The Week In Sox: Opening Day Edition

I was all prepared for the biggest possible letdown today to be David Price‘s arm falling off on the fifth pitch of his Red Sox career.

I wasn’t prepared for the letdown to be that there simply wouldn’t be a game at all.

Bad weather nixed the Red Sox season-opener, but all things considered, that’s still a better outcome than my scenario.

Not taking any time to beat around the bush, here are my 2016 season predictions, revised with the benefit a month’s worth of likely worthless spring training observations and information.

Bold Predictions

Sam Travis will be the Red Sox starting first baseman by the end of the year.

Hanley Ramirez will be great, until he gets hurt, which will likely be before the end of June. Travis, on the other hand, will tear up the minor league circuit in such a way that his performance will demand a spot on the 25-man roster.

Brock Holt‘s stay in left won’t be that long

Holt winning the starting spot in left field makes sense, but it also takes away some of his uber-utility strength. Dustin Pedroia had a great (albeit quiet) spring and Xander Bogaerts is on the verge of superstardom. But there is literally no other middle infield depth currently on the active roster. Deven Marrero could see a call-up or two, but don’t be surprised if Chris Young starts eating up more of the left field starts while Holt spells the guys in the middle infield. If anyone gets injured or starts to slump, look for Holt to be the guy they look to.

John Farrell‘s career managing the Boston Red Sox has approximately four weeks left

Let’s just spitball and say May 6 is the day Torey Lovullo takes over at the helm. This has been a disastrous spring for Farrell. Aside from the off-the-field personal issues, too many of the “experts” are out there picking Boston to win the AL East.

This is mind-boggling, considering the starting rotation did absolutely nothing during the spring to suggest it could contend for a wild card spot, much less a division title. The offense struggled all spring, and now we face those first three months of the season where David Ortiz traditionally spends his days looking for his bat. He doesn’t generally start finding it until late June.

One of the best weapons out of the bullpen (if not the best) in Carson Smith is out for at least the first week or two and, as of this morning, we may not see Eduardo Rodriguez until mid- to late May.

As much as there is to love about Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Travis Shaw, all three have been, at their very best, streaky (though those streaks have been pretty awesome).

And yet, the expectation is for the Red Sox to win right away. Where did this expectation come from? At what point in the last 24 months has Boston looked like the team that won the 2013 World Series?

John Farrell’s time with Boston, rightfully or wrongfully, is on its last leg.

Look for the Francona-esque scapegoating to begin in about a week.

This is the year Joe Kelly becomes the pitcher Boston hoped he would be

Kelly had a great, really great spring. He also had some stunning stretches late last year. It’s a reach, but this is the season he puts it all together. Buchholz and Porcello, on the other hand …

 

Division Champs

NL East: Atlanta

NL Central: Pittsburgh

NL West: San Francisco

NL Wild Cards: Chicago Cubs, New York Mets

AL East: Toronto

AL Central: Kansas City

AL West: Houston

AL Wild Cards: Cleveland, Boston

World Series: Toronto over Pittsburgh. I was sold on St. Lous coming into the spring but Toronto is the complete package. Their lineup is terrifying, the starters are there on the mound and the bullpen is solid. Pittsburgh is the Kansas City of the NL – a young, homegrown core of leaders, starting pitchers who won’t dazzle you but will get the job done and a strong bullpen.

Biggest Flops: Arizona – worst offseason, worst uniform change; and Los Angeles Dodgers – somehow found a way to absolutely waste Kershaw’s best years.

Cy Young Award Winners

AL: Marcus Stroman, Toronto – He keeps getting knocked for his size, but when he throws, I see Pedro.

NL: Max Scherzer, Washington.

MVPs

AL: Mike Trout, Anaheim.

NL: Andrew McCutcheon, Pittsburgh.

 

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