Who will be this year’s biggest disappointment?
Rick: My biggest disappointment has already surfaced with Steven Wright bagging an 80-game suspension. So we go to my runner-up and that will be Nathan Eovaldi. Bitter disappointment? I doubt that unless he goes for round three of Tommy John.
Josh: If any player disappoints, it’s probably going to be Rick Porcello. Since his Cy Young 2016 season, Porcello has struggled with consistency and with home runs allowed. He showed some improvement last year, but still allowed too many homers and finished with an ERA over 4.00. If He can find a way to keep the ball in the yard more often this season, the Red Sox could be the best top-to-bottom rotation in baseball. If not, Porcello will be the weak link and possibly the team’s Achilles heel.
Brendan: David Price: As much as I hate to say it, I think Price’s postseason performances may have been a bit of a fluke. I’m not expecting a total drop-off, but significant enough to once again raise questions about his reliability.
Patrick: Christian Vazquez seems to have won the Red Sox catcher battle despite batting just .132 in Spring Training. According to the Red Sox brass, he is impressed in camp but the offensive numbers seem to say otherwise. We can’t read too much into spring numbers but Vazquez also batted .207 last season. He also does not have the same rapport with the pitchers as Sandy Leon, who was recently removed from the 40-man roster and reassigned to Triple-A Pawtucket. While Leon’s offensive numbers were never great, his effect on the pitching staff will not be fully understood until what is now looking like an inevitable trade.
Rudi: The areas that could prove to be costly are at catcher and first base. I’m not sure whether we’ll see any consistent offense from either position. It’ll be difficult for Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce to be as good as they were last season. I’m sure everything will be fine though!
Hunter: This is a weird one, but Steve Pearce. Hear me out. I don’t think he’ll be bad at all. However, a lot of fans seem to be putting him on a pedestal after his fantastic World Series. The fact that he’s simply a role player again could be a crushing reality for a lot of fans early in the year.
Evan: The case can be made for World Series MVP Steve Pearce, but I think the obvious choice is Christian Vazquez. He’s basically been handed the starting job despite an awful spring training and a dismal season at the plate in 2018. After signing the catcher to an extension last March, the team isn’t ready to give up on him yet and unfortunately had to banish Leon instead. Vazquez’s lack of offense was tolerable last year because of the team’s stellar lineup and the fact that he split time with Leon. The pitchers and managers raved about Leon’s ability to call a game and now that he’s at Triple-A, the pressure will be on Vazquez to pick up the slack. Blake Swihart‘s bat could force Alex Cora to give the kid more playing time as the year goes on and if Vazquez struggles again, Leon is in the minors waiting for a chance to rejoin the squad.
Brian: One name that comes to mind who could have a season that is lesser than what people expect is Rafael Devers. I still think he could have a good season but I think people continue to raise his expectations and this could end up causing him to continue to feel added pressure. A strong spring for Devers could lead him to big things heading into Opening Day and he is a player I will be watching closely all year.