Red Sox Rookie Of The Year:
Pete: Andrew Benintendi. Pretty easy choice here. We saw what Benny Baseball was capable of during the end of last season and the playoffs. This kid seems like he has the confidence of a 10-year veteran and I think he will be a huge factor in the Red Sox having a successful 2-17 season.
Nick: The only way Benny Baseball isn't the Red Sox ROY is if he doesn't play. If he gets injured it's kind of a crap shoot after that but it would probably end up being Sam Travis. Andrew Benintendi is not only the best Red Sox rookie, but he's probably the AL Rookie of the Year.
Kaley: Andrew “Benny Biceps” Benintendi is the slam dunk option, and like Nick said, there’s a good shot he’s also AL RoY. I fully expect him to pick right up where he left off back in October and only continue to get better. Most of the time, I’d be worried about a young guy like him with all of these expectations on his shoulders, but I’m more than confident that he’ll succeed under pressure once April rolls around.
Jordan: This is pretty obvious, Andrew Benintendi. I mean, come on, "this guy is frickin' ripped!" Coming off a season where he hit .295, 2 homers, and 14 RBI in just 105 AB, we'll finally get a chance to see what baseball's number one prospect has for a full season. I suspect he'll struggle early, but he's got tremendous plate discipline and a perfect swing that he will bounce back and have a great rookie campaign.
Joey: Yea it's got to be Andrew Benintendi. The kid is an absolute monster. I have a feeling there might be a bit of an "adjusting period" for him, but I do not think he will slump all season. I completely agree with Nick, and Kaley Benny the kid could easily be the AL ROY. I expect him to put together quite an impressive highlight tape, the catch at the trop last season was just a sample of whats to come.
Red Sox Most Valuable Player:
Pete: A lot of different people could end up being the most valuable player on this team. One could argue Chris Sale will have the biggest impact on the Red Sox in 2017, but I think Hanley Ramirez is going to be crucial to this team's success. He may not have the best numbers, as I believe Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi will statistically be better. However, having that massive bat in the middle of the lineup is going to be huge for the Red Sox after the loss of David Ortiz.
Nick: Every successful Sox team has the same look to it: strong middle of the order production, solid bullpen, and a Game 1 starter that will rip your head off if you breathe at him wrong. Whether it's Schilling, Beckett or even John Lackey, Boston needs a bulldog to lead their rotation. And now? The Sox have a new bulldog... and his name is Chris Sale . Sale is already a perennial top 5 Cy Young candidate, and now that he's moved from a bottom third ranked offense to the #1 ranked offense, be prepared for some ungodly numbers this year.
Kaley: I’m going to go with Mookie Betts for this one. Not only will he be the team’s MVP, I think that similar to last year, he’ll either be the runner-up AL MVP again or possibly even win that title once and for all. Betts is everything you could possibly want in a modern-day baseball player. He’s a notably disciplined hitter and probably the best right fielder in all of baseball. His presence on the team is critical to their success and I think Mookie will put up similar numbers to last year's. What's not to love about this kid?
Jordan: I'm going to go with Dustin Pedroia. Pedey will most likely be asked to be the leadoff man again this season and, after his 2016 campaign, that spot is perfect for him. Now he's not the prototypical leadoff guy, but he's excellent at getting on base in front of the big boys behind him. Pedroia is going to have to hit .310+ again if the Sox are going to have any sort of similar success to last season.
Joey: I'm going with Xander Bogaerts on this one. His slump during the second half of the season can be chalked up to him swinging out of his shoes. I believe he will come back with a renewed sense of plate discipline, and not try to hit one onto the turnpike every at bat. His defense will improve, and he will make plays when it matters. He was obviously more than a little fatigued last season, he himself said so. The only good thing about the large father retiring, is it gives Bogey the chance to slide into DH, and let someone take over for his duties at shortstop. I believe Xander will step up his game this season.
Red Sox Cy Young:
Pete: This may come as a surprise to some, but I am going to say David Price has an absolutely monster second year in Boston. With lowered expectations and the ability to be a secondary guy in the rotation, expect David Price's numbers to look a hell of a lot more like his career statistics after a dreadful 2016.
