Boston went from worst to first to win the World Series…and then went back to worst last season. They dumped Jon Lester and John Lackey at the trade deadline and then added Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval this offseason.
Boston knows the key to competing year after year in the AL East is to adapt and change what is not working. They realized last year was a wash, so they dumped contracts in hopes of landing some pieces they could flip in return. They turned Yoenis Cespedes (who they got back in the Lester trade) into Rick Porcello.
Will Boston instantly regret giving Pablo Sandoval a huge contract?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Boston Red Sox.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 71-91
Key Additions: SS Hanley Ramirez, 3B Pablo Sandoval, SP Rick Porcello, SP Justin Masterson, RP Alexi Ogando, SP Robbie Ross, C Ryan Hanigan, SP Zeke Spruill, RP Anthony Varvaro, RP Mitchell Boggs & 2B Jemile Weeks
Key Losses: OF Yoenis Cespedes, 3B Will Middlebrooks, RP Burke Badenhop, C David Ross, SS Jonathan Herrera, SP Rubby De La Rosa, SP Allen Webster & RP Alex Wilson
Interleague Schedule: NL East
Projected Starters: Christian Vazquez, Mike Napolo, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts & David Ortiz
Projected Starting Rotation: Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson & Joe Kelly
Closer: Koji Uehara
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Allen Craig – Craig went from being an All-Star in 2013 to an afterthought in the John Lackey trade the following year. I’ve never saw such a steep decline in production from an All-Star. Boston’s first base and outfield positions are quite crowded. Craig would need a strong Spring Training to earn at-bats. I believe last year was an aberration and he should be an everyday player. Craig is worth the risk of a late round pick.
Prospects To Keep Your Eye On: C Blake Swihart – Boston currently has Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan as their catchers, neither have much power. Swihart hit .293 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014. It makes sense that he would be available for a call-up if either Vazquez struggles or due to an injury. He could be a decent backup or streamable catcher in fantasy baseball.
Team Analysis: Boston made some big moves this offseason. They signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez to big contracts and managed to get Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson in hopes they will make up for losing Jon Lester and John Lackey last season.
If you’ve been a reader of this site, you know I thought Boston signing Sandoval was a huge mistake. He’s the kind of player you sign a few years at a time. His weight has always been an issue and you want to him to keep trying to earn that next contract.
Boston’s signings get all the focus, but I’m more intrigued with the Red Sox youth. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt have all shown promise. When you add them with Cuban slugger Rusney Castillo, that’s a nice group of young talent.
Boston will be in the race for the AL East crown. Their pitching could be their weakness. I don’t see a true ace on their staff. Clay Buchholz could be the guy, but he can’t stay healthy. Boston may need to add another arm if they want to pull away from either Toronto or Baltimore. Boston’s offense will need to score a few extra runs this season to win games. I still think they will end the season with a Wild Card spot at the very least.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 85.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 88-74 (2nd in AL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.