Red Sox Opening Day roster projection 3.0: Bello starts, Rafaela flexes versatility

Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox
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Opening Day is less than two weeks away, and the Boston Red Sox are going full throttle during Grapefruit League games.

With positive results record-wise, the top brass of the Red Sox should be pleased with the production they've seen from the players looking to cement their places on the major league roster.

Some injuries have occurred since the previous Opening Day roster projection — Rob Refsnyder has a fractured left pinky toe, which undoubtedly puts his status for Opening Day up in the air. The oft-injured Tyler O'Neill has been nursing calf tightness this spring, but he made his delayed return to the lineup on March 19. Both Refsnyder and O'Neill represent veteran right-handed bats who the Sox desperately need available over the year.

Many of the young Sox have had good showings in Grapefruit League play this spring, but not all of them can make the 26-man roster. Which players should pack their rain jackets in anticipation of beginning the season in Seattle, and which should beware the ides of March?

Red Sox Opening Day Roster Projection 3.0: activity around the margins

Red Sox Opening Day Starting Rotation:

1. Brayan Bello
2. Nick Pivetta
3. Kutter Crawford
4. Tanner Houck
5. Garrett Whitlock

Jordan Montgomery who? Red Sox pitchers (particularly starting pitchers) have flashed very positive signs this spring training.

Brayan Bello received a massive vote of confidence in the form of a contract extension and the Opening Day starter role. Bello must improve both his metrics and location of his 4-seamer if he wants to make a big leap this season.

Stuff-wise, Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford's riding 4-Seam Fastballs are truly upper-echelon pitches — very Justin Verlander-esque. Pivetta's stuff has looked good this Spring, he's touching 96mph with massive ride, and he's throwing a plethora of 0-0 breaking balls for strikes. A true north-south pitcher, Pivetta is taking a lot of flak from Sox fans for being the #2 starter. If Pivetta can add some velocity to his slider and land his curveball out of the clouds and into the strike zone with some regularity, he could set himself up well for a big contract going into next season.

Tanner Houck has been a stand-out performer at camp. His 2.40 ERA, 16 strikeouts and three walks make him a shoo-in for a rotation spot. Garrett Whitlock could secure the fifth starter role as he's showing more tumble on changeup and two-seam than before, and just has more success than Cooper Criswell and Josh Winckowski at the major league level.