Welcome to the 2017 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I do mean everything, everybody. We’ve got line-ups, charts, numbers, projections, questionable questions, smarter answer, potent potables and well, that’s a lie. No potables here, but plenty of potent fantasy names brimming with potential. Now’s the time to be an eternal optimist for the next three weeks. So, we’ve got a team to preview and questions to ask. Let’s get after it!
A quick note on the format. Each preview will feature six questions to a team’s blog writer. Are there only six great fantasy questions for each team? Of course not, but THAT’S WHAT THE COMMENTS ARE FOR! So, enjoy the thoughts of another writer, the dialogue on each team, and then continue the conversation in the comments!
We have a very special guest for this post, Evan Drellich, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2017 holds for the Boston Red Sox!
2017 Boston Red Sox Depth Chart & Projections
|6||LF||Jackie Bradley Jr.||480||67||16||66||7||0.261||0.777|
|MID||Robbie Ross Jr.||55||3||0||51||3.59||1.28||8.32|
Note: Projections provided by Steamer.
M@: One way to continually position yourself atop the divisonal standings is to retool and replinish rather than rebuild. And the Red Sox have seemingly done just that. Sure, there was a bad year or two sprinkled into the past decade+, but when guys like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts develop into bonafide stars from your system you can lock in for years to come. They both broke out last season, especially Mookie, becoming a potential #1 overall pick in fantasy. Their stat lines were massive. In grouping the breakout stars together, do you think Bogaerts and Betts (Boston’s newest buddy cop drama coming to TNT this summer) can both improve upon 2016? Just one of them? Or do both regress a little to the proverbial mean?
Evan Drellich: Based on how good he was last year, it’s hard to imagine Mookie improving much simply because he’d be entering the rarest of territory. But if anyone can match Mike Trout or outdo him, why not Mookie? He’s still so young, still learning and a phenomenal athlete. So, if he stays healthy, his age certainly suggests room to grow. There’s no reason to think he was in any way playing over his head last year. A little regression is possible, but the talent is real.
Bogaerts was a tale of two halves. He was fantastic in the first half and faded in the second. The truth probably lies more in the first half, but it’s a lot easier for Bogaerts to improve upon his 2016 simply because of the stark contrast in the pre- and post-break numbers. Hold steady for the year, and you’ve got improvement.
M@: Right on the heels of Bogaerts and Betts is another top flight prospect that’s already shown flashes of superstar potential: Andrew Benintendi. I’m crazy high on this guy, and can’t wait to see him play a full season. Manager John Farrell recently said he could slot into the #2 hole, which increases my giddiness quotient by 384%. Seemingly locked in as the starting LF from day one, what’s a healthy expectation we should carry for Benintendi heading into his first full season in the majors?
Evan Drellich: How his playing time shakes out with a platoon situation with Chris Young should be watched. Benintendi can slide into center field in place of Jackie Bradley Jr. on days that Young plays, and Young is slated to begin the season playing against lefties. But the Sox could also stick Young at DH. Benintendi has such a sweet swing, competent approach and overall, a very high floor. He’s due to struggle at some point, but there’s a lot of polish to Benintendi and I think you can therefore expect a very good season, even as scouting reports around the league improve. He added weight in the offseason, so maybe a little more pop follows.
M@: The addition to the Boston starting rotation became a huge boon in claiming the AL East crown last season. Everyone knew their new ace would come in and dominate. Of course a Cy Young could come out of that rotation with him in it. Say those statements one year ago and every. single. person immediately thinks of David Price. But, as we know, the trophy sits on the mantle of Rick Porcello instead after going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He was the toolsiest dude to never show that he had the tools for about five years, then boom. Cy Young. So, let’s say it comes back to Boston again in 2017, which is a possible probably outcome given the addition of Chris Sale. But, which Boston SP finishes the season better than the rest?
Evan Drellich: Given the health of David Price, Chris Sale seems a lock to be the best the Sox have. Porcello should be a good pitcher again, but Cy Young good? I’m not so sure. No one is. He was a different pitcher before last year, but he’s always been a high quality pitcher. Sale, however, is elite. Price is too, but with Price battling an elbow concern, Sale’s in the driver’s seat.
M@: Everyone loves getting an edge. As an expert on this team, give us some insider trading. Who is someone flying under the radar that will surprise us in 2017, making them an underrated option from Boston?
Evan Drellich: Kyle Kendrick. The Red Sox starting pitching depth is shaky. Henry Owens looked terrible this spring, Roenis Elias is hurt and Brian Johnson’s stuff isn’t up to snuff yet. Kendrick has switched back from being a four-seam guy to a sinker ball guy, which is how he had success when he was with the Phillies.
M@’s NOTE: Kyle Kendrick does not have any Steamer projections; therefore, he’s not included in the roster projections above. Well, he actually does have a projection, but it’s for…get this…1 IP. His ZiPS projections aren’t kind, but represent an improvement from his previous two seasons.
M@: Now on the flip side, who is someone on this roster that everyone may be targetting but is an overrated option just waiting to disappoint us?
Evan Drellich: Pablo Sandoval. Yeah, he lost weight. Yeah, he’s healthier. But there’s nothing telling us he can be anything more than a platoon third baseman. He’s back to switch-hitting, for now, but how he does batting right-handed should be watched closely.
M@: Let’s time travel. At the end of 2017 what will this team’s final record be, and how will we remember their year?
Evan Drellich: 91-71. Without an offense as good as last year’s and without as much good luck health wise — they were remarkably sturdy in 2016 — the Sox are still one of the AL’s, best but won’t be as dominant.
NOW DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Thanks, Evan, for the conversation about the Red Sox in 2017! Make sure to catch more of Evan’s writings at the Boston Herald, and keep checking back. More 2017 Team Previews to come!