Red Sox bold predictions for 2016

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Mar 11, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw (47) singles in the first inning of the spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Dunedin, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw (47) singles in the first inning of the spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

Travis Shaw will hit 30 home runs

Why it could happen:  Manager John Farrell has already indicated that the starting third base job is now a competition, opening the door for Shaw to steal it away from Pablo Sandoval. Shaw hit 13 home runs last season in only 226 at-bats, which would have put him in range to flirt with the 30 homer mark if we were to extrapolate that production over a full season with a starter’s workload. Even if it takes most of the month of April for Shaw to wrestle the full-time job away from Sandoval, there’s still time for him to see enough plate appearances to make a run at this goal.

Hanley Ramirez hits over .300

Why it could happen: Expectations are low for Ramirez following a season where he hit .249, but a bounce-back campaign could be in order. He’s a career .296 hitter, so topping the .300 mark isn’t that far-fetched. He hit a scorching .345 as recently as 2013, even if it did come in an injury shortened season. Last year’s struggles were a combination of injury and frustration over his failure to learn the outfield, but he’s healthy now and a return to the infield should help restore his confidence. Ramirez hit 10 home runs in April last year, but seemed to be trying too hard to take advantage of how close the left field wall is at Fenway. This spring he seems to be driving the ball better instead of trying to hit home runs, which is the approach he’s taken when he is at his best.

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