Going into 2021, expectations for the Boston Red Sox are incredibly low. After a 24-36 last-place finish in 2020, many 2021 Red Sox predictions place Boston at or near the bottom of the AL East. If the pieces fall into place, however, the Boston Red Sox could sneak into a Wild Card spot in 2021.
2021 Red Sox Predictions: How Boston Will Improve
The Boston Red Sox had the fifth worst record in the MLB last season, so it seems there is nowhere to go but up in 2021. Additionally, last season gave Boston many unexpected challenges such as a new manager, a global pandemic, and key starter Eduardo Rodriguez missing the entire season with a heart complication. Now, the Red Sox are poised for at least somewhat of a rebound season. Despite pessimism from fans, the 2021 Boston Red Sox are better than the 2020 team in nearly every way.
At the top of the line-up JD Martinez, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Alex Verdugo can make the Red Sox an offensive powerhouse with power bats like Bobby Dalbec and newly acquired Franchy Cordero near the bottom of the line-up. It is a possibility that the starting nine might be slightly less productive than in 2020, but the depth on the 2021 roster is undeniable. Marwin Gonzalez and Kiké Hernandez can fill multiple roles on the team and a strengthened farm system could give opportunities to players like Jarren Duran.
2021 Red Sox predictions should also recognize that Boston now has legitimate starting pitchers, unlike in 2020. Even without Chris Sale, Boston has six competent starters in Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Garrett Richards, Nick Pivetta, and Tanner Houck. With that many weapons, an injury would not derail the whole season, and if everyone stays healthy, one of those arms could be moved to the bullpen for added depth. Speaking of the bullpen, new arms like Adam Ottavino, Hiro Sawamura, and Matt Andriese should help support Matt Barnes, Darwinson Hernandez, and others already on the team. It is hard to see how anyone would expect the Red Sox to replicate their 2020 effort again this season.
2021 Red Sox Predictions: The Alex Cora Factor
Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes to the Red Sox in 2021 will be the return of manager Alex Cora. After being fired for his involvement in the 2017 Astros scandal, Cora is not the most liked man in the MLB but he is loved by all of his players. It is undeniable the affect that Cora had on players like Eduardo Rodriguez and Rafael Devers who both had breakout years in 2019 under Cora. Additionally, 2021 Red Sox predictions should realize the winning atmosphere and mentality that Cora provides. Already, Boston is embracing the underdog role and clearly using it for motivation. With a new group of players and strong leadership from Cora, don’t count the Sox out just yet.
2021 Red Sox Predictions: Where Can Boston Finish?
I see the Red Sox concluding the season with no fewer than 83 wins with a ceiling at around 90 wins. Despite last year, I believe the 2021 Boston Red Sox will be a much better team and will ultimately post a winning record. The Yankees are the clear favorites to win the American League East and Boston will struggle to compete at that level. However, the Blue Jays and Rays will also be strong teams that I think the Sox will be able to keep up with and potentially finish ahead of. With such a long season, so many elements factor into a team’s final record and it is important for 2021 Red Sox predictions to not cause a panic just yet.
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