Spring Training Takeaways & Season Preview: Red Sox Edition


Spring Training is over, and the Red Sox will be playing games that count today!  Red Sox Nation is the greatest fanbase in sports, so I already know you have a pulse on this team.  Here are some of my takeaways from the Red Sox preseason and what I expect from their 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of nesn.com

Last year was a nightmare for anything that involved the Boston Red Sox.  A lot of the bad dreams stemmed from the pitching staff.  The downright terrible, no good pitching staff, to be more specific.  Well, spring training showed the baseball world that all the moves the Chaim Bloom and company made over the last year look worth it.  Their pitching staff is stronger, and their pitching depth is vastly improved.  I know that may be a weak take because the bar last year’s squad set is very low.  However, improvements are improvements. 

The Opening Day roster will include Garrett Whitlock, Matt Andriese, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Adam Ottavino, and Hirokazu Sawamura.  All pitches that were brought aboard this off season or during the 2020 campaign.  If the pitching staff has a good season, a lot of apologies should be sent Chaim Bloom’s way.

Eduardo Rodriguez will not take the ball on Opening Day due to arm fatigue.  Also known as “dead arm.”  I mentioned on the latest episode of RSPTBNL (check it out) that anytime you refer to something as “dead” that it is not a good thing.  On top of the fatigue there have been whispers of a possible shoulder issue.  Now E-Rod did throw a bullpen and mentioned after that he felt good.  As long as the shoulder does not become a problem, I think we will see Rodriguez take the bump by May, which would be great for the ball club.

Despite having a productive spring, Michael Chavis was optioned to AAA.  Chavis recorded 15 hits and slugged six homers in spring training.  But he also struck out 20 times and only took two walks.  So essentially more of the same when it comes to Michael Chavis.  The decision to start him in the minors makes all the sense in the world.  They can give Christian Arroyo the first crack at the role and fall back on Chavis if need be.  They would not have been able to do that in reverse order.  In my opinion, I would look to move Chavis now while his value is elevated.  But that is just me.  Or is it?

Boston’s offense is elite.  There is no other way to categorize them.  Even in a down season, they were still amongst the best offenses in the game, and they picked right up where they left off this spring.  The Sox finished Top 5 in virtually every offense category in Florida.  It is so hard to not get excited about their offensive fire power.

Without a doubt Alex Cora has played a massive role in their encouraging Spring Training.  I understand that spring does not mean everything, but it does mean something.  If you can recall, the Sox had a dreadful spring in 2019.  And that spilled into the regular season.  That does not seem to be the case for 2021, and that is promising.  Despite a tough spring schedule (again take that as a grain of salt) Boston finished with 16 wins.  That is the high-water mark for the entire league.  Alex Cora has the squad game ready and that cannot be discounted.  I don’t care if the games do not officially count.

My final takeaway from Spring Training 2021 is that Chaim Bloom has seemingly done a great job revamping the Red Sox farm system.  Red Sox Nation has witnessed Jarren Duran make a massive jump in his development.  And we should see Duran in a Boston uniform this season.  Current prospect king in the Sox system, Triston Casas only recorded one hit in 11 at bats, but the chatter from camp was overwhelmingly positive.  

Jeter Downs batted .278 with two home runs in limited opportunities.  And on top of that he almost walked as much as he struck out.  Further proving that he should be helping the big-league club sooner rather than later.  

Last year’s first round selection Nick Yorke was impressive.  He didn’t rack up a ton of stats but, given his age, he held his own against major leaguers.  This season feels like the year the narrative starts to change about the next few waves of Red Sox players.

Okay, so now is the time of the article where I would like to express my expectations for the 2021 season.  Bill, Chris, and I talked extensively about this on the last episode of RSPTBNL (podcast link below), so I will not ramble on too much. 

I think this Red Sox team should be interesting, fun, and very competitive.  It appears that the pitching staff is deeper and will be more effective.  The offense is nasty, so why can’t they compete this year?  Follow the story line here.  They are being wildly considered as an improved and intriguing ball club.  Everyone agrees they will rake.  Chris Sale should be back this year.  Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs could be in the bigs this year.  If they are winning Bloom will invest in the now.  When I add all that up I have them winning 88-92 games and being crowned AL East champs.  So yeah, it is time to get pumped for the 2021 Boston Red Sox.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattyKiwoom

Check out the Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later, the Syndicate’s podcast dedicated solely to the Boston Red Sox and the rest of Major League Baseball.  Follow our Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later on Twitter @RedSoxPod_BSS.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Spring Training Takeaways & Season Preview: Red Sox Edition
Spring Training Takeaways & Season Preview: Red Sox Edition
Boston Sports Syndicate
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