The Boston Red Sox State Of The Union Part 1 – The Hitters: 2014 Preview

The now 30 Year Old, is the only player the team has signed for massive cash and term.  Pedroia is locked up until 2021, and his AAV is around $14.0 MIL for the duration. This was a considerable hometown discount and affords the club wiggle room in payroll each year, while the 2 time World Series champ received security.

Dustin Pedroia, the now 30 Year Old, is the only player the team has signed for massive cash and term. Pedroia is locked up until 2021, and his AAV is around $14.0 MIL for the duration. This was a considerable hometown discount and affords the club wiggle room in payroll each year, while the 2 time World Series champ received security.  This contract was similar to how the New England Patriots do business with their top players.  Maybe others will follow down the same pike.  Pedroia had an incredible run in 2013, and that was despite of a bad injury. Project him to be his usual and consistent self in 2014.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Red Sox embark on a chance to repeat a World Series win for the 3rd time in 10 years.  2005 didn’t work out so well, and Boston narrowly missed in the 2008 ALCS (TB won 4 – 3).

This year, the teams brass has decided the 2014 Roster is a lot like the 2013 Roster, and then you add in the mix of a bunch of youngsters.

There were some acquisitions brought in with A.J. Pierzynski (replacing Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jackie Bradley JR or Grady Sizemore will take over for departing CF Jacoby Ellsbury.

While they gave SS Stephen Drew a 1 YR/$14.1 MIL Qualifying Offer which he doth refused.

The Beantowners will go ahead with Xander Bogaerts there, and see Will Middlebrooks have another crack at the hot corner.

It is tough to believe the Grady Sizemore is just 31 years Old.  At one point in his career from 2005 - 2008, he was the premiere leadoff hitter in the American League.  Although, soon after that, he starting coming down with nagging injuries for the next 5 years, and is essentially out of the game of baseball.  He was only 26 when he played his last full year.  The Yankees have risked a ton of money for and oft - injured Ellsbury.

It is tough to believe the Grady Sizemore is just 32 years Old. At one point in his career from 2005 – 2008, he was the premiere leadoff hitter in the American League. Although, soon after that, he starting coming down with nagging injuries for the next 5 years, and is essentially out of the game of baseball. He was only 26 when he played his last full year.

Positional Red Sox Players 2014

This team is aging in several different positions, including Pierzynksi (37), Shane Victorino (33), Jonny Gomes (33) David Ortiz (38), Mike Napoli (32), Dustin Pedroia (30).

Everything broke right for Boston in 2013, but they were full value for their World Series Title last year.

The Red Sox are still smart not to have doled out $153 MIL over 7 years for the injury prone Ellsbury.

In CF, they may try to start the year with Grady Sizemore.  At 32 years of old, he has not seen any action in the MLB since 2011 due to injury, and has only played 104 Games since 2009.

For the fist time in years, he looks healthy.

If he can just put forth 80% of what he used to be, you are talking about a player that has a .269/.357/.473, that averaged about 25 HRs and 30 SB back in the day.

He will likely not approach that, but maybe he can hit .270/.340/.425 – with some powers as long as he can remain healthy.

Sizemore’s last significant year in 2009, saw him crack 44 XBH in 106 Games with a .788 OPS.

If the former Indian can’t play for any health reasons, than it will have only cost the team 750K anyways.

Jackie Bradley can go a long way to help BoSox fans forget about the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury.  Known as a patient batter with tonnes of speed, and exceptional fielding, Bradley taking the next leap up to the MLB on  a permanent basis would do wonder for the Red Sox in 2014.

Jackie Bradley can go a long way to help BoSox fans forget about the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury. Known as a patient batter with tonnes of speed, and exceptional fielding, Bradley taking the next leap up to the MLB on a permanent basis would do wonder for the Red Sox in 2014.

Jackie Bradley JR. is 2nd on the Depth Chart for the position.  This guy has had a solid Minor League Career thus far, and it is time to take the next leap.

In 819 lifetime MiLB AB, he has slashed .297/.404/.471 with 20 HRs and 101 RBI.  This projects a great plate discipline if only he can bring his BA better this campaign.

I would think Bradley could hit .260/.350/.400 – with speed, great defense and double digit HR power this year.

Victorino is battling all sorts of ailments to start the 2014 year.  You have to wonder if he will be able to fully contribute in 2014 for the BoSox?

Victorino is battling all sorts of ailments to start the 2014 year. You have to wonder if he will be able to fully contribute in 2014 for the BoSox?

In RF, Shane Victorino will be entering his 11th MLB year.  The question is whether or not he will be healthy for the opening of the season.

