Boston Red Sox 2023 Season Preview

Boston Red Sox 2023 Season Preview
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The 2023 MLB season is underway and the buzz is in the air. One of the teams looking to bounce back from last year is the Boston Red Sox. They finished the 2022 season with a 78-84 record which was the worst in the American League East Division and tied with the Minnesota Twins for the fifth-worst record in the American League.

The Red Sox have a unique recent history of finishing in last place one year and competing for the World Series the next. In 2012, they finished in last place in the division, and the next year, they won the World Series. In 2020, they finished in last place only to earn a Wild Card spot and reach the American League Championship Series the next year. After a disappointing year, could the Red Sox bounce back once again?

Red Sox Roster: Can Veterans Make Up for the Losses

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The offseason was headlined by their inability to re-sign Xander Bogaerts. The talented shortstop looked like one of the building blocks of the roster and was a pivotal part of the roster for seven years. However, Bogaert signed with the San Diego Padres, leaving the Red Sox with a void at the shortstop position.

To make matters worse, Trevor Story, who was supposed to step up at the position, is out with an elbow injury. Story signed with the Red Sox last year but with the recent injury, it’s unclear if he’ll ever be able to play the position again. As a result, he might have to move to second base when he returns as the shorter throw to first is more suitable for his arm strength.

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Aside from the shortstop woes, the Red Sox have a formidable lineup. Rafael Devers is one of the best hitters in the American League. Devers has a .283/.342/.512 career slash line and at 26 years old, is entering the prime of his hitting career. Additionally, the Red Sox have power throughout the batting order with Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, and Reese McGuire all taking on big roles in the batting order.

The Red Sox had a rough offseason but they managed to bring in valuable hitters that can make the lineup one of the best in baseball. They signed veteran Justin Turner while also adding Adam Duvall to the outfield. The biggest X-factor is Masataka Yoshida who stepped up on the international stage at the World Baseball Classic and is hoping his success in Japan translates to the majors.

Will the Pitching Improve?

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Last year’s pitching was a disaster and the primary reason for the disappointment. Chris Sale wasn’t healthy, Nick Pivetta was inconsistent, and the young arms failed to step up. It left the Red Sox in plenty of high-scoring games where they were constantly trailing with their pitching allowing runs at will.

Sale hopes to be back to full form and the ace that he has been throughout his career. The Red Sox acquired veteran Corey Kluber who won the Cy Young Award twice in his career but at 36 years old has seen his arsenal decline. Otherwise, the rotation’s hope rests on the arms of Pivetta and young hurlers Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck.

Like the rotation, the bullpen was addressed with veteran additions. Kenley Jansen was signed with the hopes of becoming an everyday closer but is in the twilight of his career at 35 years old. Jansen will help out John Schreiber, Ryan Brasier, and Josh Winckowski in the late innings.

Optimal Red Sox Lineup

  1. Kiké Hernández – Shortstop
  2. Alex Verdugo – Right Fielder
  3. Rafael Devers – Third Baseman / Designated Hitter
  4. Justin Turner – Designated Hitter / Third Baseman
  5. Adam Duvall – Center Fielder
  6. Masataka Yoshida – Left Fielder
  7. Christian Arroyo – Second Baseman
  8. Triston Casas – First Baseman
  9. Reese McGuire – Catcher

Optimal Red Sox Pitching

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Nick Pivetta
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Tanner Houck
  5. Kutter Crawford
  • Kenley Jansen – Closer
  • John Schreiber – Reliever
  • Ryan Brasier – Reliever
  • Josh Winckowski – Reliever

Expectations for the Red Sox

The Red Sox might finish the season in last place in their division but they can be the best-worst team in baseball. Meaning, they can field a competitive team every game and win more games than expected but considering the state of the American League East Division, they’d still end up at the bottom of the division.

That said, the Red Sox are also a team to monitor as they can easily shock the baseball world. They have a lineup that can go toe-to-toe with any in baseball, especially if Turner and the veterans step up. If the Red Sox can find starting pitching, suddenly, they’ll be competing for the division title. It’s unlikely they will make that leap but it would come as no surprise if it happens.

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Mike Fink

Mike Fink

Mike Fink joined Sport Relay in December 2022 and covers the New York Yankees. In addition to covering the Yankees, Fink has also covered the New York Islanders since 2020 for The Hockey Writers and has been writing about sports at large. Mike also likes to travel but has found Baltimore and Chicago are the only two cities that come close to New York City.

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