Nick: See above. Chris Sale is a monster and will treat the entire league like it's a throwback jersey. Scorched earth policy. Sherman's March to the Sea. Feel free to make peace with your god, but I wouldn't bother, Chris Sale won't be listening.
Kaley: I’m with Pete on this one 100%; David Price is going to shock some people in 2017. He can finally settle into his experienced role as the second or third starter and become a consistent, reliable pitcher for this club. I expect him to dominate and possibly exceed the current expectations. Price will, at last, perform like the Price all Red Sox fans expected to get back in 2016.
Jordan: This is a tough one (good problem to have, right?). But I'll go with Chris Sale. I mean, that's kind of what we have to hope for given the fact dealing for him cost the Sox 2 of their top 5 prospects. This isn't necessarily blind optimism though, I already like Sale's attitude and mentality towards this upcoming season. If anyone is immune to a bad first season in Boston, it would be Christopher Sale. Did I mention he's on the Red Sox?
Joey: Can I pick three? I'm going to go with Chris Sale. Just like what Jordan, and Nick said his attitude alone is enough for him to thrive in Boston. He will hopefully have an even cockier attitude, now that he is on a team that are serious contenders. He will embrace the electric, and at times hostile atmosphere of Fenway. He was born for this, and even though Fenway is a small hitter friendly ballpark he will make the most of it. I could see Chris Sale winning his first A.L. CY Young, because he is coming in with the mentality that he is the best.
Pete: I refuse to pick Andrew Benintendi because I think it is just too much of a slam dunk. Instead, I will roll with Sam Travis. After tearing up his knee in Spring Training last year, Travis looks to be back and ready to contribute to the big league club. While the Red Sox do have Mitch Moreland manning first base at a gold glove level, by all accounts, Travis has a major league ready bat that can make an immediate impact on this team. If he gets the opportunity, look out for the youngster.
Nick: #FreePanda. Pablo Sandoval is finally of human weight again and looks ready to play. Sandoval has had the 2 worst seasons of his career in Boston, but with Travis Shaw gone, it's time for Sandoval to nut up or shut up, and judging by his commitment to get back into playing shape it looks like he decided to fill up his rosin bag. If he can get back to what he was in SF, the Sox can expect about .280 from him with 15 HRs and 75 RBI hitting out of the 6 or 7 hole. And of course, if this team makes the playoffs, Sandoval is a career .344 hitter in the postseason and we could finally see him earn that giant contract he got 3 years ago.
Kaley: This is kind of a weird one, but Robby Scott. Scott kind of reminds me of our old friend Rich Hill, both in the way he pitches and his background. Scott was undrafted and spent years in the minors, and Hill was a no-namer for years until 2015. Hill defined the word “breakout” in his short stint with Boston, and I think the same may happen here with Scott. He pitched a very small sample size near the end of the 2016 season, but was pretty damn effective. Scott has quietly been a very effective arm out of the ‘pen in Boston’s minor leagues. Among all of the Red Sox’ current bullpen questions, Scott will be “the guy” and open the eyes of many in 2017.
Jordan: Joe Kelly. I remember doing a Sox Roster prediction and posted it on Facebook, I had Kelly having a Betances-type season with an Andrew Miller ERA. Elaboration? Joe Kelly strikes out 120-ish as a reliever and has around a 1.5 ERA. The dude is psychotic and I absolutely love that he's in the bullpen. He's a question mark for sure but, come on, who on the Sox really isn't this year?
Joey: I'm going to go with Tyler Thornburg, I won't lie I didn't know this kid existed until he was shipped to Boston for Travis Shaw. I watch baseball all the time, maybe I don't pay enough attention to the Brewers who knows? Anyways, I am fully aware of his UCL injury, and his decision not to undergo Tommy Jon surgery. I think if this was going to be a major issue it would have already manifested itself. He is going to be a dominant set up man, and deliver ball games on a golden platter to Craig Kimbrel. His career era is 2.87, so yea hes pretty darn good. I think he will be the biggest break out star in Boston. A lot of fans won't know his name coming into the season, but everyone will know it by the end. Another plus is he isn't Junichi Tazawa.
