Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley

Read Sox: Are the Red Sox the Best Team in the American League?

On this edition of Read Sox, we take a look at the Fangraphs projections for the 2016 Boston Red Sox.  The results have me longing for spring more than a 19 degree day in January.

Going Deep

With the bulk of the offseason work completed before we all had a chance to open our David Price shirseys on Christmas day, it should come as little surprise that the lineup appears set for 2016.  Nonetheless, Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald took a look at what he thinks will be the final 25 man roster heading into the season.

There are very few surprises amongst his selections. Everyone we expect to be there is there, and he doesn’t project any additional big moves.  He opts for Tommy Layne as the second lefty out of the pen and for Steven Wright to be the long man in relief.  The biggest positional debate is arguably whether or not you think Christian Vasquez deserves to start at catcher over Blake Swihart.  Due to Christian Vasquez’s health and his lack of offensive potential Lauber has the Sox going with Swihart and Ryan Hanigan to start the year.

While this projection comes with few surprises, the team standings projections over at Fangraphs certainly have shocked some people.  Fangraphs and their Steamer projection system have the Red Sox as the best team in the American League, poised to win their division and finish with a 92-win season.  At Over the Monster, Ben Buchanan takes a look at just how they expect the Red Sox to make these massive strides forward.

It turns out that Steamer isn’t projecting much of anything out of the ordinary, and simply has Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez not having team-killing seasons, though it doesn’t project them to be particularly special either.  Steamer also has Red Sox stars Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, David Price and Dustin Pedroia performing up to their potential.  This should all be taken with a grain of salt since projections have liked the Red Sox quite a bit over the last two seasons and we all know how that has turned out.  I remain optimistic that the changes made this offseason are impactful enough to at least come close to the projected gains.

Quick Hits

Nothing makes you feel quite as old as having your childhood heroes get inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.  The Red Sox announced that long-time legends Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek will be inducted in a ceremony taking place on May 19th of this upcoming season.  John Tomase of WEEI provides the details on what should be a great day at the park.  If you are still feeling sour about Larry Lucchino’s tenure, you may want to stay away.

While we’re on the subject of Jason Varitek it should be noted that Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal believes it’s just a matter of time until he becomes a manager.  Tek has always been lauded for his leadership in the clubhouse and behind the dish, so this should not come as a surprise.  He has served with the team in a front office capacity for the last three years and would likely be a very in-demand candidate.

If winter ball is any indication, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe believes Vasquez has a real shot to be with the team by opening day.  He notes that the depth the Sox have at the position allows them to move slowly with him, but nonetheless it is a good sign for the defensive stud.

Our monthly Hanley Ramirez in the gym photo for January has been released, and Chris Smith of MassLive takes a look at his leaner frame.  The sheer amount of BSOHL talk that we are going to hear this spring already makes me sick.

According to current free agent Jon Heyman, Brennan Boesch has signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox that will be good for $1 million if he reaches the majors. That’s unlikely, sure, but the Red Sox aren’t terribly deep in terms of outfield depth in the high minors.

Lastly, Rob Bradford of WEEI writes that David Ortiz is feeling better about his Hall of Fame chances after the recent inductions.  Ortiz feels that he has the numbers and is not “part of a controversy.” I really hope the voters see it that way because anyone who has watched his career knows he is hall worthy.

Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports Images

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