Red Sox fans are expecting great things from this new and improved band of young players. Do the power rankings agree?
Since the Red Sox signed David Price and Craig Kimbrel, Boston fans have eagerly awaited the start of the 2016 season for a chance at redemption. After yet another year finishing at the bottom of the American League East, expectations of Red Sox fans are high. With a new ace and dugout overflowing with young talent, Boston fans across the country believe that the team has a real chance to make a playoff run.
Fans, however, may be overly optimistic. After looking at power rankings from around the web, many analysts believe that the Red Sox, while a strong team, have many questions and problems yet to be answered.
ESPN predicts that the Red Sox will finish the season as the victor of the American League East, however, their power rankings place them at number eight, two places behind Price’s former team: the Toronto Blue Jays.
"“David Price could make all the difference to a team that features the most promising young core outside of Chicago’s North Side”, writes Scott Lauber. “Stars-in-waiting Mookie Betts (whose 6.0 WAR ranked seventh in the AL in 2015) and Xander Bogaerts are cheap offsets for underachievers Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, whose weighty contracts outweigh their light bats.”"
"“The lack of a true ace was one of the main causes of the Red Sox’s struggles in 2015, and they quickly rectified that problem with the addition of David Price in free agency,” wrote Joel Reuter. “Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are budding stars, while veterans like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are still capable of star-level production in their own right. There is no shortage of wild cards on the roster in Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo and the high-priced duo of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, but this still looks like a top-five offense.”"
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Where the two outlets differ is in the ranking of the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. CBS puts the Red Sox just in front of the Yankees, and five spots behind the Toronto Blue Jays. The staff at Bleacher Report, however, ranked the Blue Jays at thirteen, and, surprisingly, the Yankees at four.
Much to the chagrin of Red Sox fans, Boston Herald writer Michael Silverman agrees that the Yankees are a stronger team than the Red Sox, however, he does rank the Blue Jays ahead of both teams at number three. Silverman ranks the Yankees at twelve and the Red Sox at fourteen.
"“They have their ace, but they do not have a deep rotation behind David Price, and their bullpen is flawed without Carson Smith. The continued development of studs Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts will help now and in the long term, but this pitching staff is not deep enough at the moment. If Smith and starter Eduardo Rodriguez recover quickly and completely, the patches to the rotation will hold long enough for the team to move into contention,” Silverman writes of the team. “The defense, particularly up the middle, is strong, and the offense should be among the best. These early-season pitching injuries came after it was painfully clear the Sox do not have a true No. 2 starter. They need more than one 200-inning guy to make up for a thin bullpen.”"
"“Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are budding stars, fellow homegrown prospects Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart could be primed for mini-breakouts, and there’s more young talent on the way with lefty starter Henry Owens, infielder Deven Marrero and others poised to contribute at some point this season,” writes Jonah Keri. “David Ortiz’s swan song will get most of the love, but if the Sox are going to return to the postseason in 2016, it will be on the strength of better pitching and big contributions from the kids.”"
While, of course, these rankings are all conjecture, they all suggest one thing: that the American League East has been restored to its former glory. And the Boston Red Sox went from being the worst team in the division, to having a true chance of coming out on top.