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Previewing the Boston Red Sox Offense for the 2020 season

Even without the traded Mookie Betts, the Red Sox still have one of the more potent offenses in the American League, and many of their young stars are just getting better.


Batting Order:


1. Alex Verdugo (RF): This might surprise people that I have Verdugo leading off, but I think that he is simply the best player to do it for the Sox. Many people think that Andrew Benintendi will lead off, and I think that is likely, but "Benny" went 5-42 (.119) last year when batting first. Last year in his 106 games with the Dodgers, Verdugo batted .294. That is plenty good enough for a leadoff hitter, and I think that Verdugo is only going to get better in Boston.


2. Xander Bogaerts (SS): Xander Bogaerts is the best offensive shortstop in baseball, period. He flat out had one of the best seasons by a shortstop of all time. He had 33 home runs, 52 doubles, 117 RBI's, and a .309 average. When there was a runner in scoring position last year and Bogaerts was up, it was almost automatic that he drove them in. It is amazing to me how little recognition Bogaerts gets around the baseball world. Red Sox fans have a superstar on their team, but don't seem to realize it.


3. Rafael Devers (3B): ESPN wrote that "His total-base mark was better than the age-22 seasons of Mike Trout in 2014 and Bryce Harper's MVP season in 2015." Devers is good enough to be compared to those two. His 359 total bases last season were the most in the MLB, his 54 doubles were second in the league, and his 117 RBI's tenth. He also hit 33 home runs, and all the while batted .311. Devers' fielding needs work, but at such a young age he is already an elite hitter.


4. J.D. Martinez (DH): Martinez's game fell off a tiny bit last year, but most Red Sox did. He was still one of the best hitters in the American League. I think that many people don't value him as much as they should because he plays DH, but that is ridiculous. The last few years he has put up David Ortiz type numbers, and Sox fans all loved "big Papi". Martinez is yet another very effective bat in the middle of this lineup.


5. Andrew Benintendi (LF): In his third full MLB season last year, Benintendi set career lows for pretty much every statistic (average, home runs, RBIs, runs, you name it). In no way is that a good sign, but I do think that he has the potential to bounce back. If new manager Ron Roenicke can bring more stability to the batting order than Alex Cora, I think that will benefit Benintendi. If he were able to elevate his game, that would be huge for the Red Sox.


6. Kevin Pillar (CF): Many expect Kevin Pillar to be the fourth outfielder once Alex Verdugo returns from injury, but I hope that is not the case. There is no doubt in my mind that he is better than Jackie Bradley Jr. Pillar is not only one of the best defensive players in the game, but his offensive game has improved as well. Last season he had career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (88). He should be a regular starter for the Sox.


7. Mitch Moreland (1B): The first base duo of Moreland and Steve Pearce last year was not good at all. It is definitely a position of weakness for the Red Sox. Ideally, if José Peraza returns to top form, then he can play second base, and Chavis can slide over to first. The last few years Moreland's average has plummeted, and the rest of his numbers have taken a hit as well. He didn't play a ton last year though, so maybe more time will help his consistency, although he only starts against righty pitchers.


8. Michael Chavis (2B): Michael Chavis was electric out of the gate, hitting home runs left and right. Then, Gerritt Cole found his weak spot, high heat inside, and basically exposed it to the rest of the MLB. Chavis says that he knows he can hit that pitch, but just has to prove it. If he can, then he will be a valuable hitter for the Sox, because the power is all clearly there. That is a big "if" though.

9. Christian Vazquez (C): Vazquez really could be batting fifth or sixth on the Red Sox, that's how good he was last season. He had by far the best year of his career, hitting 23 home runs, 72 RBI, and batting .276. He was easily a top ten catcher in the MLB. If he can keep that up, than he is yet another weapon on the Red Sox.


Bench:


1. Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF): Honestly, I'm really tired of all the hype around Jackie Bradley Jr. I know most people would have him in the starting lineup, but the fact is that he is not as good as the Sox other three outfielders. He far and away led the Red Sox in strikeouts last season, and his batting average was also in a league of its own, below all other Red Sox regular players. He is a great outfielder, but not much more than that.


2. José Peraza (IF): Peraza was signed to fill in the role of Brock Holt, who the Red Sox did not bring back. Like Holt, Peraza has played non pitcher position besides catcher, first base, and right field. The big question though is which Jose Peraza are the Red Sox getting? In 2018, he had a very respectable year, hitting .288 with 14 home runs, and 58 RBI. Last season though, he dropped quite a bit, hitting .239 with 6 HR, and 33 RBI.


3. Kevin Plawecki, Jonathan Lucroy (C): The Red Sox signed both Plawecki and Lucroy this offseason to backup Christian Vazquez at the catcher position. Plawecki is going into his sixth MLB season. He has a career batting average of .218, and has never been more than a backup. Lucroy will likely be the third string catcher, but if the former All Star can even a little return to his former self, than he could definitely challenge Plawecki.


4. Jonathan Arauz (SS): Arauz is unlikely to get much playing time with the Red Sox, but because he is a Rule 5 Draft pick, if he gets demoted, then the Houston Astros can pick him up for $50,000. Rosters are likely to be expanded because of the season's delay, so that will help the Sox in being able to keep Arauz. Arauz is an MLB ready fielder, but still needs some time to develop as a hitter.

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