The Boston Red Sox are set to begin their World Series title defense on the west coast next week, so here is my preview and prediction for the 2019 season.
The Red Sox signed a premier free agent in each of the last offseasons: David Price (2016), Chris Sale (2017), and J.D. Martinez (2018). While that was not the case this offseason, the Red Sox did re-sign key players from their championship run. After his lights out performance in the 2018 playoffs, the Red Sox resigned starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to a 4 year $68 million deal in December. The Red Sox also resigned World Series MVP Steve Pearce to a one year $6.25 million deal. After missing nearly the entire 2018 season, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia played in spring training this year and hopes to have a big comeback season. The biggest offseason loss was closer Craig Kimbrel, who is still a free agent at the time of this blog. Finally, the Red Sox made a very important long term decision this offseason by giving Chris Sale a 5 year $145 million extension to stay in Boston.
2019 Projected Starting Lineup
- Andrew Benintendi
- Mookie Betts
- J.D. Martinez
- Xander Boegarts
- Mitch Moreland
- Rafael Devers
- Eduardo Nunez
- Jackie Bradley Jr.
- Christian Vazquez
The Red Sox will return their entire starting lineup from an offense that was a juggernaut the year before. Benintendi leads off, followed by AL MVP Mookie Betts and silver slugger J.D. Martinez, who hit 43 HR and 130 RBI. Xander Boegarts also had a 100 RBI season last year. The entire offense is a balance of getting on base, hitting home runs, and stealing bases. They led the MLB in average, OBP, slugging, runs scored, and doubles last year. There were very few weaknesses last year, and the offense may only get better if Dustin Pedroia returns and contributes like his former self.
Much like their offense, the Red Sox starting rotation should be among the best in the league. Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the AL, and manager Alex Cora has figured out how to use him efficiently so he doesn’t wear out. David Price has figured out how to be dominant in both the regular season and the postseason. Veteran Rick Porcello provides a solid third option behind Sale and Price. Nathan Eovaldi returns for a full season with the team this year. One of the keys for the rotation will be the health of Eduardo Rodriguez, who has shown flashes of greatness but is often injured. The Red Sox did lose Drew Pomeranz, but most people would consider this a positive rather than a loss due to his abysmal performance in 2018. With question marks in the bullpen, it will be important for the rotation to carry the load when necessary, and they are more than capable of doing so.
I don’t expect this team to win 108 games again, despite bringing back almost every major piece. However, I do expect they will contend for another championship and be at the top of the AL East for most of the season. I predict the Red Sox will go 97-65 and win their 4th straight AL East title.
Let me know your predictions in the comments down below.