Ryan Sweeney, P Rich Hill, OF Scott Podsednik, OF Jason Repko, P Aaron Cook, P Stolmy Pimentel, SS Ivan DeJesus Jr.
Interleague Schedule: NL West + Philadelphia Phillies
Projected Starters: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, David Ortiz
Projected Starting Rotation: Jon Lester, Ryan Dempster, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey
Closer: John Hanrahan
Fantasy Sleepers: SS Stephen Drew – I would have never thought I’d see the day when Stephen Drew could be a fantasy sleeper. His stock has really taken a nosedive since he broke his ankle in 2011. Drew is now officially healthy and is set to have a bounce back year. As a lefty, he will fall in love with Fenway and its short porch in left field. He will be there when you need a second shortstop and I cannot think of a better option than Drew.
Team Analysis: Bobby Valentine and the ring leader of the “fried chicken crew” is in Los Angeles, so things are looking up, right? Kind of. John Farrell who was the Red Sox pitching coach in the late 00’s. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz had career years with Farrell in the dugout. They quit on Bobby V at the end of last season and everyone should be motivated to get Boston back on track. I expect an improved pitching staff, but the offense misses a lot of power. David Ortiz may have another season in him, but the Red Sox will need Napoli and Ellsbury to bounce back from a down 2012 season. Will Middlebrooks is a good, young player, but he might be a year away from being consistent for all 550+ at bats. The Red Sox is an average team at this point and being in the AL East with the improved Blue Jays and Rays, they’ll take a few beatings this season.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 83.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 76-86 (1st in AL East)