2024 Boston Red Sox Preview

An extensive fantasy baseball preview of the 2024 season

2024 Boston Red Sox Preview

Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as well as five NFBC auction championship titles under his belt. He also boasts several prominent in the high-stakes market and multiple huge DFS wins. Shawn’s process and evaluation are among the most thorough in the sport and his exclusive FPGscore metric is changing the game. This 2024 Boston Red Sox preview and insight is courtesy of the brilliant mind of one of the sport’s best. 


This 2024 Boston Red Sox Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn’s expert fantasy analysis at his Substack.

The high-flying days of the Rex Sox have left the building over the past two seasons, leading to back-to-back last-place finishes in the AL East despite winning 78 games in both years. Boston has had one playoff appearance over the past five seasons, coming after an excellent run for their franchise from 2003 to 2018 (four World Series titles and 10 trips to the postseason). The FullTime Fantasy 2024 Boston Red Sox Preview breaks down their 2024 chances. 

For the Red Sox to push their way back into contention for a division title, they must rebuild the front of their starting rotation and find an elite shutdown arm to close games. Last year, Boston finished 21st in the majors in ERA (4.52) while serving up 208 home runs (24th). Their bullpen ranked 20th (30-28 with a 4.32 ERA, 43 saves, and 636 strikeouts over 655.2 innings). 

The offense was much more competitive in runs (772 – 11th) and RBIs (734 – 11th) while lacking power bats (182 home runs – 18th). Their baserunners stole 112 bags in 138 tries (81.2%), placing them below the league average. 

Boston moved on from SP Chris Sale, leading to the addition of the talented 2B Vaughn Grissom, who lacked a starting opportunity for the Braves. The Red Sox added OF Tyler O’Neill in a deal with the Cardinals for P Nick Robertson and P Victor Santos. The only other move of value was the signing of SP Lucas Giolito. Boston lost OF Adam Duvall, 3B Justin Turner, SP James Paxton, SP Corey Kluber, and SS Adalberto Mondesi to free agency, but all of these players have yet to sign with a new team.

The Red Sox invested in SS Trevor Story in 2022, but he only played in 137 games over the past two years. 3B Rafael Devers is the foundation piece to the offense, while OF Masataka Yoshida handled himself well in his first year in the majors. The development of 1B Triston Casas and OF Jarren Duran late in 2023 should lead to more competitive production this season. Some of Boston’s top-hitting prospects struggled last year, leaving a potential void in their development system.

The ninth inning belongs to CL Kenley Jansen, but his glory days are barely in the rearview mirror. The Red Sox starting rotation lacks star power at the front end, but all five options have a chance to beat their stats from last year.

This year, I’ll be looking at Mike Kurland’s new website (https://mlbplayingtime.com/) when doing some of my research for each major league team. His research is a reference point, but I’ll take my stances on how I view rosters as I go through each team’s outlook. 

Up next, the 2024 Boston Red Sox Preview.

Starting Lineup

2B Vaughn Grissom

Over four seasons in the minors, Grissom hit .320 with 232 runs, 32 home runs, 1,194 RBIs, and 59 stolen bases over 1,263 at-bats. His strikeout rate (13.6) and walk rate (10.4) have top-of-the-order upside. Last year, his bat showed growth at High A (.312/62/11/55/20 over 298 at-bats), leading to a promotion to AA (.363 over 91 at-bats with three home runs, 12 RBIs, and seven steals).

In 2023, the fantasy market (as did I) expected Grissom to win the starting shortstop job out of spring training after a productive year (.324/72/14/67/27 over 389 at-bats) between High A and AA. The Braves also gave him 41 major league games of experience in 2022 (.291/24/5/18/5 over 141 at-bats). Unfortunately, his defense at shortstop was trailing, leading to him starting the year at AAA. 

Atlanta called him up in mid-April, but Grissom failed to make an impact over 65 at-bats (.277/5/0/70) while making six errors at short over his 19 games. His bat played well at AAA (.330 with 74 runs, eight home runs, 61 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases over 397 at-bats) while underperforming expectations in power and speed. The Braves gave him 70 starts at shortstop and 31 at second base in the minors, with 10 combined errors (SS – 9 and 2B – 1). Grissom remained challenging to strike out (14.1%) with growth in his walk rate (12.0). His HR/FB rate at AAA (8.0%) was well below his outcome at High A (11.8%), AA (12.5%), and MLB (15.2%) in 2022. He has maintained a high contact batting average in his career while controlling the strike zone well.

Fantasy Outlook: Other than batting average, Grissom’s 2023 stats won’t draw much attention from some shallow-digging fantasy drafters. He profiles well to bat leadoff Boston this year, with a run at a 20/35 season with 550 at-bats. His ADP (340) in the NFBC in early January should shine brightly for the fantasy market. Rarely will a fantasy drafter find a potential edge in batting average with supporting home runs and stolen bases this late in a draft. By the end of March, he should move closer to the 13th round in 15-team formats if Boston hints that he’ll hit high in their batting order. Grissom will outperform many middle infielders selected ahead of him, making him a breakaway layup based on his current draft value.

