The book has released 2012 Major League Baseball season props on a handful of Boston Red Sox stars now that Boston's April 5 season opener at American League Central favorite Detroit is barely a week away.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez had an MVP-caliber first season in Boston a year ago after arriving in a big trade with the San Diego Padres. He hit a team-leading .338 in 2011 — second to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera for the AL batting title — with 27 home runs (18th in AL) and 117 RBIs (third in the AL).
Many people expected more home runs from Gonzalez as he moved from cavernous Petco Park to Fenway, but Gonzalez reported to his first spring training with the Red Sox coming off surgery on his right shoulder and didn't start swinging a bat until late February. That shoulder seemed to become a problem after the All-Star break, as fatigue set in and Gonzalez saw his power numbers dip. Before last year's break, Gonzalez hit .354 with 17 homers and 77 RBIs and was probably the leading AL MVP candidate. After the break, he batted .317 with 10 dingers and 40 runs knocked in.
That shoulder is 100 percent healthy now, so the power numbers should increase. Gonzalez's over-under totals at Bovada for 2012 are a .305 average, 32.5 homers and 119.5 RBIs. Last season was the first in his career in which Gonzalez hit better than .305. He went over that homer total twice in five seasons in San Diego (again, though, consider the park), while his career high in RBIs was 119 in 2008.
Next up is Kevin Youkilis, whose over-under totals are 22.5 homers and 89.5 RBIs. Youk had a disappointing 2011 season, hitting .258 with 17 HRs and 80 RBIs, but had many ailments and played in only 120 games. He had sports hernia surgery in the offseason. The 33-year-old hasn't played more than 136 games in a season since 2008, when he had the best season of his career with a .312 average, 29 homers and 115 RBIs.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was brilliant in 2011, becoming the first player in Red Sox history to record 30 home runs (32) and 30 stolen bases (39) in a single season. He was the first AL player to hit .320 during a 30-30 season. Ellsbury captured a Gold Glove, led the league in total bases, knocked in 105 runs and finished second to Justin Verlander in the AL MVP voting. Ellsbury's totals for this season at the book are: .302 average, 20.5 HRs, 79.5 RBIs and 39.5 steals. Ellsbury had never reached double digits in homers until last year, but he has exceeded that steals number twice.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit .307 with 21 homers and 91 RBIs a season ago in what was really a better overall season than his AL MVP year. His over-under totals for 2012 are a .300 average and 85.5 RBIs. Since becoming a regular, Pedroia has exceeded that average in three of five seasons, but the only time he had better than that RBI total was last year.
Some pitchers are also included in the props. Lefty Jon Lester, who will start Opening Day for the second year in a row, has an over-under of 15.5 wins and 205.5 strikeouts. He was 15-9 with a 3.47 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 31 starts last season. Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz both have a wins total of 13 for this season. Beckett landed right on that number last year, while Buchholz had only six because he was limited to 14 starts.
And finally, new closer Andrew Bailey has an over-under of 35.5 saves. Bailey has never approached that number, but he was also on some bad Oakland teams before the offseason trade to Beantown. One concern is that Bailey has missed 16.9 percent of the Athletics' scheduled games during his major league career due to injury.
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