The Red Sox enter the 2018 season with tempered expectations. Despite winning the AL East Title the past two years, the Sox are now the underdogs to win the division crown after the Yankees playoff run and addition of Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox have won just one playoff game in the past two seasons and are viewed as a team that is good enough to win during the regular season, but not talented enough to go all the way. This is mainly due to the lack of power bats in the lineup. The Red Sox starting pitching is as good as any team in the American League with a top four of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. The question is whether or not the offense can produce more runs.
This leads us to ten predictions for the 2018 Red Sox.
1. The Red Sox will sign JD Martinez. He will hit over .290 with 30+ home runs and 110+ RBI. Martinez is the power bat the Red Sox covet and they’ll get the guy who will produce this year. Whether or not he does it 3-4 years from now? Different story…
2. Hanley Ramirez will disappoint (again). In his three years in Boston, Hanley has disappointed in two of them. In 2016, he had a monster year with 30 home runs and 111 RBI. Don’t expect it again. Although Hanley is on a contract year, he’s on the down swing of his career at age 34.
3. Rick Porcello will bounce back with 15+ wins and an ERA below 4.00. After his Cy Young Award season in 2016, Porcello led the AL in losses with 17, hits allowed with 236, and home runs allowed with 38. Just a brutal season. With all of the said, he still managed to win 11 games. One thing about Porcello is that he’s very durable and four additional wins in comparison to last year should be a reasonable ask.
4. The Red Sox will package Jackie Bradley Jr. for another power bat before Opening Day. Big Bradley fan here. He’s very inconsistent at the plate, but he’s game changing on the defensive end. Bradley has been rumored to be in trade talks and it seems likely that the Red Sox needs are more for consistent power. Mookie Betts would easily slide into centerfield.
5. Rafael Devers will make more errors than hit home runs. The breakdown: 30+ errors, 25+ homers. Would you take that?
4. Mookie Betts will have a better year than he had in 2016 and win the AL MVP. Betts 2016 numbers: .318, 31 home runs, 113 RBI. Expect more. Don’t forget that this is a player who hasn’t even reached his prime yet at 25 years old. At age 24, 24 home runs and 102 RBI with a gold glove was considered to be a down year!
3. Alex Cora will change the culture on the Red Sox to a more positive and upbeat environment. Let’s face it. Although the Red Sox were a winning team last season, there were far from a likable team. It all started with the manager who seemed to have no control over his players and enabled them. Cora will hold players accountable and also create a more positivity.
2. Chris Sale will win the AL Cy Young Award with 20+ wins and an ERA below 2.50. Sale had a great year last year. However, he faded down the stretch. That won’t happen this year. He’ll save his bullets for the end which leads us to…
1. The Red Sox will win the AL East for the third consecutive season. Yes, the Yankees have Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez. Do you know what they don’t have? A strong starting rotation. As long as David Price stays healthy the Red Sox have a significant edge in that department and it will make a big difference.
It’s forecasted to be 70 degrees in Boston on Wednesday…
Opening day is just 38 days away…
Spring… Red Sox… Fenway.