SS Trevor Story

In his two seasons with Boston, Story missed 187 games, with three stints (wrist, heel, and elbow – TJ surgery) on the injured list. He struggled over his first 72 at-bats (.208/8/0/6) in 2022, followed by sensational production (.252 with 21 runs, nine home runs, 34 RBIs, and six stolen bases over 107 at-bats). Over his next 32 games, Story lost his approach (43 strikeouts and five walks), leading to a step back in results (.203/20/6/18/3 over 128 at-bats). He hit .340 over his final 50 at-bats, with one home run and eight RBIs. 

Story had elbow surgery last January, putting him out of major league action until August 8th. Over his 158 at-bats, he was lost at the plate (.203 with 12 runs, three home runs, 14 RBIs, and 10 steals). His strikeout rate (31.4) was well below 2020 (24.3%) and 2021 (23.4%) with the Rockies. Story had the lowest walk rate (5.4) of his career last season.

His launch angle (17.8) has been home run favoring in six of his eight years in the majors. Story saw his barrel rate (11.3) rise for the third consecutive season in 2022 (9.7 in 2023). He has never had a flyball rate lower than 42.2%. His HR/FB rate from 2020 and 2022 (13.4, 13.9, and 14.8) failed to match his 2018 (19.9) and 2019 (19.9) seasons with the Rockies. 

Fantasy Outlook: Story comes into 2024 with a beaten-down profile, with more questions than answers in the fantasy market. His ADP (178) is well below his peak form from 2018 to 2020, when he ranked in the top 10 each year for hitters by FPGscore (10.00, 7.75, and 3.75 – strike season). At the very least, Story should be a 25/20 player with help in runs and RBIs. His batting average could have a wide range of outcomes in 2024.

3B Rafael Devers

In his career, 140 of his 172 home runs have come off right-handed pitching. Last year, he handled himself well against lefties (.273/24/9/27 over 172 at-bats). His strikeout rate (19.2) remains favorable while setting a career-best in his walk rate (9.5). 

Devers blasted his way out of the gate last April (10 home runs and 27 RBIs over 112 at-bats) despite only hitting .232. By the end of June, he had 20 bombs and 61 RBIs over 79 games. His approach improved after the All-Star break, leading to an uptick in batting average (.354) but lower production in home runs (13) and RBIs (30). He battled a calf issue in July and a right wrist injury late in August.

Devers ranked 13th in exit velocity (93.1), 7th in hard-hit rate (55.1), and 55th in barrel rate (12.7). His HR/FB rate (18.4) almost matched his career average. He posted a new top in his flyball rate (39.3).

Over the past five seasons, Devers hit .287 with 436 runs, 141 home runs, 459 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases over 2,603 at-bats. He has the foundation skill set to be a .280/90/30/100/5 hitter while entering the prime of his career. 

Fantasy Outlook: Devers ranked 26th in FPGscore (3.77) for batters last year. His ADP (26) in the early draft season in the NFBC prices him as the fourth option at third base and 22nd hitter. The Red Sox don’t have an elite supporting cast around him in the starting lineup. The addition of Vaughn Grissom and a healthy season from Trevor Story points to more RBI chances. Devers has a .300/40/120 gear in him while offering a proven professional floor.

OF Masataka Yoshida

Late in 2022, Boston signed Yoshida to a five-year deal worth $90 million. Over his seven seasons in Japan, he hit .326 with 425 runs, 135 home runs, 474 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases over 2,759 at-bats. His best asset has been his hit tool and plate discipline (427 walks and 307 strikeouts). 

Over the last three seasons overseas, Yoshida missed 79 out of a possible 432 games due to various injuries. He was projected as a defensive liability with minimal speed. His contact batting average has had a floor of .360 over the previous five seasons, leading to his edge in batting average over this span. Yoshida was on base more than 45% of the time in 2020 and 2021, but his run rates (32 and 26) over this span don’t project well.

Boston gave Yoshida 333 of his 537 at-bats (62%), battling third, fourth, and fifth in the order. His bat was serviceable over the first four months (.304 with 54 runs, 12 home runs, 53 RBIs, and eight steals over 362 at-bats) before fading down the stretch (.257/17/3/19 over 175 at-bats). He finished 81st in FPGscore (-0.38) for hitters.

His strikeout rate (14.0) ranked well, but Yoshida had regression in his walk rate (5.9). He had a groundball swing path (54.6%), leading to a low flyball rate (26.9) and a weak launch angle (3.9). His bat played better vs. righties (.293/57/12/53/7 over 409 at-bats).

