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Monday, 20 March 2017 01:44

Boston Red Sox Beat Team 2017 Predictions

Written by 
Will Chris Sale help the Sox win the World Series? Will Chris Sale help the Sox win the World Series? John Bazemore/Associated Press

With the 2017 season just around the corner, the CLNS Radio Red Sox Beat Team gives their predictions of what to expect from the team, with over/under, an x-factor, a breakout player, three bold predictions and where the team will finish this year.

Jess Thomas - @CLNS_JessSayin

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93) – Under (93). I think that with David Price starting on the DL and the back-end of the rotation questionable to start, this team may not be capable of putting up the really high amount that people expect (100? Over 100?). But regardless, I think the same total of wins as last year is very attainable.

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) – Under (16). It’s reasonable to think that Porcello won’t be quite as good as last year, since that was his best season by far, but over his career, he is a consistent 14-16 game winner and with the confidence of what he did last year in the back of his mind, I see no reason why he can’t get 16.

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) – Under (28). I’m going way under here. I think he’s going to have a great year, but 40 homers is a little much at this point and I believe he is going to regress just a bit from last year in the HR tally. I’d take 28 any year though.

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) – Under (160). This will depend on how long he is the on disabled list to start the season (or any other time in the season for that matter), but I expect he will still give up a lot of hits because he has given up over 160 hits seven times in his career. I expect no different.

Combined wins for Porcello, Price, Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56) -  Over (51). This completely hinges on Price. I predicted 16 wins for Porcello, and I think Sale will get 19 this year, so that leaves 16 for Price as well. If he can come back quickly and get in rhythm, I think that will be attainable, since he got 17 last year pitching poorly. The combo BARELY gets it.

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) – Over (135). After starting one game last year, Sandoval should have a stranglehold of the position. He is more fit, he is more confident and he is ready to break out and have his first good season in Boston. Assuming he stays healthy, he should be there at third nearly every day.

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267). Under (.275) – I think JBJ is going to continue to improve his hitting. He really had a breakout year last year power-wise (26 homers), but his average still dropped off over the last few months. I like him to raise that average a little more, but .285 might be pushing it.

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games). Under (2.50) – Once Smith comes off the DL in May/June, he should be healthy after a long recovery from Tommy John. Most pitchers come back stronger from the surgery unless something goes horribly wrong, so I expect Smith to give the Sox what they expected last year: a dangerous late-game reliever.

2017 All-Stars: 6 (2016: 4) – Under (5). Four All-Stars last year was a lot, so I think five is a reasonable number. Kimbrel will bounce back and be an All-Star, as will Sale, Betts, Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia.

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) – Over (13). Buchholz is going to roll in Philly, making all Boston fans wish they still had him in Beantown. (Did you think I was going to say something different!?)

X-Factor: Hanley Ramirez. With the retirement of David Ortiz at the end of last year, the onus is now on Hanley to pick up the slack. HanRam hit 30 homers and 111 RBI last year in the five-hole, and the Sox are going to need every bit of that this year to replace Papi’s production. The question for me is whether Hanley will slack off without Ortiz’s presence and go back to what he was the year before. This could determine how the offense produces dramatically.

Breakout Player: Christian Vazquez. He was the catcher of the future two years ago and hasn’t been able to stay healthy and put it together yet. Sandy Leon should get the start at the beginning of the year, but I look for Vazquez to have the pieces click to get a little better at hitting and get his full strength in his arm back. If he does break out, this would solve the ongoing “who’s going to be the Red Sox catcher” debate that has been going on for years.

Team Prediction: Boston will go 93-69 and will easily get through the ALDS. I think they run into trouble in the ALCS and fall short in seven games. The loss of Ortiz is going to be bigger than people are making it seem like. 

3 Bold Predictions:

1.) Dustin Pedroia will get 100 RBI. At 33 years old, Pedey has never driven in 100 runs in his career, as his career high is 91 in 2011. I think with more of a focus on stealing bases and with Ortiz out of the lineup driving in runs, Pedroia will be involved in a lot of hit and runs and will rack up the RBIs.

