2013 American League Preview: Boston Red Sox

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Let's Go Tribe's look at the Indians competition around the American League begins with the Boston Red Sox, perhaps baseball's most disappointing team in 2012.

Boston Red Sox

2012 Record: 69-93 (5th in A.L. East), 5-3 vs. Cleveland

734 runs scored (4th of 14 in A.L.), 806 runs allowed (12th of 14 in A.L.)

The Red Sox 2012 season was a slowly developing disaster. They were slowed by injuries early and never really got into a groove. At the end of May they were only 2.5 games back though. They continued to sputter, slowly falling further and further behind their competition in the East. Still, at the end of July, they had a winning record and while their 7.5 game deficit wasn't likely to be overcome, stranger things have happened. Then the bottom fell out.

Boston lost 15 of its next 21 games and on August 25 they traded away a large amount of talent (and salary), sending Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for a package of prospects. From August 1 on, they went 16-42, finishing 26 games out of first place. Manager Bobby Valentine was fired and replaced by LGFT John Farrell (who'd been managing Toronto).

Key off-season additions:

Ryan Dempster (SP), Stephen Drew (SS), Jonny Gomes (OF), Joel Hanrahan (RP), Mike Napoli (C/1B) David Ross (C), Koji Uehara (RP) Shane Victorino (OF)

Key off-season departures:

Scott Atchison (RP), Mike Aviles (SS), Aaron Cook (SP), Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP), Cody Ross (OF)

2013 Payroll: ~$154 million

Projected 2013 Starting Lineup (with ZiPS WAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

C

Saltalamachhia/Ross

2

1B

Mike Napoli

2

2B

Dustin Pedroia

5

3B

Will Middlebrooks

2

SS

Stephen Drew

2

LF

Jonny Gomes

0

CF

Jacoby Ellsbury

3

RF

Shane Victorino

3

DH

David Ortiz

3

TOTAL

22

Indian Killer:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 97 PA, .295/.354/.568, .922 OPS, 6 HR, 14 R, 25 RBI

Player vs. team matchups almost always involve too small a sample size to read anything much into, but Saltalamacchia and David Ross have both hit well against the Indians over their careers.

Projected 2013 Starting Rotation/Bullpen (with ZiPS WAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

1

Jon Lester

4

2

Ryan Dempster

2

3

Clay Buchholz

3

4

Felix Doubront

2

5

John Lackey

1

RP

Bullpen

4

TOTAL

16

The Red Sox will be playing with a very different lineup than they did in 2012, four and a half (Ross will likely platoon at catcher) of their projecting starting position players for this season are new. Boston is expected by many to bounce back into contention, both because they were a bit unlucky last season (though injuries could catch up with the again, given the age/health of many of their projected starters) and because their additions ought to be an improvement on their departures, collectively. Most projections I've seen have them falling a bit short of returning to the playoffs.

PECOTA Projection: 85-77 (3rd in East), 803 runs scored, 762 runs allowed

Cairo Projection: 82-80 (4th in East), 812 runs scored, 798 run allowed

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