Joey’s 5 Big Predictions for the 2015 Boston Red Sox
Opening day is like a holiday for baseball fans. How do I think the 2015 Red Sox will shape up?
1. This Team Will Be Fun
A bit of a cop out to start because I'm not saying they're winning anything. Last year's team was gritty but lacked personality and high end talent. Talent is better this year and personality is back in a big way thanks to the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. The prediction here is that we're all drawn to this team despite the inevitable peaks and valleys with pitching and performance.
2. Pablo Sandoval struggles early, finishes strong
The Kung-Fu Panda will sell merch and tickets for the Sox, but I think he struggles early with American League pitchers and Fenway Park. The lunatic Boston sports media will want to run this guy out of town by the All-Star break, but he'll turn it around and be a beast in the 2nd half.
3. Mookie Morphs Into The Man
Mookie Betts is hardly a sure thing for performance at the major league level, but anyone who's been watching from the end of the last season through spring training can see he's the real deal. I think Mookie is also set to be a major marketing star for the Sox. He's likable, dynamic and exciting. Reminds me of Pedroia when he broke in. So much so, I think Mookie Betts makes the 2015 All-Star Team
4. This Pitching Staff Will Look Very Different Come July
The most chatter you'll hear early this season is about the Red Sox mediocre pitching staff, both starters and relievers. There's almost no doubt the Sox management will be active and aggressive in acquiring a difference making pitcher if the team calls for it. By early May, I predict you'll see former Portland Sea Dog Brian Johnson in the rotation and by late April, you'll see another former Sea Dog, Matt Barnes, as an important member of the Sox pen. And when July rolls around, get ready for the Sox to trade away some of their dynamite chips for someone like Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman or Sonny Gray.
5. This Team Goes Back To The Playoffs
Ok, I came full circle, The Sox are going back to the playoffs! Why? Because nobody else in this division is really any better than they are. Toronto is built exactly the same way, heavy on offense, suspect on pitching. Except the Sox have more money and better prospects to deal at the deadline. The Orioles lost their best hitter and best outfielder from last years team. They'll be good, but not good enough. The Yankees are like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz when nobody oils him up. The Bronx Bombers will struggle with injuries and hold their breath every time Masahiro Tanaka starts a game. And the Rays? Welcome back to the cellar guys!