2.) Hanley Ramirez will only hit 13 homers. He has hit more than that in nine of his 11 full seasons, but I feel like with the loss of a central figure in his life in Ortiz, and primarily moving away from first base, he will be less engaged and his mind will wander and he won’t make nearly the impact of last year.

3.) Craig Kimbrel will get hurt and Joe Kelly will take over as the closer. From being a starter two years ago, to injured and then a reliever last year, Kelly will take over as the Red Sox closer when Kimbrel gets hurt.

 

Lauren Campbell - @lalalalaurrrren

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93) - Under (95). As much as it pained me to take the under on this, even if it’s just by one game, I think the Red Sox will finish with 95 wins.

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) - Under. After a spectacular, unexpected season in 2016, I think Porcello will come back down to earth and get 16-17 wins.

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) - Under. Despite his season last year, and the potential he showed, I don’t think Betts will reach the 40 home run mark. I still think he will have a solid season and hit 35 home runs on the season.

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) - Under. With Price likely starting the season on the disabled list, he’ll get a head start for not allowing nearly as many hits as he did last season. I think he’ll allow 180-185.

Combined wins for Porcello, Price Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56) - Over. I’m looking for the three of them to collect between 53-55 total wins, with Sale leading the way.

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) - Over. Sandoval has looked ready since arriving at Spring Training. He has yet to make an error at third this spring as well. Unless a long-term injury happens, I think he’ll start closer to 130 games.

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267) - Over. I think he’ll bat around .293. But in order to get there, he’ll need to show some plate patience.

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games) - Under. Even though I have some concerns about Smith coming off of Tommy John surgery, I think he will bring some relief (no pun intended) to the bullpen and have an ERA under three. Look for it to be 2.89-2.94.

2017 All Stars: 6 (2016: 4) - Under. As much as I’d love to see the Sox send six players to the mid-summer classic, I think there will be four Boston players that go.

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) - Over. With Buchholz pitching for a no-pressure club like Philly, I think he’ll rack up 15 wins.

X-Factor: The bullpen. We saw a lot of struggle from the pen last season – from losing Smith, to Craig Kimbrel being injured – but with the addition of Tyler Thornburg, Kimbrel and Smith being healthy, the bullpen is what’s going to help this team win close games. We know we can’t always rely on our offense each and every game, so the bullpen will have to step up this season and not blow small leads like we saw so many times in 2016.

Breakout Player: Craig Kimbrel. Even though there are players who are due for a breakout season (Price, Sandoval) with Boston, Kimbrel will shake off the first-year jitters and first-year injuries he had with Boston and look like Jonathan Papelbon when he was in his prime. I said last year he would get 45 saves and I came nowhere close to that. But look for those kinds of save numbers this year. He’ll be locked in and ready to go and we won’t see him blow a one or two-run lead the way we did last season.

Team Prediction: Mirroring my prediction from last year (shocker, I know), I think the Red Sox will finish 95-67 under John Farrell, who will lead them to the World Series where they will win it all in five games after they clinch the American League East for the second year in a row.

3 Bold Predictions:

1. David Price will win his first playoff game as a starter. Maybe this is more wishful thinking than bold, but with Sale on the roster, I think Price will adjust his “woe is me” attitude, put last season behind him and finally change that zero to a one in his 0-8 record.

2. Jackie Bradley Jr. will be traded. I really thought he was going to get traded last year at the deadline, and it’s not that I want to see him go, but with Dave Dombrowski essentially blowing up the farm system, we need prospects and JBJ would be great trade bait (as long as his spring isn’t showing us what’s to come in the regular season). He has shown a great deal of consistency, but he has also shown periods where it is painful to watch him at the plate. Boston will be making a run for the World Series and will do whatever is necessary to get who they need to win it all.

3. Mookie Betts will be the American League MVP. Last year, I predicted he would hit 30 home runs with 17 of those coming before the All-Star Break. So I’m going to try and make it two-consecutive seasons where I make a correct prediction about Betts. He’ll have some tough competition with league-favorite Mike Trout, but we will start to see the best of Betts this season when he surpasses last year’s home run and RBI total. He’ll play a crucial role in the batter’s box with David Ortiz no longer with the team.

