June 24, 2024

While the American League East has enjoyed a strong reputation in baseball in recent years, the Boston Red Sox have not been significant contributors to the division’s success. With just four playoff appearances in the last five seasons and two consecutive losing records, the team’s recent performance has left much to be desired.

Despite predictions suggesting another bottom-half finish in the division, there are reasons for optimism among Boston fans. Trevor Story’s return to full health provides a boost to the lineup, outfielder Masataka Yoshida aims to build upon a promising debut season, and Rafael Devers remains a contender for MVP honors.

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Emergence of young hitters is a key factor in Boston’s potential success. Triston Casas, after a sluggish start to the 2023 season, demonstrated significant improvement in the latter half of his rookie year, batting .308 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs over his final 70 games. The Red Sox will rely on Casas to maintain this level of performance in 2024, alongside hopes for similar progress from other youthful batters.

Jarren Duran represents another promising talent poised to make an impact at Fenway Park. He showcased his potential with a .910 OPS in 53 home games last season, contributing 34 doubles and 24 stolen bases in just 102 appearances. Bobby Dalbec, while spending much of 2023 in Triple-A, displayed power hitting with 33 home runs in 114 games. If these young players can establish themselves consistently at the Major League level, the Red Sox’s prospects for success significantly increase.

In the 2023 season, no Boston pitcher who started at least 10 games managed to maintain an ERA below 4.00. Additionally, only Bryan Bello among these pitchers reached the milestone of pitching at least 150 innings. Among these hurlers, Kutter Crawford emerged as a standout performer, despite finishing with an actual ERA of 4.04. Crawford showcased promise with an expected ERA of 3.25, placing him in the 87th percentile among qualified MLB pitchers. He demonstrated strong performance by limiting opponents to a .221 batting average and ranking in the 75th percentile or higher in both whiff rate and average exit velocity. With such impressive metrics, Crawford appears poised for a breakout season in 2024.

Another pitcher seeking to make his mark is Nick Pivetta. Despite posting a 4.66 ERA in 16 starts, Pivetta exhibited more promising numbers with a 3.06 ERA in 55 innings of relief work. Notably, he displayed improvement with a 3.30 ERA after the All-Star Break and ranked impressively in the 93rd percentile in MLB for strikeout rate. Pivetta’s potential for improvement lies in his ability to minimize hard contact, as indicated by his 12th percentile ranking in average exit velocity.

Meanwhile, Boston anticipates the development of young pitcher Brayan Bello. Bello managed to lower his ERA to 4.24 in the previous season, showing flashes of brilliance with a 2.17 ERA during the second quarter of the year. However, he faced challenges, evidenced by a 5.25 ERA over his last 15 appearances. Notably, Bello’s changeup and sinker were effective, contributing a combined 16 runs in 2023, while his four-seamer, slider, and cutter proved costly, accounting for 17 runs. If Bello can refine his other pitches, he has the potential to emerge as an ace in the making and a reliable starter capable of leading the Red Sox to postseason success.

Jarren Duran, Kutter Crawford, Nick Pivetta, and Bobby Dalbec

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