2014 Boston Red Sox Odds to Win the AL East with MLB Picks and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 3/12/2014
Before the start of the 2013 season, most sportsbooks had Boston listed as a moderate longshot to even win the AL East let alone the World Series as a result of a disastrous 2012 campaign in which the team imploded under the direction of Bobby Valentine to a record of 69-93. The Red Sox used that offseason to redesign themselves under the direction of new skipper John Farrell, and the result was a 97-65 record and another world title for this storied franchise.
It is no secret that Boston is not going to sneak up on anyone this time around, and it will have the added burden of avoiding a dreaded World Series hangover that has plagued so many other world champs in the past. It is extremely hard to repeat in this league, especially when you play in the most competitive division in the league. Boston still has everything is place to meet all of these challenges, but it is going to also need a few lucky breaks along the way.
Odds to win the AL East: +175
Odds to win the AL Pennant: +550
Odds to win the World Series : +1200
Projected Win Total: 88
The defending champs' roster remains fairly intact from last year's stunning run to the world title, but it will begin this year's quest without the services of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, short stop Stephen Drew, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Also gone from the pitching staff are Franklin Morales, Andrew Bailey and Matt Thornton. Ryan Dempster decided to step away from the game for the 2014 season due to physical issues.
The new faces on the block include catcher AJ Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore and infielder Jonathan Herrera. The Red Sox also replaced some of the missing arms on the pitching staff with Chris Capuano, Edward Mujica and Burke Badenhop.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Shane Victorino (RF)
Daniel Nava (LF)
Dustin Pedroia (2B)
David Ortiz (DH)
Mike Napoli (1B)
Xander Bogaerts (SS)
AJ Pierzynski (C)
Will Middlebrooks (3B)
Jackie Bradley (CF)
This lineup remains basically intact from the one that tore up the American League last season with 853 runs, which were 54 more than the next-best scoring team. The Red Sox were also ranked first in RBIs (819), and they were second in hitting with a team batting average of .277.
The biggest bats in this murder's row last season belonged to David Ortiz (103 RBIs and 30 home runs) and Mike Napoli (92 RBIs and 23 home runs), but Boston had seven different players with at least 60 RBIs last season and eight players with at least 12 home runs. Some of that production is gone, but enough remains to make this one of the most imposing lineups in the majors
Projected Starting Rotation
The starting rotation also remains very similar to last year, and it could actually be better if Clay Buchholz can return to form after an injury-plagued 2013 campaign in which he made only 16 starts. Jake Peavy should be an upgrade for Ryan Dempster, and as long as the other three starters remain in form the Red Sox will be just fine.
Koji Uehara is back as the team's closer and is looking to pick up where he left off after a stellar 2013 season. The addition of Capuano should be a plus, but if there is one lingering question mark with this team it could be how well this bullpen holds up this year.
2014 Boston Red Sox AL East Picks and Predictions
Boston remains one of the most balanced teams in the majors with the added bonus of having a lineup that can score runs to win games if its pitching does occasionally let it down. The Red Sox should once again end up in a tooth-and-nail battle with Tampa Bay for the AL East title with the added pressure of having to fend off an improved Yankees team, so anything could happen in this division race.
Coming off a World Series title only makes things that much harder to repeat, which is why I have Boston taking the wild card route this time around as the second-best team in the division behind the Rays.
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