The Booby Valentine era is under way as the Red Sox 45th manager in team history. With Valentine you have an experienced manager who has opinions, who is a new-age thinker. He is not an old school guy as anyone could plainly see watching Baseball Tonight over the last couple of years. He thinks outside the box…all the time. Stats mean something to him, numbers mean something to him. He alone will be worth a few extra wins this year. What the Red Sox do need is a better 4th and 5th spot SP and an extra power hitting OF to come off the bench or platoon. Even with these inefficiencies I feel Boston is the class of the AL this year.
Daniel Bard RP-SP?
Bard, the young fireballer, will be the likely victor to claim one of the last two open spots in the BoSox’ starting rotation. What he needs to prove is that he can have success as a starter after his last two dominating years in the bullpen. What he must do this spring is continue to develop a third pitch to keep hitters off balance for that second and third time through the order. For fantasy purposes we get a SP with RP eligibility. A duel eligibility P with his potential is a must have on any squad. My projections for him are: 11W 3.43ERA 1.19WHIP with 161K.
Carl Crawford OF
Crawford is going to be drafted much too early again this year. His first season was already a disappointment and now season 2 will get off to a shakey start. Crawford underwent surgery January 17th to clean up cartilage in his left wrist and could/will miss the start of the 2012 season. The Red Sox are notorious for downplaying injuries and being overly optimistic about a player’s early return. With the huge investment they have in Crawford they will not rush him out against the green monster until he is 100%. As we have learned about wrist surgeries in the past, it can zap some power and make a hitter reluctant to hit that inside pitch in fear of getting jammed hard and aggravating the wrist problem. Look for an early May return, especially if the Sox start off well and they do not need him immediately. A season of 73R 12HR 68RBI 25SB .269 mediocre at best for the now 31 year old.