Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Boston Red Sox

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Looking to clean the slate after their previous misadventures in free agency brought them to ruin, the Red Sox jettisoned much of their high-dollar superstar talent at the end of the 2012 season. They turned back to free agency to patch up the resulting holes prior to 2013, but this time, they focused on second-tier players willing to sign shorter, smaller deals. The result was 97 wins and a third World Series title in the last 10 years.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

Though the overhaul helped get the Red Sox over the hump, with players like Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli reinstating themselves as legitimate assets, the holdovers had the greatest impact in Fantasy. Jacoby Ellsbury bounced back from an injury-plagued 2012 with an MLB-leading 52 steals. Jon Lester reunited with former pitching coach John Farrell, now his manager, to recapture top-of-the-rotation form. Koji Uehara got a chance to close full time (but only after Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey went down to season-ending injuries) and became a force of Craig Kimbrel-like proportions, his 0.57 WHIP rating the best ever for a qualifying reliever. Even John Lackey, a non-factor since signing prior to the 2010 season, returned from Tommy John surgery with the kind of numbers that put him in the Cy Young discussion during his time with the Angels.

And the best part is the team remains mostly intact. Ellsbury's move to the Yankees creates a void at the top of the lineup, and Stephen Drew provided no worse than adequate production at shortstop, but most of the players who have given Fantasy owners reason to wonder in the past have an opportunity to continue with the same environment that brought out their best last year. Of course, it won't stop the passage of time, which is particularly noteworthy with heart and soul David Ortiz having turned 38 this offseason. For most of last year's Red Sox, that's the biggest impediment to a repeat performance.

They aim to get younger, though, having ready-made replacements for Ellsbury and Drew in Jackie Bradley and Xander Bogaerts. Though Bradley's upside is in question after his lackluster showing at Triple-A last year, with estimates ranging anywhere from Jon Jay to Shin-Soo Choo, Bogaerts is a superstar waiting to happen, an eventual first-rounder in Fantasy who seemingly can't grow up fast enough at age 21. The Red Sox will also get younger in the starting rotation if they pull the plug on Ryan Dempster, their lone misfire in free agency last year. Either of Felix Doubront and Brandon Workman would be of greater interest to Fantasy owners, with Workman potentially having some mixed-league appeal thanks to his eligibility at relief pitcher.

Impact prospect ... Xander Bogaerts, third base

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Shane Victorino RF
2. Daniel Nava LF
3. Dustin Pedroia 2B
4. David Ortiz DH
5. Mike Napoli 1B
6. Xander Bogaerts SS
7. A.J. Pierzynski C
8. Will Middlebrooks 3B
9. Jackie Bradley CF
Bench Grady Sizemore OF
Bench Jonny Gomes OF
Proximity ensures Bogaerts will be one of the first rookies drafted in Fantasy. Unlike George Springer, Archie Bradley and so many of the other big-name prospects expected to contribute this year, his time has already come. But what really sets him apart is the position he plays ... or is going to play, rather. After taking the path of least resistance to the majors last year by spelling the perpetually underwhelming Will Middlebrooks at third base, Bogaerts is in line to become the Red Sox's everyday shortstop, a position where Fantasy owners have too often reduced themselves to Erick Aybar types. Granted, no one knows exactly how Bogaerts will perform at age 21, but if scouting reports count for anything, he profiles as a Troy Tulowitzki type. Of course, first round-type potential sometimes gets off to a Jurickson Profar-like start, but given the alternatives at shortstop at that stage of the draft, it's an appropriate gamble in the middle rounds. Just keep in mind you'll need a fill-in shortstop for that one week when Bogaerts is ineligible at the position.

Bust ... Jake Peavy, starting pitcher

At a time when starting pitching is back on the rise, you have to wonder if Peavy still even measures up. He certainly has the name value and showed as recently as 2012 that he's capable of being a Fantasy asset, but is the reward enough to justify the risk? That 2012 season was an outlier not only it terms of health -- it was his first with at least 180 innings, much less 200, since 2007 -- but also production. And it's not like it earned him a bunch of Cy Young votes. Even counting that season, the last time Peavy averaged a strikeout per inning was 2009. His 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings in four years since would have ranked 33rd among qualifying pitchers last year, and his 1.17 WHIP during that same stretch would have ranked 28th. So realistically, he has the upside of about a top-20 starting pitcher, but with less chance of reaching it than others you could draft in the same range, such as Kris Medlen, Zack Wheeler or even John Lackey.

