The MLB season is right around the corner, and teams have begun their Spring Training games. The Red Sox return a talented lineup which is also full of question marks. Here are projected statistics for the 2017 Boston Red Sox offense:
Catcher: Sandy Leon
Projected Stats: .253 batting average, .323 OBP, .691 OPS, 9 home runs, 42 RBIs
After a surprise year behind the plate from Leon, he should earn the nod to start at catcher. Hitting .310 again this season seems unlikely and he could end up splitting time with Vazquez and maybe Swihart.
First Base: Mitch Moreland
Projected Stats: .261 batting average, .313 OBP, .744 OPS, 21 home runs, 71 RBIs
Moreland and the Sox agreed to a 1 year, $5.5 million deal this offseason. He will be part of the committee replacing David Ortiz, as he's hit 20+ home runs in back to back seasons. He also won the Gold Glove at first last season, allowing Hanley to see time at DH.
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia
Projected Stats: .294 batting average, .362 OBP, .789 OPS, 14 home runs, 78 RBIs
Pedroia also had an outstanding year hitting the ball in 2016. He batted .318 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs. His average will drop, but his power numbers will hover around the same as last year.
Third Base: Pablo Sandoval
Projected Stats: .269 batting average, .337 OBP, .758 OPS, 15 home runs, 61 RBIs
Sandoval has slimmed down and is ready to contribute to the 2017 Red Sox.
Photo Courtesy of CSN Bay Area Staff
Pablo Sandoval? After sitting out basically all of last year, Sandoval has severely slimmed down and looks like he's ready to contribute this year. The idea of him seeing bats at DH remains an option, but he will have first crack at the third base starting job.
Coming off his second straight AL Short Stop Silver Slugger Award, Bogaerts will be an important bat in this lineup. After struggling in the second half of 2016 and against Cleveland in the playoffs, Bogaerts should bounce back in a big way in 2017.
Left Field: Andrew Benintendi
Projected Stats: .284 batting average, .349 OBP, .787 OPS, 14 home runs, 78 RBIs
After being called up at the trade deadline last year, Benintendi provided a valuable bat near the bottom of the order. He'll be back next year and earn the starting left fielder spot as a 22 year old.
Center Field: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Projected Stats: .265 batting average, .346 OBP, .801 OPS, 19 home runs, 81 RBIs
Jackie surprised many last year hitting 26 home runs and supported a 29-game hitting streak. Expect the power to fall off slightly from last year, but he still is arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball.
Right Field: Mookie Betts
Projected Stats: .314 batting average, .372 OBP, .907 OPS, 29 home runs, 108 RBIs
Mookie may have not won the AL MVP award, but he certainly will make a case this season. Expect another outstanding year from the 24 years old slugger, and maybe a contract extension.
After finishing second in the AL MVP voting, Mookie should finish near the top of the list yet again in 2017.
Photo Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports
Hanley had a surprisingly good year defensively at first base, but Moreland will bump him to the DH position. Hanley will still see time at first, but perhaps limiting his time in the field could lead to a healthy, productive year at the plate.
After making the switch to outfield, Swihart injured his ankle and was shut down for the year. His time in the outfield could be little but has the potential to take over the starting catcher role.
Catcher: Christian Vazquez
Projected Stats: .241 batting average, .309 OBP, .637 OPS, 3 home runs, 21 RBIs
Vazquez is the Red Sox best defensive catcher but spent the majority of last season in Triple-A Pawtucket. He will start the year as the backup and could see either an uptick in playing time or another demotion.
Outfielder: Chris Young
Projected Stats: .223 batting average, .308 OBP, .691 OPS, 9 home runs, 27 RBIs
Young proved to be a solid pickup last free agency hitting .276 with nine home runs. As an injury sidelined him for a good part of 2017, expect his average to drop as he collects more at bats.