The middle infield is as good as it gets, with the veteran savvy of Dustin Pedroia and the emerging stardom of Xander Bogaerts.
Hanley Ramirez may be listed as a first baseman, but he’ll be the designated hitter for most of the season. Shoulder soreness prevented him from taking the field this spring and it’s unclear when or if he’ll be able to man first base again. Gold Glove winner Mitch Moreland will be the primary first baseman, although he may sit against some lefties once Ramirez is cleared to play the field. Moreland’s availability for Opening Day is in doubt while he battles the flu, but he’ll still be on the roster.
Pablo Sandoval gets the chance to redeem himself in Year 3 of what has thus far been a disastrous signing. Showing up to camp in shape was a good start and he was among the team’s most productive hitters this spring. The Panda hit .339 with a 1.027 OPS, while leading the team with five home runs and 20 RBI. Does this mean he’s back to being the All-Star caliber player from his San Francisco days? Let’s not go there yet. At least there’s reason for optimism now when there wasn’t a shred of it at this time a year ago.
It seemed there was a solid chance that Marco Hernandez had earned a roster spot with a scorching spring in which he hit .377/.433/.672 in 61 at-bats. Instead, the Red Sox optioned him to Pawtucket and recalled Steve Selsky to fill the last bench spot. His right-handed bat gives the bench more balance when paired with the lefty Brock Holt. Selsky can also play first base, which could prove useful given the uncertainty surrounding Ramirez.