Boston Red Sox: Spring Training Preview

Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America

Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America

After two disappointing last-place seasons in the American League East following their 2013 World Series Championship, the Boston Red Sox and their fanbase are looking to turn things around and have a competitive season in 2016. While the team received quality seasons from youngsters Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts as well as another impressive performance by aging designated hitter David Ortiz, veteran newcomers Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Rick Porcello failed to live up to expectations. The team’s offense was solid, finishing fourth in the American League in runs scored, fourth in batting average, third in on-base percentage, and sixth in slugging percentage. The team also finished fifth among AL offenses in wOBA but ninth in wRC+.

Pitching was the biggest issue for the 2015 squad, who finished 13th in starter’s ERA at 4.39, with the bullpen not faring much better with a 4.24 ERA, also 13th in the league. Individually, the trio of Joe Kelly, Justin Masterson and Porcello were particularly disappointing, finishing with ERAs above 4.80. Masterson failed to make more than nine starts and was cut by the club in August. Nobody really stood out as being exceptionally poor in the bullpen, but the only pitcher with an ERA and FIP below 3.50 was closer Koji Uehara, who missed the end of the season after suffering a broken wrist in early August.

In the offseason, the Red Sox made some major acquisitions, inking ace David Price to a 7-year deal worth upwards of $200 million and trading for standout relievers Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith. Offensively, not many positions were open for additions, but the club did sign 32-year-old center fielder Chris Young to a two-year deal worth $13 million. Entering Spring Training, the club aims to begin developing a team that will hopefully contend for a division title come September.

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