You don’t have to look all that hard to find media commentary on how 2013, self-evidently, is a rebuilding year. Boston won 69 games last season and didn’t even try to attract any of the high-end free agents, after all. These articles are not necessarily negative. The Red Sox are just taking their medicine, the story goes, and trying to get on with responsibly building a contender for 2014 or more likely 2015; primarily from within that is to say. The most cynical examples of these types of articles might highlight an optimistic quote from John Henry or Ben Cherington about the team’s intentions to compete in 2013 as little more than PR fodder. The Red Sox can’t really believe they have a chance, can they? It’s just Larry and Dr. Charles trying to sell fans false hope.
Well here’s an exercise. It’s far from a projection, as it’s incredibly oversimplified. But nonetheless it reflects the potential on this roster. I have cherry-picked the best season by two metrics between 2010 and 2012 for every player slotted to contribute regularly to the lineup and rotation in 2013. There seems to be some consensus around the idea that Boston has built a very good bullpen, so we will set that aside for now.
Take a look:
You could paint a bleak picture, too, by highlighting injury concerns and cherry picking players’ worst years in the last three seasons but that’s sort of my point; there’s a wide range of possibilities for this team. The one possibility nobody seems to talk about, though, is the one where they end up a good team, very much in the mix for a playoff spot.
I have no delusions about the questions facing this club, but consider this quickie post fodder for the hopeless. It’s February 12th, for goodness sake, and Boston’s roster is loaded with players who have performed at an elite Big League level. That’s not a bad starting point.