2021 Preview: Boston Red Sox

Welcome to the final DAYS before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! At the beginning of March, the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams began. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!

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AL Team: Boston Red Sox

Last Year Record: 26-36 last place in the AL East

Record x2.7: 64.8-97.2

Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Red Sox winning 80.5 games in 2021. I am back in line with Vegas as I project the Red Sox to win 80 games and finish 4th in AL East.

Impact Departures:

OF Andrew Benintendi(Traded), P Chris Mazza(Traded), P Jeffrey Springs(Traded), 2B Dustin Pedroia(retired), RHP Collin McHugh(FA)


Key Arrivals

Free Agent Signings:

RHRP Hirokazu Sawamura- The soon-be 33yo has a 2.77ERA, 22%K rate, 7.3%BB rate in his nine seasons in the NPB. However, 2020 wasn't kind. He had a 6.08ERA, 11K-8BB in 13.2IP when he started the season, but after a trade to the Chiba Lotte Marines, he had a 1.71ERA, 29K-10BB in 21IP. He brings with him a 97MPH fastball and a low 90's splitter, and a slider.

UTL Kiki Hernandez- He owns a career .240/.312/.425 slash with 68HR in 1874PA.

SP Garret Richards- He posted a 4.03ERA, 21.6K% over 51.1IP. Richards shows a metric-driven signing in the 99th percentile with his curveball and 97th percentile on his fastball spin rates.

LHP Martin Perez- In 2020 for the Red Sox, averaging more than five innings per start over 12 outings. He had a 4.50 ERA/4.88 FIP with just a 17.6 percent strikeout rate, 10.7 percent walk rate, and 38.5 percent groundball rate.

OF Hunter Renfroe- Renfroe had a terrible 2020 and slashed just .156/.252/.393 with 8HR over 139PA. Renfroe is a platoon player who hits RHP very well and plays above-average defense in LF/RF as he has posted 23DRS over the last three seasons. Renfroe is controllable through arbitrations until 2023.

RHP Matt Andriese- Andriese is a reliable swingman. In his five-year career, he owns a 4.57ERA/4.23FIP over 460.2IP. In 2021 he will earn $1.85MIL, and the contract holds an option for $3.5-$4.5MIL if he tops 150IP.

Traded For:

26yo OF Francy Cordero, who has only taken 315PA at the MLB level due to injuries, and a potential 4/5 starter in Josh Winckowski, who has yet to crack the upper minors.

RHP Adam Ottavino-In 2020, Ottavino wasn't great as he has up 12ER, 20H, 9BB, 25K over 18.1IP in 24 appearances. He owns a career 5.89ERA/3.52FIP in his career.

INF Christian Koss, RHP Frank German, C Ronaldo Hernandez, INF Nick Sogard

Rule 5 Draftees-

RHP Garrett Whitlock- The 24yo pitcher had made it to the AA level over the last two seasons. At the AA, he has made 16 starts with a 2.78ERA/4.00RA/1.16WHIP with 61K-25BB over 205.1IP. Overall, Whitlock may be a massive steal for the Red Sox rotation for many seasons to come.

Claims:

RHP John Schreiber- The 27yo has pitched 28.2IP with the Tigers over the past two seasons with a 6.28ERA for the sidearm-slinger.

RHP Joel Payamps- 26yo, has only pitched seven innings in the MLB. In AA ball in 2018/19 in 128IP, he had a 2.95ERA, with an impressive 135-19 K/BB ratio.

KEY NRI:

INF/OF Danny Santana- Santana managed only 63PA with a .145/.238/.278 slash line due to an elbow injury. However, in 2019 he posted .283/.324/.534 slash with 28HR and 21SB.

RHP Zac Grotz- The former Mariner has 20ER with a 22:19 K-BB ratio over 24.2 MLB IP

RHP Daniel Gosset- The 28yo is coming off Tommy John in 2018, which made him miss all of 2019/20. He has managed a terrible 5.91ERA over 115.2IP. Gosset will get the chance to compete for a long-inning relief role or rotation spot with a strong showing in spring.

NRI:

A could guys with MLB experience: RHP Ryan Weber, C Chris Herrmann.

LHRP Stephen Gonsalves, RHP Matt Carasiti, RHP Seth Blair, RHP Raynel Espinal, RHP Durbin Feltman, RHP Kyle Hart, RHP Kevin McCarthy, RHP Kaleb Ort, RHP Andrew Politi, RHP Caleb Simpson, C Roldani Baldwin, C Kole Cottam, C Jhonny Pereda, C Austin Rei, INF Chad De La Guerra, INF Josh Ockimey, OF Michael Gettys, OF Yairo Munoz, OF Cesar Puello

Sent to Minor camp:

C Roldani Baldwin, C Austin Rei, Pitchers Seth Blair, Matt Carasiti, Raynel Espinal, Durbin Feltman, Franklin German, Zac Grotz, Kaleb Ort, Andrew Politu, Thaddeus Ward, and Josh Winckowski. None are on the 40 man roster.