He is fighting hamstrings, a strained back, and is coming off of thumb surgery.  A World Series hero last season, Victorino has a solid 2013 campaign.

He finished 22 in AL MVP Voting, hauled in his 4th Gold Glove Award, and carried an .801 OPS, based on a .294 BA in 122 Games Played.

Had Victorino been healthy for the duration of the season, he would have scored over 100 Runs too, he ended the year with 82 in 477 AB.

The ‘Flying Hawaiian” also led the American League in HBP with 18. This guy is a professional hitter, and knows how to get on base.

Victorino will be closer to his .277/.342/.432 3 slash for his career, or worse if he hits the field in 2014.  Age is catching up to him.

The good news is that the Red Sox also have Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp as OF possibilities.

Gomes has been an infectious presence in the lineup for 2012 AL West Winners 1st, and the Red Sox AL East World Series Winner last year.  He has great stats for the last 2 years combined.

Gomes has been an infectious presence in the lineup for 2012 AL West Winners 1st, and the Red Sox AL East World Series Winner last year. He has great stats for the last 2 years combined.

Jonny Gomes finds himself on playoff teams every year.  From donning playoff beards everywhere he goes, or infecting the clubhouse with a great attitude, he is a good luck charm.

He has made the playoffs with the Reds, A’s and Red Sox of late, and was hurt when the Rays went to the World Series in 2008.

Gomes has 591 AB over the last 2 years, where he has posted 31 HRs and 99 RBI, while also scoring 95 runs.

This is great production from a 4th OF in Oakland and Boston for the 2012 and 2013 years respectively.

Gomes has a career .879 OPS versus LHP,  and typically has better 1st half’s of the year (.807 OPS pre ALL – Star compared to the 2nd half (.766 OPS Post ALL – Star.)

This guy is a dynamite value at just $5 MIL salary this campaign.

Daniel Nava is slated to win the LF position to start the year for Boston.

It took him until he was 30 until he was able to be a full-time player in the MLB.

Early in 2013, when Ortiz was hurt for the 1st 15 Games of the year, Daniel Nava was off to a hot start.  By June.30, the man had 10 HRs and was among the league leaders with 49 RBI.

As the season carried on, Ellsbury, Gomes and Victorino took more of the playing time, and Nava was able to plate just 17 more RBI after July.

This year, he will be given an opportunity to prove he can stick for good as an everyday LF.  Nava could also see some time at 1B.

I am projecting him to hit .275/.370/.420 – with 15 HRs and 80 RBI.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years.  Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition.  With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs - trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups - why aren't teams focusing on the DH position more.  Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles.  In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if "Big Papi" is hurt or struggling.  Ortiz has one year left on his contract at $14 MIL, which is an absolute bargain for the kind of production he has put forth.

David Ortiz has been the quintessential DH in the AL over the last 11 years. Boston is in contention perennially because he put up great #s compared to his competition. With all of the teams imploring several employees to scouting staffs – trying to find advantages to bring to Major League Lineups – why aren’t teams focusing on the DH position more. Ortiz has been a full time DH since joining the Red Sox, and has been instrumental in the club bringing home 3 World Series Titles. In fact, the only time the team has struggled in the last decade, was if “Big Papi” is hurt or struggling. Ortiz has one year left on his contract at $14 MIL, which is an absolute bargain for the kind of production he has put forth.

Forget about David Ortiz hitting in Spring Training, he is not fully concentrating.  I fully expect him to put forth .290/.400/.500 – with 29 HRs and 90 RBI this year.

Believe it or not, this will be a small step down from the last few years he has put forth.  I think clubs start walking him and force other to beat them instead.

Mike Carp was one of the best under the radar moves the management pulled off last year.

Like Nava, he pulled the bootstraps up and got to work in the 1st half of the year, slashing .303/.369/.606 – with 8 HRs and 27 RBI in the 1st half.

This guy was a super Utility guy that put some thunder into his stick.  I certainly bet the Mariners wished they never sold him for cash.

It wasn’t like the man hadn’t shown any promise during his time in Seattle.  His time in the PAC NW saw him carry a .740 OPS – with 18 HRs in 545 AB.

Carp’s production for just 216 2013 AB is fantastic at 9 HRs and 43 RBI.  John Farrell used him wisely vs RHP, where he sported a .904 OPS in 190 AB.

I would expect more of the same from the 27 Year Old originally from Long Beach, CA in 2014.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he amassed more Plate Appearances this upcoming season.