Buyer beware ... A.J. Pierzynski, catcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Jon Lester LHP
2. John Lackey RHP
3. Clay Buchholz RHP
4. Jake Peavy RHP
5. Felix Doubront LHP
ALT Ryan Dempster RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Koji Uehara RHP
2. Edward Mujica RHP
3. Brandon Workman RHP
4. Junichi Tazawa RHP
5. Andrew Miller LHP
Fenway Park: It's a great place for home runs if you bat right-handed, but otherwise, not so much. In fact, the last time Pierzynski played his home games in a venue that didn't enhance his power, Alex Rodriguez had yet to suit up for the Yankees. So while his performance for the Giants in 2003, when he hit .272 with 11 homers and a .729 OPS, was respectable enough, keep in mind 37 is a long way from 27. It may not seem like it with Pierzynski coming off two of his better seasons, but U.S. Cellular Field, where he hit 18 of his 27 home runs in 2012, and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where he hit 10 of his 17 last year, have a way of masking wrinkles. Pierzynski is still capable of a respectable batting average and will have a strong supporting cast in Boston, so you shouldn't expect him to fall off a cliff. But losing a few home runs could make all the difference to his mixed-league value, which was only borderline to begin with.

Prospects Report

Even apart from Bogaerts, Bradley and Workman, who should all win roles with the big-league club this spring, the Red Sox have several prospects on the verge of making an impact in the majors. Garin Cecchini, an on-base machine with some yet-to-develop power potential, could step in at third base if Will Middlebrooks' inconsistencies continue. Blake Swihart gives the Red Sox a long-term option at catcher, though like Cecchini, his power is more theoretical than practical at this stage of his development. Second baseman Mookie Betts had a Jackie Bradley-like breakthrough in the lower levels of the minors, flashing power and speed to go along with a tremendous batting eye, but he won't crack the Red Sox lineup unless he finds a new position. Of the three, Cecchini is the only one with any real hope for 2014. As far as starting pitchers go, Allen Webster, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens could all step in this year if the Red Sox burn through the depth they already have in the majors. Owens is the most intriguing of the group, profiling as a future ace.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Brewers test out Gerardo Parra at first, Luis Jimenez at catcher
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:19 pm ET) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is checking out his options around the field defensively this spring, reports MLB.com. Regular outfielder Gerardo Parra is getting some work at first base and third baseman Luis Jimenez is being looked at as an emergency catcher.

"Trying to figure out what can happen during ball games," Roenicke said. "If [Parra's] really good at it and Lind's down for a couple days, you just don't know. He looks great. He works at it all the time. Getting him more experience with all the situations that can come up in a ball game."

Jimenez caught a bullpen session Sunday and is competing for a bench role.

"If he's going to be on our squad, it's nice to have somebody who can do that job," Roenicke said. "He's been going out and warming up pitchers between innings. He's pretty good at it."


Cubs' Maddon on Jason Motte: 'I'm not worried about him'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:18 pm ET) Cubs manager Joe Maddon indicated Sunday that he's not concerned with the struggles of pitcher Jason Motte, who has posted a 14.21 ERA in 6 1/3 spring innings, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"Something that I’m not often into is mechanical adjustments," Maddon said of Motte. "It's something that [pitching coach Chris Bosio] picked up on in a conversation. I'm not worried about him. I think the velocity is very good. Just the shape of his pitches were different."


Yankees' Cashman: Stephen Drew the 'smart play' at second
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:16 pm ET) Stephen Drew has been outhit by two Yankees prospects this spring, but GM Brian Cashman said the veteran was still the "smart play" at second base. 

Rob Refsnyder is hitting .343 with five doubles. Jose Pirela is hitting .370.

Meanwhile, a hot stretch over the weekend brought Drew to .243. 

"I know there’s a lot of dialogue wrapped around Refsnyder and Pirela," Cashman said, per the Journal News. "But I think also that those guys have shown they still have work to do on the defensive side still. ... The bats are impressive, but you’ve seen the defensive stuff they’ve shown us in short sample sizes as well. ... So right now I’m pretty comfortable that Drew signing was the smart play for us on the front end."

Refsnyder has made five errors and Pirela two. 

Drew had a three hit game on Friday, homered on Saturday and doubled on Sunday. 

