Red Sox Roundtable: Over/Under predictions for 2018 season
By Sean Penney
Eduardo Nunez – over/under 120 games played.
Brandon – Under. Yes Dustin Pedroia is coming off a serious injury and Xander Bogaerts can’t play 182 games. But do we expect Pedroia to be content with sitting often to preserve his knee? I don’t. Pedroia would rather be out there with one leg than sit and rest. Early in the season Pedroia will take some time off, but as the season progresses, I think he will play more often than people think. Bogaerts could take some time off, but he’s entering the year with a lot to prove. I highly doubt his agent will want Bogaerts on the bench too often, needing to bounce back in a big way for an upcoming payday. Nunez could certainly see time at third base, but he doesn’t grade as a stellar fielder at the hot corner, and the Red Sox may feel reluctant to place him there often. Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland are already battling for at-bats between the two of them, so there’s limited opportunities for Nunez at first base.
Rick – Over if his knee holds up. There will also be the need for an extra body in the infield even when Pedroia returns. Devers or Bogaerts may need some down time or could grab some DH time. If the Red Sox say farewell to Jackie Bradley you could see some outfield games for Nunez. Now that will be a sight.
Cole – Under. Pedroia is still a better player at this stage in his career than Nunez. Even if Pedroia misses two months, I still think he will start the majority of games the rest of the season and it’s hard to see Bogaerts and Devers needing too many days off. If someone else gets hurt Nunez will likely hit 120 games, but otherwise I’d peg him closer to 100.
Josh – Under. Pedroia is still the man. His bat isn’t what it used to be, but his defense is still elite. Once he’s healthy, Pedroia will hold his post for as long as he remains healthy.
Bryson – I’m taking under on the 120 games. The Red Sox will also have Blake Swihart to play in the utility role, as well as Brock Holt. Nunez will get the most playing time among that trio, but I still have him pegged at 100 games or so for this year. At the price they got him, having him perform similarly to last year for 100 games would be a steal.
Stephen – I’m going with under, I think his knee injury could end up placing him on the 10 day DL at least once this year. However, If he hits like he did last August, Alex Cora will make sure he plays more than 120 games.
Hunter – I was stuck on this one for a while because Nunez’s own health could play a factor. I’m going to go with the over though. He’s going to get plenty of time filling in for Pedroia, and will be the primary space-filler whenever Bogaerts or Devers needs a break. Nunez will also see plenty of late-inning pinch-hit and pinch-run situations, which will give him some “cheap” games played.