Fantasy Outlook: Other than his potential in batting average, I don’t see a reason to fight for Yoshida in 2024. He looks misplaced as a cleanup hitter, and his skill set won’t be an edge hitting higher in the batting order. His ADP (179) ranks him 112th for batters. Yoshida should improve in 2024, but he isn’t the type of player I’ll target in drafts.

1B Triston Casas

Over his first 1,019 at-bats in the minors, Casas hit .269 with 177 runs, 46 home runs, 181 RBIs, and 10 steals. His walk rate (13.6) grades well while keeping his strikeout rate (21.6) near the league average. In 2022, he hit .248 over his first 129 at-bats at AAA with 22 runs, six home runs, and 22 RBI. Unfortunately, an ankle injury pushed him to the injured list for eight weeks. Casas played another 36 games at AAA (.296/23/5/16 over 135 at-bats) before the Red Sox called him up in September.

In his time in the minors (1.873, 1.733, and 1.782) and with the Red Sox (2.067 and 1.858), Casas had a high floor in his average hit rate, pointing to 30+ home runs early in his major league career. He struggled over his last two seasons in the minors against left-handed pitching (.217 over 161 at-bats with one home run and 13 RBI), an issue repeated with Boston (.215/14/4/12 over 79 at-bats). 

After a slow start over the first half of the season (.225/34/9/27 over 249 at-bats), Casas moved to stud status over his final 180 at-bats (.317/32/15/38), highlighted by an improved approach (walk rate – 14.2 and strikeout rate – 23.7). His season ended in mid-September due to a right shoulder injury. He finished 64th in exit velocity (91.1) and 68th in hard-hit rate (46.6). Casas has a flyball swing path (42.3%), but some work is needed on his launch angle (15.7).

Fantasy Outlook: Last year, I had no interest in Casas due to his expected struggles with left-handed pitching. His success over the second of 2023 added to showing enough growth against lefties to be in the lineup every day for the Red Sox in 2024. He ranked 117th for hitters in FPGscore (-1.95). His ADP (107) in early January prices Casas as the 59th batter selected (ninth first baseman). I doubt Boston strings together three lefties in the middle of the lineup on many days. His next step should be .275 with 80 runs, 30 home runs, and 90 RBIs.

OF Tyler O’Neill

O’Neill hit .272 in his 2,158 at-bats in the minors, with 352 runs, 141 home runs, 432 RBIs, and 55 steals over eight seasons. The Cardinals gave him 410 at-bats over his first three years, leading to 67 runs, 21 home runs, 58 RBIs, and six stolen bases. His failure to earn a starting job came from a high strikeout rate (34.0).

In 2021, he still whiffed 31.3% of the time. However, O’Neill overcame his batting average risk with an electric contact batting average (.439). He hit .397 when putting the ball in play in his minor league career. His FPGscore (4.74) ranked 24th for hitters while missing some time with groin, foot, finger, and back issues. Despite a breakout season, a good portion of his success came over two months (May – .294 with 11 runs, seven home runs, 18 RBIs, and two steals and September – .328 with 31 runs, 13 home runs, 30 RBIs, and five stolen bases over 119 at-bats).

O’Neill missed 156 games over the last two seasons with shoulder, hamstring, back, and foot injuries. Over this span (572 at-bats), he posted competitive stats in runs (83), home runs (23), RBIs (79), and steals (19) while ranking poorly in batting average (.229). His strikeout rate (26.2) improved over the past two years, along with his walk rate (10.2).

His exit velocity (93.0 – 89.2 in 2023) and hard-hit rate (52.2 – 43.3 in 2023) have only been an edge in 2021. 

Fantasy Outlook: O’Neill is a risk/reward player with a following who believes he’s better than he is. He checks the power and speed potential boxes for the fantasy markets with a reasonable floor in runs and RBIs with an entire season of at-bats. The change to Fenway Park should be a win, but the high number of injuries does invite play time risk. His ADP (236) fits his potential, leaving some wiggle room if he does trip up.

OF Wilyer Abreu

Abreu had an underwhelming profile over his first four seasons in the minors (.252 with 201 runs, 37 home runs, 152 RBIs, and 55 steals over 1,076 at-bats). He struck out 25.4% of the time with strength in his walk rate (11.8). His game made a step forward at AAA (.274/67/22/65/8 over 299 at-bats) in 2023, earning him his first call-up to the majors. 

With the Red Sox, Abreu hit .316 with 10 runs, two home runs, 14 RBIs, and three steals over 76 at-bats. He battled strikeouts (27.1%) while continuing to take walks (10.6%). His exit velocity (91.3) and hard-hit rate (49.1) graded well with Boston.

Fantasy Outlook: Abreu is a developing player who looks poised to earn a platoon role at minimum for the Red Sox. His foundation skill set points to 20/20 upside with 500 at-bats, with his batting average having some risk until he cleans up his strikeout rate. He projects to be a backend outfield bench flier in 15-team leagues.

