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2018 MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox

A look at the Boston Red Sox with fantasy baseball in mind.

Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 93-69
Runs: 10th
Home Runs: 27th
Stolen Bases: 6th
ERA: 4th
Saves: 13th
Strikeouts: 3rd

The Red Sox won the AL East but were taken down in the ALDS by the eventual World Series Champions, the Astros. They had two top 10 fantasy option in Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. Those two were a big reason the squad was top 5 in baseball in ERA and strikeouts. The offense was top 10 in terms of runs scored and stolen bases, but they lacked in the power department finishing last in the American League in home runs.

Let’s take a look towards 2018.

The Superstar: Mookie Betts

Despite a ‘down’ season, Betts still finished the #26 overall player in fantasy. If a ‘bad’ Betts season results in 24 HR 26 SB 102 RBI and 101 runs scored, then count me in! As discussed in detail here, Betts was extremely unlucky in terms of BABIP in 2017. This means his career low batting average of .264 last season should correct itself next year. If Betts can get his average back up to .300, which was his career clip prior to 2017, his counting stats should return to 2016 level. He was the #1 player in fantasy that season. Bonus fact, his walk rate went from 7% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. His K rate went down as well (not that it was a problem to begin with).

The Sleeper: Drew Pomeranz

The Red Sox don’t have a ton to offer in terms of ‘sleepers’. Being one of the top markets in baseball, everyone on the roster is a pretty well known commodity. With that, many of their players are either correctly ranked or ranked a bit too high in my eyes. The one exception might be Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 2017. He also had 174 K in 173.2 IP. This made him the #23 overall SP in fantasy. In 2016, Pomeranz was the #28 SP in fantasy with almost identical stats; 3.32 ERA and 186 K in 170.2 IP. Pomeranz is a solid bet as a top 30 SP who is going just outside that range currently in drafts.

The Guy to Avoid: Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts was fine last season. He was fine and finished the year as the #16 SS. The underlying numbers lead me to believe this is what fantasy owners should expect from Bogaerts year-to-year. Like I said, he’s fine. A mainstay top 15 SS. I just don’t see top 5 SS upside now that the position has so much more talent. He’s not a top 100 overall player for me and he’ll often go inside the first 8 rounds.

The Prospect To Watch: Sam Travis

Travis made a brief appearance at the end of the 2017 season. During that time, he hit .263 with 6 doubles and a steal in 76 AB. During his minor league career, Travis has a .295/.360/.434 slash line. The best thing he has going for him is solid hitting skills and good plate discipline. The power has the potential to develop but the ceiling is still low, especially at 1B. He stole 19 bases in 2015 but he grades poorly in the speed department. A torn ACL in 2016 could explain this. If Mitch Moreland is the only thing standing in front of Travis and playing time at 1B in 2018, then the rookie should get an opportunity at at least a timeshare. Travis is an AL only bat with 15-20 HR upside. He probably doesn’t reach it in 2018 but he’s a good enough hitter where he shouldn’t hurt you either. Check back next season when the likes of Michael Chavis and Jay Groome are knocking on the big league door for Boston.