Team Previews in a Fantasy Nutshell: Boston Red Sox
Projected Starting Lineup
C: Sandy Leon—Most Bostonians were expecting Blake Swihart to play here, but Leon was the one who earned the bulk of the starts with his timely hitting and solid defense. If he gets another 400 AB he could be worth a flyer, but nothing is guaranteed, and Swihart is still looming on the bench.
1B: Mitch Moreland—He is a great start in DFS vs. RHP. He also has some worth as a corner infielder in AL-only formats.
2B: Dustin Pedroia—He’s the heart and soul of the franchise and continues to be a consistent offensive performer for Fantasy owners. I do expect that he will slow down at some point, but I think he will be just fine in 2017. A nice mid-round pick.
SS: Xander Boegarts—He started to blossom last year and has earned his way to late second round/early third round status in 15 team league formats. He has some pop, speed, and hits for a high average. Certainly a building block in dynasty formats as well.
3B: Pablo Sandoval—I don’t care how thin he looks in spring training, I will pass on Panda and let someone else buy into the hype.
OF: Mookie Betts—Right now he’s going as the number two overall player in drafts, and I have no problem with that. A true five-tool talent, Betts is the perfect fit for any roster. He could easily hit 30/30 this year.
OF: Andrew Benintendi—If he hits second (which I think is likely) watch his value skyrocket before April. He’s a solid young hitter who can help in all five categories. Just be careful that you don’t overvalue him based on reputation and a hot spring.
OF: Jackie Bradley Jr.—He finally found his power stroke last season and hit for a decent average. The Red Sox needs his defense, so you know he will be in the lineup most every day. Can he duplicate last year? I think so which makes him slightly undervalued in drafts right now.
DH: Hanley Ramirez—With Big Papi retired many think that this is Hanley’s team moving forward. Ramirez bulked up last year and looks the part of the monster middle of the order hitter that the Red Sox need to replace Ortiz. He will play in the field at 1B only against LHP and will DH against RHP. He could be slightly undervalued based on his current ADP.
SP: Chris Sale—The Red Sox gave up a lot to get him (Moncada, Kopech, etc.) but he is worth it. He gives the team a legitimate #1 starter who can rival the anchor of any other team in baseball. Yes, he has lost a little bit on his fastball, but I think that he is more of a pitcher now (as opposed to a thrower) than he has been in his career.
SP: David Price—Price was a bit of a disappointment last year, but I like him for a comeback in 2017. Sale’s presence takes all the pressure away from Price which should allow him to settle down and relax and just pitch every 5th day without worrying about fulfilling the team’s lofty expectations.
SP: Rick Porcello—Finally had the coming of age season that Fantasy owners had been expecting. His K/BB ratio is one of the best in baseball, and he had more swings and missed last year than he ever had in the past. I think he could settle down into a perfect #3 starter for years to come on this team.
SP: Drew Pomeranz—The Red Sox totally overpaid for him, and now he is not even 100% healthy coming into spring training. I will take a pass on him until I am convinced that he can throw 150+ innings.
SP: Eduardo Rodriguez—He is a sneaky pick this year. Rodriguez has flashed some unhittable stuff but has never been able to stay healthy nor show consistency on the mound. The team thinks very highly of him and will give him every chance to win the 5th starters job in spring training. If he does not win it, he will be the first starter called up from the minors.
RP: Tyler Thornburg—Sparkling numbers out of the bullpen last year and the handcuff for Kimbrel owners.
Closer: Craig Kimbrel—Still one of the best in baseball and with this pitching staff he could easily find himself with another 40+ save season.