The 2015 Boston Red Sox ended spring training on Saturday afternoon with a win over the Minnesota Twins, their rival for the heart of Fort Myers, Fla. So cue the duck boats, the Red Sox won the Mayor’s Cup!

Will that be all the Red Sox win this season? Some preseason predictions have the Red Sox winning the American League East. Others say this team is .500 at best. The long season starts Monday afternoon in Philadelphia.

There’s a lot to like on this year’s Red Sox squad, but there’s a lot to not like, too. Often (too often?) the good and bad overlap in the same players.

Opening day starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is 22 games over .500 for his career, but he’s also never started 30 games in a season and has been less predictable than a Maine spring.

Designated hitter David Ortiz has hit at least 23 home runs in each of his 12 seasons in Boston, but he’s also 39 years old now and that means with every game Ortiz is one step closer to going to live at an old slugger’s farm upstate.

New third baseman Pablo Sandoval is a consistent, professional hitter. In six full seasons with the San Francisco Giants Sandoval hit over .276 five times, but he also has the physique of the average fan and you hope this is not the season in which he breaks down.

Second year catcher Christian Vazquez has one of the best arms in the American League, but he just had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament a few days ago and will not be using that howitzer arm for quite a while.

Closer Koji Uehara has 47 saves over the last two seasons and a 1.75 earned run average with the Red Sox, but Uehara turned 40 on Friday and will start the season on the disabled list.

Hanley Ramirez is back with the organization with which he started before being traded to the Marlins. He has the potential to be a dangerous hitter in the middle of Boston’s lineup, but Ramirez has not been the most durable player in recent years, either. Boston’s new left fielder played more than 130 games just once in the last four seasons.

Mookie Betts looks like the real thing. A converted infielder, Betts plays center field like he’s been roaming the power alleys his entire baseball life, but he’s still just 22 years old and you hope he fares better than last season’s center field wonderboy, Jackie Bradley Jr.

Justin Masterson was traded from the Red Sox to the Cleveland Indians in 2009 and, like Ramirez, is back with the club that groomed him. In Cleveland, Masterson became a pretty good pitcher and won at least 11 games three seasons in a row, but last year he was awful (think Buchholz with less hair), posting a 5.88 ERA in Cleveland and St. Louis.

Left-handed starter Wade Miley had some good seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and at 28 should be in the peak of his career, but for a guy touted as a ground ball pitcher Miley sure gives up a lot of home runs (44 in the last two seasons combined).

Dustin Pedroia is in his ninth season as second base. He’s still the spark of the lineup and the unquestioned soul of the team, but you hope last season wasn’t the start of a trend in which he plays through an injury every season.

Xander Bogaerts started last season well, slumped in the middle and improved late. Still one of the youngest players in the majors, maybe Bogaerts learned from his rough season and is ready to fulfill some of his potential, or maybe we overestimated his talent and this is what he is.

Shane Victorino has been, and can be, a very good right fielder when he’s healthy, but doesn’t it feel like he’s just holding a place for Rusney Castillo?

So much which to be excited over, and so much to give a fan an ulcer. Would you be surprised if the season swung either way, to the playoffs or the gutter?

Let’s take the optimistic view and predict an 87-win season. Maybe that’s good enough to make the playoffs and, if not, it’s good enough to stay in the hunt and make it an entertaining summer.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.