 

Lars Gjesteby - @LahzG

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93) - Under – 95.

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) - Over – 19. Not quite as much run support as last year, but enough to get him the wins he deserves.

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) - Under – I could see Mookie mashing 35 this year but 40 might be a stretch.

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) - Under – With Price starting the year on the DL, he probably won’t throw enough innings to give up 200 hits even if he pitches like he did last year. But I also expect Price to be better. 170 hits.

Combined wins for Porcello, Price, Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56) - Over – If Sale and Porcello win around 20 each, I think Price could squeak out 15 to give the squad 55.

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) - Over – 135. I expect a solid bounce-back year from the Panda.

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267) - Under – High .270’s. JBJ looks to find more consistency in his approach at the plate.

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games) - Under – 2.90.

2017 All-Stars: 6 (2016: 4) - Under – 5. Sale, Porcello, Kimbrel, Betts, and Bogaerts.

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) - Under – 10. I think Clay will find moderate success in the NL, but his wins will be limited by the Phillies offense, which scored the fewest runs of any team in 2016.

X-Factor: Craig Kimbrel. The Sox closer had more than a few shaky outings last year. Kimbrel struggled with command, which led to 30 walks (5.1 per nine innings). His ERA was the highest of his career at 3.40. Boston will need him to be more like himself this season to secure the close games. The starting pitching should be stellar, so late game relievers are the key to sealing wins, and Kimbrel is most important.

Breakout Player: Eduardo Rodriguez. This is E-Rod’s time to shine. With Price on the DL to begin 2017, the young lefty will have the 3-spot in the starting rotation. After a good rookie campaign (10-6, 3.85 ERA), E-Rod struggled last year with a 4.71 ERA in 20 starts. This makes him the perfect candidate to break out in top form. His Spring Training outings have been strong so far and he looks ready to dominate.

Playoff Prediction: World Series. The upgraded pitching staff will carry the Sox to the World Series. Will it be enough to beat the Cubs? Let’s hope the offense is clicking too.

3 Bold Predictions: 

1. Pablo Sandoval redeems himself by slugging at least 25 homers, setting a new career high.

2. Kyle Kendrick becomes a regular in the starting rotation.

3. Andrew Benintendi wins the AL batting title.

 

Nick Quaglia - @NickQuag

Team Wins: 96 (2016: 93) - UNDER- I believe the Red Sox will land slightly below 96 wins this season for exactly one reason; the loss of a leader, David Ortiz. Without Ortiz’s leadership I believe that we will see a team who becomes sloppy and appears unfocused at times. But the talent on the roster will prevail and they will win the AL East and will get about 94 to 95 wins.

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) - UNDER- Despite popular belief, I do not think that Porcello is as strong of a pitcher as we saw last year. Is he very talented? Yes, absolutely. But as his career wears on I think that we will definitely see that 2016 was the best season he will have. He is a strong number two on any staff and that’s what he is in Boston. He will reach 14 wins this season. Plus he will not receive nearly the same run support that he did last season causing his number of wins to slightly wilt.

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) - UNDER- Is this a real number? Jess Thomas, AKA our Red Sox boss at CLNS, who came up with this number? 40? The guy is a stud at the plate but 31 home runs is about where I see him balancing around his entire career. Even 35 sounds like a realistic number. But 40? What is this? La La Land 2?

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) - UNDER- I say under because I have my own separate prediction here. I’m not saying under because I think he is a lights out pitcher in Boston. Quite frankly, I think he is a big, for lack of a better term since I’m going to be in trouble if I say the word I want to say, baby. But I say under because I don’t think he makes it through the season the elbow and forearm tightness screams future Tommy John. And just like Carson Smith last season, I think we will hear that Price needs surgery and will miss the entire year within the first couple of weeks. So under because I don’t think he will be on the active roster.

