Four Bold Red Sox Predictions For 2023 MLB Season

Expectations for Boston are all over the place this year


March 29

How does one go about predicting the unpredictable?

Well, that’s the dilemma we face this season with the Red Sox, who advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2021 but finished in last place in 2022. Boston could compete for a playoff spot in 2023, if all goes well, but it’s hard to place definitive expectations on the club given its recent year-to-year volatility and the amount of roster turnover this Major League Baseball offseason.

That said, excuses are lame. So, we’re not making any. Instead, we’re going to swing for the fences and offer up four bold predictions for the 2023 season.

*Points to dead center field*

1. Masataka Yoshida will be named an All-Star in his rookie season
Yoshida has such a unique skill set. He doesn’t possess light-tower power, burn up the basepaths or cover a ton of ground in the field. But the dude can rake, which he showed during the World Baseball Classic.

The transition from Japan to MLB isn’t easy, making his $90 million contract an inherently risky investment for the Red Sox, but his offensive approach — anchored by impeccable plate discipline — will make the 29-year-old a legitimate force in the middle of Boston’s lineup. Expect a high batting average and solid on-base numbers, along with a decent home-run total.

2. Rafael Devers will be a Gold Glove finalist
Devers is a beast in the batter’s box. Everyone knows that. But the All-Star third baseman also made significant strides down at the hot corner last season. And defense seemingly was a point of emphasis for him throughout the winter and spring training.

“Raffy has a goal in mind that at some point he wants to win a Gold Glove and he’s working for it,” Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles recently told The Athletic.

Saying and doing, obviously, are two different things. And there was a time when Devers was a rather poor defender. But the advanced analytics show just how much he improved in the field last season. Additional progress, in his age-26 campaign, is very much on the table.

3. Ceddanne Rafaela will be Boston’s starting center fielder by August
Rafaela is the Red Sox’s No. 4 prospect, per, and projected to debut with Boston at some point in 2023. Don’t be surprised if the 22-year-old forces the organization’s hand in short order, though, if he shows improved plate discipline at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.

Rafaela is capable of playing plus defense at multiple positions, including center field, where he might someday win a Gold Glove. Add in his speed and his pop, which was on full display last season, and Rafaela has a high ceiling, with the potential to provide a midseason spark.

4. Brayan Bello will become the Red Sox’s best starting pitcher… and sign a contract extension
Bello wasn’t great last season by traditional metrics. But a glimpse under the hood reveals the 23-year-old was victimized by some tough batted-ball luck in his rookie campaign. Positive regression and natural development will help the young right-hander reach a new level in 2023, at which point the Red Sox would be wise to explore an early contract extension that provides Bello with long-term financial security in exchange for team-friendly rates as he blossoms into a star.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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