Red Sox vs the AL East: final rankings

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Jul 27, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) is congratulated by second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) at home plate after he hit a three-run home run during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Boston Red Sox 

Average rank: 2.94 (3)

Average offensive rank: 2.56 (2)

Average pitching rank: 3.33 (3)

Unfortunately, this series didn’t paint such an optimistic picture for the Red Sox either. While general manager Ben Cherington’s roster overhaul, as he signed free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to major contracts this winter, looks to help the offense in a big way– the team’s average offensive rank of 2.56 was the second-best in the division, just a touch behind Toronto– his failure to land a top-notch pitcher could wind up hurting the team, though he did bring in some talent with Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson. Boston’s shaky starting pitching, which ranked fourth in the division, is a major reason for the team’s third-place projection.

The projections for the Red Sox lineup were significantly more encouraging, with Dustin Pedroia, Ramirez, and David Ortiz all finishing as the top players at their respective positions. Aside from the last-place finish with catcher Christian Vazquez, the Red Sox don’t really have any weak links in their lineup, and young players like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts will only improve going forward. If the Red Sox succeed this season, they’ll do so on the strength of their lineup, and with such a quality group, that hardly appears to be impossible.