Predicting the Red Sox starting lineup the day after the 2024 trade deadline

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
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The outfield

In 2011, the Red Sox were going to motor after signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142M contract. Crawford was a demon on the bases and would be matched up with Ellsbury to run wild. That blew up.

In August, the Red Sox will revisit that with Jarren Duran and Ceddanne Rafaela in the lineup. With the rules changes emphasizing speed, the number that bolts out for Duran is 24/26, his stolen base success rate from 2023. Rafaela has set stolen base records in the system and will need refinement at the MLB level, but that will come. The issue for both is they can't steal first base, but Duran slashed 295/.346/.482 with 34 doubles in just 102 games.

Big things, as in a pile of home runs, are expected of Tyler O'Neill, who once mashed 34 for the Cardinals. The addition of O'Neill, a defensive upgrade from 2023, made Duvall expendable, and the way Alex Cora manipulates his manager card, O'Neill could be the missing link power key. Then there is the possibility that O'Neill — a pending free agent — could be shipped elsewhere at the trade deadline. Enter Wilyer Abreu.

The sample for lefty-hitting Abreu is small but impressive, with a .316/.388/.474 slash in 2023. Like Rafaela, his game is rough around the edges, but with a team projected to be barely .500, the 24-year-old will get playing time. The jury is still out on Abreu, so he should watch Roman Anthony, who could move to the big leagues soon, but surviving the possible roster scrum is more critical, especially with options available.

The offseason rumor mill had Masataka Yoshida as a potential trade candidate, but that would mean offloading a large chuck of his contract elsewhere. There was no surprise with Yoshida's defense or lack thereof, but there was a disappointing 14 SO%, 5.9 BB%, and an alarming 55 GB%. Still, Yoshida batted .289 and will be the proposed designated hitter.

Rob Refsnyder is on the injury shelf, but he's the perfect complement to the bundle of lefty hitters since the righty hit .308 against southpaws in 2024. Refsnyder is the proverbial gamer who knows his role, so unless Boston can dredge up a competent replacement, he'll have a job.