Tendered Contracts:

SP Eduardo Rodriguez-tendered-Missed all of 2019 due to COVID and other medical complications. RHP Austin Brice, 3B Rafael Devers, C Kevin Plawecki, RHP Matt Barnes, RHP Ryan Brasier.

Selected Contracts

C/IF Conner Wong, RHP Eduard Bazardo, 3B Hudson Potts, RHP Bryan Mata, RHP Conner Seabold, OF Jeisson Rosario, LHP Jay Groome.

Returning from IL:

RHP Austin Brice, LHP Josh Taylor, RHP Domingo Tapia, RHP Colten Brewer, LHP Eduardo Rodriquez,

Prospect Watch in Camp

-INF Jeter Downs, INF Triston Casas, OF Jarren Duran, RHP Thad Ward, INF Nick Yorke, RHP Frank German, RHP Josh Winckowiski are the group within the top-30 prospects that the club invited to camp.

-Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Bobby Dalbec have each played well in camp, and each could have an impact in 2021.

-Josh Ockimey has been looking great in camp and could be pushing for a bench role in the OF and possibly pushing Hunter Renfroe and Francy Cordero for playing time.

-The Rookie I am watching is INF Jeter Downs. The other piece of the Mookie Betts trade along with Alex Verdugo. Downs will get a shot in camp to earn the 2B job. Verdugo has paid off for the club so far, and Downs is in line to prove his worth.

Fantasy Impact Players

-Pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura. Also, keep an eye on Garrett Richards, Martin Perez, Matt Andriese as each we a stat-based signing.

-Position: 1B Bobby Dalbec, 2B Kiki Hernandez, 3B Rafael Devers, SS Xander Bogaerts, OF Alex Verdugo, OF Franchy Cordero, and if they get off to a good start DH JD Martinez and OF Hunter Renfroe

Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:

-JD Martinez could be traded with a decent showing as he holds a player option for 2022.

-Pitchers Garrett Richards, Martin Perez, Matt Andriese, and C Christian Vazquez each hold a club option for 2022.

-Adam Ottavino, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Marwin Gonzalez will each be a free agent come seasons end as well.

Storylines to follow

-SP Nathan Eovaldi has been throwing SMOKE in camp! He had a couple of times when he was hitting 100MPH on multiple pitches in a row.

-SS Xander Bogaerts is preparing to make a more significant impact in 2021 than he did in 2020. Francy Cordero is focused on staying on the field and healthy.

-The team should be working on signing 3B Rafael Devers to a long-term extension. There isn't a huge rush, and he won't be a free agent until after the 2023 season.

-The NRI I am watching in Boston is RHP Zac Grotz because of the limited MLB experience. With the only 24.2IP at the MLB level with 20ER, it looks to me he just hasn't been given a chance. I mean, he was with the Mariners. Look for Grotz to compete for a pen job and win one.

Bold Predictions

-I got a weird feeling about the Red Sox in 2021. The AL East is a tough division. However, I think the Red Sox could be a sleeper team that we are all sleeping on. Don't be surprised to see this team in the playoffs and atop of AL East.

-The rebound seasons are on for a couple of new Red Sox OF Hunter Renfroe and Francy Cordero. Both were coming off down seasons and were moved on from by their previous teams. New manager Alex Cora has developed some great hitters in Houston over recent seasons, and I can see both of these men playing right into Cora's hand.

-We thought 2020 was a good season for OF Alex Verdugo. I don't think we have only seen the beginning. After posting a 2.2WAr, .308/.367/.478 in 53G and 221PA. Verdugo is ready to lead the youth movement in Boston. Verdugo is too good not to post similar numbers to this last season and only get better with an entire season under his belt.

Fact Check:

The Red Sox and Fenway Park are famous for the massive, intimidating wall in the left-field — the Green Monster. Over the years, batters have attempted to hit home runs over the fence. The many missed attempts have left thousands of dents in the wall. According to a Boston Globe estimate, there are at least 211,000, with some spots being hit up to six times.

The Green Monster is an iconic Boston landmark and wasn't painted green until 1947. Standing at over 37 feet tall and stretching 231 feet wide, the origins of the wall may surprise you. It was designed to keep spectators from the street, who did not pay admission, from watching the games. It was part of the original designs but burned down in the 1934 fire. Reconstructed from the tin, it was reassembled in 1976 out of hard plastic.


Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing and preview the Red Sox with me today. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALLBOY" at check out.

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