Was 2012 an aberration for Jon Lester or a sign of things to come? (Kelly O’Connor – sittingstill.net)

Part 1: The Pitchers

Part 2: The Batters (1/31)

Part 3: The League (2/7)


1) Please feel free to bookmark this and come back later in September/October to see how I did — you know that if I hit on a few of them you’re going to hear about it.

2) Before you waste your keyboard clicks hating me please know that I will be rooting for some of these predictions and against some others, but it wouldn’t be much fun (or very accurate) if I only predicted good things to happen to the Red Sox this season.

The Pitcher Predictions

  • Clay Buchholz will edge out Jon Lester to lead the team in wins.
  • No Red Sox pitcher will win more than 17 games.
  • Free Agent acquisition Ryan Dempster will lead the team in innings pitched.
  • Lester, Buchholz, and Dempster will combine to pitch over 600 innings, keeping the Red Sox bullpen significantly fresher than recent seasons.
  • John Lackey will lead the team in showing up his fielders on the mound.
  • Before the end of January, I will already be growing weary of the “Hey, everybody John Lackey is in great shape and says he feels awesome” angle. Sorry Lackey, but in my book you and benefit of the doubt stopped associating together a long time ago. (Already done. I had to ensure I would get at least one of these predictions right.)
  • If Lackey actually pitches well I will develop new reasons to hate him as the season progresses.
  • Lester will not lead the team in hits, runs, earned runs, and home runs surrendered, as he did in 2012.
  • Lester will lead the team in showing up the home plate umpire any time he doesn’t like the called strike zone. (This is my by far my biggest issue with Lester, and something that he needs to work on. It doesn’t help the situation, ever.)
  • Dempster’s absurdly annoying glove twitching windup will be a constant source of aggravation in my house every 5 days.
  • I will be abundantly willing to get over that aggravation for 15 wins, 200 innings pitched, and a WAR in the neighborhood of 3.0.
  • I will not miss seeing Daisuke Matsuzaka cowardly nibbling around the edges of the strike zone for 30 pitch innings for one single moment. You shouldn’t either.
  • Neither of the two pitchers who were 5th and 6th in games started for the 2012 team (Aaron Cook and Matsuzaka) will start a game in the Major Leagues in 2013.
  • Rubby De La Rosa will be the first starter called up from Pawtucket to Boston.
  • The Red Sox Bullpen will be Top 3 in American League Bullpen ERA.
  • The bullpen will not blow any 9-0 leads.
  • For the second year in a row, Junichi Tazawa will be one of the most reliable options out of the Boston bullpen.
  • Newly acquired closer Joel Hanrahan will save 40+ games. Most of them will take years off of your life, but he will be a Top 5 American League closer.
  • Andrew Bailey will make a minimum of one trip to the disabled list.
  • Daniel Bard will spend the entire season on a major league roster, and by Memorial Day his return to prominence will be a major storyline.
  • People will make significantly less Daniel Bard/Rick Ankiel jokes than they did last year.
  • The Mark Melancon that pitches for the Pirates will resemble September’s Mark Melancon much more than April’s Mark Melancon.
  • Mark Teixeira will breathe a huge sigh of relief that he no longer has to face Vicente Padilla’s team 18 times a year.
  • With Padilla in Japan, Alfredo Aceves will return to his rightful role as the craziest and least stable pitcher on the team.
  • Aceves will be designated for assignment before the start of the summer. The bullpen is too talented and deep this year to deal with his moody, enigmatic act. Thanks for being the only decent pitcher on the team in September 2011, Alfredo, but your time is up.
  • At no point will any Red Sox fans utter the words “I wish that Aceves was still the closer.”
  • In 2012, the Red Sox used 26 different pitchers and 9 starters. Both of those numbers will be lower in 2013.
  • Those 9 starters (Lester, Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Beckett, Cook, Matsuzaka, Bard, Franklin Morales, and Zach Stewart) combined for 49 wins. The starters in 2013 will top 65 wins.