The Boston Red Sox have, by most projection systems, the second best current talent in the league. Their financial advantage, ability to to value players and commitment to their farm system has left them with this amazing current talent, and, thus, a solid chance at making the playoffs and winning the World Series.
On the position player side there is not a below-average player to be seen. The squad is lead by a pair of up-the-middle superstars, Victor Martinez and Dustin Pedroia: both good bats at premium defensive positions. Kevin Youkilis, who in the past two years added power to his existing walk- and defense-based skill-set, holds down first. The remainder of the infield is made up of two newcomers, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro. The outfield of J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury might not have quite the talent of the infield, but still is a solid group. As a whole the position players should play great defense (the off-season signings seemed particularly focused on defense) while still providing a solidly above-average offense.
The Red Sox’ starting pitching similarly shines. A top three of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey gives the Sox one of, if not the best, top three in baseball. In fact, CHONE projects over 180 innings of sub-four ERA pitching from each. No other rotation can make such a claim. The cut-offs are arbitrary, but it illustrate how strong the top three-fifths of the rotation is. After that, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz complete the starting rotation. Both are probably average starters with the potential to be quite good — not too bad for the end of the rotation. But even if one of those two stumbles or anyone goes down with injury the Sox have very capable replacements in Tim Wakefield and Michael Bowden.
As Patrick Sullivan mentioned in an interview with Zack Scott, the bullpen had a couple guys whose performance took a step back last year (Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez), but I think there is enough talent in the pen for it to be an asset.
Overall this is a very talented team, it is brimming with projected three-plus-win players and has no real discernible holes (except maybe the potential for an Ortiz collapse). Their playoff probability takes a hit because they play in the same division as the Rays and Yankees, but still, if they played the season 1000 times, they should make the playoffs as often, if not a little more often, than they don’t.
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