C Conner Wong

Wong has five seasons under his belt in the minors, setting a reasonable floor (.276 with 208 runs, 71 home runs, 230 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases over 1,426 at-bats). Boston gave him experience at AAA in 2021 and 2022, where he hit .276 with 23 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 14 steals over 522 at-bats. 

His strikeout rate (28.5) in the minors invited batting average risk in the majors. With Boston in 2022, he whiffed 23 times over 70 plate appearances (32.9%), hitting .213 with 11 runs, one home run, and eight RBIs.

The Red Sox gave Wong 371 at-bats in his rookie season, leading to a .235 batting average with 55 runs, nine home runs, 36 RBIs, and eight stolen bases. He struck out 33.3% of the time with a below-par walk rate (5.5). His had no value vs. left-handed pitching (.156 over 96 at-bats with 19 runs, no home runs, six RBIs, and 40 strikeouts).

Fantasy Outlook: Wong finished 23rd in FPGscore (-6.42), thanks to his value in speed offsetting some of his batting average risk. This year, 25 catchers rank in front of him in the early draft season, with an ADP of 336. A decent bat who will be challenging to time due to poor production on most days.

OF Jarren Duran

Over his first two seasons in the minors, Duran hit .322 with 142 runs, eight home runs, 73 RBIs, and 70 stolen bases over 802 at-bats while seeing action at four lower levels. After minor league baseball was canceled in 2020, he revived his career at AAA, where Duran unlocked the keys to his power (.272 with 95 runs, 26 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 34 steals over 523 at-bats). His strikeout rate (21.4) and walk rate (8.0) came in at about the league average in his minor league career.

Boston gave him 643 at-bats over the past three seasons, leading to Duran hitting .219 with 40 runs, five home runs, 27 RBIs, and nine steals. With each of experience in the majors, his strikeout rate has improved (2021 – 35.7, 2022 – 28.3, and 2023 – 24.9). His walk rate (6.6) was a career-best last year. 

From June 8th to August 4th (.368/27/5/17/15 over 136 at-bats), Duran showed his bat belonged in the majors. Unfortunately, three weeks later, his season ended due to a torn flexor tendon in his left big toe. 

He had a groundball-favoring swing path (about 50%) at AAA in 2022 and 2023, with repeated weakness in his first two years in Boston. Last season, Duran lowered his groundball rate to 41.3% with the Red Sox, thanks to a much stronger line drive rate (25.6). He had a spike in his hard-hit rate (46.3) but minimal change in his exit velocity (89.9) and launch angle (10.7 – 7.7 over his first two seasons). 

Fantasy Outlook: Despite his improvements last season, Duran doesn’t have the skill set to lead off for Boston at this point in his career. By default, he had that opportunity in 2023 for 35 games (.319/24/5/17/12 over 141 at-bats). His early ADP (170) ranks him as the 39th outfielder in early January in the high-stakes market. Duran had a short sample size of success last year, so he could be fool’s gold in 2024 with any regression in his approach and contact batting average (.405 – .392 in his minor league career). A safe starting point would be .270 with 70 runs, 15 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 30 steals over 450 at-bats.

Bench Options

1B Bobby Dalbec

After a helpful fantasy season in 2021, Dalbec lost his power stroke in 2022 (.215/40/12/39/3 over 317 at-bats). The change in the Red Sox offense structure led to him spending almost all of 2023 at AAA (.269/82/33/79/18 over 413 at-bats). With Boston last year, he only had 49 at-bats (six runs, one home run, one RBI, and one stolen base). 

Over six years in the minors, Dalbec hit .263 with 308 runs, 117 home runs, 343 RBIs, and 35 stolen bases over 1,831 at-bats. He showed the ability to take walks (11.9%) while striking out 30.8% of the time. He has a tremendous strikeout rate (35.9) in the majors, with a below-par walk rate (7.6). Dalbec posted an impressive contact batting average (.455) in 2023 at AAA, compared to .381 in his career in the majors. 

Fantasy Outlook: Dalbec has a ton of power but no clear path to starting at-bats in Boston without an injury. It was surprising to see him run last year at AAA, a skill set that probably can’t be counted on at the major league level. For now, only an insurance card for the Red Sox at 1B, 3B, and OF.

2B Enmanuel Valdez

The Astros signed Valdez out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 17 in 2016. Over seven seasons in the minors, he hit .252 with 368 runs, 96 home runs, 387 RBIs, and 51 stolen bases over 2,231 at-bats. His bat played better at AAA (.261/90/27/103/8 over 521 at-bats) over the past two seasons, earning him his first chance in the majors in 2023.

