By Danny Emerman (Online Editor-in-Chief).
Heading into the 2017 season, Boston Red Sox are restocked with elite arms and reloaded with powerful bats.
Although they will be without Beantown legend David Ortiz, despite optimistic fans hoping he returns from retirement, the Sox have arguably the most talented roster in the league.
Their starting pitching rotation consists of a “1-2-3” of David Price, Chris Sale, and Rick Porcello, pitchers capable of winning 20 games.
“Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Price, Porcello, and Sale all combine for 60-plus wins,” senior baseball player Jason Hertz said.
Injury concerns have already crept into the clubhouse during spring training, though. After experiencing left forearm and elbow soreness, lefty ace David Price had an MRI. Red Sox nation held their collective breath as many feared he would need season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Doctors told Price he has a “very unique,” wolverine-like elbow that “heals itself.” He will not require surgery, but there is still no timetable for his return.
“[David] Price is a competitor. He’s shown that throughout his career. I think he’ll be ready for opening day,” Hertz said.
Behind the plate, the Sox are loaded. Mookie Betts emerged as one of the best players in The Show last year and Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi are all returning.
“Hopefully [Mookie] will have another MVP-caliber year and will play in the all-star game again,” junior Spencer Singer said.
With all the proven power comes uncertainty in the form of Pablo Sandoval, who is returning after missing all of last year with a shoulder injury.
“I think Pablo Sandoval is going to have a bounce-back season and bat .290 with around 100 RBIs,” Hertz said.
Sandoval, who is on a five year, $95,000,000 contract, is a career .287 hitter, but hit .245 with just 10 dingers in 2015 for Boston.
The perennial powerhouse is expected to win the AL East again after a 93-win 2016 campaign.
Losing Big Papi is a big blow, but Boston has plenty of talent to recover and secure at least another division title.