FanPost

What about the vets?


There has been no lack for discussion/speculation regarding the 2014 projections for prospects Bogaerts and Bradley,.. as well as for 2-season part timer Middlebrooks. Seems like all we've talked about. Then there's newcomer Pierzynski for whom we'll be keeping our fingers crossed.

But what about the remaining starters? What do we expect from Napoli, Pedroia and Ortiz,.... or outfielders Nava, Gomes and Victorino? Does knowledge of the players and their past performance give us any basis for projecting their 2014? Maybe,... but some intuition might be involved. After all, Boston's fortunes are still primarily linked to the veteran position players for offensive output. I'm not banking my soul on these predictions, mind you,....

Napoli strikes me as a man at peace, now and, barring injury, I'd look for him to produce more-or-less as he did in 2013. Spelling him with Carp against RH pitchers could be an intriguing possibility for BOTH players. Meanwhile, David Ortiz would be hard-pressed, indeed, to put up another season like his age-37 2013. Hope for the best and be cool with a slight decline. He could still be the premier DH in the league with less than he cranked out in 2013.

Pedroia, on the other hand, had a slightly down year for him, thanks to that thumb. He might be expected to have a little resurgence in power,.... maybe a few extra ticks in BA. He's still at an age where he could have a serious offensive season like his MVP year. And for some reason,.... perhaps having some key rookies to mentor,.... I just have this gut feeling that Pedroia will step up in 2014 in response to the evolution of the team..

Victorino, like Ortiz, just had one of his best seasons, interestingly,.. and could be expected to experience some drop-off. Gomes had a slightly off year,..... slightly,... and may be due for a bit of improvement. In Gomes' case, as with a few of the other veterans, the Red Sox 2013 season might well have produced some lingering effects of confidence and good chemistry.

And then there's Nava, the ultimate wild card. In his three (partial) seasons, he has improved in every offensive category in every season. From equipment manager to 1st pitch grand slam to 8th best BA,.... for the price of a dollar,..... can't invent a better story and Nava is difficult to categorize. I've called him "other-directed," ... the player who hears a different drummer. BA .275,... 20 HR,.... OBP above .350,..... would not be unrealistic at all.

I believe this amounts to a very modest net gain from just those six players. But I'm open to alternative projections.......

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