Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox ended their spectacular 2013 season by celebrating a World Series championship in Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. With the tragic events at the Boston Marathon, the win meant that much more to the city of Boston. It seemed to be a team of misfits and the organization was hoping for it to be a year that restored their image after the Bobby Valentine era came to a quick halt. I would say there is no better way to restore your image than winning the World Series. The Red Sox didn’t get lucky during their dream season either, they finished with an American League best 97-65 record.
The Red Sox didn’t make many offseason acquisitions, but brought back their core.
David Ortiz: Ortiz is the heart and soul of the Red Sox. He is the only player left on the roster from the 2004 championship team. He continued to produce last season with 30 home runs, 103 RBIs, a .309 batting average, and a .959 OPS. Ortiz was also the MVP of the World Series and earned a Silver Slugger. He signed a contract extension this spring, so he seems to be happy where he is. Look for Ortiz to continue to put up solid numbers and lead this team.
Dustin Pedroia: If you have a child that plays baseball, I suggest showing him videos of Dustin Pedroia, because he plays the game the way it should be played. Pedroia tore a ligament in his thumb on Opening Day and still put up solid numbers in 2013: 9 home runs, 84 RBIs, and a .301 batting average, and a Gold Glove. Expect the typical solid offense and great defense this year from Pedroia as he had a strong spring and is healthy again.
Xander Bogaerts: Bogaerts is one of the top prospects in baseball and is going to get the opportunity to prove himself at shortstop this season. He came up to the majors late last season and impressed right away. He showed amazing maturity in big spots during the playoffs. Bogaerts had a solid spring with 2 home runs, 8 RBIs, and a .250 average in 18 games. He has the potential to be one of the best shortstops in the American League, but is only 21 years-old. He should show a lot of talent and poise this season, but expect some rough patches as he continues to mature.
The Red Sox pitching staff is loaded with experience and talent. The starting rotation will be Lester, Lackey, Peavy, Doubront, and Buchholz. The big question marks for the rotation are Doubront and Buchholz. We will find out if Doubront is ready for a full season in the starting role. When Buchholz is healthy, he is one of the best pitchers in the league, but right shoulder problems could hold him back again this year.
The hardest thing to do in baseball is repeat. The Red Sox have the talent and experience to repeat, but they are in a tough division and will constantly have teams gunning for them. I think the Red Sox will finish 89-73, just a few games away from first place. I believe they will earn the AL Wildcard spot and make a run in the postseason.
Daniel Nava has been the underdog for his whole career. Nava put up fantastic offensive number last year and played respectable defense. He had 12 home runs, 66 RBIs, and a .303 average. That .303 average was eighth best in the American League. Nava is a solid hitter, but will split time with Gomes and Carp.
Keep a look out for my pick to win the AL East tomorrow!
*All statistic from www.baseball-reference.com