His average hit rate supported 30+ home runs from 2021 to 2023 in the minors if he had more than 550 at-bats. Valdez had strength in his walk rate (11.9) at AAA with a league average strikeout rate (20.8). With Boston, he had a regression in both areas (5.4/24.8) that was expected due to him making a jump to a higher level of pitching. The Red Sox only gave him 14 at-bats vs. lefties (2-for-14 with two RBIs and five strikeouts). Valdez had the same weakness last year at AAA (.206 with one home run, nine RBIs, and 21 strikeouts over 63 at-bats).

His exit velocity (87.5) and hard-hit rate (33.7) with the Red Sox were well below the league average. Valdez has had a HR/FB rate above 15% since 2021.

Fantasy Outlook: The addition of Vaughn Grissom blocks Valdez from getting a platoon role with Boston. He continues to get better, giving the Red Sox some infield pop off the bench if Valdez makes the team. His batting average won’t be an asset. He has possible replacement-level power if earning starting at-bats. At best, a deep flier in 15-team draft champion formats.

OF Ceddanne Rafaela

Over his first two years in the minors between rookie ball and single-A, Rafaela hit .249 with 103 runs, 16 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases over 558 at-bats. Rafaela’s bat has been sensational over the past two seasons over three levels (.300/162/41/164/65 over 923 at-bats), giving Boston hope that they have a late-blooming stud centerfielder. His defense is top-shelf.

His swing path has improved, highlighted by his average hit rate (1.984) at AAA last season. Rafaela has a free-swinging style at the plate, leading to a low walk rate (5.7), but his strikeout rate (18.1) continues to be better than the league average. 

The Red Sox gave him 28 games of experience last season after Jarren Duran went down with an injury. His approach (strikeout rate – 31.5 and walk rate – 4.5) showed he was overmatched at the plate on too many occasions in the majors. He tends to have a line drive swing path with a below-par flyball rate. Rafaela had weakness in his exit velocity (85.5) and hard-hit rate (33.9) in Boston.

Fantasy Outlook: Reading between the lines in player profile and scouting report, Rafaela looks poised to steal the Red Sox starting centerfield job once he finds his confidence at the plate. His combination of power and speed is intriguing, while help in batting average should be a given once he has more experience in the majors. For now, I would consider him a handcuff to Duran while understanding his ceiling is much higher across the board. His ADP (345) in the early draft season ranks him as fifth outfield flier in 15-team leagues.

Starting Pitching

SP Lucas Giolito

After a successful three seasons with the White Sox (29-21 with a 3.47 ERA and 526 strikeouts over 427.2 innings), Giolito lost his way over the past two years (4.89 ERA and 1.370 WHIP), leading a pair of trades last year. His season was on the rebound over his first 21 starts with Chicago (3.79 ERA, 1.223 WHIP, and 131 strikeouts over 121 innings) despite allowing 20 home runs (1.5). His battles with the long ball were magnified in his time with Guardians (11 over 30.2 innings) and Angels (10 over 32.2 innings), inviting more walks (4.4 per nine) over this span.

For the year, Giolito had strength in his strikeout rate (9.7) while allowing fewer hits (169) than innings pitched (184.1). His 41 home runs allowed led the American League and were 14 more than any other season. He struggled on the road (3-11 with a 6.07 ERA, 1.568 WHIP, and 26 home runs over 96.1 innings) all season.

His average fastball (93.3) had more life than in 2022 (92.7) while remaining well below his peak in 2019 (94.4). After August 1st, batters drilled his four-seamer (.338 with 10 home runs over 74 at-bats). Giolito used his changeup (.190 BAA) as his top pitch over this stretch, but seven more balls landed in the seats. For the year, his slider (.235 BAA), changeup (.213 BAA), and four-seam (.259) beat the league average, with each pitch offering strikeout upside. He finished with the highest flyball rate (45.7), which doesn’t align well with his career HR/FB rate (15.1 – 17.7 in 2023). 

Fantasy Outlook: By default, Giolito will be the ace for the Red Sox in 2024 after they signed him to a two-year deal for $38.5 million in late December. He looked the part of a top-of-the-rotation arm in 2019 and 2020 (18-12 with a 3.43 ERA and 325 strikeouts over 249 innings). His ADP (224) in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship is better than expected due to his ERA and WHIP risk. At this point in his career, the bad outweighs any positives, making him more of a gamble, especially when adding the regression of his fastball. If Giolito has an uptick in velocity in spring training and talks about better command and mechanics, I wouldn’t dismiss a rebound season. UPDATE: Giolito is seeking a second opinion, but looks like he could miss the entire 2024 campaign. 

SP Brayan Bello

The Red Sox gave Bello 11 starts and two relief appearances in 2022, but he struggled with command in and out of the strike zone (4.2 walks per nine and .315 BAA). Bello was overmatched over his first five appearances (8.47 ERA, 2.294 WHIP, and 11 walks over 17 innings). He missed about three weeks with a groin injury in August. After two more dull starts (five runs and 15 baserunners over nine innings), Bello flashed his potential over the next five games (1.65 ERA with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts over 27.1 innings). Unfortunately, his season ended with a poor showing in Toronto (four runs and 12 baserunners over four innings with four strikeouts). Despite his erratic starts, he only allowed one home run with the Red Sox over 57.1 innings. His drama was self-created by falling behind in the counts and issuing free passes.

