Why the Red Sox Won’t Win the 2017 World Series
We are rapidly approaching Opening Day and people in the Northeast are very excited. The Red Sox are coming off a fairly successful 2016 campaign and have added one of the most talented pitchers in Chris Sale to their roster. It’s easy to see why they are a popular pick to win it all among experts this year. However, I am here to tell you why they will not be hoisting the trophy as the last team standing in the fall.
Let’s just begin in the starting rotation because that is a place where I see a lot of potential to crash and burn. Chris Sale is a stud right? He’s a bonafide ace and outside of Clayton Kershaw, he might be the most dominant pitcher in baseball. But that throwing mechanic he’s got, while fun to watch, is scary as hell. Sale is a ticking time bomb for having a major injury and I think that clock is going to run out sooner rather than later.
His rotation mate David Price is already experiencing elbow issues and will start the season on the disabled list. Despite good news from Dr. James Andrews and reports that Price’s elbow is “unique” and has “healed itself” he is still at risk now more than ever. Even though Price had a frustrating debut season in Boston, the Red Sox desperately need him to be healthy, maybe more than anyone.
Rick Porcello is coming off a Cy Young Award winning season in which he surpassed every expectation that could’ve been had for him. He’s probably still going to be a solid pitcher and a great third starter, but he’ll likely never be the same as he was last year. Following Porcello is Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright, both of whom are giant question marks. Rodriguez had a great spring but has battled injuries quite a bit and Wright is a knuckleballer. Much like Porcello, Wright outperformed expectations last year and will likely see a significant drop off.
After those five guys you have Drew Pomeranz, who doesn’t inspire any confidence at all due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Kyle Kendrick could be an insurance option to make some spot starts during the year but after that the Sox starter depth is pretty shallow. They’ll need some really good fortune to stay healthy and I just don’t see it happening.
When we go to the bullpen there are questions everywhere. Will Craig Kimbrel harness his fastball and gain some control? Is Tyler Thornburg‘s shoulder going to be a lingering problem? How will Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and company fare? None of these really give me a positive feeling going forward and if the rotation is not getting deep into ball games, the bullpen could cause a major issue for the Sox.
Lastly, the lineup isn’t as rock-solid as people may think. It is far from the biggest problem on the team but it could be a disappointment especially after losing the giant presence of David Ortiz. Pablo Sandoval is having a great spring but remains a mystery until we see him perform on a consistent level. Hanley Ramirez seems to be having more shoulder issues which has hindered his production at the plate in the past. Xander Bogaerts had a really rough second half of last year and is going to need to get back to normal. The hype surrounding Andrew Benintendi could be a little bit overdone at this point. Do you really trust Sandy Leon?
The problem is, this team has a very high ceiling. The potential to be great is clearly there because in a best case scenario the Red Sox are a juggernaut of a baseball team. But, what people are failing to realize is that a worst case scenario could be catastrophic. I fall somewhere in between the two extremes and I believe that the Red Sox will have a fun club this season. They’ll entertain me all summer long, but there will be bumps in the road. A guy like Benintendi is going to struggle at points and Jackie Bradley Jr. likely isn’t going to be hitting at the rate he did last year. The Sox will win somewhere between 88-94 games, make the playoffs and maybe even make a run to the World Series. But they aren’t good enough to win, I promise you that.