Boston Red Sox
- 2014 Finish: 71-91, 5th in AL East
- 2015 Key to Success: Production from the starting staff
It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox have mastered the “one-year turnaround.”
They’ve figured out a way to wipe out an entire season with the full intention of being all-in the next year with a very different roster. Their magical 2013 season proved it. They finished the best one-year turnaround in baseball history ending with a championship (jumping from 69 to 97 wins).
There’s no question the star-hungry ownership of the Los Angles Dodgers helped matters (taking on heavy contracts like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford), but the powers that be in Boston have seemed figure out the “big market rebuild.”
It’s happened again.
Last season was one manager John Farrell would love to quickly forget. A 71-91 record firmly planted their behinds in the cellar of the AL East. With a team ERA of 4.01 – which ranked 23rd in the majors – the Sox needed some pitching reinforcements this offseason.
They did very little to improve pitching. In fact, losing Jon Lester at the trade deadline last year remains a big story.
Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez were terrific additions. Especially Sandoval who’ll provide the back-end of an extremely clutch postseason tandem with David Ortiz. Youngsters like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo are primed for exciting seasons.
This is why the top key for this club will come from the starting staff.
With the bullpen still looking solid, it’ll be guys like Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello who’ll need to step up in a major way. Or, an early season trade will be mandatory should the pitching drastically fall behind the offense (hello Cole Hamels).
At least two of these guys will need to severely outperform their regular production (2014 ERA following name):
- RHP, Clay Buchholz – 5.34
- RHP, Rick Porcello – 3.43
- LHP, Wade Miley – 4.34
- RHP, Justin Masterson – 5.88
- RHP, Joe Kelly – 4.20
Buchholz right now showing up on paper in the ace spot is one of the more horrific things the people of Beantown have had to witness in quite some time.
The following trade pulled off in the offseason could either make or break this team:
Manager and pitching guru John Farrell will do his best to allow Porcello improve upon a solid 2014 where he came up with 15 wins and a 3.43 ERA.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays