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Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Sweeney, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marco Scutaro
Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard
Major Bullpen Arms:
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Andrew Miller, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront, Franklin Morales, Matt Albers, Vincente Padilla, Bobby Jenks, Mark Melancon, Andrew Bailey
Projected Record: 97-65
If it was not for their historical September collapse the Boston Red Sox probably would have won 100 games in 2011.
The massive amount of turnover in the Red Sox front office and dugout will be tough to overcome. A new manager, new GM and completely new bullpen will be tough to overcome, but this team has serious talent.
To combat the loss of Jonathan Papelbon the Red Sox traded for Andrew Bailey, an elite closer who has the potential to be just as good as Papelbon. They will also lost John Lackey to Tommy John Surgery, but as he was awful in 2011 this is not much of a loss. Daisuke Matsuzaka should be back by the All-Star break and Clay Buchholz should be back from his back injury.
The three-headed monster of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz atop the Red Sox rotation is dangerous. All three of those pitchers can post ERAs in the low 3.00s, if not high 2.00s. Still, Josh Beckett has been inconsistent, Jon Lester had an off 2011 season and Buchholz spent half the season on the DL; they are not locks for great seasons but I expect at least two of them to have a very good year.
The Red Sox offense is as dangerous as any in the majors. You can say that Adrian Gonzalez is bound to regress after he led the majors in BABIP with an insanely high and impossible-to-replicate .380 BABIP. You can also say that Jacoby Ellsbury had never even hit 10 home runs or driven in 65 RBI before 2011, how can you expect him to replicate his 2011 season?
You could also say that Carl Crawford cannot possibly be as bad as he was in 2011. True, he's not getting younger, and because of that his defense and stolen base numbers will suffer but he will not have an OBP below .300 in 2012 like he did in 2011.
Carl Crawford might miss the beginning of the season after arthroscopic wrist surgery, but he should return to 2010 form in no time.
This Red Sox team is as dangerous as you can get. If they can build chemistry and rapport with the new guys (especially manager Bobby Valentine), focus on the season and put the September collapse behind them, the Red Sox should be in for another great season.