Carp’s 2014 outlook.  300 PA, 10 HRs, 42 RBI and a .800 OPS.  He may draw in against some tough Righties when the club wants to give Mike Napoli a day off.

The squad had a .639 Win Pctg in games he was part of (55 – 31).

Speaking of Napoli, he played his 1st full year out in the Infield in 2013, after serving as Catcher and DH for the majority of his career.

The Red Sox curbed his 3 YR deal because of injury concerns, but the burly 1B – collected 23 HRs and 92 RBI in his 139 GP for last year’s club.

The former Angel and Rangers player, also whiffed 187 times, but all is forgiven when you carry a .842 OPS for the season.

Napoli propelled out of the starting blocks during the clubs 1st 26 games, plating 27 RBI.  Much like Carp, the team fared at a great winning percentage with him in the lineup (.604, with 84 – 55 record.)

The 220 LB from Hollwyood, FLA originally, also has made the playoffs 6 out of the last 7 years, and has hit at least 20 HRs for 7 straight seasons.

Perhaps, nothing was as crucial as his late 7th inning HR off of Tigers Starter Justin Verlander in a 1 – 0 win for the Sox over the Tigers in Game #3 of the ALCS.

Napoli would HR again in Game #5.  This guy has been one of the clutchest players on the planet the last half a dozen years.

Napoli will hit 25 HRs and drive in 95 RBI in about 500 AB in 2014, with an OPS of .850.

Vs LAA 1.180 OPS, 13 HRs and 26 RBI in 137 AB. vs STL, 1.601 OPS with 3 HRs and 6 RBI in 18 AB. vs NYY, 1.108 OPS - with 12 HRs and 39 RBI in 149 AB.  vs TB, .826 with 8 HRs and 30 RBI in 165 AB.  .855 OPS - with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 188 AB.  vs SF, 1.229 OPS with 3 HRs and 6 RBI in 27 AB.  vs OAK - .849 OPS - with 19 HRs and 48 RBI in 308 AB.  .982 OPS - with 8 HRs and 19 RBI in 83 AB.  vs Boston (probably why they signed him), 1.075 OPS, with 15 HRs and 33 RBI in 125 AB.  His only team to struggle against is Det, with a .748 OPS, but still has crushed 8 HRs and 18 RBI in just 150 AB.

A view of how clutch he is during his career.  Vs, LAA 1.180 OPS, 13 HRs and 26 RBI in 137 AB. vs STL, 1.601 OPS with 3 HRs and 6 RBI in 18 AB. vs NYY, 1.108 OPS – with 12 HRs and 39 RBI in 149 AB. vs TB, .826 with 8 HRs and 30 RBI in 165 AB. .855 OPS – with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 188 AB. vs SF, 1.229 OPS with 3 HRs and 6 RBI in 27 AB. vs OAK – .849 OPS – with 19 HRs and 48 RBI in 308 AB. .982 OPS – with 8 HRs and 19 RBI in 83 AB. vs Boston (probably why they signed him), 1.075 OPS, with 15 HRs and 33 RBI in 125 AB. His only team to struggle against is Det, with a .748 OPS, but still has crushed 8 HRs and 18 RBI in just 150 AB.

Dustin Pedroia had a mashed up hand – and still played incredible baseball in 2013.  He finished with a 3 Slash of .301/.372/.415 with 84 RBI while leading the AL with 724 PA.

The gritty Second Baseman’s efforts resulted in a 7th  in AL MVP Voting,  and he reeled in his 3rd Gold Glove Award for his position.

I would think Pedroia would have some more pop in 2014 with a healed hand.  I am going to predict a .299/.365/.440 slash line, with 20 HRs, 40 – 2B’s and 90 RBI.

I also think the 8 year Veteran will surpass 100 Runs.

Xander Bogaerts had himself an awesome few months in the MLB.  After he took few AB at 3B for the departed Jose Iglesias, he managed to hit hvae a most impressive 2013 postseason.  In 34 PA, the 21 Year Old hit for a 3 Slash Line of .296/.412/.893 - with 9 Runs Scored and 6 Walks in those 27 official AB.  Of his 8 hits in the playoffs, 4 went for Extra Bases, with 3 Doubles and a Triple. With the uncertainty of the franchise bringing back Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts may have the stage all to himself at the SS position in 2014.

Xander Bogaerts had himself an awesome few months in the MLB. After he took few AB at 3B for the departed Jose Iglesias, he managed to hit hvae a most impressive 2013 postseason. In 34 PA, the 21 Year Old hit for a 3 Slash Line of .296/.412/.481 – with 9 Runs Scored and 6 Walks in those 27 official AB. Of his 8 hits in the playoffs, 4 went for Extra Bases, with 3 Doubles and a Triple. Xander Bogaerts may have the stage all to himself at the SS position in 2014.

