You want to get weird? Well, the 2020 Major League Baseball season is going to get weird. Teams will be playing 60 games in 66 days from now until the end of September, all while playing in mostly empty ballparks since the United States is still in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic.
The Red Sox are in for a rather weird season themselves considering everything that’s gone down since last September.
With chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and manager Ron Roenicke at the helm now, the Sox are projected to be a mediocre club in 2020, which we’ll touch on later.
For now, here’s an overview for what this season preview is going to look like:
- 2020 schedule and break down of opponents
Let’s get to it.
THE OPPONENTS ON THE SCHEDULE:
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, teams will be limited to playing opponents in the same region this season (AL East vs. NL East in the Red Sox’ case).
Atlanta Braves – 6 games (3 at home, 3 on road)
Baltimore Orioles* – 10 games (6 at home, 4 on road)
Miami Marlins – 3 games (all on road)
New York Mets – 4 games (2 at home, 2 on road)
New York Yankees* – 10 games (3 at home, 7 on road)
Philadelphia Phillies – 4 games (2 at home, 2 on road)
Tampa Bay Rays* – 10 games (4 at home, 6 on road)
Toronto Blue Jays* – 10 games (7 at home, 3 on road)
Washington Nationals – 3 games (all at home)
* – Divisional opponent
THE OPENING DAY ROSTER:
Jackie Bradley Jr.
J.D. Martinez (DH)
According to FanGraphs, the Red Sox are projected to be a .500 team this year and finish with a 30-30 record, good for third-place in the American League East. The site has the Sox outscoring their opponents by an average of .07 runs per game. For full team projections courtesy of FanGraphs, click here.
Among MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospects in baseball, the Red Sox are represented by middle infielder Jeter Downs (No. 44) and first baseman Triston Casas (No. 77).
Unlike Casas, Downs is in Boston’s 60-man player pool along with a handful of the club’s other top prospects, such as Bobby Dalbec (No. 3), Bryan Mata (No. 4), Jay Groome (No. 7), Jarren Duran (No. 8), Tanner Houck (No. 10), C.J. Chatham (No. 12), Connor Wong (No. 15), and Jonathan Arauz (No. 30)
With there being no organized minor-league baseball this year, it was imperative that the Red Sox gather up their most touted prospects to ensure they continue to develop during these unprecedented times.
Among the bunch, Dalbec and Houck seem like the most ready for the jump to the majors, while as a Rule 5 Draft pick, Arauz made the Sox’ Opening Day roster so that he would not have to be offered back to the Houston Astros for the time being.
Like FanGraphs, I believe the Red Sox will finish third in the American League East this year with anywhere between 28 and 33 wins on the season. The lineup, led by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez, will be one of the best in the American League, but pitching struggles will ultimately hinder the Sox’ hopes of making it back to the postseason even with the league’s playoff format for this year expanding to 16 teams.
Watching the Red Sox offense score their fair share of runs will probably be enjoyable. Watching the pitching staff give up their fair share of runs on the other hand? Not so much.
Still, even if Boston is not aiming to be an American League powerhouse this year, it’s great to have Major League Baseball back in the fold.