Ten Bold Predictions for the 2022 Red Sox
It’s finally here. After one of the most tumultuous offseasons in recent memory, the Boston Red Sox will open up the 2022 season in New York on Friday afternoon. Not only are the Red Sox back, but the baseball gods have rewarded us with a spectacular matchup of aces Gerrit Cole and Nathan Eovaldi.
Before we jump into baseball season, however, we need to do some bold predictions. Here are ten unexpected things I see happening to the Red Sox in the 2022 season.
Red Sox 1B Bobby Dalbec will have a better season than J.D Martinez
This prediction is simply a case of one player being on the rise and one player being in decline. J.D Martinez is not the player he once was. He was able to work his way back to an above-average hitter in 2021, but the underlying metrics show a clear step back. His chase rate was the highest since his rookie season while his walk rate was the lowest since his rookie season. And while his numbers last year were an improvement from the disastrous 2020 season, they weren’t nearly as good as his 2017-2019 prime, and at 35, he is unlikely to repeat those numbers ever again.
Bobby Dalbec, meanwhile, is only getting better. After a disastrous start to the season, Dalbec had one of the best second halves of any first baseman in baseball. He slashed an incredible .269/.344/.611 and launched 15 home runs in the process. He has continued to show improvement this spring, displaying a smaller leg kick with two strikes to cut down on his strikeouts. The result has been a .333 batting average and only seven punchouts in 37 exhibition at-bats.
None of these means that Dalbec is going to be an MVP candidate this season or that Martinez is going to be completely worthless. Both are likely to be key contributors to the 2022 Red Sox, but with the strides Dalbec took at the end of last season and the decline Martinez has shown in the previous few years, the edge has to go to the youngster.