2021 Boston Red Sox Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
If you are a life-long Boston Red Sox fan, you know all too much about “The Curse of the Bambino”. The story goes that after the Red Sox won the World Series in 1918, they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for next to nothing. And since that day, the Red Sox franchise had been cursed. That was until 2004 when the Red Sox erased a 0-3 series deficit to the Yankees en route to winning their first World Series in 86 years. Since then, the Red Sox fortunes have been feast or famine. They won three more World Series titles with the last coming in 2018. However, in Title Town, two straight years with no postseason means the sky is about to fall.
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Last year, the Red Sox struggled mightily. They finished dead last in the AL East for the first time since 2015. They got atrocious pitching and the batting order failed to produce when called upon. With the way the AL East is shaping up this season, it could be another long season for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will open the regular season on April 1 with a six-game homestand that will see the Baltimore Orioles visit for three and then the Tampa Bay Rays stop in for three as well. From there, the Red Sox head to Camden Yards for a trio of games before heading to Minnesota for four. The Red Sox come into this season as relative longshots to win the World Series as they check in at +4500. They are +2400 to win the AL Pennant and +1800 to win the AL East. Their win total has been set at 80.5.
Red Sox 2021 Projected Lineup
One quick look at the Red Sox batting order and you’ll see why they are projected to win such few games. They have a very young and unproven roster outside the middle part of the order. Their projected lineup for opening day looks like this:
- Alex Verdugo
- Xander Bogaerts
- Rafael Devers
- J.D Martinez
- Christian Vazquez
- Hunter Renfroe
- Franchy Cordero
- Bobby Dalbec
- Enrique Hernandez
Where do I even start with this roster? Last season, the Red Sox were among the worst teams at producing runs. They had just two players hit the double-digit homerun mark and a handful of players hit well below .250 on the season. The top of the order is where most of the damage should come from this season as Verdugo, Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez are the best players on the team by a long shot.
Verdugo was sent to Boston as part of the Mookie Betts trade, and he fared well considering the shoes he had to fill. He managed six home runs with four stolen bases last season while batting .308. This year, the projections are solid for a leadoff man, with a high OBP, and 16 homeruns and eight stolen bases.
Behind him, Bogaerts, Devers and Martinez are going to be relied upon to do most of the heavy lifting as their projections expect them to combine for 92 homeruns, 20 stolen bases and a collective average of around .280. Devers is the one with the most pop as he’s slated for 33 homeruns, followed by 32 from Martinez. If he can get to that number of homeruns, it’ll be a major bounce-back year for Martinez, who managed just seven last year while batting a paltry .213.
Beyond that quartet, the bottom of the order looks very thin. They are projected for big-time homerun numbers, but I don’t see that happening just based on how many unknowns there are heading into this season.
Red Sox 2021 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Red Sox pitching rotation was once a vaunted unit that struck fear into the eyes of the opposing batters. This year’s rendition is the complete opposite. They will be trotting out guys like Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Garrett Richards, Martin Perez and Nick Pivetta every five days. This is a terrible collection of pitchers.
Based on how the Red Sox performed last season, I guess you could say Eovaldi had a decent year. He started nine games, had a record of 4-2 and kept his ERA to just 3.72. The projections for this year have him starting around 26 games and owning an ERA north of 4.40. That’s not going to be good enough on a team that will likely struggle to score runs.
Behind him, it doesn’t get any better. Each of the four other starters are projected to have an ERA above 4.45. I guess if you wanted to go out on a limb you could hang your hopes on the return of Rodriguez, who sat out all of last season. Prior to that, he pitched extremely well, posting records of 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 2018 and 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 2019.
As for the bullpen, Matt Barnes is the projected closer and is in line for around 26 saves, according to projections. The Red Sox did go out and add Adam Ottavino from the Yankees in the offseason to give them some depth. However, much like their batting order, the bullpen is a major question mark heading into this season.
Red Sox 2021 Predictions
FanGraphs projects the Boston Red Sox to finish the season with a record of 85-77, which would place them in third spot in the AL East behind the Blue Jays and Yankees. Third place, with that kind of record, means another year outside of the playoff picture, and that won’t sit too well with the fan base. I don’t believe this roster – both pitching and batting – is good enough to keep pace with the rest of the American League. For that reason, I’m on the under on the win total.
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