Most Disappointing Player:
Pete: I'm not sure if disappointing is the right word, but I think we will see a considerably regression from Rick Porcello after winning the Cy Young award last season. Look for Porcello to have an ERA in the mid-3s with 15-18 wins, but I don't think he will be the dominant pitcher we saw last season.
Nick: This one might come as a bit of a shock, but Xander Bogaerts is going to take a turn for the worst this year. X was an All-Star last year and was poised to join the MVP conversation down the stretch. But he only managed to hit about .230 in the last 2 months. People are going to expect his numbers to go up to around .300 with 25 HR and 100 RBI, but I think he's going to be around .285 with 15 HRs and 75 RBI, which isn't bad, but I think it will leave a lot of fans with disappointment.
Kaley: I'm rolling with Pete on this one. I see essentially no scenario where Rick Porcello can sustain his success from 2016. Now, that doesn't mean he's going to suck; I think he'll remain one of the American League's better pitchers and continue to be an above-average starter for Boston. I'd love to live in a world where Pretty Ricky wins AL Cy Young and 22 games again, but that's simply unrealistic, unfortunately. To call 2016 a fluke year for Porcello would be a lie, but he won't replicate that triumph.
Jordan: This may not really be a disappointing season, numbers wise, but I'm going to roll with Pablo Sandoval. Not that I think he will be bad, because I think he's primed to win the AL CPoY in 2017. But I think a lot of Sox fans seeing this unreal amount of power that is just uncharacteristic of the Panda. I've seen some people say they expect him to be near 30 bombs this year. If he does, fantastic. But I see him putting up similar numbers to that of 162 game averages: .280 with 22 and 80.
Joey: I'm going to go with Jackie Bradley Jr. I believe he will play out of his mind on defense, but I fail to see him being a big bat. Remember the hit streak? People were flipping out over that, I heard people say that he would break Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak record. Fans love to see offense, sure a flashy defensive play might turn a few heads, but there's nothing like a home run. JBJ, can win gold glove after gold glove, but if he isn't hitting he is coming up just short. He hit .267 last season with 26 home runs, I expect him to hit around .250 with anywhere from 15-20 long balls. We seen a man capable of winning a job as a starter on the AL All-star team last year, then after and even a little before the break we seen a sharp decline. Obviously I hope he proves me wrong.
Pete: The Red Sox desperately need a middle of the order bat, especially if they are in a deep playoff battle/run come July. Eric Hosmer has been having contract extension talks with the Kansas City Royals, but nothing has been solidified yet. If Hosmer and the Royals are not able to hammer out an extension and are not in a position to threaten for the playoffs, I am willing to bet they will look to cash out on their 27-year-old first baseman. With Moreland only under contract for the 2017 season, the Red Sox, who have been infatuated with Hosmer, could look to trade for him and extend him before the end of the season.
Nick: Look, we all know Mitch freaking Moreland can't replace David Ortiz's production so the Sox will have to find a bat at some point if they want to make a deep run. And if we're looking for surprise trades, let's think big: how about Miguel Cabrera? Mike Ilitch just passed away leaving the Tigers ownership future up in the air. And if you couple that with a bad first half of the season we could see a full blown fire sale from Detroit by June. Cabrera would slot into that first base slot for the next 5-7 years - making high value prospects like Sam Travis expendable - and would make them instant favorites to win the whole damn thing.
Kaley: Say that Pablo Sandoval has a disappointing first-half; the Red Sox really have zero third base depth on their current roster. An issue could quickly arise at the hot corner; Boston could very well make a move for Chicago’s 3B Todd Frazier, if deemed necessary. By the trade deadline come the end of July, the White Sox will have already paid off half of Frazier’s $12.5 million contract, plus they’re currently in a rebuild, more than ready to ship out veterans like Frazier. Frazier could look appealing to many contenders come July, and if Boston is put in such a situation, it could very well go down.
