Today we will break down how the Red Sox can make it back to October baseball, what they need to happen, how they got better, and what can benefit them to make a run to the postseason.
This is the most important one because the Red Sox have a lot of good players on their roster, but they need to stay healthy if Boston has any chance of being back in the playoffs. The starting rotation would be loaded if the year was 2016, but if the first three starters (Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and James Paxton) are healthy and perform to their potential, it’ll be a boost to this Red Sox team. As for the rest of the pitching staff, Nick Pivetta is a big piece to this team as he can eat innings, save the bullpen, and keep them healthy for the 2023 season. Another few players who need to stay healthy in 2023 and help this Red Sox team are in the lineup in Alex Verdugo, Kike Hernandez, and Justin Turner. Those players are a vital part of the 2023 Red Sox lineup and will need to play at least 130+ games for this Red Sox team to have a shot at the postseason. With the loss of Trevor Story, Hernandez is the biggest piece, as the Red Sox will need him at shortstop.
The Red Sox bullpen in 2022 was a major issue for them, costing them games throughout the season. They finished the season with 33 wins and 33 losses combined, along with a 4.59 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. This season they upgraded their bullpen, bringing Kenley Jensen to be their closer, which is the first solid closer they have had since Craig Kimbrel. They also added Chris Martin, Joely Rodriguez, and Richard Bleier to a bullpen that already includes John Schreiber, Ryan Braiser, Kaleb Ort, and Josh Winckowski. The bullpen may also, at some point this season, feature Kutter Crawford and Garrett Whitlock, who will be important pieces as they are solid pitchers who can shut down teams and keep the Red Sox in games, and potentially add more victories to their win total.
According to FanGraphs, the projected starting lineup for the Red Sox is.
1.) 1B Triston Casas
2.) 3B Rafael Devers
3.) DH Justin Turner
4.) LF Masataka Yoshida
5.) RF Alex Verdugo
6.) SS Kike Hernandez
7.) CF Adam Duvall
8.) C Reese McGuire
9.) 2B Christian Arroyo
Duvall is a big part of this lineup as he adds power to them and gives them another bat who could hit 30+ home runs as he has in three times in his career. Casas will need to keep his strike-out numbers down and will be an important piece in the leadoff spot. Turner is a solid bat to add at the three spot in the order and could also be a guy the Red Sox need to drive in runs to give them a lead to start the game. Yoshida might be one of the most exciting pieces in the order and underrated as people aren’t talking about him, but he could hit over .300 and provide a .400+ OBP to give the bottom half of the order someone on base.
Last season against the American League East, the Red Sox finished 26-50 going 10-9 against Baltimore, 6-13 against the Yankees, 7-12 against the Rays, and 3-16 against Toronto. This season they will face each team in the American League East 13 times, saving a combined 24 games. With now facing every team in the league, they have a chance to beat up on the teams lower in the league and could pick up more wins. Along with having the expanded playoffs of six teams making the postseason, the Red Sox odds of making it have increased a little.
The Red Sox are expected to win roughly 78 games this season. The Rays last season were the last team in, with 86 wins. If everything that happens above goes according to plan, they can stay healthy, the bullpen is as solid as expected, the lineup produces, and the schedule change provides more wins. The Red Sox could win up to 88 games and make the postseason, and once you are in, anything can happen. As underrated as they are entering the season, look for the 2023 Boston Red Sox to make some noise.