2021 Roster Review: Boston Red Sox

92-70 (3rd in Division; 8th in MLB)

[PREVIOUS REVIEWS]

SP Wins: 50 (11th)

RP Wins: 42 (8th)

Saves: 49 (5th)

1+ Save: 10 (Matt Barnes 24, Adam Ottavino 11, Hansel Robles 4, Garrett Richards 3, Garrett Whitlock 2, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Josh Taylor, Phillips Valdez, Matt Andriese 1)

100+ Ks: 4 (Nathan Eovaldi 195, Eduardo Rodriguez 185, Pivetta 175, Richards 115)

.260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 2 (Xander Bogaerts .295, Alex Verdugo .289, J.D. Martinez .286, Rafael Devers .279)

65+ Runs: 6 (Devers 101, Martinez 92, Bogaerts 90, Hunter Renfroe 89, Verdugo 88, Enrique Hernández 84)

65+ RBI: 5 (Devers 113, Martinez 99, Renfroe 96, Bogaerts 79, Bobby Dalbec 78, Verdugo was close at 63)

10+ HRs: 7 (Devers 38, Renfroe 31, Martinez 28, Dalbec 25, Bogaerts 23, Hernandez 20, Verdugo 13)

5+ SBs: 4 (Christian Vázquez 8, Verdugo 6, Devers, Bogaerts 5)

BEST BUY: J.D. Martinez

Martinez re-acquired OF eligibility, got back on track v. righties, and was on the cusp of the fabled 30-100-100 season (missed by 2 HR, 1 RBI, 8 R). He did lead baseball with 42 doubles and while most leagues don’t directly count doubles, it’s part of his power output and obviously makes driving in runs easier. Martinez was another case of overrating the shortened 2020 and this isn’t just hindsight, either, as I wrote him up last December saying as much. He is definitely worth his pick-91 ADP and even his high end (min pick of 72) still has plenty of profit potential.

ON THE RISE: Tanner Houck

The impressive righty made waves in a nice 69 IP split between starter and reliever. He showed big time strikeout stuff (31% K, 13% SwStr) while cutting his 2020 walk rate in half (7% BB). Perhaps the only thing Houck didn’t excel at was stranding runners with a 66% LOB rate, yet he still had a 3.52 ERA. There is a ton of excitement surrounding him and it could lead to a major surge in ADP as we get to the spring draft season. He’s at pick-190 right now with a range of 140 at his earliest and 245 at his latest.

Is he going to be guaranteed a starting role next year? The Red Sox have seven SP options right now if you include Garrett Whitlock and both 26-year-olds could start the season relieving but quickly find themselves in the rotation given the shakiness of their incumbent SPs due to health and/or performance. Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi are locks if healthy while Nick Pivetta, Rich Hill, and Michael Wacha all have their warts and have no guarantees. If we get news that Houck is a locked in SP, I still wouldn’t take him at that min pick of 140, but I’d start considering him as early as pick-160 which is near SPs like Ranger Suarez, Marcus Stroman, Sonny Gray, and a really good comp to Houck – Michael Kopech.

OFF THE RADAR: Triston Casas

A Red Sox 1B prospect? Don’t they already have Bobby Dalbec, though? They do, yes, but Casas has a much higher ceiling and could usurp Dalbec early into 2022. Dalbec is standard all-or-nothing power bat and he had a perfectly solid 107 wRC+ in his first full season, but it came with a .298 OBP thanks in part to his poor plate skills: 6% BB, 34% K. Casas spent most of 2021 dominating Double-A (142 wRC+), earning him a taste of Triple-A (just 42 PA) where he continued to succeed (130 wRC+). The 22-year-old will return to Triple-A and likely spend at least a month there, but if he picks up where 2021 left off then we could see an instant impact, especially given the strength of Boston’s lineup.

HOT TAKE: Jarren Duran gets 25 SBs.

Duran’s speed drove immediate interest when he was called up, but he was a colossal disappointment with just a 49 wRC+, 2 HR, and 2 SB in 112 PA. The speed was there with a 96th percentile Sprint Speed and his home-to-1st mark of 4.17 was tied for 12th-best, but he was the embodiment of “you can’t steal first base” with his .241 OBP. He obviously has to be a good bit better than what we saw in his debut, but even a .300-.310 OBP would be enough to run wild.

ICYMI: Hunter Renfroe is no longer on the Red Sox (traded to Milwaukee), but if he wasn’t on your fantasy team, you might have missed his excellent 31 HR-96 RBI-89 R season. He had a solid 114 wRC+ and finished as the 18th-best OF.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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