2. 2024 Red Sox ACE? Not Brayan Bello
Probably an unpopular opinion here, but I don't think Brayan Bello holds the title of the "ace" of this underwhelming rotation in 2024.
Stick with me here, but I predict Nick Pivetta rising above Bello and even Giolito as "the guy" in this 2024 Red Sox rotation.
A year after he was literally demoted to the bullpen? Yes. Anyone who followed the team closely in 2023 could see how invaluable Pivetta was to the pitching staff. Here's something you probably didn't know: Nick Pivetta led the Red Sox in strikeouts and came in second in innings pitched in 2023, as The Athletic recently noted. Let the guy have a shaky first half. 'Nicky Punches' is going to be a pain for opposing hitters in 2024.
1. The Red Sox will be playing postseason baseball in 2024
Okay - now I know I've for sure lost you. Hear me out. I know this was not the offseason anyone expected and this team has finished last in the division in consecutive seasons and essentially nothing has changed. Oh, and the team lost Alex Verdugo. What possibly makes me think this team will be playing in the postseason? I know the rotation isn't exactly "fear-inducing" with Giolito, Bello, Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, and Kutter Crawford, but there are an awful lot of strikeouts and meaningful innings attached to those five names.
The bullpen seems fine to me. Chris Martin, John Schreiber, Josh Winckowski, Brennan Bernardino, Tanner Houck...same story, whether or not Kenley Jansen is retained. On the offensive side, Casas, Devers, Pablo Reyes, a healthy Trevor Story, Masataka Yoshida, Wilyer Abreu, Tyler O'Neill, Jarren Duran. That is a sound lineup, whether we want to admit it or not. Production up and down the starting nine, power, speed, runs, and tenacity. That is absolutely a roster that could find its way into October someway, somehow.
There still is plenty to be excited about and special moments to anticipate in 2024, and I can't wait for the ways in which this team will surprise us in the upcoming 162.