Depending on which sports book you look at, the over/under on Red Sox wins in 2023 is usually set at either 77.5 or 78.5. On the surface, this makes some sense. The 2022 Red Sox won 78 games, then proceeded to lose both their most productive hitter and most productive starter by bWAR. But take a deeper look and you’ll probably come to a different conclusion. The 2022 Red Sox got only 5 innings out of Chris Sale, one of the single most talented pitchers on the planet. The team gave over 1000 at-bats to Bobby Dalbec, Franchy Cordero, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Jarren Duran. Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, Connor Seabold, Ryan Brasier, and Austin Davis combined for around 300 innings pitched. There was a lot of dead weight on the 2022 Red Sox, is what I’m saying.
While the Red Sox were not as aggressive in the offseason as many had hoped with respect to high-end talent, Chaim Bloom made a number of quality moves that appears to have shoved much of that dead weight overboard. As I wrote a few weeks ago, there are essentially 19 players who are either new to the organization, or who will be playing much bigger roles than they did in 2022. Cumulatively, those 19 players are projected to produce 25.3 fWAR, compared to just 15.2 fWAR for the 19 players they’re replacing. You don’t have to like everything the front office did this offseason (I certainly didn’t) to conclude that the 2023 Red Sox are nonetheless an improved team, even if the postseason remains unlikely.
So, is that 77.5 over/under easy money?
On this week’s episode of the Monsters of Sox Podcast, Bryan Joiner and I discussed that very question, along with a number of other baseball bets in conjunction with today’s legalization of mobile sports betting in Massachusetts. And don’t worry, if you’re one of the many people like me who hates the creeping ubiquity of betting coverage in the sports media, I also aired some grievances about the gambling industry in general.
But that’s not all we discussed! We also check in with the World Baseball Classic, which has already delivered some great baseball just a few days into the tournament. WBC haters, why do you hate fun?
As always, thanks for listening.