Last year, Bello made one start at AAA (one run over six innings with no walks and four strikeouts) before getting promoted to Boston on April 17th. He struggled over his first two outings (eight runs, 16 baserunners, and two home runs over 7.1 innings) before hitting his stride over his next 13 starts (7-4 with a 2.52 ERA, 1.106 WHIP, 0.227 BAA, and 67 strikeouts over 78.2 innings). Bello was up and down over his first 11 starts (4.50 ERA and 1.355 WHIP) after the All-Star break, followed by two disaster showings (13 runs, 23 baserunners, and four home runs over nine innings) to end the season.

His average fastball (95.7) was a step down from 2022 (97.0). His changeup (.192 BAA) finished as his only edge pitch. Batters banged around his slider (.290 BAA) and four-seamer (.313 BAA), while his newly added show-me cutter (.455 BAA) was a liability. Bello had issues with lefties (.313 with 13 home runs over 297 at-bats). 

Fantasy Outlook: For half of 2023, Bello was a fantasy asset. The end of his year could have been a hint of an injury or maybe fatigue due to pitching 67 more innings than in 2022. His minor league resume showed more strikeouts and fewer issues with home runs. His first step this season is finding an out pitch vs. left-handed batters. Bello does have the same buzz for me this draft season, and his price point (ADP – 234) is more of a bet on the come than an earned reward. I’m a fan of elite changeups, and he did check the command box (2.6 walks per nine) last season. For now, Bello is in a holding pattern for me until I see him on the mound in spring training. An upside arm with sub-3.50 ERA potential and a push higher in strikeouts.

SP Nick Pivetta

Pivetta fell into the tease arm category for some drafters in 2022. He finished with the same number of strikeouts (175) as the previous season, with continued struggles with home runs (1.4 per nine) and walk rate (3.7). Pivetta set career-highs in starts (33) and innings (179.2). 

After a rough April (8.27 ERA and 1.959 WHIP), he looked sharp over his next 12 starts (2.18 ERA, 0.9447 WHIP, and .193 BAA), leading to a correction in his season’s ERA (3.23). Three starts later (20 runs, 30 baserunners, and four home runs over 13.1 innings), Pivetta crushed all of his gains. His season ended with more crooked stats (4.65 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, and .276 BAA) over 71.2 innings). 

Boston gave him eight starts to open last year, but his arm was a disaster at almost every turn (28 runs, 62 baserunners, and nine home runs over 40 innings with 42 strikeouts). Pivetta spent the following 45 days working out of the bullpen (2.70 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, and .129 BAA over 20 innings). On July 2nd, he flashed in long relief (one run over four innings with six strikeouts), leading to a difference-maker run off the waiver wire for eight games (2.65 ERA, 10 walks, and 53 strikeouts over 37.1 innings). He finished the year with 45.1 more competitive innings (3.77 ERA, .205 BAA, and 63 strikeouts) despite a couple of down days. 

In the end, Pivetta was a winning arm after May 16th (3.16 ERA, 0.954 WHIP, .182 BAA, and 141 strikeouts over 102.2 innings). He walked to 2.7 batters per nine innings over this span, compared to 4.3 over his first eight starts. On the downside, Pivetta still allowed 1.2 home runs per nine when at his best (1.5 on the year and his career).

His average fastball (94.9) was higher than 2022 (93.6). Batters struggled to hit his four-seamer (.216 BAA), slider (.197 BAA), and curveball (.221 BAA) while barely throwing a split-finger pitch (23 times – .167 BAA). Pivetta remains a flyball pitcher (41.9% over the past two years).

Fantasy Outlook: Seven years into his major league career, Pivetta has never had an ERA lower than 4.00 in any season. His strikeout rate has been an edge in two (10.2 and 11.5) of the past three seasons, leading to at least 175 strikeouts in three straight years. The growth in his command and three challenging pitches (FB – .177, SL – .191, and CB – .177) to hit after May 20th point to a career year in 2024. His ADP (173 – first Red Sox starting pitcher drafted) shows the increased interest in his arm in the high-stakes market. I’m excited about his progress while also understanding that Pivetta’s success is only as good as his command. 

SP Tanner Houck

Boston gave Houck three starts (3.21 ERA and 1.286 WHIP over 14 innings) to open 2022 but quickly moved him to the bullpen in late April. After two disaster showings (10 runs and 10 baserunners over five innings) in early May, he pitched his way to their closing conversation over his subsequent 25 appearances (1.49 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and eight saves over 36.1 innings). Unfortunately, his season ended in early August due to a back injury (disk) that required surgery.

