Boston Red Sox 2019 Season Preview: Fantasy Analysis
2018 Record: 108 – 54
Projected 2019 Record: 96-66
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
AL MVP? Division winners? American League champions? And world series winners? The 2018 Red Sox season was a historic one to say the least. Sports analysts and writers alike called the 2018 team the best in the history of the Red Sox franchise. Not only did the Red Sox dominate during the regular season, but they went 11-3 in the playoffs, obliterating any team that stepped in their way. From April to September, the team’s stars, Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and Chris Sale, led the way to their 108 wins. But in the postseason, unlikely heroes stepped up to keep the team’s momentum going. Players such as David Price, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. proved crucial in the world series victory.
Following their impressive 2018 season, few changes will need to be made if they are to have a good shot at another playoff run. If players can stay healthy and manager Alex Cora can continue to lead as he did last year, back-to-back champions is not out of the question.
2019 Red Sox Storylines
Having lost very few players in the offseason, the Red Sox come into 2019 as strong as they were a year ago. However, questions circling the team’s bullpen and late inning relief have plagued Alex Cora and his staff over the last few months. The club already lost reliever Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and are likely to part ways with closer Craig Kimbrel as well. Sources say that Cora isn’t too worried about the relief deficit; but if players like Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes are to replace Kelly and Kimbrel, they have big shoes to fill. Also, Dustin Pedroia claims he will be comeback player of the year in 2019. How will he fit into an already loaded lineup? Cora will surely find a way.
Red Sox Pitchers
Chris Sale: With the chance that Sale will be departing the Red Sox soon, it is evident that the club hopes to resign the star. This is a testament to the value he has in this organization. Expect another strong season from the Sox ace.
David Price: While Price wasn’t incredibly impressive during the regular season, he hopes to ride his 2018 postseason dominance into the 2019. A real leader of this team, Price will look to improve on last year’s regular season and serve as a role model for younger pitchers in the organization.
Rick Porcello: Porcello looks to return to his 2016 Cy Young form this season. He was far from dominant last season but turned in some impressive outings and ultimately did contribute to the team’s world series victory.
Eduardo Rodriguez: Along with many other Sox pitchers, Rodriguez had an up and down 2018 season. However, he has impressed Sale and Price in his bullpen sessions so far this spring and looks to play a bigger role in the rotation this season.
Nathan Eovaldi: Similar to Price, Eovaldi looks to continue his 2018 postseason tear in the 2019 regular season. The hard-throwing righty will surely play a big role this year, whether it’s in the rotation or as a reliever.
Red Sox Relievers
This is an area of question for the Sox. After failing to sign a reliever in the offseason, Cora will turn to relievers Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier to lead the way in late inning relief. Relief pitching will definitely be the clubs Achilles heel in the 2019 season.
Red Sox Hitters
If there’s an area of this organization that needs no help whatsoever, it’s the team’s offense. The Sox ranked near or at the top of nearly every offensive category in 2018. MVP Mookie Betts and JD Martinez ranked 1 and 2 respectively in average and Martinez led the majors in RBI’s. Players like Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland all turned in solid seasons as well. And despite questions about his health and performance abilities, Sox fans are definitely excited to see Dustin Pedroia return to the lineup. Expect another offensive explosion from the team this season.
Red Sox Projected Starting Lineup
- Andrew Benintendi
- Mookie Betts
- JD Martinez
- Xander Bogaerts
- Mitch Moreland
- Rafael Devers
- Dustin Pedroia
- Christian Vasquez
- Jackie Bradley Jr.
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Andrew Benintendi – Listen, we can talk about J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts all day. They are currently going top ten in ADP, so they are as noteworthy we can get. Let’s talk Andrew Benintendi, who has an ADP of about 29 right now. Benintendi is projected to leadoff, moving Betts to the two-spot. Benintendi combined for 190 RBI and runs this past season, stealing 21 bases. Leading off for an offense like Boston’s, you are going to provide a ton of fantasy value. We shouldn’t expect a huge breakout in power and speed, but the potential for a near 20-20 season with an above average source of runs is a huge positive in the fantasy world.
Xander Bogaerts – It is a contract year for Xander Bogaerts, who is coming off a career high in RBI and HR. Hitting behind J.D. Martinez was a huge plus, and will be again. Bogaerts took a major step in his batted ball stats, upping his hard-contact rate 6% from 2017. It was up 5% from his career norm, which resulted in him ranking top ten in the AL in slugging. Bogaerts does not have the ceiling of a Lindor or Correa, but he is a very solid fantasy bat at SS.
2019 Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
Chris Sale – Chris Sale was once again a strong option, and is the top fantasy option at the pitcher position for the Sox. He was in the 98th percentile in K% last season, and finished with 237 strikeouts. The concern here is that he pitched 158 innings, and there have been some arm concerns late in the year. He has pitched 200+ innings in three of the last four years. It is tough to bank on that projection for this year, but he should split the difference.
Eduardo Rodriguez – For where you can get Eduardo Rodriguez, there is a lot of upside for him in drafts. He has posted over a 25% strikeout rate in the last two seasons, and limited hard-contact last season. He is missing bats, and his changeup is catching the eye of a lot of people. Rodriguez tends to hit the DL once or twice a year with injuries that keep him from hitting the 150+ inning mark. This has been a focus for him this season, and I like him to get there.