My two biggest concerns about the 2013 Sox are
- the state of the rotation in that they're relying, in the first instance, on bounce back years from Lester and Lackey, consistency and health from Buchholz, a smooth adjustment to the AL by Dempster and continued improvement from Doubront, whose first phase of camp has been less than a smashing success. A related concern is whether they have enough depth behind the first five. Morales, Aceves and De La Rosa is probably a better 6-9 than most teams have but it's of course possible that Aceves will not last.
- the team's vulnerablity to RH pitching given Victorino and Gomes' track records against righties
My second biggest concerns are
- Farrell's in-game management given what seemed like some head scratcher decisions in Sox-Jays games last year.
- the lack of depth in the OF.
I'd appreciate your comments on any or all of those topics, and I'm interested to see if you think Iglesias will ever be anything more than a tantalizing glove and an insufficient bat.
Those are a bunch of points and you'll get lots of other questions, so thanks in advance for whatever you might address. And thanks for doing this. I'm a huge fan of your work and think you're one of the very best in the Boston market.
Going to get going now to try to get to as many questions as possible!
Regarding the rotation: You're right, they don't have anyone who represents a top-of-the-rotation certainty, while NYY (Sabathia) and, arguably, TOR (Dickey) have them. But I think last year represented outliers in terms of performance for Buchholz/Lester given the quality of stuff both continued to exhibit, inconsistently, in 2012,and given the fact that there are some pretty impressive successes in the recent past of both.
I actually think the Sox' rotation depth could be pretty good -- unproven, but impressive. Morales was filthy as a starter last year, and I like using any potential injuries/underperformances of the slated five to see what some of the prospects can do: Wright, Webster, De La Rosa all have upside that can impact the org for the long haul. I'd say that the Sox' depth of starters with major league-ready stuff might be better than anyone's but Tampa Bay's.
Will be interesting to see how the team does against RHP given the splits you noted -- part of the reason why Drew was such an important addition. I do think Gomes' ability vs. RHP has been underappreciated -- still a quality, grinding at-bat which has a collective lineup impact by driving up pitch counts. But yeah -- Victorino's 2012 vs RHP was a red flag that he'll have to prove is unwarranted.