Anchor Staff Writer
Spring training is wrapping up for the Boston Red Sox and opening day is right around the corner. This upcoming Thursday is the first game of the season for the Red Sox. The ball club looks to improve on what was a disappointing season last year. Following plenty of new arrivals and devastating departures, the season preview is a tricky one.
The Red Sox had historically bad pitching in 2022. The ball club was giving up a crazy amount of runs from the bullpen. They needed to make a splash in the postseason to better the pitching staff. Boston made a move to sign closing pitcher Kenley Jansen from the Atlanta Braves. Jansen comes with some great seasons under his belt. Jansen is a three time all-star with a proven track record of being able to close games in the big moments. Although Jansen is getting up there in age, he should provide an arm in the bullpen Boston desperately needs. He is one of the players to look out for this season.
Moving to the offensive side of the ball. The Red Sox had one of the best offensive teams in baseball last season. The Red Sox had no issues scoring runs. Sadly, they lost Xander Bogaerts to the Padres. Following Bogaerts’s exit, Enrique Hernández is slated to start at shortstop for Boston this season. Hernández has been a very good player for the Sox, so he should fill the void well. Obviously, Bogaerts is one of the best players at his position in the sport, but Hernández is not a bad replacement at all.
Since Bogaerts is gone, the Red Sox made the decision to sign third baseman Rafael Devers to a 10 year contract extension. Devers is a much younger player and has been a superstar for the Red Sox. This decision had to be made as he is one of the best offensive hitters in the sport. At just 26-years-old, Devers had an incredible 2022 season with a .295 batting average and 27 home runs. Look out for Devers this season to possibly be a dark horse candidate to win the AL Most Valuable Player award.
The hitters slated to bat three and four in the rotation are both brand new faces. Boston made the decision to bring in long time Dodger Justin Turner to be the designated hitter. Turner has a proven track record of being a very good hitter, tending to get on base a lot. Turner has a career on base percentage of .366. This will give the Red Sox a bat that will be able to keep rallies alive as well as being a player in the locker room who can be a true leader to the young players on this team. Turner might not blow you away with his stats, but his presence will be felt this season.
Batting clean up for the Red Sox is a brand new face to not just the Red Sox, but the entire league as a whole. Outfielder Masataka Yoshida is a player the Red Sox brought in from Japan. Yoshida was one of the best players in Japan, with an unprecedented .327 career batting average and 133 home runs. Yoshida will definitely provide a spark to an already high-powered Red Sox offense. Yoshida has already impressed his teammates, so look out for a potentially all-star level year for him.
This season, the Red Sox have an uphill battle to get back to the World Series. After finishing fifth in the AL East last year, Boston will be looking to close the gap on some of the divisional rival teams. The team that they definitely want to be better than is the hated rival: the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have to show better ball play than last year if they want to compete in their tough division. It all starts on Thursday when they take on the Baltimore Orioles on opening day.