As the end of February rolls around the the World Series hangover begins to fade, the Red Sox begin to report to spring training down in Fort Meyers as they awake from their winter hibernation. With Jacoby Ellsbury transferring over to the dark side with the Evil Empire, Stephen Drew seeking out another contract on the free agent market, and Salty taking his talents to South Beach with the Marlins, some may be alarmed as a cause for concern for the Sox this season. However, have to fear as John Farrell will undoubtedly produce a dense lineup with the help of GM Ben Cherington as the Red Sox look to defend their 3rd WS title in the past 10 years. David Ortiz returns as one of the most clutch playoff hitters baseball has ever seen. Dustin Pedroia, affectionately known as PD, holds down the middle of the infield aside the highly rated prospect Xander Bogaerts, who can apparently speak 5 languages fluently. Next comes Will Middlebrooks holding down the hot corner at third base and the heavily bearded Mike Napoli lining up opposite him at first base. The outfield is rounded out with another promising prospect holding down centerfield with Jackie Bradley Jr. Alongside him are veterans Shane Victorino and Johnny Gomes, with Daniel Nava seeing plenty of playing time in the mix. Lastly, AJ Pierzynski will be taking over the duties as the second component of the battery after his more than colorful commentary in last year’s World Series.
Here is a look at the potential lineup with each player’s respective statistics for 2013. Overall, the Sox will produce a deadly offensive lineup after coming off a league leading amount of runs scored this past season. Notables include Ortiz, Pedroia, and Victorino as some of the staples of the lineup for the upcoming season.
|CF||Jackie Bradley Jr.||37||95||18||18||5||0||3||10||0.189||0.280||0.337||0.617||0|
As the Sox look to push across another record setting amount of runs this season, they will also look to shut down the opposition in their quest to do so on the arms of the pitching staff. While Dempster is off on his sabbatical, the Sox will only suffer slightly on paper. However, he could prove to be quite valuable as a long reliever who can keep them in games where the starter drops the ball. Riding the arms of the usual suspects with Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, and newly acquired Peavy, the Sox have one of the best starting pitching staffs in the AL. However, the bullpen is a little bit more of a question mark, as they lacked as much consistency as New England weather. Tazawa will undoubtedly shut the door for Uehara in the 8th and 9th but the 7th inning seems to be much more of a toss up. Breslow was incredibly lackluster in the playoffs last year and Doubront and Workman will struggle against lefties. Picking up Edward Mujica will prove to be a valuable move for the season but the Sox are in desparate need of a southpaw reliever for close games against left handed heavy lineups.
Here is a look at the Sox’s pitching staff for the season with their 2013 stats. Notables include the starters listed above in Lester, Lackey, and Buchholz. Additionally, Tazawa and Uehara are typically safe bets when it comes to shutting down hitters late in the game. However, the middle relievers may dictate how the entire bullpen is viewed in their success in getting the ball to the Asian sensations in the 8th and 9th.
In conclusion, the Red Sox are hard pressed for another successful season coming off of their World Series title. Several key components have flocked to other teams and the front office has done decently well in filling in the holes with Free Agents and prospects. The bullpen (as usual) will remain a question mark along with the ability for veteran players to hold up and continue to perform as the lengthy 162 game season begins to take its toll. The Sox have not won back to back WS titles since 1915-16 and will look to repeat history for the first time in nearly 100 years.