How Red Sox stack up in FanGraph’s MLB power rankings originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The new-look Boston Red Sox enter the 2023 MLB season with low expectations. After a last-place American League East finish and an offseason headlined by Xander Bogaerts‘ departure, they have plenty to prove to the critics who have already written them off.
We’ll see plenty of MLB power rankings released between now and Opening Day, and we can expect most won’t be kind to the Red Sox. The Athletic, for example, ranks Boston all the way down at No. 21 out of the 30 clubs.
FanGraphs, however, offers a slightly more optimistic outlook. They project the Red Sox to finish the 2023 season with an 82-80 record, just behind a tier of teams they consider to be “solid contenders.” Boston comes in as the No. 14 ranked team on the list.
Here’s an explanation for the Red Sox ranking from FanGraphs’ Jake Mailhot:
No team’s roster feels as volatile as Boston’s. If everything works out right, the Red Sox could give the Rays and Blue Jays a serious fight behind the Yankees. Maybe all their health question marks turn out to be fine, Masataka Yoshida makes a seamless transition stateside, their veterans fight off decline for another year, and their youngsters take a major step forward.
But there are so many ways that things could fall apart, and too many of those scenarios would have disastrous cascading effects across their roster. Threading the needle should be compelling to watch for outsiders and completely heartrending for fans in Boston.
It’s a spot-on analysis of the Red Sox’ situation. While offseason additions such as Yoshida, Justin Turner, Corey Kluber, and Adalberto Mondesi offer high upside, they also come with a ton of risk. The bullpen looks to be much improved, but there are major “what ifs” in both the lineup and the starting rotation. The range of potential outcomes is enormous.
Although FanGraphs’ Red Sox projection is more optimistic than most, it still doesn’t bode well for their postseason hopes. An 82-80 record almost certainly won’t do them any good in the competitive AL East. Barring any surprises, the most probable scenario is another battle with the Baltimore Orioles for fourth place in the division.