Combined wins For Porcello, Price and Sale: 50 (2016: 56) - UNDER- I swear eventually I’ll have an answer that I say over. But again, I say under because I think that Price will be out for most of the season. So without Price, I say that Sale and Pretty Ricky combine for 34 wins.

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) - OVER- FINALLY an over. I hold the belief that Sandoval is heavily motivated and with his immense weight loss, I see him having a relatively successful season. He is out there to prove something this season and he will be the starting third baseman for a majority of the year. Plus, who will take his place? Josh Rutledge? Come on now. We will see Panda at third base for about 140 games this season.

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267) - UNDER- Sadly, I do not have any faith in JBJ’s bat. I have given him chance after chance every season and for the most part he flat out is deplorable at the plate. Even last season he was hitting about .350 at one point and ended at .267? That tells you how awful at the plate he was after his 29 game hit streak was snapped once he was moved up to the lead off spot. But with his defense skillset, I am happy with him at .270 and that is where I think he will land.

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games) - UNDER- As an effective relief pitcher, your ERA should realistically be under three and I think Smith will be very effective for Boston this season. He was lost early on last year due to Tommy John but in the three appearances that he did make he was lights out and seemingly untouchable. He will finish off around 2.55 and be one of Farrell’s go to guys if he doesn’t screw the game up first. Farrell not Smith.

2017 All Stars: 6 (2016: 4) - UNDER- Last year the Red Sox were well represented with four All Stars and this year I see them having five. I think Benintendi is going to dazzle this season and he will get his first nod during his technical rookie year. And with him I also see Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. So my number is five.

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) - UNDER- This makes sense. Write about a Philadelphia, national league pitcher in a Red Sox preseason piece. Life only makes sense when you want it to make sense. You know what while we’re at it I bet Travis Shaw hits .280 for Milwaukee, Jon Lester gets 15 wins this season, and Jake Peavy only drops 6 “F” bombs on nationally televised games. Screw Buchholz, give him four wins and 12 awkward TV interviews.

X-Factor: Joe Kelly- Kelly settled in well to his new role last season as a long relief man out of the bullpen, and I bet you that he will be a catalyst in a handful of games this season where the starting pitcher is having a tough day and Kelly comes in to calm things down and is able to go three strong innings. Kelly might be the most picture perfect arm out of the bullpen that I have ever seen. He throws absolute heat and that is about it. His 100 MPH fastball is perfect late in games where it’s 90 degrees out, the sun has beat down the opposing players, and he comes in fresh and ready to go in the 6th.

Breakout Player: Sam Travis- If you caught my piece that I wrote for the website earlier this weak, you already know about my infatuation with the triple-A Paw Sox first baseman. Travis is 23 years old and on the cusp of becoming Boston’s next starting first baseman. I don’t think that you will see him until August, but if the team needs offensive help, I am certain they will call Travis up from Pawtucket. Throughout his minor league career there has only been one season where he hit below .300 and that was last season which was cut short due to an ACL tear he received during a run down.

Team Prediction: I think that this team is going to slide in to the American League Championship Series and have a strong and exciting year from a fans perspective. But I just do not think they have the power to surpass Cleveland. Cleveland truly did not get any weaker over the offseason and in fact they got slightly better with the edition of their newest slugger Edwin Encarnacion. They are the type of team that when they get hot, it is incredibly difficult to stop that moving train. However if the Red Sox are able to catch them at the right time I think they could definitely defeat them in a seven game series. But with Rick Porcello’s lack of playoff experience accompanied by Sale’s inexperience there, it is to difficult to say how their starters will perform come playoff time. And if Price does make it through the season, well, we already know his playoff experience.

3 Bold Predictions:

1. Craig Kimbrel will come to form and he will be one of the top two closers in baseball. Kimbrel has the stuff to do it, but he is clearly in his own head. In save situations he is dominant. But if he enters the game in a non-save situation, you might as well chalk it up as a loss because his ERA was north of five last season in those situations.