Over his three seasons with the Red Sox, Houck has a 3.02 ERA with 164 strikeouts over 146 innings. 

In 2023, he made the starting rotation out of spring training, but Houck never had an ERA under 4.25 on the year. His season started with 13 poor starts (5.05 ERA over 67.2 innings). In mid-June, he took him a line drive to the face, leading to a couple of months on the injured list. Houck didn’t fire over his final eight games (4.93 ERA, 1.565 WHIP, and .271 BAA over 38.1 innings).

Houck had an electric slider (.179 BAA – .154 in his career) while adding a cutter (.220) last year, but he still had struggles with lefties (.271 with 11 home runs over 207 at-bats). His sinker (.291 BAA), four-seamer (.310 BAA), and split-finger (.279 BAA) were liabilities. Houck had a step back in the velocity of his average fastball (94.1 – 95.4 in 2022).

Fantasy Outlook: Based on his walk rate (3.3) and strikeout rate (9.4) for his career with Boston, Houck is a better arm than he showed last season. He’s a groundball pitcher who tends to minimize the damage in home runs. To reach a winning ceiling as a starter, Houck must find a successful off-speed pitch. His ADP (403) in the high-stakes market in early January puts him in the free agent pool in most redraft formats. Houck’s arsenal does offer more upside in relief (2.68 ERA in his career and 4.17 as a starter).

SP Kutter Crawford

Over his first 57 starts in his minor league career, Crawford went 15-17 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.260 WHIP, and 323 strikeouts over 279.1 innings. His arm had a step back in value at AAA (5.21 ERA) over 10 games in 2021, but he did earn a late-season start in Boston (five runs and seven baserunners over two innings). Between AAA (5.18 ERA) and the majors (5.47 ERA) in 2022, Crawford failed to make an impact while ending the season with a sore right shoulder. 

He made the starting rotation for Boston last year out of spring training, but Crawford tripped in his first start (seven runs, 10 baserunners, and three home runs over four innings). Six games later (1.25 ERA, one walk, and 18 strikeouts over 21.2 innings), he landed on the injured list for a couple of weeks with a hamstring issue. After a down June (4.71 ERA and .289 BAA), Crawford had a 4.08 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts over his final 77.2 innings, with his best run coming over his last four starts (2.45 ERA, .156 BAA, and 28 strikeouts over 22 innings).

His average fastball (93.8) was about the league average in velocity but not in success (four-seamer – .158 BAA and sinker – .161 BAA). Crawford struggled with his cutter (.291 BAA) and curveball (.346 BAA) while flashing an upside splitter (.182 BAA). Last year, he pitched up in the strike zone (flyball rate – 49.1).

Fantasy Outlook: Crawford doesn’t carry name value in the fantasy market, but he throws strikes with plenty of life with his fastball. His ADP (289) puts him in the flier range as a backend fantasy starter. I like his direction and potential, but he has never made more than 23 starts in a season or thrown over 133 innings. Possible sub 3.75 ERA and 150+ strikeouts with 30 starts while having the command to be an asset in WHIP.

SP Yordanny Monegro

The big mover in the Red Sox system last year was Monegro. He didn’t make his 2023 debut at rookie ball until June 6th. It took him only three starts (two runs over 15 innings with nine baserunners and 20 strikeouts) to get a promotion to Low-A. Monegro went 3-2 over 40.2 innings with a 2.43 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, .217 BAA, and 60 strikeouts). His season ended in early September after two starts at High-A (two runs and 13 baserunners over 10 innings with 13 strikeouts). 

His minor league career started with two seasons at rookie ball (5.10 ERA, 1.638 WHIP, and 65 strikeouts over 65.1 innings) due to poor command (5.4 walks per nine).

Monegro has a plus swing-and-miss curveball. His fastball sits in the lower 90s, with a higher ceiling expected as he fills out. 

Fantasy Outlook: The Red Sox should start him at AA, with a fast track expected if his velocity picks up. A must follow, as his arm could have star upside in the near future.

SP Bryan Mata

Over his first three seasons in the minors, Mata went 18-16 with 246 strikeouts over 254 innings. He had huge issues with walks (58 over 72 innings) in 2018 at High A, but his command made some strides (42 walks over 105 innings) between High A and AA the following season.

Mata didn’t pitch in 2020 (COVID-19 year) and blew out his right elbow in April 2021 (TJ surgery). Boston gave him experience at four levels in 2022, leading to a combined 7-3 record with a 2.49 ERA and 105 strikeouts over 83 innings. His walk rate (5.0) remained a liability, but Mata did add more strikeouts (11.4 per nine) to his stat line. 

Last season, right shoulder injury put him on the injured list for four months after a disappointing opening seven starts (16 runs, 53 baserunners, and 26 strikeouts over 25.2 innings).

His foundation arsenal is built on an upper 90s fastball with an explosive swing-and-miss slider. 

