Yankees Preseason Offensive Matchup: Boston Red Sox


With the Yankees pitching matchup to the entire AL East all wrapped up in a nice little bow, we now turn our attention to the team offenses as they currently stand. We begin with the Boston Red Sox.

2016 Team Stats Overview

Last season, the Red Sox had the most potent offense in the entire MLB. They had a .282 team AVG accompanied by 208 HRs and 1,598 hits.  They also scored 878 runs and drove in 836 RBIs. On the flip side, the Yankees finished in the bottom ten among offenses. They had a team AVG of .252 and 183 HRs as well as 1,337 hits. They also scored 680 runs and 647 RBIs.

This offseason, the Red Sox lost David Ortiz to retirement and traded 3B Travis Shaw to Milwaukee. They also let 3B Aaron Hill and C Ryan Hanigan walk in free agency and traded away top prospect Yoan Moncada. Their sole offensive signing this offseason was 1B Mitch Moreland.

Top of the Order: Red Sox

Starting off the batting order for the Sox will most likely be 2B Dustin Pedroia. He will be in his 11th season in the majors and had one of his best seasons offensively in 2016. He batted .318 in 633 at-bats, scoring 105 runs and 74 RBIs. Pedroia only hit 15 HRs, but he’s never really been a home run hitter anyway. He’s actually only had one season where he hit over 20 HRs.

Following him is projected to be shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, 24, is already one of the best hitting shortstops in MLB. Last season he hit a career-high 21 HRs with 89 RBIs. He finished 2016 batting .294 accompanied by 115 runs in 652 ABs. Bogaerts did go through a stretch in the second half of the season.

Meat of the Order

Right fielder Mookie Betts will follow next in the order. Last season, he was second only to Mike Trout in AL MVP voting. He hit 31 HRs in 2016, which was second on the team behind David Ortiz. He drove in 113 RBIs and scored 122 runs. In 672 ABs, he batted .318 with 214 hits and an OPS of .897.

Hanley Ramirez played first base for the Sox last year, but with David Ortiz gone, he will be their new DH. He was another player on the team that hit 30 HRs and finished the season with a .286 AVG. He drove in 111 RBIs and had a .866 OPS. The big question for the team is whether or not Hanley can put up good offensive numbers as a DH.

Next, comes Pablo Sandoval. “Panda” missed pretty much all of the 2016 season after shoulder surgery last May. He only played three games and had six ABs with no hits. However, he lost a significant amount of weight in the offseason and has dedicated himself to a good season. This is the biggest question mark for the Red Sox offense going forward in 2017.

Bottom of the Order

Newcomer Mitch Moreland should bat 6th. With Texas last year, he batted .233 and had 22 HRs and 60 RBIs. He also had 107 hits and 49 runs in 460 ABs. He did strikeout 118 times last season, which is the most he has in his career. Defensively, Moreland is a better option at 1B than Ramirez.

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Andrew Benintendi, a rookie last season and the Sox’s top-rated prospect, is next. He made his MLB debut in ’16 and became a permanent mainstay in left field. He finished the season batting .295 with 14 RBIs, 2 HRs, and .835 OPS in 105 ABs.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had his best season offensively with a .267 AVG, 26 HRs, and 87 RBIs in 558 ABs.

Finishing up the lineup is catcher Sandy Leon who had a surprise campaign in ’16. With catchers Blake Swihart platooning in left field until his season-ending ankle injury and Christian Vasquez sent down to the minors, Leon finally had a chance to play. He would go on to a .310 BA and .845 OPS. The Red Sox hope he can build off of last season or they may have to give Swihart another shot.

Top Of The Order: Yankees

Projected to start off the order is Brett Gardner. Gardner, the man of many rumors, had 547 ABs last season hitting only 7 HRs and putting up a .261 AVG. He drove in 41 RBIs and had 143 hits. Next is Jacoby Ellsbury who batted .263 and had 56 RBIs. He also hit 9 HRs in 551 ABs last season.

Meat of the Order

Starting the meat of the lineup is the new “face of the franchise,” Gary Sánchez. He had a .299 AVG last season and broke into the league with a robust 20 HRs. Sánchez hit 19 of those HRs just in his first 45 games, breaking Wally Berger‘s all-time record in that span. He would go on to have 201 ABs and put up 42 RBIs and 60 hits.

Then comes newcomer Matt Holliday who may bat 4th. Holliday stumbled towards his lowest AVG last season at .246. He did, however, hit 20 HRs and had 62 RBIs in 382 ABs. He will be replacing A-Rod as the new DH on the team which should suit the 37-year-old quite well.

Second baseman Starlin Castro had a .270 AVG and 21 HRs in his first season with the Yankees. He drove in 70 RBIs and scored 63 runs in 577 ABs in 2016.

Bottom of the Order

Batting 6th is shortstop Didi Gregorius who batted .276 last season and hit 20 HRs in 562 ABs.

Chase Headley is 7th in the order. He hit 14 HRs, but only batted .253 last season in 467 ABs. Headley could be a trade target like Gardner somewhere down the line this season. Over the next few years, prospect Miguel Andujar could take over the spot if everything pans out.

Greg Bird will take Mark Teixeira‘s spot at first base. Bird was out all of last season after shoulder surgery, so all we can go off of is his 2015 stats when he batted .261 with 11 HRs and drove in 31 RBIs in 157 ABs. The Yankees have strong hopes that Bird will fit right in with the lineup and put up some great numbers in 2017.

Rounding out the order is Aaron Hicks who only batted .217 and hit 8 HRs in 327 ABs. This is the spot that could change based off of how Aaron Judge performs in Spring Training. Judge struggled at the plate with strikeouts and only batting .179 in 84 ABs last season. Should both struggle, Clint Frazier could play right field if he excels in Spring Training. Tyler Austin could find work out there as well.

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On paper, the Red Sox are the American League favorite for the World Series and have one of the best all-around offenses we’ve seen in some time. They could certainly struggle without the numbers Ortiz put up last season — but if the core youngsters of Betts, Bradley Jr., and Benintendi continue to contribute offensively, it’s likely they will be fine.

There is also a question if Ramirez can put up similar numbers to last year and if Sandoval can make even a slight comeback.

For the Yankees, you have to wonder if Sánchez will continue to hit bombs at last season’s pace? Will Bird pick up where he left off in ’15? Will Judge stop striking out? Certainly, the Yankees will get some answers come Spring Training. Even if the Yankees do not have a pool of offense to rely on, the impending arrival of even more prospects will keep our hopes at a fever pitch.

Even if the Yankees do not have a pool of offense to rely on, the impending arrival of even more prospects will keep our hopes at a fever pitch.