2. Pablo Sandoval will bat .290. Like I had mentioned previously, I think Sandoval is motivated to make Red Sox fans like him this season. And what’s the easiest way to make Sox fans like you David Price? The answer is to play well. If you didn’t read the recent Boston Globe article with Price getting testy with Sox fans and Sox media then you won’t understand what I said a sentence ago. But the less fat Panda will do great things at third and he will have a bounce back year. And with that, hopefully we get to see the playoff performing Panda that basically got him this five-year contract he is working on.

3. Eduardo Rodriguez will be a sub 3.50 pitcher this season. E-Rod has had a lot of expectation riding on him over these past few seasons and I believe that we will finally see how good this kid really is this year. This comes barring that his knee holds up. We saw glimpses of it last season. When E-Rod is on he can be virtually unhittable. But when he if off it becomes a home run derby. But I think that we will see a man with immense talent this season and E-Rod will become a hot commodity in the MLB.

 

Adam Belue - @albinomamba44

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93) – Under.  96 wins is a lot in the majors these days.  Last year, only the Chicago Cubs had more than 95 wins, and with the amount of games played against their fellow opponents in the always-tough AL East, I just can’t see anyone reaching the 96-win mark.  MY PREDICTION: 92 WINS

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) – Under.  Anyone who knows me or has read my posts knows that I do not believe that Porcello will ever duplicate his success in 2016.  In his seven-year career prior to 2016, Porcello averaged 12 wins per season.  I think he’s somewhere between the 9-15 pitcher we saw in 2015 and the 22-4 one we saw last year.  MY PREDICTION: 16 WINS

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) – Under.  Just like in the first question, 40 home runs in this day and age is a lot of home runs.  Only eight players hit 40+ homers last year, and with the exception of Brian Dozier, everyone on that list was a power hitter.  I don’t know if Mookie has 40 homers in him, and that’s perfectly fine, because I’m not sure anyone thought he had 30+ homers in him before last season.  Personally I think he should still be batting leadoff but that’s a different story.  MY PREDICTION: 33 HRS

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) – Under.  I’m going under not because I’m the last fan of his in the New England area (even though you wouldn’t know it from this article!), but because I don’t think he’ll have enough innings pitched to give up 200 hits this season.  If the phrase “elbow soreness” wasn’t scary enough, Price has already said if he was younger he’d have elbow surgery to fix the injury.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he gives this season a shot but if it doesn’t go well he opts for the surgery before the beginning of June.  I hope I’m wrong with this.  MY PREDICTION: LESS THAN 100 HITS ALLOWED

Combined wins for Porcello, Price, Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56) – Under.  See the previous question.  If Price is healthy and gets a reasonable amount of starts after he comes off the DL, then I think they could be hovering around 50 wins depending on how much time Price misses at the start of the year, but I really don’t think we are getting even half a season of Price on the hill.  MY PREDICTION: 51 WINS (IF PRICE IS HEALTHY), 43 WINS (IF PRICE GETS SHUT DOWN)

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) – Over.  I think Pablo is winning the Comeback Player of the Year award this season (as long as he stays away from the buffets), so I’m definitely going with the over.  Plus, he played in 126 games in 2015 when he was downright terrible, and the Red Sox really don’t have another viable option at third base since the Brock Star should be just a utility backup.  MY PREDICTION: 140 GAMES STARTED

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267) – Under.  Although I am a huge JBJ fan, even I think .285 is a stretch for him.  I think if he gives the team a consistent .270 average – instead of being a .400 hitter for a month or so then becoming a .200 hitter for a couple months – they would be pretty happy with that.  JBJ’s value comes on the defensive end, where it’s just a matter of time before he wins Gold Glove awards (yes that’s plural).  MY PREDICTION: .270 AVERAGE

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games) – Under.  I really like the looks of this bullpen even without Smith, who won’t make his 2017 debut until sometime in June at the earliest.  If the bullpen is healthy and clicking, I would think that Smith would be eased back into the mix and not used in any high-pressure situations.  If they are all healthy, the combination of Kimbrel, Thornburg, Smith, and Kelly could be the reason the Sox contend for another ring.  MY PREDICTION: 2.25 ERA

