|C||Victor Martinez||SP 1||Josh Beckett|
|1B||Kevin Youkilis||SP 2||Jon Lester|
|2B||Dustin Pedroia||SP 3||John Lackey|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||SP 4||Daisuke Matsuzaka|
|SS||Marco Scutaro||SP 5||Clay Buchholz|
|CF||Jacoby Ellsbury||CL||Jonathan Papelbon|
|RF||J.D. Drew||RP||Hideki Okajima|
|DH||David Ortiz||RP||Daniel Bard|
|IF||Mike Lowell||RP||Manny Delcarmen|
|C||Jason Varitek||RP||Tim Wakefield|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|SP||John Lackey||Free Agency||OF||Jason Bay||Free Agency|
|SS||Marco Scutaro||Free Agency||1B||Casey Kotchman||Trade (SEA)|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||Free Agency||RP||Billy Wagner||Free Agency|
|OF||Mike Cameron||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Casey Kelly (P), Ryan Westmoreland (OF), Lars Anderson (1B), Jose Iglesias (SS)
The Red Sox finished 2009 with a 95-67 record, good for 2nd place in the AL East, and the Wild Card bid for the American League. The offense was led by LF Jason Bay (36 HR, 119 RBI), CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.301, 70 SB), and 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis (.305, 27 HR, 94 RBI), while the pitching staff was anchored by Jon Lester (15-8, 3.41 ERA) and Josh Beckett (17-6, 3.86 ERA). GM Theo Epstein was extremely busy during the season, acquiring C Victor Martinez from the Indians for a package of players, and also acquiring 1B Casey Kotchman while trading away SP Brad Penny, SP John Smoltz, 1B Adam LaRoche, and SS Julio Lugo.
The Red Sox season really appeared to be a tale of two halves, as the Red Sox were in first place as late as July 20th. However, once the Yankees got on a roll, the Sox were relegated to chasing after the wild card. In the playoffs, they drew the Angels in the first round, and were summarily swept in 3 games by the Angels.
The thing that I really found interesting about the Red Sox is that they were able to take some high-risk players, and when they didn’t work, still were able to make moves to allow them to recover. Penny and Smoltz both didn’t pitch particularly well for the Red Sox, but all they really cost the Sox was money. In spite of giving up quite a few players to acquire Victor Martinez, the farm system still remains extremely deep.
Team Outlook for 2010
The Red Sox are expected to compete for a playoff spot again this year, and would be on the short list of World Series contenders as well. They’ve improved at 3 positions where they were weak at the start of the 2009 season (C, 3B, SS), while losing some offensive production in LF. However, they’ve added excellent defenders at both 3B and LF, who should help make up some of that production. Their pitching staff is extremely deep, with Beckett, Lester and free agent signee John Lackey penciled in at the top of a rotation which still includes Daisuke Matsuzaka, a more experienced Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield to fill in with solid innings in either long-relief or as a spot-starter.
I’m not really sure where the weakness would be on the Red Sox as of yet. J.D. Drew is always a risk to get injured, and DH David Ortiz was a bit of a mixed bag last season. The bullpen is still extremely strong, with Jonathan Papelbon slotted in as the closer yet again. Even the bench is fairly strong, with 3B Mike Lowell, C Jason Varitek, and 3B/OF Bill Hall among the players manager Terry Francona can call on to give the starters a rest.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
Lots of players to like here, with C Victor Martinez, 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis, 2B Dustin Pedroia, SS Marco Scutaro, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CL Jonathan Papelbon, and SPs Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey all being owned in standard 10-team leagues. If I were looking for a player with some upside, LF Mike Cameron could potentially hit better this season with a full home schedule of the Green Monster.
Prediction for 2010
The Red Sox, barring any unusual injuries, should be right at the top of the AL East again. I think that they’re going to be extremely competitive, and should be in the playoffs come October.
94-68, 2nd in the AL East
Wild Card winner for the AL