So as you probably know by now, Giancarlo Stanton is on the New York Yankees, the team that was one game short of the World Series last year. A team that already had a great lineup and is now even better. So what does that mean for the Red Sox in 2018?
Let’s start with the lineup. Yankees have the edge here. But here’s the thing: although Boston did win 93 games last year, the offense still lacked some firepower. Lots of guys had down years and others were injured. Mitch Moreland was still effective last year even with his toe injury. He was still able to hit 22 homers and drive in about 80. Pedroia had a good but injury plagued year. He’s another hitter that if he can stay healthy, not only will he hit well but he will play well defensively at second, just like Moreland will at first.
After having a runner-up MVP season in 2016, Mookie had a setback and had a lower average, less power. He’s due for a better 2018 hitting-wise. JBJ also had a down year after a breakthrough year in 2016. The problem with Bradley is he is a very streaky hitter, so I think Tim Hyers, the new hitting coach will be able to work with him on that.
Xander Bogaerts is another guy who I expect to have a solid 2018. The problem with him is he always has an All-Star first half, and a hard to watch kind of second half. So him not falling off after the All-Star break is something he and Tim Hyers can work on. Of course you have Benintendi over there in left, which is a good bat to have.
You also can’t forget the new guy Rafael Devers aka Raffy Big Stick word to Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but that dude can sort of hit. Not even 21 and already hitting opposite field bombs off of 105 mph fastballs from Aroldis Chapman to tie the game in the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. Expect more from him as well even though he’s not even near his prime yet.
So overall as far as offense goes right now, New York has the edge, but that’s not to say this Red Sox team won’t be able to be productive. Now here comes the pitching. Bullpen wise, Yankees have the better one. Rotation wise, the Red Sox do. Boston has the best reliever in the game to along with a healthy Smith and Tyler Thornburg. You also can’t forget Joe Kelly. There are also some names you don’t hear about much who can be big parts of this bullpen such as Austin Maddox and Brandon Workman.
It’s not that this pen isn’t talented, it’s just the Yankees have a little more talent there right now with guys like Chapman, Betances, David Robertson just to name a few. But this Sox pen can definitely be something special as Cora has already started to talk about how he won’t use Kimbrel strictly as a closer, which I like.
The rotation goes to the Sox because well, you know we have this guy named Chris Sale. You also can’t forget about Drew Pomeranz and what he did. It’s easy to say he’ll regress but I can definitely see that being what Pomeranz really is. If Erod can stay healthy which is always the big question with him, he can be real effective. Rick Porcello obviously will have some work to do. He doesn’t need to be the Cy Young winner we saw two years ago, all Porcello has to be is a mid 3 ERA guy.
Then comes David Price, who I am pretty confident he can turn back into the old one we all know and love. He showed flashes of what he can be in the reliever role he was in the postseason last year. So if he can put that success back into the starter role, we’ll be in good shape.
So overall the Yankees have the better roster on paper. But this offense and bullpen definitely has the potential to compete. They can be just as great as the Yankees’ if not better.