Red Sox Bold Predictions: Projecting the 2020 lineup

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: A general view as Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning in Game Two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: A general view as Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning in Game Two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 17: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on August 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 17: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on August 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Catcher/Designated Hitter

Will J.D. Martinez opt-out? Martinez’s defense traps him to the American League where DH offers the opportunity to minimize defensive inabilities. What is known is Martinez is a lock at 35+ home runs, 100+ RBI, and to hit .300. What is also known is Martinez is an adventure in the outfield with a -19.4 UZR/150 in left and a -18.5 UZR/150 in right.

If Martinez finds another team willing to pony up then the DH situation takes a real offensive tumble. The Red Sox could venture into the free-agent market and scoop up one of the usual aging sluggers who are available. That could be a cost-saving invested elsewhere, but a dent in run production.

Christian Vazquez is one of the best in the league and second to Mitch Gaver in WAR. Vazquez is a smart situational hitter who has demonstrated the ability to do the little things that can have a big impact. Is Vazquez the best on the team at the lost art of bunting? Vazquez has benefited from the sudden homer-happy environment and hit 21 and counting – a nice bonus.

Defensively Sandy Leon has an edge, albeit a slight one on Vazquez. Both are blessed with power arms, good footwork, excellent game management, and veteran leadership. Expect the usual to continue in 2020 with Pawtucket having a veteran addition for emergency storage.