The 5 Boston Red Sox with the most to prove in 2018

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23: Rick Porcello
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 23: Rick Porcello /
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Boston Red Sox
FT. MYERS, FL – FEBRUARY 19: : : : Tyler Thornburg /

A number of Boston Red Sox didn’t live up to expectations in 2017, and in 2018 they will have to kick things up a notch in order to make an impact.

2017 was a strange year for the Boston Red Sox. They won the AL East, but they were quickly ousted by the Houston Astros in the postseason.

The team looks ready to make a run in 2018 though, even with the lack of big moves so far this offseason. Boston will have a ton of healthy bodies back, but some will have to step up to improve their numbers next season. Some on this list were solid in 2017, but in Boston solid is just not good enough. Others were impacted by things beyond their control like injuries, but that can’t be an excuse going forward.

If the Boston Red Sox are going to have a successful campaign in 2018, it will likely be because of these 5 players, not in spite of them.

5. RP Tyler Thornburg

Boston is expecting a lot from reliever Tyler Thornburg, who hasn’t pitched in a game since 2016 for the Brewers. He had thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, and a procedure was done in June to help it heal. It’s a severe injury, but it seems like Thornburg is on pace to return for Spring Training. Dave Dombrowski remains cautiously optimistic though.

"“He’s doing fine. He’s in a position where he’s been throwing. He’s where the doctor feels he should be. He’s now in a position where he needs to strengthen his shoulder, which is normal of that. The anticipation is that he should be ready to go for spring training, but as we also know, thoracic outlet syndrome is a major surgery. There’s been no setbacks.”"

Thornburg was stellar the last season he was on the mound in 2016. He pitched 67.0 innings with a 2.15 ERA 90 strikeouts. If he gets back to those numbers in 2018, the Boston Red Sox will be in a great position all season long.