MLB

Red Sox 2020 Preview

Jamie Gatlin | April 6th, 2020

Although the MLB season is currently on hold when and if play resumes, the Boston Red Sox roster will look very different than just a year ago. This offseason, the Red Sox dealt franchise star Mookie Beets in a blockbuster deal with the Dodgers. They also lost fan-favorite Brock Holt in free agency and will be without the services of Chris Sale due to Tommy John Surgery. They will have a new manager in Ron Roenicke after Alex Cora stepped down due to his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. While the Red Sox are full of new faces they will be looking to return to the postseason when baseball resumes.

C/ IF

C – Christian Vazquez/ Kevin Plawecki

1B- Mitch Moreland/ Michael Chavis

2B- Jose Peraza

SS- Xander Bogaerts

3B- Rafael Devers

The Red Sox infield will largely remain the same this upcoming season. After testing the free-agent waters, Moreland returned on a one year deal. Chavis will see time at first and second after a successful rookie campaign that ended early due to injury. The left side of the infield is expected to be the Red Sox strength, as Bogaerts and Devers both eclipsed 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s last season. Peraza will be the newest piece at second with Brock Holt gone and Dustin Pedroia’s future uncertain.

Outfield

LF- Andrew Benintendi

CF- Jackie Bradley Jr.

RF- Kevin Pillar

4th outfielder Alex Verdugo ( * currently dealing with a back injury)

For the first time in six seasons, Mookie Betts will not be patrolling right field in Fenway Park. While he is not an easy player to replace, the Red Sox did sign Kevin Pillar, who is a solid piece. Pillar has hit 42 home runs over the past two years and has been a human highlight reel at times throughout his career.

While the rest of the outfield will look the same with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Andrew Benintendi in left, they have a new face in Alex Verdugo. The former Dodger was the key piece in the Mookie Betts deal and has been one of baseball’s top prospects over the years. In 106 games last year, Verdugo hit .294, with 12 home runs and forty-four runs batted in.

DH J.D. Martinez

The Red Sox will once again have one of the games’ most feared hitters in the middle of their lineup. Over the past seasons, Martinez has hit 79 home runs and driven in 135 runs in a Red Sox uniform. This upcoming season should be no different as Martinez is once again expected to put up monster numbers.

Rotation

Eduardo Rodriguez

Nate Eovaldi

Martin Perez

Heading into the season the Red Sox rotation will look very different than a year ago. David Price is now in Los Angeles and Chris Sale has undergone Tommy John Surgery. The Red Sox will also be without  Rick Porcello, who struggled at times last year but has averaged 30 starts a season is now in New York.

With those departures, the Red Sox will look to Eduardo Rodriguez to lead the staff. The former top prospect is coming off a career year in which he made 34 starts and went 19-6. He will be joined by Nathan Eovaldi, who after a stellar postseason performance in 2018 battled injuries and inconsistency last year. Free-agent acquisition Martin Perez will also figure into the equation, but the other spots are unclaimed.

Additionally, the Red Sox have debated the idea of using at least one opener. They did, however,  sign Collin McHugh to a one- year- deal in free agency. The former Astro spent most of his time as a reliever last year but has made 119 starts in his eight-year career.

Bullpen

CL- Brandon Workman

Matt Barnes

Josh Taylor

Darwinzon Hernandez

Heath Hembree

Marcus Walden

Chris Mazza

Ryan Brasier

Unlike last season the Red Sox will enter 2020 with a definite closer in Brandon Workman who was dominant in the second half of 2019. Matt Barnes will handle the eighth-inning role and look to be a consistent force.

They will be joined by Josh Taylor, who had a 3.04 ERA as a rookie and Darwinzon Hernandez, who has electric stuff. The Red Sox are hoping Ryan Brasier can return to his 2018 form after struggling mightily in 2019. The bullpen is also expected to include Austin Brice, who had a 3.43 in 44.2 innings of work for Miami last season.

Expectations

Ultimately, however, the Red Sox success will rely on their pitching. While Rodriguez is coming off his best season yet, he will have to prove that last year was no fluke. The rest of the rotation will have to step up as the Red Sox have little room for error. If they can rise to the occasion, then it could be a successful year for Boston.

Regardless of how the pitching performs they have a rising star in Xander Bogaerts and a potential superstar in Rafael Devers.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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