"He’s looked really good at the plate," Cashman said. "He’s looked so much better than last year the last week to 10 days. That’s encouraging. I know it’s got to be building his confidence and having memories of what he was prior to last year, because that’s certainly what’s playing around in my head. I feel much better about the situation right now."


Orioles' Miguel Gonzalez may get start in season-opening series
(5:13 pm ET) When the Orioles open the season with a three-game series in Tampa Bay, manager Buck Showalter said Miguel Gonzalez will likely start one of the games, reports MLB.com.

“We’re leaning that way. It kind of slots him out the rest of the month where he should be," Showalter said. "Like I say, we’ve got a rare opportunity with playing in our division for as much as we do and the track record our starters have there in different venues against different teams and kind of take advantage of that.”

For his career, Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts at Tropicana Field.

Showalter said earlier this spring that Wei-Yin Chen would probably pitch among those first three games as well as Chris Tillman, who's been widely speculated as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Twins' Ricky Nolasco serves up two home runs Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings while striking out three in his team's 6-5 win over the Orioles Sunday.

Nolasco served up back-to-back home runs in the first inning but was able to settle down after, giving up just an unearned run over the last five innings of work.

"I kind of picked the wrong day to give up fly balls," Nolasco said after the outing, per MLB.com. "I'd been getting ground balls all spring, but gave up some fly balls today with the wind blowing. I just tried to limit the damage from there and get my work in."

Nolasco was able to retire 10 batters in a row during his best stretch of the game. He has posted a 4.12 ERA and 16:5 K:BB ratio in 19 2/3 spring innings.


Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle finishes strong in outing Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle struck out four in five innings of work Sunday, allowing just one run on seven hits against the Orioles.

Buehrle was happy with where he finished, not how he started, reports MLB.com.

"The beginning wasn't as strong and sharp as I wanted to," Buehrle said after the game. "I just feel like I got stronger as the game went along. I don't know why, it's just one of those days. Third inning, I didn't miss too many bats, they were putting the ball in play pretty hard and guys diving all over and making some plays. Overall, it was good, I got up to the 90 pitch count area. I would have liked it to be more like six or seven innings, but that's the way it goes."


Pirates second baseman Jung Ho Kang gets on track at the plate
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:05 pm ET) Pirates second baseman Jung Ho Kang broke out of a mini slump Sunday by belting a two-run home run in the ninth inning to take down the Braves.

Kang had two hits on the game and brought a smile to manager Clint Hurdle's face, reports MLB.com.

"A very, very good day at the plate for him," Hurdle said of Kang. "He stayed on a breaking ball and lined out hard, singled sharply to center, then got all of that fastball. Nothing can breed confidence like success."

Kang was just 2 for 29 coming into Sunday during spring training.


Curt Casali, Bobby Wilson still battling for Rays' backup catcher job
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:03 pm ET) In the final week of spring training, Rays manager Kevin Cash still isn't sure who his backup catcher will be. 

Curt Casali and Bobby Wilson are the two candidates for the job. 

"I think both guys have had good camps," Cash said, per MLB.com. "They've shown what they need to show. And we've kind of anticipated that that would happen. So there are going to be some discussions and decisions that have to be made.

Casali is hitting .208 this spring. 

"I know he's been continuing to work," Cash said, although he'd like to see him "drive the ball a little more." 

Wilson is hitting .143. 

"We knew Bobby," Cash said. "A little more of a track record, history at the Major League level. I think that helps."


Rockies' Corey Dickerson on back: 'I'm good to go'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson did not make the trip for Sunday's split-squad game as scheduled but said that his back is fine, the Denver Post reports.

"It feels good, I’m good to go," Dickerson said. "Actually, it feels good to get a little break before the (regular) season starts."

Dickerson came out of Saturday's game with a tight back, but it doesn't appear the injury will affect his availability for the regular season. He has hit .289/.333/.489 in 45 spring at-bats.


David Lough may be headed to Orioles' DL
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:55 pm ET) Orioles outfielder David Lough won't start on Monday, as originally planned, and he may be headed for the disabled list. 

Lough hasn't played in the last week, due to back spasms. A hamstring injury is now keeping him out of the lineup. 

Manager Buck Showalter believes the two injuries are related and was doubtful that Lough would be back by Opening Day, per MASN Sports


 
 
 
Rankings