Boston Red Sox

Manager: John Farrell
Stadium: Fenway Park
2008 Record: 95-67 (2nd in AL East)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (2nd in AL)
PLAYER B POS
Jacoby Ellsbury L CF
Dustin Pedroia R 2B
David Ortiz L DH
Kevin Youkilis R 1B
J.D. Drew L RF
Jason Bay R LF
Mike Lowell R 3B
Jason Varitek S C
Jed Lowrie R SS
OFF THE BENCH
Rocco Baldelli R OF
Nick Green R INF

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (4th in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Josh Beckett R SP1
Jon Lester L SP2
Daisuke Matsuzaka R SP3
Tim Wakefield R SP4
Brad Penny R SP5
BULLPEN
Hideki Okajima L Setup
Justin Masterson R Setup
Jonathan Papelbon R Closer
 

When John Henry bought the Red Sox in 2002, the Yankees' brain trust worried that Boston would finally leverage its resources to build a lush farm system and complement its best young players with the occasional big-money free agent. Now that Boston has made the playoffs five of the past six years, New York's worst fears have been realized. "They haven't even reached their full potential as an organization," says a Yankees exec, "and we're still way behind them." There are no better examples of Boston's progress than homegrown Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and AL MVP Dustin Pedroia. But if the Sox are to make another run in 2009, they'll need several vets to bounce back. A bum left wrist limited David Ortiz, who's now 33, to his lowest homer total since 2002. Mike Lowell, who's 35, is recovering from right-hip surgery. And then there's Jason Varitek, who turns 37 in April and last year posted an OPS below .700 for the first time. If that trio can't hold up this season, the Red Sox will again be looking up at the young and hungry Rays.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Red Sox preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Barring a trade, George Kottaras starts the year as the backup catcher with a chance to gain playing time if Jason Varitek hits the way he hit in 2008.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Daniel Bard has a huge arm, sitting in the upper 90s as a reliever with great sink, and only command and aggressiveness are keeping him from becoming a top-shelf closer.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

ESPN Conversations

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

AL
NL
 

SPORTSNATION

Is Dustin Pedroia the American League's best second baseman? Will Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka or Jon Lester be the top starter in the league? Is Jon Papelbon the best closer? Register your vote.

AL East poll page

Featured Comment

The Sox have made good additions to their pitching staff by adding future Hall Of Famer John Smoltz as well as Brad Penny.


Baseball anderson

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

After a dominant spring, Clay Buchholz doesn't have a rotation gig, though he may take a couple of Brad Penny's early starts. Still, if he's as good as he showed in the Grapefruit League, he'll contribute.

BUST

Daisuke Matsuzaka boasted the AL's highest strand rate and a lucky BABIP in '08 to go with his league-worst 94 walks. You just don't see 2.90 ERAs on guys with a 1.32 WHIP. The possibility for a big-time correction exists here.
-- Christopher Harris

INJURIES

John Smoltz was my choice for injury comeback story of the year as of New Year's Day, and if anything, I'm even more encouraged three months later. Smoltz, who has shown his ability to come back from injury in the past (following multiple elbow surgeries), has been progressing even better than expected after significant shoulder surgery. The historical relationship between members of the Red Sox rehab staff with Smoltz's surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, inspires confidence that he will continue to be brought along at an appropriate pace, which is key to his successful return. Add in Smoltz's competitive fire, along with the fact that he has already thrown several bullpens with a full mix of pitches, and Smoltz could be a dangerous addition by June.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Is David Ortiz an elite hitter?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 1 overall
    (1st in
    AL East)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 4 overall
    (2nd in
    AL East)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 2 overall
    (2nd in
    AL East)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 2 overall
    (2nd in
    AL East)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 3 overall
    (2nd in
    AL East)