Red Sox Predictions: Boston’s offense will lead the American League
The Red Sox will once again have a league topping offense in 2021
This may come as a bit of a hot take but sometimes you have to get a little weird sometimes. As spring training comes to a close and Opening Day is just over a week away, I have a feeling the Red Sox are going to be pretty good this year. Now that isn’t my hot take but it’s what’s opening the door for what I’m about to say. Boston will lead the American League in offense in 2021. The bats are there and from what we’ve seen in camp they seem more than reinvigorated.
Some of you may be laughing, some may be scratching your heads, but it isn’t that far-fetched of an idea. Over the last handful of years, starting in 2017, the Red Sox have had one of the best offenses in the American League. In the last four years the team has found themselves within the top-10 all four years and within the top-5 twice. Hell, even a year that saw them finish as the fourth-worst team in the game saw them still have the 7th ranked offense.
Here’s the breakdown per Fangraphs:
- 2017 – 8th ranked offense
- 2018 – 1st ranked offense
- 2019 – 5th ranked offense
- 2020 – 7th ranked offense
In that time span, we’ve seen the Red Sox dominate and win it all and as I mentioned about, come in fourth from the bottom. It’s been a wide gamut of success and failure for this team but through that window, the offense has always performed. If we know anything about Boston it’s that scoring runs comes easy to them, stopping the runs from scoring is the hard part. But this spring has seen the new faces step up to the plate, literally, and the vets on the squad reignite their bats.
As we enter the final week of spring training the Red Sox sit fourth in the Grapefruit League but that’s a minor cliff note in the story. Boston is currently tied with Kansas City for the most runs scored in by an AL team this spring with 128. And in a positive change from 2020, they’re second behind Toronto for run differential with a +23. That plays a key factor as we saw last year because the offense couldn’t relax and get into a groove as they were always working from behind.
If the pitching staff can keep the opposition off the scoreboard then this lineup can get to work as we’ve seen in the better years and put the hurt on the other squad. That was one of the big parts of this team’s success in both 2018 and 2019 as they finished +229 and +73 respectively. Allowing these bats to get hot without having to dig out of a massive hole will skyrocket this Red Sox offense back to the top of the American League.
Obviously, we can only take spring training and history with a grain of salt as nothing matters more than the present and the regular season. However, if you’re not getting even the smallest bit excited about what this team may be able to do come April 1st then I’ve got nothing for ya. Kiké Hernandez is settling in big to his new role as the lead-off man and is hitting .353/.488/1.047 with 12 hits and 5 RBI. Having a guy at the top of the order that can get on base and has patience, as he’s also accumulated 8 walks, is going to be big for getting this lineup firing on all cylinders.
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If we were to worry about any aspect of the lineup it’s that the big bats haven’t quite woken up yet despite showings signs of promise. Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez have all had big games but haven’t quite strung everything together yet. The thing is unlike in years past they’re getting big support from the rest of the cast.
Marwin Gonzalez is hovering around his career-best numbers while young players like Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis, and Christian Arroyo are crushing the hell out of the baseball. That’s going to be the key to success for the Red Sox in 2021. The entire weight of the offense can’t fall on the shoulders of a few players it needs to be an entire team effort and so far this spring we’re seeing that, just as we had in those seasons where Boston was at the top of the food chain offensively.
Again, some may think this prediction is a bit out there especially coming off of the season that this team just went through, but it isn’t too far-fetched. The history is there and this team is more than ready to prove to the baseball world that they’re more 2018 than they are 2020. Opening Day is coming fast and that means it’s time to get back to work. When the dust settles and the calendar flips to October I believe that the Red Sox will have the best offense in the American League.