Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Red Sox: 2014 prediction post

So I look pretty foolish after predicting last year that the Sox would go 77-85. But as a long, longtime Sox fan, it was in my blood to be pessimistic. Still is. So, I'm going to double down and predict that in 2014 the Sox go ... 77-85.

Oh, sure, it would be easy to jump on the bandwagon and declare them favorites to win the World Series. But consider, from Mike Carp and Shane Victorino all the way up to Big Papi, this was a group that greatly overperformed last year. It was awesome and it would be awesome if they would do it again. But more likely, they'll return to something closer to their historical statistical averages.

Given that, what have the Sox done to make themselves better? Well, they went out and got Grady Sizemore. I loved the deal, and still do, given the price tag. But there's a good chance he's going to get hurt. Beyond that, the Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury, they replaced Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a catcher twice his age, they turned the all-important right side of the infield over to a couple of guys with less than a year of experience between the two of them combined, and they let their aging starting rotation get a year older without any infusion of young blood.

Meanwhile, the Yankees and the Orioles have both gotten better. And the Rays still have the best pitching staff in the division, not to mention a scary lineup that inclues Evan Longoria and Rookie of the Year Wil Myers.

So, think back to the 2005 Red Sox, who looked a lot like the 2004 Red Sox, but only managed to capture the Wild Card before being swept in the ALDS. Or the 2008 Red Sox, who at least managed to get as far as game 7 in the ALCS. The truth is, its very, very hard to repeat in the big leagues, even when your team is stacked. And the 2014 Sox ain't stacked.

So, my gut and my mind both say 77-85. I hope I'm wrong.


  1. You make some good points - especially about the inexperience of the right side of the infield. However, i'm pretty much an eternal optimist about this Sox team, and feel pretty good about them standing (relatively) pat. Why is that? Because this team has an incredible amount of talent waiting in the wings to take over or serve as mid-season trades to address any holes that pop up. Sizemore gets hurt? Plug in JBJ. Buchholz unable to pitch a whole season again? Take your pick of the young arms down in Pawtucket. Hell, even if WMB continues to struggle, you could always sign Drew again and slide Xavier back to 3B. The flexibility is what I love about this club, and why I think they'll overcome the inevitable hiccups along the road.

    So my prediction is 90-72, although i'm not confident that they'll take the division - the Rays just look way too good.

  2. very hard to know what to expect from the team this year. we said the same last year and were treated to one of the best, most unexpected rides in any baseball season i've followed. there are plenty of reasons to doubt... Joel, you raised some good points; but i'm going to lean on the side of optimism. we've debating many times the merit of the "team". while not all of us agree that the team mentality can have much impact in a sport of individual contributors and stats, i do truly believe there is a hunger/desire aspect in each player that is influence by the hunger/desire of those around him. there are some firm anchors on this team, the franchise players who still bring the passion despite not having to fight for their next contract, the newbies and oldies with something to prove, who get out there and prove it with youthful/renewed vigor, and a few players that just fill the gaps. the point is, while on paper you can certainly find the holes, this team, from the manager on down, inspires the best to come out in everyone. or at least it did last year. and i'm betting that carries into this year.

    i do wonder who will end up being behind the plate. our pitching staff is fragile and their backups unproven. we need a calming force back there... and i hope Ross stays healthy, because i think he can be that.

    in 2005, the sox were 95-67. in 2008, 95-67. the world series champion carries momentum, even if it doesn't always lead to another title.