Boston Red SoxOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Boston Red Sox Team Projection
Boston had a remarkable season in 2013 on their way to their 8th World Series title.
1. OF Shane Victorino
Victorino was a struggle to own last year due to multiple injuries (back, thumb, hip, and hamstring). He missed 40 games at various times of the year, but was very productive when he was on the field. He scored an amazing 50% of the time when he was on base and was excellent with runners on base (18% RBI rate). His approach at the plate did take a step backwards (14.1% K rate - career high and 4.7% walk rate - career low). He had surgery on his right thumb in December, but is expected to be ready for spring training. Shane's power was improved, but his speed regressed due to his lingering hamstring issues. He is expected to bat leadoff this season, but his skill set is better suited to be a #2 hitter. Solid major league hitter batting in a premium part of the batting order for a high scoring team. Has 100 run upside with a 15/25 skill set.
2. OF Jackie Bradley
In a way, Bradley was pushed too hard in 2013. He played well in spring training, which led to him making the major league team. He was overmatched in April (.097 with a 31.6% K rate) and it forced Boston to send him back to the minors. In 2012, he had an excellent approach at the plate in the minors (15.1% walk rate). Jackie has double digit power with 30 SB upside. He is a very good center fielder and will upgrade the Red Sox defense in 2014. His lack of success in the majors last season should help him understand what he needs to do to prepare to be a starter with Boston in 2014. Overall, he has a strong enough skill set to bat at he top of the Red Sox lineup as long as he keeps his aggression under control.
3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
For the 2nd straight season, Pedroia struggled with a thumb injury. He tore a ligament in his left thumb in the first game of the season, but was able to play through the injury. He had a career high 724 at bats. His injury led to only 9 HR's and his average hit (ABH) was a career low. His high RBI total was driven by plus RBUI chances (478). He had surgery on his thumb in November and is expected to be ready for spring training. Dustin is a very low K rate player (10.4%) and is willing to take a walk (10.1% BB rate). Pedroia was a plus hitter against LH pitching (.354 with a .505 SLG%) last season. The Red Sox won the World Series last season, but Dustin was a non-factor in the playoffs (.230 with no HR's and 7 RBI in 14 games). Boston stuck with Pedroia in the 3 hole last season even with no power. He is a solid MLB player, but isn't enough of an edge to select in the top 3 rounds unless you believe he is capable of delivering a 20/20 season.
4. DH David Ortiz
For Boston fans, there is something magical about David Ortiz. He was the key player in 2004 when Boston finally broke the curse of the great Bambino. Last year, he was a rock in the Red Sox lineup all season. He delivered a huge HR in the Tigers series when Boston was almost dead on the mat and the Cardinals didn't have an answer for him in the World Series (.688 with 2 HR's and 6 RBI). Ortiz has hit over .300 in his last 3 seasons and his power remains strong. Last year, he crushed RH pitching (.339 with .652 SLG%) plus he had more BB (60) than K's (54). Overall, Ortiz's K rate (14.7%) remains strong for a power hitter and his walk rate (12.7%) is well above the league average. Ortiz has been in very good shape over the last 3 seasons and seems to have the drive to continue to play at a high level. He won't get plus at bats, but Ortiz should deliver plenty of production when he is on the field. In Ortiz we trust is the new motto for Red Sox fans.
5. 1B Mike Napoli
Napoli delivered a plus season for a player that qualified at catcher in 2013. He had the most runs (79), HR's (23), and RBI's (93) from the catcher position. His success driving in runs was delivered by plus RBI chances (456). His K rate (32.4%) was a career high. Mike's go for the fences approach invites huge batting average risk, plus a prolonged slump could lead to less than full time at bats. He signed a 2 year, $32 million contract in December. This year, Napoli will rank much lower in the fantasy world as he no longer qualifies as a catcher. Over the last 4 months of 2013, he only started 77 of 102 games. Napoli has 20+ HR power, but his downside in batting average will push his value into the corner infielder rankings. I don't expect him to hit 5th for the Red Sox all season.
6. SS Xander Bogaerts
Boston called up Bogaerts on August 20th last season. He had part time at bats (44) over the last 6 weeks of the season. Xander hit .250 with 1 HR in 5 RBI in the regular season. The Red Sox played him in all 6 games in the World Series at 3B due to his value with the glove. With Stephen Drew no longer on the roster, Bogaerts is expected to be the starting shortstop this season. He has shown 20 HR power in the minors with an improving approach at the plate (12.2% walk rate in 2013). His K rate (19.0%) was about the major league average during his minor league career. With full time at bats in Boston, his K rate will most likely rise. In his 71 at bats during the regular season and the playoffs, Bogaerts had 21 K's (25% K rate) and 11 walks (13.1%). Xander will be an intriguing young player in 2014. With no changes to the Red Sox roster on the left side of the infield, he should get 500+ at bats. I expect 20+ HR's in his first full season and Bogaerts will be one of the early favorites for rookie of the year. I'd set then bar around .265 in batting average. His talent suggests he has upside in this area with more experience.
