As part of our season preview, we continue our trek through baseball’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Boston Red Sox. For this preview I made a call to my old roommate – both in college and after college – because Brent lives and dies with the Red Sox. Still basking in the glory of another World Championship, he brings us his thoughts on Beantown while living in Washington, DC. You can follow Brent on twitter here.
It’s been a long off-season but now Opening Day is upon us. Opening Day means different things to folks, but to me it’s the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It also, means trips to the ballpark on a nice warm evening with friends.
Last season was very special, because I got to see my Boston Red Sox win their third World Series in ten years. After what the city of Boston went through with the Marathon bombings and their disastrous season the year before, it was exciting to be a part of Sox Nation.
It will be very tough for the Sox to repeat, but I like their chances as well as any of the American League teams. When I look at the AL East, I’m still convinced they’re the strongest team in that division.
Toronto isn’t going anywhere and the Orioles pitching is very weak. The Yankees should be better, but they’re still old and their pitching isn’t nearly strong enough. I’ve learned to never count out the Rays and they will probably be competitive again this season, but their pitching isn’t as strong as it once was, minus David Price. Therefore, I have my Sox winning the AL East again.
Looking at their roster – I like their depth as well as any team in their division.
Their offense is still pretty strong with Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Mike Napoli. I love how much potential they still have as a veteran group.
Napoli has become a decent First Baseman, with Pedroia still one of the best Second Basemen in the game. I entered the year thinking ‘as usual, the Sox have a hole at shortstop’. They seem to never find a permanent player for the third most important position in Baseball. I think Xander Bogaerts has the potential to grow into an elite player at this position, and he should be considered a front-runner for AL Rookie of the year. Let’s not forget that they brought in veteran AJ Pierzynski at Catcher. Not my favorite player and probably not yours, but for a one-year contract he could be solid enough.
I like the depth they bring in the outfield with solid veterans like Daniel Nava, Johnny Gomes, and Shane Victorino. I also, continue to believe that Jackie Bradley, Jr. will end up being a stud.
The real strength for this Red Sox team is their pitching and bullpen. Jon Lester is expected to be their Ace and if he has a better season than last then he will be unstoppable. John Lackey resurrected his career last year. I was one of many who hated the front office for signing him back in 2010. However, he redeemed himself and helped them win Game Six of the World Series. Clay Buchholz was injured for most of last season, but he has shown enough flashes of brilliance that I’m excited to see him take the next step this season. I continue to hold out hope he will have a break out season.
I was equally skeptical with the trade that brought them Jake Peavy – but he proved to be the same horse he’s became known to be in his career down the stretch last season. I’m excited to see what he’ll do this year. I’m fine with Felix Doubront as our fifth starter.
Their bullpen is bordering on dominant and are a strong reason why the Sox won it all last season. If they perform at the level they did in 2013, I like our chances at a repeat. Koji Uehara was the definition of clutch last year, and even though he’s considered an aging arm; if he stays healthy he’s arguably the top closer in baseball.
Overall, I’m pumped for the team I grew up rooting for. It will be very hard to win it all again, and I’m trying very hard to keep my expectations realistic. I really do see them winning their division and reaching the ALCS again this year. As fortunate as we’ve been and as confident as much of my fellow fan base seems to get, it’s way too early to crown them repeat World Champions.
I’m looking forward to a fun season and an exciting year of Baseball.