I will certainly repeat myself. Expect Ortiz to follow-up 2015 with a mirror of 2016. Age seems to have minimal impact on his performance and the long-term results are what one would expect – that being the final season tally that suggests another 30 home runs and a 100 RBI. Of course, injuries are the wild card with any player and Ortiz is certainly not exempt with a 40 hung in his age category.
Bogaerts had a breakout year and the baseball die is cast. Expect the suddenly found ability to hit to all fields to continue with, of course, a slight increase of power. Bogaerts appears to be a player that can pop 20 or so out of the yard with the price being paid in batting average and a staggeringly high BABIP (.372). Expect the average to drop a bit with the offset being a few more home runs and doubles.
Brock Holt will play a bundle of games with a plate appearance total that could qualify for a batting championship if he had the average – which he will not. Boston’s own Edward Everett Hale wrote “The Man Without a Country” and Holt is the man without a position and that could certainly curtail my previous mention of average and PA’s.
Miracles occasionally do happen and if Sandoval and Ramirez suddenly resemble contributing MLB players someone has to sit and Mr. Someone could be Holt. Add Rusney Castillo to that list of achievers, and even more games could disappear from the Holt ledger and don’t discount Travis Shaw. Shaw has corner position power and Hold does not, but when Holt does play you will see the positives you have always seen.
If David Price performs at 2015 standards the Red Sox will win the division. A bold or not so bold prediction since that is what Price accomplished for Toronto after being traded by Detroit. Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA and with the Jays that was 9-1. The Jays produce runs and so will the Red Sox, so expect potential runs to be protected with a superior bullpen. Price is now in the relaxing middle-age of his baseball career.
Craig Kimbrel cost a nice chunk out of the farm system, but that chunk was palatable considering that the players shipped out were road blocked in Boston. The negative – hey, I’m a Red Sox fan – is a slight trend in the numbers downward from lights out to just incredible. The HR/9 almost reached 1.0 and the BB/9 remains a precariously close to 3.50 and the ERA jolted upwards – especially at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
I’ll put the negativity under the concerned category and even a repeat of 2015 would make Kimbrel one of the best in the game while allowing a positive restructuring of a dreadful bullpen.