If USA Today is a trusted outlet, then there is reason to believe in the Red Sox this season.
That is because their 2016 MLB season projections came out — and they have the Red Sox winning the American League East, edging out an 88-74 finish — two games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays (projected 86-76). On top of that, The Washington Post likes their odds.
And of course, the third layer of the cake is that Vegas has the Sox winning the American League.
These outlets really seem to think the Red Sox will see some big time bounce back years from the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Rick Porcello, who earned over $60 million in salary last season combined. All-Star caliber players, they just did not live up to the hype as they adjusted to bean town — so bounce back years from them will make-or-break the season.
On top of the questions being asked, the Red Sox still lack a strong left-handed outfield bat. Right now, it looks like Brock Holt and Travis Shaw will be thrusted out that way, but they’re natural infielders and cover enough ground on the depth chart already. There was no indication last year that either Jackie Bradley Jr. or Rusney Castillo can hit right-handed pitching well on a consistent basis — and the primary backup outfielder, Chris Young, does not hit right-handers well either.
As NESN points out, the Red Sox have come in last place in three of the past four seasons, so they have a lot to prove — even if a few people with laptops who like the team on paper say otherwise.
Certainly, this is a team to love on paper. After all, Allen Craig and Brennan Boesch are going to be on the PawSox this season. In 2012, those were some big name/high class big leaguers. Not them in particular, but the Red Sox will need big names to play like big names to win this season.