Xander Bogaerts will be looking for his 1st full season in the MLB after winning a title in his 1st action in the bigs.  He is still just 21 Years Old.

This guy has to be one of the favorites to take home the AL Rookie Of The Year trophy.  I think he will hit .275/.340/.410 – with double digit HRs and around 35 – 40 2B.

This team would love for him to possess these kind of numbers.

After 2 years with Boston, Will Middlebrooks has 32 HRs and 103 RBI in 615 AB.  This is about 1 year’s worth of AB.

I think .260/.310/.490 with 28 HRs and 88 RBI sounds about right for 2014.

Seeing a brutal start for averages in 2013, saw the 3B be benched in favor of Jose Iglesias and a demotion to Pawtucket. Once the trade with Detroit was commenced, Middlebrooks smacked 8 HRs and added 24 RBI in his last 145 AB. The game of baseball doesn't have many talented young power hitters at the hot corner like this man. I am forecasting a great year for Middlebrooks.  I think .260/.310/.490 with 28 HRs and 88 RBI sounds about right.

Seeing a brutal start for averages in 2013, saw the 3B be benched in favor of Jose Iglesias and a demotion to Pawtucket. Once the trade with Detroit was commenced, Middlebrooks smacked 8 HRs and added 24 RBI in his last 145 AB. The game of baseball doesn’t have many talented young power hitters at the hot corner like this man.I am forecasting a great year for Middlebrooks.

At Catcher, tried and trusted A.J. Pierzynski will see the lionshare of the pitches thrown.  This guy is also a winner, and the White Sox sorely missed him in 2013.

The 16 Year Veteran knows how to call a game, is a fiery competitor, and has a nice stick when it counts the most.

A lifetime .283/.322/.428 is really good when you consider the workload this guy has endured.  He has played in at least 128 games or more for the last 12 seasons.

Pierzynski may have fallen a little bit from is 2012 Silver Slugger form, but this guy is a professional hitter.  I expect him to enjoy the confines of Fenway Park.

.270/.320/.400 – with 15 HRs and 60 RBI is definitely attainable.

World Series hero David Ross is a great 2nd Catcher for Pierzynski, as he can go behind the plate once or twice a week or versus LHP – where had a .804 OPS last year.

Having a pair of 37 Year Old Catchers last the whole year may be tough, so Ryan Lavarnway may be called on several times for the upcoming campaign.

Jonathan Herrera will serve as a Utility Infielder that can play 3B/SS or 2B this year.

It is good to know Herrera has a lifetime BA of .265, with hitting .266 at Coors Field, but also batting .265 on the road for his career thus far.

With a potential bench of Herrera, Carp, Ross and Bradley JR. or Sizemore, this team still has some depth.

This team should be among the best lineup in baseball, and definitely score a pile of runs this season.

In Part 2 tomorrow, we look at the Pitchers and the team projections for 2014 here.

The A.J. Pierzynski signing was really smart on the Red Sox behalf.  He is better offensively and defensively than Saltalamacchia was, and the team only had to secure him for 1 YR - compared to Salty's 3 YR deal.  Boston may have to pay $2 MIL more for 2014, but the Veteran Catcher is so worth it.  The 37 Year Old from Bridgehampton, NY, has a Career 3 Slash of .300/.370/.890 in 100 Post Season AB - spanning 7 Series.  Among the totals, are also 5 HRs and 17 RBI.  This guy is a natural born leader, and can really set up a Pitching Staff.

The A.J. Pierzynski signing was really smart on the Red Sox behalf. He is better offensively and defensively than Saltalamacchia was, and the team only had to secure him for 1 YR – compared to Salty’s 3 YR deal. Boston may have to pay $2 MIL more for 2014, but the Veteran Catcher is so worth it. The 37 Year Old from Bridgehampton, NY, has a Career 3 Slash of .300/.370/.890 in 100 Post Season AB – spanning 7 Series. Among the totals, are also 5 HRs and 17 RBI. This guy is a natural born leader, and can really set up a Pitching Staff.


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Bonus Red Sox Chat with Baseball Podcaster and Red Sox Fan ‘Sully’

Red Sox fanatic and actress Hilary Barraford, from John Sayles’ Go For Sisters, is the guest for today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

We discussed staying loyal to a team 3,000 miles away, how greedy Boston sports fans have become, and why I should refer to her as “Your Honor.”

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Posted on March 20, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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