Fantasy Outlook: Mata will need to rebuild his career this year. The Red Sox suggested he’ll work out of the bullpen in 2024.


CL Kenley Jansen

After their bullpen posted a 4.59 ERA in 2022, Boston added Jansen to hopefully solve their ninth-inning issues. Over his first 13 years in the majors, he has a 2.46 ERA, 1,107 strikeouts, and 391 saves over 769 innings.

Jansen led the National League in saves (41) in 2022 while giving up the lead in seven games. Despite his overall success (3.38 ERA), he struggled in May (4.26 ERA) and August (4.82 ERA and 1.607 WHIP).

In his first year with the Red Sox, Jansen converted 29 of his 33 save chances with a light workload of appearances (51). A hamstring issue and a battle with COVID-19 led to only 16 games after the All-Star break.

Batters hit .237 against him, the highest career rate, with further erosion in his command. Right-handed hitters batted .273 over 88 at-bats. Jansen had significant issues at home (4.87 ERA) and over the second of the year (4.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 14 innings).

His average sinker (95.4 mph) has the second-highest velocity of his career. Jansen features a cutter (94.4 mph) as his top usage pitch. He successfully got batters out with his sinker (.143 BAA) and cutter (.237 BAA), but his slider (.286 BAA) had a step back in value.

Fantasy Outlook: Jansen has 420 career saves, but he hasn’t been an elite closer over the past five seasons. The uptick in velocity was a surprise last year, but it didn’t increase his success. His ADP (121) in the early draft season is more than reasonable for someone looking for saves while not willing to pay a premium in the draft. His contract ends this year, so Jansen could be shipped out of town at the All-Star break.

RP Garrett Whitlock

In 2018, Whitlock broke through with an exceptional season at three minor league levels (8-5 with a 1.86 ERA and 122 strikeouts over 120.2 innings). Unfortunately, he blew out his right elbow midway through 2019, leading to TJ surgery. Nevertheless, the Rex Sox saw enough in his arm to select him in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

With no experience at AAA, Whitlock proved to be a steal after dominating in Boston’s bullpen in 2021 over 46 games (8-4 with a 1.96 ERA, 81 strikeouts, and two saves over 73.1 innings). Right-handed batters failed to make hard contact (.199 with two home runs over 176 at-bats), but his arsenal did come up short vs. lefties (.293 BAA).

In 2022, the Red Sox struggled to find Whitlock’s best role. After four relief appearances (one run over 9.2 innings with four hits and 11 strikeouts), Boston pushed Whitlock to the starting rotation (4.15 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 39 innings) before landing on the injured list for five weeks with a hip injury. When he returned, Whitlock made 18 relief appearances (3.34 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 29.2 innings) before being shut down in mid-September to have hip surgery.

Last season, Whitlock struggled over three starts (11 runs, 22 baserunners, and four home runs over 16 innings with 11 strikeouts), leading to five weeks on the injured list with a right elbow issue. After seven subpar showings (4.79 ERA and .292 BAA), Boston lost him again with elbow inflammation. Whitlock failed to regain his form over his final 20 innings in relief (4.95 ERA).

His average fastball (94.1 – .344 BAA) was almost two mph slower than in 2021, and Whitlock saw his slider (79.7 – .162 BAA) fall by more than four mph from its peak. Righties hit .309 against him with seven home runs over 162 at-bats.

Fantasy Outlook: The cloudiness of his right elbow invites a second TJ surgery, or at the very least, a one-inning reliever going forward. His ADP (372) puts Whitlock on fantasy benches in 15-team formats. I can’t trust him in any role, despite showing strength in his walk rate (1.6) and strikeout rate (9.0) last season. On the positive side, his price point is free.

RP John Schreiber

Schreiber pitched well over his six seasons in the minors (21-19 with a 2.13 ERA, 315 strikeouts, and 34 saves over 282.2 innings), but he struggled over his first 29 games in the majors (5.97 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 31.2 innings). In 2022, Schreiber gained his confidence in the Red Sox bullpen, leading to a breakthrough year.

He started the season with 12 shutout innings in Boston with no walks and 13 strikeouts, earning him two wins, one save, and three holds. Schreiber hit the All-Star break with a 0.60 ERA, 0.600 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts over 30 innings. Batters started to figure him out over his final 33 games (3.60 ERA and .254 BAA), with regression in his command (3.3 walks per nine).

Last year, he lost his way, leading to weaker command (4.8 walks per nine) 

His average fastball (93.3) was a step back from 2022 (94.6). All four of his pitchers were serviceable (four-seamer – .242 BAA, sinker – .242 BAA, slider – .197 BAA, and changeup – .188 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook: Schreiber has a short resume of success. He must find his lost velocity and command and solve lefties (.300 BAA) to earn critical innings for the Red Sox in 2024.

This 2024 Boston Red Sox Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn’s expert fantasy analysis at his Substack.

About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.