At the risk of being overly optimistic, I am going to cut to the chase. The Red Sox are not going to win the World Series. In all likelihood, they will not even make the playoffs. They might even finish in last place once again.
As we reach the midpoint of Spring Training they are 10-5, a gaudy 667. That's 108-54. 2018 World Champs yada yada yada. Yes it's Spring Training. They are not facing the best hitters or the best pitchers throughout the game, but one has admit, they're doing alright. An 81-81 would be a step in the right direction for this bridge team. It would take 87,88 to get into the second wild card. Probably not gonna happen.
But I think this is going to be a team that will be more fun to watch than what we expected before Spring Training began. If they can play meaningful games in September, all the better. If there is anything Spring training has shown is that they may have more depth than what we may given them credit for.
Between the WBC and injuries, they have gotten some good performances thus far. The replacements have have stepped up and the "washed up" guys have done pretty well. Of what will be the starting lineup, five of the nine are not there. Verdugo, Yoshida, Devers, Kike are playing in the WBC and Turner is apparently will be back sooner than expected. The number four outfielder, Refsnyder, is continuing what he did last year. And Tapia is doing something every day and is basically a lock for th number five. Arroyo has a clear path to being the second baseman until Story comes back and Casas has done nothing so bad as to concern his ability to be the first baseman. Dalbec has had a decent spring, but may very likely be sent to Worcester. He has options. Even Yu Chang was the star for Taiwan and he is on the 40. McGuire has been solid, like he was in 2022. And Alfaro will likely be the second catcher between Wong's injury and the fact that he has options and Alfaro doesn't. Duvall has hit two homers in four days, while striking out a lot, but that is what he does. (channeling Hunter Renfroe). If he can hit 30 and knock in 80 while hitting 240, I'm good.. They can take their time with Rafaela, Mayer, Yorke and Bleis
Am I being overly optimistic to think that this crew can be competitive.
Starting pitching has been pretty good, I would say. Kluber may 37 but he made 31 starts last year. He went five today against basically nobodies, but he went five and there are two weeks to go. Sale has been good as well. Fingers crossed. Pivetta has been...Pivetta. When he's on, he's pretty good. the innings he gives them matter. Crawford probably wasn't going to make the team before Bello and Paxton went down. He has looked good and will be in the rotation until the others rejoin. Houck has been erratic, but that's him. Lot of upside. Whitlock looked good today and while he won't be fully ready start the season in the rotation, he may be fine a week or so in. Bello pitches tomorrow, so we shall see. At least with Paxton it was a hammy and not his arm. Go slow. No need to rush the top prospects at this point.
The bullpen was the killer last year. 29 blown saves. Had they converted just 20% of that 29 (6 wins), they would have been 84-78. They overhauled it. I can't imagine this crew will blow 29. bullpen is a crapshoot in the best of times.
That's it. I'm ready and excited to watch baseball