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Boston Red Sox: 2017 Team Preview and Fantasy Outlooks

Welcome to our ongoing series of MLB team previews. As part of RotoBaller's ongoing effort to help you win your leagues, we're previewing all 30 MLB teams. For each team, we will take a look at their hitters, pitchers, prospects and offseason moves. Today we dive into the 2017 Boston Red Sox Team Outlook, and preview their potential fantasy baseball contributions.

Boston fans are understandably excited about this upcoming season. They did see a local legend hang 'em up after last year - he'll be back to see his number retired this year - but the team did not sit idly by. They added another ace to their rotation, and it seems like the team is built well on both youth and experience.

Their mission will be to get back to the World Series and win, and there are plenty of players on here who could help your fantasy team do well, too.

Editor's note: for even more draft prep, visit our awesome 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It has lots of in-depth staff rankings and draft strategy columns. You will find tiered rankings for every position, 2017 impact rookie rankings, AL/NL only league ranks and lots more. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

Offseason Moves

The biggest offseason move for Boston was adding another big arm to their arsenal of starting pitching - Chris Sale. Yes, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech could wind up being big studs for the Chicago White Sox sometime in the not-too-distant future, but Dave Dombrowski is in "Win Now" mode. He couldn't get David Ortiz, who is Boston's biggest departure, a final ring before he retired, but he's determined to bring another ring to Beantown. Mitch Moreland will replace Hanley Ramirez at first, who gets to slide into the DH spot. He also brought in Tyler Thornburg, who can help bridge the late innings to get to Craig Kimbrel. In a move that could help a lot if there are injuries to starting pitchers - hi, Eduardo Rodriguez - Dombrowski signed Kyle Kendrick to a Minor League deal.

 

Hitting Overview 

Even with Big Papi's retirement, there's still quite a hitting arsenal with Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia, and Moreland adding a lefty bat to counter all these switch-hitters. We'll also see if Andrew Benintendi lives up to his hype as an uber-prospect. Sandy Leon will have the job at catcher, though he has to prove that his 2016 was not all smoke and mirrors (or that he didn't make a Joe Hardy-esque deal with the devil for his great stats). A big X-Factor will be if Pablo Sandoval keeps those pounds off and plays like the guy that San Francisco Giants fans loved for many years. Yes, Ortiz's ability to always seemingly get the big clutch hit will be sorely missed, but there's no reason why all the hitters can't keep up putting up their fantasy-friendly numbers - any of the above could hit 20-30 homers and drive in over 100 RBIs. We rank Bogaerts as the third-best shortstop, Betts is the second-best outfielder behind some guy named Mike Trout, and Bradley Jr. is in the Top 25 outfielders. Moreland could be a good late-round pick at first base for depth. There are a lot of Red Sox hitters that can help you this year.

 

Pitching Overview

It goes without saying that Boston now has a Top 3 starting rotation to envy. Going up against any combination of Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello is not going to be fun. Well, it will be fun for the people who own them in fantasy. Sale and Price are Top 10 pitchers - and although Porcello is ranked No. 107, I think he deserves more respect than that. Also, if Steven Wright can regain the form that he had before he got hurt on a base running play, it could be a Big Four situation. There's also depth in the back with Drew Pomeranz and Rodriguez. Their closer is still Craig Kimbrel, and John Farrell will use people like Thornburg, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and some others to get the ball to him in the ninth. Thornburg did have 13 saves in 2016, just in case Kimbrel goes down with an injury. We still like Kimbrel, ranking him No. 4 among relievers.

 

Prospects Overview

Benintendi, who hit a fairly decent .295 in 105 at-bats in 2016, could be the big impact rookie this season. Yes, losing Moncada and Kopech did clear the cupboards a bit, but there are names like Rafael Devers and Sam Travis who could make their names known in Spring Training. But it looks like Benintendi has been given the left-field job for now, and he would need a truly terrible Spring Training to lose that job. Then again, he only needs to look at Rusney Castillo from last year to know that nothing is ever guaranteed in baseball.

 

Conclusion

As usual, this Red Sox team looks loaded for bear with players that could give your fantasy team a big boost. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of people from Boston loaded up their fantasy teams with their own players. Homerism? What homerism. Of course, it also depends on the size of your league and how many other people are Boston fans too. The positions that could really help you are starting pitcher, second base, shortstop, outfield, and relief pitcher.




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