7. 3B Will Middlebrooks
Middlebrooks was a bust in 2013. He was expected to make a nice step forward after a nice 2nd half run in 2012. His lack of approach at the plate (26.2% - K rate and 5.4% - BB rate) was flashing like a beacon on the night, but fantasy players were sucked in by his upside in power. His lack of contact led to a stint in AAA (.327 with 10 HR's and 35 RBI in 179 at bats). He made much better contact in AAA (19.4% K rate), but his high career strikeout rate in the minors (25.6%) suggests he will have more growing pains in the near future. He is expected to being the starting 3rd baseman for the Sox with Bogaerts moving to short. Xander was a much better player in the playoffs with the bat and the glove. As long as Boston doesn't bring Stephen Drew back, Middlebrooks should get full time at bats. He has 30+ HR power with batting average risk, but has no real upside in speed and barely takes a free pass. I see 25 HR's with 80+ RBI, but he may hit under .250.
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
Boston signed A.J. to take over as the lead catcher this season. His breakout in power in 2012 regressed in 2013. Pierzynski had a career low walk rate (2.1%). His K rate (14.4%) is above the major league average, but below his career path (11.5%). A.J. hit 14 of his 17 HR's off of RH pitching with 11 of those HR pulled down the right field line. Fenway will mostly like hurt Pierzynski's power, unless he turns into a dead pull hitter. Last year, Pierzynski hit 85% of his balls to the right side of the field. Tough to expect him to make a huge impact at the catcher position. He has a 15/60 skill set with downside in power and runs. His one positive for the Red Sox is that he has improved as a hitter with runners on base over the last 2 seasons.
9. OF Daniel Nava
Last year, Nava was the man in left field over the first 3 months of the season (.285 with 10 HR's and 49 RBI). His value declined dramatically over the last 3 months of the year (2 HR's and 17 RBI), even with the same batting average. He barely played in the playoffs (.200 with no HR's in 25 at bats) as Jonny Gomes was the better player late in the season. Daniel hit .322 with 10 HR's and 53 RBI against RH pitching, so he will most likely be in a lefty/right split with Gomes again this season. Nava did suffer a thumb injury in mid June, which may have been part of the reason for a decline in power over the last 3 months of the year. Nava had a nice season in 2013 and his success helped Boston get off to a solid start early in the year. He doesn't have an elite resume, so he really has limited upside. His RBI rate (14%) was below the league average and his average hit (1.468) suggests his power is really limited. No value on draft day.
10. OF Jonny Gomes
Gomes name kind of stands out when you look at the end to the 2013 season. Boston just seemed to win when he was in the lineup during the playoffs, but he really didn't play well (.190 with 1 HR and 5 RBI in 48 at bats). Maybe it was the mystique of the beard. Overall in the regular season, he never had more than 65 at bats in any month. Jonny had power against LH pitching (8 in 161 at bats), but only hit .236 against them. His K rate (24.3%) is too high even with some improvement in this area last year, but he is willing to take a walk (11.8% walk rate). Gomes is no more than a platoon player. He will offer power off of the bench for Boston, but has no chance of getting full time at bats and Boston may find a player that has more value than the Nava/Gomes combo in 2014.
11. OF Grady Sizemore
I noticed some bounce in Red Sox fans steps after Boston signed Sizemore to a minor deal. Grady hasn't been a good major league player since 2008. When he played in 2011, he had a huge spike in his K rate (28.8% -20.2% career average) and he no longer had a good eye at the plate (6.1% walk rate - lowest of his career). He has had microfracture surgery in both of his knees. Overall, I don't see him as a threat to Bradley in centerfield. His skill set has to be less after the injuries and he may not have any speed. Sizemore has talent, but he has a lot to prove. His value may rise with a solid spring training. I view him as a possible upgrade to the Nava/Gomes combo in left field. Solid flyer in AL auction leagues as the price will $1 or less. A fantasy player can't dismiss him completely, but they can't draft him on name alone either.
12. C David Ross
He will be behind the plate at least once a week against left handed pitching.
13. IF Brock Holt
He will compete for a backup role in the infield for Boston. Holt is a career .307 hitter in the minors with no power and average speed.
14. MI Jonathan Herrera
Boston acquired Herrera in a trade with the Rockies for infield depth. He will offer speed off the bench and has enough talent to add a short term spark if he is needed as an injury cover at 2B or SS.
15. 1B Mike Carp
He played very for Boston in short at bats (.296 with 9 HR's and 43 RBI in 216 at bats). Carp may platoon at first base with Napoli at times, plus he will see some at bats in the outfield.
16. OF Bryce Brentz
He hit .264 at AAA with 17 HR's and 56 RBI in 326 at bats last season. His K rate (24.6%) is high and he barely takes a walk (5.7%). Low upside player that will only have a chance to play if Boston has a couple of injuries in the outfield.