With pitchers and catchers reporting in just about a week, I figured it would be a good time to let my predictions go on some players.
1). Mookie Betts will have a monster year
The only bright spots of the Red Sox miserable 2014 campaign was youngster Mookie Betts. Betts, a twenty-two year old outfielder, hit .291 with 5 homers and 18 RBI's in 213 plate appearances. Betts spent most of his time in right field since veteran Shane Victorino played in just eighteen games last season, but with Victorino back, the question emerges as to who will start. An outfield of Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts is very dangerous if all stay healthy. However, Betts was a second baseman throughout his time in the minors and just switched to outfield last season. Although, in 323 innings in the outfield last year for the Red Sox, Betts only committed one error. If Betts can produce as projected, he could be a 20-25 homer guy who hits around .290 with 30-35 stolen bases. Betts is the complete package, he can run, hit and field, I can't wait to see how this season turns out for him.
2) Clay Buchholz will emerge as the Sox ace
Coming off a year plagued with injuries and failure, Clay Buchholz is bound for a bounce back season. Buchholz was 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA a season ago, career lows in all pitching categories. Buchholz was very consistent and productive in 2013 when he went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA, even though he only appeared in 16 games. Well you're probably wondering why I think Buchholz will emerge as the ace? Listen, I know this is a very bold statement since Buchholz hasn't stayed on the field and has been very inconsistent over the past few years. But, I believe with Buchholz being in a contract year and his stuff having the potential to be so dominant, I think Clay will rise to the occasion this year and anchor this staff.
3) Xander Boegarts will have a better year
In a year where Xander Bogaerts struggled in all aspects of his game, I believe he will be a force at the bottom of the Red Sox lineup this season. Bogaerts bounced around a lot between third and short early last season. The signing of Stephen Drew in early May last year really messed with Xander's confidence after struggling at short in the first month at shortstop in the bigs. After a great 2013 postseason, Xander was told he was the guy the Red Sox could count on, I think being so young when all this happened, the pressure got to him a little bit. Also, on offense, Xander was placed under a lot of pressure to be a force in Boston's lineup in his first season. With the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, Xander will likely be in the bottom half of the line up with a lot less pressure on him to produce. I predict Xander to hit around .270 with 15-18 homers and drive in about 80 runs. As far as his defense goes, with Xander playing every day at shortstop from July on, I think his defensive game got better as the year went on and I believe it will continue to improve throughout the course of his career.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.