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Photo Credit: © Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Sizing up the American League East: The Boston Red Sox

This is the second article in the series “meeting the AL East teams.”

This article will be focused on the Boston Red Sox. Unlike the lowly Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox are a solid team looking to build off a performance that saw them reach the ALCS in 2021. Let’s take a look at the project position player lineup, according to FanGraphs.

Infielders:

Christian Vazquez (Catcher)

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Kevin Plawecki (Catcher)

Bobby Dalbec (First Baseman)

Enrique Hernandez (Second Baseman)

Xander Bogaerts (Shortstop)

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Rafael Devers (Third Baseman)

Christian Arroyo (Utility)

Triston Casas (First Baseman)

While Vazquez doesn’t produce great offense, he finished 2021 with a 5 DRS and is a career 40 DRS catcher. Unlike Baltimore, the Orioles actually have an MLB catcher. In contrast, Plawecki had a DRS of -3, however had a slightly above average wRC+ of 102. In the shortened 2020 season, that wRC was 134, which is very good, albeit in a small sample size.

Bobby Dalbec is a serviceable 1B with quite a few holes in his game. The 26-year-old had a slash line of .240/.298/.792 with 25 home runs. However, Bobby had an incredibly high K% of 34.4%, which was actually down from his 42.4% in 2020. He’s a right hander with pop, which is perfect for Fenway, but he could realistically be upgraded.

The Red Sox received quite a few players in return for Mookie Betts, one of these players being 30-year-old Enrique Hernandez. The second baseman had a good 2021 owning a slash line of .250/.337/.786. He chipped in 20 home runs as a second baseman and had both a good BB% rate (10.4%) and K% (18.8%). Per Fangraphs, this was his best season to date with a 3.9 fWAR. It is to be foreseen if he repeats in the 2022 season..

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Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers are both all-star caliber players. Devers finished with 38 home runs and slashed .279/.352/.890. His defense is still terrible (and that’s putting it nicely) as he finished 2021 with a DRS of -13,, but with offensive numbers like that, who cares.

As for Bogaerts, he had a great offensive year, slashing .295/.370/.853 and contributed with 23 home runs. While his defense isn’t the greatest, his offensive value makes him a positive player to the team. 

The prospect I wanted to feature is Triston Casas. The first baseman recently turned 21 and put up some solid numbers in Double A as a 20-year-old. He slashed .284/.395/.879 in 329 plate appearances for the team. He also drew 49 walks to his 63 strikeouts. While he didn’t have the greatest start to his Triple A career, playing 9 games, he is a prospect that could make the jump in a needed position.

Outfielders:

Alex Verdugo (Right Fielder)

Jackie Bradley Jr (Center Fielder)

Jarren Duran (Left Fielder)

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J.D Martinez (Outfielder/DH)

Rob Refsynder (Backup Outfielder)

Alex Vergudo was a player in the Mookie Betts trade. As a 25-year-old in 2021, he slashed .289/.351/.777 with 13 home runs as a left hander playing at Fenway. Sadly for him, his stats took a hit as he had a slash line of .308/.367/.844 in the season prior. He is a solid defender when playing in one of the corners, as he had a combined 8 DRS between right field and left field, however, he had a -7 DRS at center field.

Jarred Duran played 215 innings at center field in 2021. He registered a -5 DRS with a -3.7 UZR. He also struggled with the bat as he slashed .215/.241/.578, good enough for a 49 wRC+. The 25-year-old is still young and could easily turn his career around, but 2021 didn’t treat him kindly.

Struggling offensively for the Brewers in 2021, Jackie Bradley slashed .163/.263/.497 with 6 home runs. He’s never been an offensive powerhouse, but this by far has been his worst season in his nine year career. One thing he is known for, is his amazing defense in center field. In 722 innings played at the position, he had a 9 DRS and 7.1 Ultimate Zone Rating. Boston brought him back solely for the defense.

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While he hasn’t played outfield for the past two seasons, it’s important to speak about J.D Martinez. The 34-year-old had a bounce back season registering a slash line of .286/.349/.867 with 28 home runs. If he could recover his pre-COVID form, he’s a scary offensive weapon for the Red Sox.

Rob Refsynder used to play for the Jays, so that’s cool.

Conclusion:

The Red Sox have a solid blend of young stars as well as veterans who’ve been to the World Series. They have a good chance of being a powerhouse in the AL East in 2022. It’s fair to rank them 2nd in the AL East in term of offense

As always, send me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. Stay tuned for the next article in the series, where I’ll be covering the Yankees!