The 2019 Major League Baseball season begins Thursday and the Boston Red Sox officially will begin their World Series title defense.
The biggest question surrounding Boston is its bullpen. Without Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly, questions have been raised as to who the closer will be going forward, but manager Alex Cora is confident the bullpen will be just fine.
The Red Sox do have one of the strongest outfields in the big leagues with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all returning to take their place in the triangle. And with J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale, and David Price all ready to begin the year, it’s no surprise Boston scored high on MLB.com’s power rankings.
They didn’t come in as the top team however, trailing only the Houston Astros.
Here’s what they had to say about ranking the Red Sox as the No. 2 team heading into the 2019 season:
“The World Series champs should have no problem landing in the top 5 of the Power Rankings for the foreseeable future. They have arguably the best outfield in baseball in Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and reigning AL Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts, three core players who were part of last year’s 108-win regular-season juggernaut. With most of the team returning, including a rotation anchored by ace lefty Chris Sale, the Sox are set up for a big year, again. They have some bullpen questions to answer before the season opens, including who will close games, but the candidates are all strong and appear up to the task of filling the void created by Craig Kimbrel’s departure.”
It’s hard to argue with any of that logic.
The Astros were pegged as the No. 1 team because both Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa faced injuries throughout last season and into the postseason. So with the duo being healthy, Alex Bregman’s return and the addition of Michael Brantley, Houston certainly totes out a batting lineup that will be a dominant force.
Houston and Boston don’t play one another until May, but it’s sure to be a good, hard-hitting series between a pair of American League favorites.