2017 All-Stars: 6 (2016: 4) – Under.  There’s bound to be one team that has a bunch of All-Stars that don’t deserve to be there, similar to the Royals leading in every category in 2015 until the league stepped in and cancelled 65 million votes.  Plus, with every team needing at least one representative (which is a JOKE), having six All-Stars is a ton.  MY PREDICTION: FOUR – CHRIS SALE, MOOKIE BETTS, XANDER BOGAERTS, EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) – Under.  I have no idea why this is a relevant topic, so I’m not going into detail.  MY PREDICTION: HE’S NOT IN BOSTON (HALLELUJAH) SO I DON’T CARE

X-Factor: Joe Kelly.  Yep, I haven’t learned my lesson yet, since I incorrectly picked him as the X-factor last season.  The team has already stated that if Tyler Thornburg isn’t ready to go once spring training ends, Kelly will be the first in line to take over eighth-inning duties to setup for Craig Kimbrel.  Even if Thornburg is good to go, Kelly should be one of the key arms in the new-look Red Sox power bullpen.  Machine Gun Kelly was by far the best Red Sox pitcher during that brief ALDS series last year, and he finally seems to be embracing his role in the bullpen after starting for the majority of his career.  The potential is clearly there, and he was electric from September on last season (17.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 23 K).  I think we could see Kelly take the eighth inning from Thornburg, and possibly claim some saves away from Kimbrel, especially if our closer struggles again like he did last season.

Breakout Player: Eduardo Rodriguez.  This should have been pretty evident when I stated above that I thought he would be on the All-Star team.  I think people forget how young E-Rod is (he’ll be 24 in early April) and just how good he can be when he’s fully healthy and on his game.  His numbers were pretty poor last season (3-7, 4.71 ERA), but if you take out the atrocious month of June – where his ERA was over 10.00 – he would have been 2-3 with an ERA around 3.00.  E-Rod is finally healthy, he’s had a good spring so far, and he has the potential to be a #2 starter on this team for the next few seasons.  This will be his third season in Boston, and it’s time for him to put everything together and show us why the Sox traded one of the most dominant relievers in the game – Andrew Miller – for him in 2014.  E-Rod has all the tools to be the Sox’ breakout player, and the team will need him dearly especially if David Price is out for an extended period of time.

Team Prediction: 92-70, first place in the AL East, defeating the Royals and Astros in AL Playoffs, defeating the Cubs in the World Series four games to two.

3 Bold Predictions:

1.) Andrew Benintendi ends up back in the minors… and not for a rehab stint.  I’m not saying I think that he’s going to be a bust this season, but I think that the expectations on him are ridiculously high and borderline insane for a kid that was playing collegiately less than two years ago.  I think he’s going to hit the sophomore slump at some point this year, and the easiest way to get him out of that slump would be to send him back down to the minors to get the at-bats needed without hurting the big-league lineup.  It may only be for a week or so, but I think McCoy Stadium may see some Nintendo in their near future.

2.) Mitch Moreland hits for 30 HRs and 100+ RBIs.  A lot of fans were up in arms when the Sox “settled” for Moreland in free agency, especially when there were other bats that lingered without a team for a long time this offseason.  Moreland is known for his defensive skills, but he has hit over 20 homers in three of his last four seasons, and in this lineup he could eclipse the 100 RBI mark even if he’s batting sixth or seventh.

3.) King Felix joins Chris Sale in the Red Sox rotation by the trade deadline.  Yes I know this is a pipe dream, but it says Bold Predictions right?  If the Red Sox are in contention (which they should be barring a catastrophe), and especially if they are missing one or more of their starting pitchers, then we shouldn’t be surprised if Dave Dombrowski further empties out our farm system to try to snag another big arm.  This deal would probably take Devers, Groome, and Travis at the least, and Sox fans may hate to see all three of those potential studs leave, but our GM has already proven that he’s all about the present and not the future.