Jordan: I'm going to completely ignore the topic and talk about a surprise addition. This won't cost the Sox and prospects or Major League ready talent. But the surprise addition is David Ortiz. Wishful thinking, I know, but Pedro Martinez (one of Papi's best friends) says he believes Ortiz will come back if the Sox look like they need a bat this summer. And wataya know? The Sox signed Mitch Moreland this offseason to play first. The position played last year by current DH favorite, Hanley Ramirez. If Moreland has a putrid half of a season offensively, look for number 34 to make a comeback to the Sox. *Begins praying*
Joey: Don't let the recent spending spree of prospects fool you, the Red Sox have plenty of depth when it comes to farm hands. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox pull of a huge trade this season. I think that a big bat, middle of the order type of guy is what the Sox desperately need. I'm going to go with Kaley here and say Todd Frazier would be a great fit. If Pablo Sandoval is playing bad, or to his career average then Boston fans will be calling for his head. Todd Frazier certainly would add a huge bat to the lineup, while providing great service down at the hot corner. The White Sox seem to be willing to ship out any, and everybody. Dave Dombrowski has already pulled the trigger on a huge trade with the ChiSox, so it would not surprise me in the least bit to see it happen again.
Pete: 97-65. The Red Sox will have a better year than they did last season with the addition of Chris Sale, Tyler Thornburg, and Mitch Moreland. They will make a deep run in the playoffs, but I do not think this team is good enough to take down the Cleveland Indians or Chicago Cubs. I think the Red Sox will add at the Trade Deadline and make this topic irrelevant, but as currently constituted, the Red Sox will lose to the Indians in, say, six games.
Nick: 95-67. Boston should win the AL East. The rotation is too good not to. The question then becomes how deep into October can they go. And in reality, it comes down to the performance of two players: Chris Sale and David Price. One untested, one a career failure. If Chris Sale can have postseason success in his first trip to the playoffs, and if David Price can finally perform when it matters most, this team can make a run. Otherwise they'll probably lose in the first round to Houston, or get their doors blown off by Cleveland in the ALCS.
Kaley: I fully expect Boston to repeat as AL East champs, 96-66. I can’t imagine them crapping their pants as a team again in the ALDS, despite not having David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup this time around. They’re the second-best team in the AL and they’ll prove that in the ALCS against Cleveland. They’ll make great improvements as a team overall. Chris Sale will defy the odds and have a fantastic first season in Boston and break that first year 'curse'. The back end of the rotation will figure itself out along the way, and the lineup will be a little bit better than the current expectations, but both will have their ups and downs. Expect an eventful season from this club.
Jordan: I'll say this team goes 93-69. We all know what level Sale, Price, and Porcello are on at their best. In fact, that's a potential 60 wins from 3 guys. I'm more worried about the 4 and 5 starter, currently a competition between E-Rod, Pomeranz, Wright, Owens, and Johnson. Simply put, I don't really trust them that much. I don't think the bottom 2 with be bad, I just see potential for some inconsistencies. They still win the division by at least 2 games, and should win the ALDS handily, if all 3 big boys bring their stuff to October. As for the ALCS against likely the Indians? Too soon to tell. It's a long season. Injuries, suspensions, bad/good trades all happen. It's all about who gets hot at the right time. However, on paper, the Tribe scares me. GO SOX!
Joey: I'm being optimistic here but, I'll say the Red Sox go 98-64. I love the addition of Tyler Thornburg, Mitch Moreland, and Chris Sale. There is no question that the rotation is substantially better. We now have three starters that could win 20 games. We have a great offense, but we're missing a lot on the leadership, and offensive side of the ball with the retirement of David Ortiz. I think the Red Sox win the division fairly easy, however the Blue Jays will be competitive, they always are. The Red Sox have the pieces to go snag a bat at the trade deadline just in case the baseball gods don't smile down on us and send back our fearless leader. I think the Sox will move onto the ALDS,and beat the Astros in 4 games. Then the ALCS, I fully expect Cleveland to be in it. The Indians are phenomenal their rotation is filthy, their bullpen is unreal, their offense is dominant, and a big one here, but their manager is not John Farrell. The season will be full of ups and downs, but I expect the Red Sox to be in it for the long haul in 2017.