Here are my predictions for the 2015 Red Sox as the roster currently stands today. Enjoy.
1. The Red Sox will NOT acquire an “ace” and will almost certainly put Clay Buchholz or Rick Porcello on the mound against the Phillies on Opening Day. That leaves them room to see how the first half of the season unfolds and how the trade market develops for a top starting pitcher.
2. Betts will bat lead off and play right field. I know, shocker. Mookie is my pick to be an all star THIS season (we’ll get to that shortly). I think with his athleticism, speed, and hitting ability, he can be a force at the top of the lineup. I see Betts hitting .285 at a minimum with a maximum over .300.
3. Rick Porcello will lead the staff in almost every category. Of all the guys we have, I like Porcello the most. He’ll be just 26 on Opening Day. Once a highly regarded high school pitcher, he had mediocre seasons at best until the 2014 season, where he really showed why he was so highly regarded. He’s got the stuff to succeed. if he hits on all cylinders, he has the ability to be an ace.
4. Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez will each play at least 140 games. This is a bold statement. Sandoval holds up better than Hanley, but both guys are a little more fragile than most. Hanley’s transition to left should ease the injury potential.
5. All Stars: With Lester and Koji being the only members of the Sox to make the all star team last season, expect a MAJOR change this year. Obviously, I’m making these projections with the hope that each guy stays healthy and plays to his ability. Here are my picks: Sandoval, Ramirez, Ortiz, Pedroia, Betts, and Porcello. I think Napoli will at least be in the discussion along with Koji and Castillo.
6. Rusney Castillo will have a fantastic year. He’s often been one of the lesser-talked-about members of the team this offseason, even though the Red Sox inked him to a 6 (technically 7) year deal to be the center fielder. Castillo only played in a small same size last year and should get a full season under his belt in 2015. The Red Sox didn’t pay him a record amount (at the time) to be average. They know his potential. I see Castillo hitting .275-.285 with 15+ home runs, an OPS over .800, and at least 20 stolen bases.
7. Breslow will have a major comeback season. He was abysmal last year (but let’s face it, who wasn’t). However, many forget how prominent Breslow was in 2013. He was pretty darn good statistically, and now he’ll be out to prove that last season was a fluke.
8. Bogaerts will improve, but not drastically. With big expectations for the 2014 season after a very strong showing in the World Series run, X faltered. He fell off a cliff only to climb all the way back then to fall again and finally make it back up that cliff at the end of the year. He’s still extremely young and has plenty of talent that I feel will continue to blossom, but I don’t see a significant increase in production this year. My guess would say .255-.270 with 12-15 homers. I think the defense will still be pretty questionable as well. Don’t fret, though. I think by the time he’s 25 or so, he’ll be the new face of the franchise (along with Betts).
9. Buchholz still struggles and is traded. Clay is perhaps the biggest question mark of the team. At times, he’s Cy Young-like, and others, he’s no better than a 9 year old. A lot of people still believe he can turn it around. I don’t. I think he has another horrendous year and the Red Sox deal him at some point and probably not for anything of value.
There you have it. My predictions for the season of it started today. Oh, and one last prediction: the Red Sox will make it to the ALCS if they get an ace. That’s not the finish line either, that’s a minimum. Like it? Love it? Hate it? I don’t care, but thanks for reading! Go Sox!