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2022 MLB season preview: Boston Red Sox

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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Four teams won at least 91 games in the AL East last season, but the Boston Red Sox were the only one considered something of a surprise. Most of the projections regarding the Red Sox’s offense were accurate, but the pitching staff greatly overperformed, especially with Chris Sale attempting to return from Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox had the longest playoff appearance of any AL East team and lost in the ALCS to the Astros. People say “it’s better to be lucky than good.” Well, what if you’re both? The Red Sox were lucky that Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez stayed healthy and had career years. They were fortunate that Nick Pivetta outperformed expectations. The bullpen was much better than expected. The question now is whether or not those things continue and if Sale can be more of a factor with another powerful offense in support.

2022 VSiN MLB Betting Guide

Offense

With the signing of Trevor Story in mid-March to further bolster the offense, it looks like another strong season for the Red Sox on that front. Only the White Sox had a higher BABIP in 2021, so the Red Sox could see some offensive regression, but the Red Sox were second in average exit velocity and led the league in wOBA and xwOBA on balls in play and home runs.

As a result, the offense should keep on scoring runs with the core still intact and Story added to the mix. Rafael Devers had a breakout season with a .279/.352/.538 slash line and 38 home runs. He cut down his strikeouts, increased his walks and proved his 2019 season was no fluke. Xander Bogaerts didn’t hit for quite as much power but posted a 130 wRC+ and .368 wOBA for the second straight season, which actually trails his 2018 and 2019 numbers, meaning he could even improve in 2022.

Enrique Hernandez had his best season since 2018 and J.D. Martinez is still a strong slugger in the middle of the order alongside Alex Verdugo, who proved his value on offense and defense once again. Add Story to replace what was lost with Hunter Renfroe and you have an offense that will continue to produce. The bench is also full of major league experience.

The Red Sox will out-hit a lot of mistakes, as the offense projects to be one of the best in baseball. If what we saw from Bobby Dalbec in 2020 and 2021 is sustainable, this offense will rival any in the AL.

Pitching

The Red Sox’s pitching staff will be the group under the microscope again. The addition of Story makes them a much better defensive team, but the Red Sox seem to be making a mistake by keeping Bogaerts at shortstop and putting Story at second base. Story regularly grades as a top-five defensive shortstop, while Bogaerts has carried negative value there, a problem exacerbated by the fact that Devers is one of the worst defensive third basemen in the majors.

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