Even though the New York Yankees were better in just about every way, it was the Boston Red Sox that won the American League East Division in 2017.
The Red Sox seem to come into the 2018 season on a lull, with New York’s Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros, and the very strong Cleveland Indians drawing most of the headlines.
Perhaps the recent JD Martinez signing has changed their posture.
Teams don’t win 93 games by accident, but Boston had the fewest wins of any division winner outside of the Chicago Cubs and got bounced quickly by the Astros in the first round.
Offense was a problem in 2017, to say the least, but a roster with Chris Sale, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and a cast of average or better Major Leaguers is a pretty good foundation from which to build.
Win Total Preview Season Win Total Odds 90.5 Wins (-155 over / 135 under)
The Red Sox finished exactly as expected per Pythagorean Win-Loss theory, but BaseRuns painted a less favorable picture. The Red Sox were the second-biggest overachiever per that alternate metric.
The Red Sox were more like an 87-75 team counting context-neutral outcomes. They were -0.2 runs scored per game and +0.18 runs allowed per game if you eliminate sequencing.
Basically, BaseRuns serves as a metric to determine luck, so in other words, the Red Sox had their best offensive production at the most opportune times, which can obscure a lot of weaknesses.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no correlation to hitting with runners in scoring position. It is not a “skill”. Good hitters are good hitters irrespective of the situation.
Guys that hit at a higher percentage than power hitters who strike out a lot , will probably have better numbers with RISP, but that is simply a byproduct of an overall skill, not a skill with hitting in high-leverage situations.
JC Bradbury covered many of these topics in The Baseball Economist, which is a recommended read for those interested in a comparison of old-school statistics versus new-school philosophies.
In any event, the Red Sox were 10th in runs scored, but 20th in wOBA and 22nd in wRC+. We like these types of teams from a win total standpoint because it gives something to work with.
Pick & Prediction Over 90.5 Wins -155 over
You cannot say that the Red Sox are any worse now than they were when they won 93 games last season. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, David Price, and Dustin Pedroia either played hurt or missed time from injury last year.
JD Martinez adds that power element that the Red Sox sorely needed and Eduardo Nunez is a high quality utility player to bounce all over the diamond.
Admittedly, the bullpen is a concern and starting rotation depth is not in abundance, but the Red Sox can get by and there are still some cheap relief options out there that can be had for Monopoly money.
This offense should be a lot more consistent than last season’s group, which excelled at just the right time.
Right now the juice is a little high for the OVER season win total, so you could consider waiting and seeing where this one settles.
Even with JD Martinez, PECOTA, which is a driving force behind a lot of season win total moves, has the Red Sox down for 89 wins.
Our advice is to let the public perception of the Martinez signing die down a bit, and then reassess at perhaps a better buy in on the over.
- March Madness Basics – Understanding the NCAA Tournament - March 15, 2019
- Sports Betting Tips With Chris Sheridan: Episode 40: The Sneaky Good Brooklyn Nets - January 12, 2019
- 2018 Rose Bowl Game Preview & SmartBET - December 31, 2018
- Kick Off The New Year With The 2019 Fiesta Bowl Free Pick & SmartBET - December 30, 2018
- Liberty Bowl Free Pick and SmartBET For Dec 31, 2018 - December 30, 2018
- Golf Undigested Podcast with Clark Burroughs predicts the 2018 PGA RBC Canadian Open Championship - July 25, 2018
- British Open Championship preview with former PGA Tour player Clark Burroughs - July 17, 2018
- 2018 NBA Draft Prop Bets - June 20, 2018
- The Golf Undigested Podcast with Clark Burroughs talks US Open Picks, Odds, and Predictions - June 13, 2018
- 2018 Indianapolis 500 Race Preview | Betting Odds | Highlights | Picks & Predictions - May 25, 2018