After a disastrous 69-93 record in 2012 the Boston Red Sox did not disappoint in 2013. They won the organizations eighth World Series title. After going 97-65 in the regular season, they went on a tear in the post season with a record of 11-5 culminating in another World Series title against the St. Louis Cardinals.
There are not a lot of question marks going into the 2014 season. They lost starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Miami Marlins and Boston favorite Jacoby Ellsbury to the rival New York Yankees.
Free agent A.J. Pierzynski has been signed to fill the catching position and also fill the position of longest last name on the team from the departed Saltalamacchia. Jackie Bradley who is the Red Sox number two rated prospect will take the place of Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.
Projected 2014 Red Sox Offense
|1. Shane Victorino||RF||33||S||522||78||14||58||25||.274|
|2. Daniel Nava||LF||31||S||388||57||10||50||2||.262|
|3. Dustin Pedroia||2B||30||R||620||89||15||79||17||.293|
|4. David Ortiz||DH||38||L||518||84||32||90||1||.297|
|5. Mike Napoli||1B||32||R||449||71||23||76||1||.238|
|6. Xander Bogaerts||SS||21||R||436||61||18||55||4||.270|
|7. A.J. Pierzynski||C||37||L||468||54||17||65||1||.279|
|8. Will Middlebrooks||3B||25||R||415||52||23||65||5||.257|
|9. Jackie Bradley||CF||24||L||436||67||12||53||9||.247|
- Crackerjack Fantasy Options: David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino
– David Ortiz
Statistically, David Ortiz turned back the clock and had a season that was reminiscent of the season he had in 2003. At the age of 38, Big Papi shows no sign of a decline even though he has had the wear and tear of seventeen major league seasons behind him.
Going into the 2014 season you can expect something close to his .309/.395/.564 line that he posted in 2013. That stat line placed him tenth in the American League MVP voting. Obviously, you want as many most valuable candidates as you can draft on your fantasy team. Barring injury, I don’t see a reason why David Ortiz can’t have a similar season in 2014. He is definitely a player you will want to target on draft day.
– Mike Napoli
Napoli has quickly become a fan favorite in Boston. It’s no wonder why as he quickly made Boston fans forget about the Adrian Gonzalez era at first base.
He is not going to win you any championships in the batting average category but he has 20+ homerun power and you can expect him to drive in 90 runs or more with a potent Red Sox offense.
Yes, there are first basemen I would rather have then Mike Napoli but your team will not suffer offensively with him manning your first base position.
Owners may draft him at a premium because he plays in Boston and is a very recognizable name in the fantasy world. Be careful not to be the one that reaches and drafts him. If you can grab him at an average draft position then you should pull the trigger.
– Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino will not be one of the first forty outfielders taken in 2014 and that is a very good thing for your fantasy team. In most cases he will be taken after the 40th outfielder is off the board.
You can’t go wrong with someone who will hit 15 home runs and steal 15-20 bases while maintaining an average above .280. This type of all-around talent is the perfect combination for a fourth or fifth outfield position in your lineup.
A lot of owners will overlook him because he is not a top tier talent. They would rather choose unproven prospects instead of taking a player that has proven year in and year out to produce solid statistics.
He is a mid-round steal on draft day. If there are any Red Sox fans in your league you will have to draft him a round or two early to make sure you have one of the most under the radar players in fantasy baseball.
Projected 2014 Red Sox Pitching
- Crackerjack fantasy options: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz
Let me get this out of the way before we begin to talk about pitching. The Red Sox pitching staff will be underrated going into the 2014 season. That’s hard to believe coming off of a World Series title. Owners will want flashier names and go for pitchers who were one-year wonders last season. Take advantage of this and draft the following two Red Sox pitchers: Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.
– Jon Lester
The entire pitching staff will return from last season, anchored by Jon Lester who went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA. He was sixth in wins and seventh in innings pitched in 2013. Lester will eat up innings for your team and get a lot of run support from one of the best offenses in baseball.
Owners won’t start drafting Lester until after the first 40 to 50 pitchers are off the board. He might not be the best pitcher on your pitching staff but he will be the most consistent on a week-to-week basis. Consistency is what you want in your pitching staff.
– Clay Buchholz
Nothing wrong drafting a pitcher who went 12-1 last season.
He is not an overpowering pitcher by any stretch. If you are looking for a K/9 rate above 8, this is not the pitcher for you. He will post a low WHIP but I think you see something higher then his 1.02 from last season.
He is just beginning to enter the prime of his career. I see a lot of upside to his win totals and ERA while maintaining a low WHIP.
Owners might see his 12-1 record and overdraft him. If that is the case you can look somewhere else for more value. If you can draft him as your third or fourth pitcher and you already have drafted pitchers with great strikeout rates then Clay Buchholz is your guy.
- Fantasy Bust: Dustin Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia is a vastly overrated player. Yes, I’m going to get raked over the coals for that statement. He is overrated because he plays a shallow position at second base and he is one of the most recognizable players in baseball. The media in Boston has inflated his fantasy value.
His home run and stolen base totals have declined the last two seasons. He plays with reckless abandon and the wear and tear on his body is going to take its toll in the next few seasons.
He has seen 1,839 at-bats in the last three seasons. During this time his HR/FB% has declined by more than half since his 2011 season. Dustin’s .114 ISO from last year is his lowest since his rookie season. His ground ball percentage was the highest of his career at 50.4% last year. His power is in major decline and there is no reason to expect him to get back to 20+ home runs like he hit in 2011.
He will score 85 runs or more and hit around .300 next season. Any owner in their right mind would jump at the chance to have those statistics at their second base position. It’s just that there will be several second basemen to choose from in later rounds that will put up those exact same statistics.
There is no draft value with Dustin Pedroia. He had value when he would hit more than 15 home runs in a season and drive in 90 RBI. Those days are now in the rearview mirror. Let someone else overpay for him.
- Fantasy Sleeper & Prospect Watch: Xander Bogaerts
The Red Sox top prospect has the chance to hit 18-20 home runs this season from the shortstop position. Most likely he will hit a minimum of 15 home runs and hit a respectable .260 or higher.
You will be able to pick him Xander Bogaerts cheaply because he only had 44 at-bats last season. He is an unknown commodity at the big league level. Owners know he is one of the top prospects in baseball but they will overlook him for more proven but less capable talent.
He doesn’t have pressure to produce in the Red Sox lineup and will probably hit 6th behind Mike Napoli and in front of A.J. Pierzynski. Make no mistake about it he is going to see a very large amount of fat pitches to tag off of the Green Monster in Boston.
- Final Thoughts
Boston players will be drafted among the first twenty players chosen all the way down to the last round of many teams drafts. With a keen eye, you will be able to pick up great draft day values and not manage to overspend. Expect the Red Sox to defend their World Series title again in 2014.