The World Champion Boston Red Sox look to defend their title in 2019. Here is an early look at what to expect from the leaders on the team in 2019.
Spring Training is right around the corner and the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are ready to defend their title. Last year they exceeded expectations and really had a great run. As they turn the page to 2019, what are some of the early expectations for this team?
Overall, the Sox have had a quiet offseason with not a lot of buzz. Honestly, almost the entire baseball offseason was quiet and had no buzz. However, their expectations will be high in 2019, especially for the star players like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, David Price, and Chris Sale.
Betts had a stellar 2018 season. He batted .346 and scored 129 runs. The reigning MVP had the best season of his career last year. He had 32 home runs and an OPS of 1.078. I expect Betts to have a great season in 2019. His mechanics improved last year from 2017 and you could see more improvements in 2019. His 2019 projection, per baseball-reference, is to have 578 at-bats, 80 RBI’s, 24 home runs, with a batting average of .301 and an OPS of .903. His projection of 2019 looks pretty good. I expect him to also to make those great catches in the outfield also like he always does.
This will be Benintendi’s fourth season in the big leagues. In 661 plate appearances in 2018, he produced 168 hits, 87 RBI’s, and 21 stolen bases. He’s quite aggressive when it comes to stealing bases as he was only caught stealing three times last season. He had a batting average of .290 and an OPS of 8.33. For the 2019 season, I expect him to be stealing bases and also hit the ball to score runs during game-changing moments. He could also make great plays in the outfield that could change games as we saw in the ALCS. In 2019, Benintendi is projected to hit .279 with an .801 OPS, 16 home runs, 78 RBI, and 16 stolen bases. He really has gotten better every year, I see him even better in 2019 than he was in 2018.
When Martinez got to Boston, people in the media didn’t want him. They were saying he wasn’t as good as Giancarlo Stanton who went to the Yankees. Turns out they were wrong and Martinez was a powerhouse in the middle of the lineup. Martinez was brought to Boston to fill that gap in the DH spot. Since David Ortiz retired they were missing it. Martinez got to Boston and shined. He hit 43 home runs in 2018 and had a career-high 130 RBI’s. His batting average was .330 and an OPS of 1.031. It was no question the 2018 season was the best of his career. I expect the same for the 2019 season. He’s projected to hit .300 with a .951 OPS, 35 home runs, and 99 RBI’s. He really made a name for himself last season and I expect him to do the same this season. He’ll come up with the game on the line and hit a home run to win it.
When Price entered the 2018 season he was facing those playoff demons that would always haunt him. The fans and the media were always talking about how he couldn’t pitch well in the postseason. For Price and the fans, what he did in the regular season really didn’t matter once you got into the playoffs. Well in the playoffs in 2018, Price was lights out and has won in the postseason. In two World Series games, Price was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA. Price pitched 17 innings in the World Series and recorded 14 strikeouts on only 9 hits. After getting over that postseason hump in 2018, expect him to be ready to dominate in 2019. His projection is to go 12-7 with 151 strikeouts, and a 1.216 WHIP in 153 innings. I think he’ll have a great 2019 season and be a candidate for the Cy Young Award. Remember, Price holds all the cards. Now nobody can say anything since he’s won in the postseason.
Finally, Sale was brought to the Red Sox because Price, at the time, wasn’t himself. The Sox traded for Sale because they needed another dominant pitcher in the starting rotation. Boy did they get one. Sale only cares about winning World Series Championships. When he closed out the World Series in Los Angeles in the ninth inning that was something special for him and the team. Sale went 12-4 in 2018 and battled injuries throughout the season. It was like the Sox were holding him for the postseason, which in return was a smart idea. He pitched five innings in the World Series recorded 10 strikeouts. He only gave up two walks and a WHIP of 1.4000. His 2019 projection is to go 12-6, pitch 161 innings, and have 260 strikeouts. I think he’ll be dominant once again in 2019. I also expect the Sox to probably do what they did in 2018 with having him skip starts in September to get ready for the postseason. Sale isn’t going to stop working hard on his pitches. He wants to go out and win another World Series Championship. He’ll make improvements in 2019 to be a better pitcher than he was in 2018.
Overall, I don’t expect the Sox to win 108 games. But I do expect them to win the division again. The team is pretty much the same team as last year with a few subtractions. They really didn’t need any more bats as they have a powerhouse lineup. Their starting rotation is pretty good as it will probably go Sale, Price, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez. I think the Sox could win 95 games and win the AL East. They’ll be once again contenders for another World Series Championship.