 

Mike Settipani - @MikeSetta22

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93) - I'm going to say under. American League is still competitive and with Price being on the disabled list I think it hurts the staring pitching depth. Red Sox will win the AL East at 94 wins.

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22) - Rick Porcello will finish with under 18 wins. He had a great year last year, but he will definitely falter this year. He had the best run percentage in the American League, which won't continue

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31) - Mookie will come short of 40. That's too much. Not many players reach that number. Also without Ortiz in front of him, pitchers will pitch around him more.

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227) - David price hits allowed will be less just for the sole fact that he will start the year on the disabled list.

Combined wins for Porcello, Price, Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56) - Less than 50 wins because I believe Porcello will come back down to earth and Price will be out for majority of the year.

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1) - Sandoval will have a bounce back year this year, but 120 is a lot for him to start at. I think he will fall just under, but be a fine third basemen for the Red Sox this year. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267) - JBJ's average will be under. He has a long hitting streak once a year, but never duplicates it.  He'll be well under .285.

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games) - Carson Smith's ERA will be under just for the sole fact he might not pitch much this year. If he does, he'll be lights out which is why I'm taking the under.

2017 All-Stars: 6 (2016: 4) - 6 is too much for all star predictions especially with every team getting at least one player. The Red Sox will have four just like last year.

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8) - Buchholz is gonna crush the national league. Superior league and in a bad division, he will easily get more than 12 wins.

X-Factor: Andrew Benintendi. The Red Sox need a left handed hitter in the lineup with Ortiz gone and he wil fill the role. The Red Sox might bat him third and he's the future of the Sox. The number one rated prospect will do damage for Boston this year.

Breakout Player: Joe Kelly. I think the transition to the bullpen will be just what he needs in order to succeed

3 Bold Predictions:

1. Eduardo Rodriguez will be the All-Star starter.

2. Rafael Devers will be a regular starter by July.

3. Joe Kelly will be the best reliever in the bullpen taking the closer job from Kimbrel.

 

Nick Tasso - @theinefficient2

Team wins: 96 (2016: 93)- OVER

Rick Porcello wins: 18 (2016: 22)- UNDER

Mookie Betts home runs: 40 (2016: 31)- UNDER

David Price hits allowed: 200 (2016: 227)-U NDER (starting season on DL, means less opportunity to allow hits)

Combined wins for Porcello, Price, Chris Sale: 50 (2016: 56)- UNDER (same reason as previous)

Games started at 3B for Pablo Sandoval: 120 (2016: 1)- Under

Jackie Bradley Jr. average: .285 (2016: .267)- OVER

Carson Smith ERA: 3.10 (2016: 0.00, 3 games)- OVER

2017 All-Stars: 6 (2016: 4)- Under

Clay Buchholz wins for Phillies: 12 (2016: 8)-ABSOLUTE OVER

X-Factor: Weirdly enough-the offense. Losing Ortiz is a huge factor. It'd be nice to see (cough cough) Allen Craig regain his old form.

Breakout Player: Andrew Benintendi

Team Prediction: Make it to the ALCS but fall short.

3 Bold Predictions:

1.) David Ortiz becomes a special instructor at some point with the team.

2.) Eduardo Rodriguez wins 15 games.

3.) Dustin Pedroia has a huge regression from the 2016 season.

If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!  
Jess Thomas

Jess Thomas is the Red Sox Beat Team Manager and a member of the Boston Celtics beat team for CLNS Radio. Jess is a co-host on CLNS Radio's Red Sox Beat Podcast as well as a contributor to Celtics Postgame Shows.

Jess currently is a Celtics Production Assistant at the official home of Boston Celtics telecasts, Comcast Sports Net New England.

Jess also currently writes for the MetroWest Daily News.

Previously, Jess was General Manager for Framingham State University's radio station, WJDM 91.3 FM, as well as sports editor for FSU's newspaper, the Gatepost.

Prior to joining CLNS Radio, Jess was an intern at CSNNE as well as WCVB.

Jess is a 2014 graduate of Framingham State University, with a degree in Communication Arts.

You can follow Jess on Twitter @CLNS_JessSayin