Red Sox Roster Projection 2.0: Updated Prediction As Opening Day Nears

The regular season is right around the corner


Mar 20, 2023

We’re entering the home stretch of Major League Baseball spring training, and the Boston Red Sox’s Opening Day roster is coming into focus.

The Red Sox have had a few curveballs thrown their way since arriving in Fort Myers, Fla., but they’re nevertheless making adjustments and preparing to enter the 2023 regular season with a sizable chip on their shoulder after a disappointing 2022 campaign.

So, which 26 players will break camp with Boston? Here’s our latest roster projection, with the Red Sox’s season opener scheduled for next Thursday at Fenway Park.

Catchers (2): Reese McGuire, Jorge Alfaro

Basically, it was a toss-up between Alfaro and Connor Wong for the second spot alongside McGuire. And Wong’s hamstring injury opened the door for Alfaro to potentially win the competition.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated over the weekend that Wong could start playing in games by the end of this week. Still, it’s hard to imagine Wong doing enough to secure the job, especially since he has minor league options remaining and Alfaro has far more MLB experience.

Boston will need to add Alfaro to its 40-man roster to facilitate his callup.

Infielders (6): Triston Casas, Christian Arroyo, Kiké Hernández, Rafael Devers, Justin Turner, Yu Chang

Casas (first base), Arroyo (second base), Hernández (shortstop) and Devers (third base) comprise the starting infield, while Turner, who returned to game action Monday after being hit in the face by a pitch on March 6, will serve as the full-time designated hitter.

Chang, fresh off a solid showing for Chinese Taipei in the World Baseball Classic, has the inside track on a bench spot, thanks in large to his defensive versatility and status on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster. He appeared in 11 games with Boston last season.

Bobby Dalbec remains on the bubble. It wouldn’t be surprising if he broke camp with Boston, serving as a right-handed corner-infield option, but a hot-hitting outfielder keeps forcing the Red Sox’s hand.

Adalberto Mondesí, acquired in an offseason trade with the Kansas City Royals, will factor into the infield plans at some point. The dynamic shortstop just won’t be ready for Opening Day, as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last April.

Outfielders (5): Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, Raimel Tapia

Yoshida, Duvall and Verdugo presumably will start from left to right. Hernández theoretically could factor into this mix down the road, depending on what happens with Mondesí, but the Red Sox currently are viewing the former as a full-time infielder in wake of Xander Bogaerts’ departure and Trevor Story’s injury.

Refsnyder, a right-handed bat, is a safe bet to land a bench spot, primarily seeing time against left-handers. And that hot-hitting outfielder we mentioned above? That’s Tapia, an experienced veteran who’s making a strong case to crack the roster as a left-handed bench option.

Starting rotation (5): Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford

Boston’s depth already is being tested, as three starters figure to open the season on the injured list: Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello and James Paxton.

Whitlock and Bello aren’t expected to miss much time, as the Red Sox simply are being cautious after the former underwent hip surgery last September and the latter dealt with forearm soreness early in camp.

Paxton is a bit more of a wild card, having totaled just six starts (21 2/3 innings) since the beginning of 2020 and dealing with a hamstring strain this spring. But the 34-year-old threw a bullpen session Saturday. So, he, too, is on the mend.

Ideally, Houck would land in the bullpen, where he thrived last season. For now, he’ll slot into the rotation, with the final spot coming down to Crawford or Josh Winckowski. We’ll give the nod to Crawford.

Bullpen (8): Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, John Schreiber, Ryan Brasier, Zack Kelly, Wyatt Mills, Richard Bleier, Oddanier Mosqueda

The Red Sox will enter the season with an established closer, as Jansen signed a two-year contract in free agency after a lengthy run with the Los Angeles Dodgers and a one-year stopover with the Atlanta Braves. Martin and Schreiber are strong candidates to log high-leverage innings in 2023.

From there, the situation is a bit less settled. Joely Rodríguez suffered an injury over the weekend, which means the Red Sox need to find another lefty alongside Bleier. Mosqueda hasn’t pitched above Double-A, so Boston could opt for a more seasoned option, like Ryan Sherriff, but don’t be surprised if the Red Sox choose upside and roll with the 23-year-old southpaw.

Winckowski could land with this group if the Red Sox want an innings eater out of the ‘pen. But they might prefer to keep him stretched out at Triple-A Worcester, thus leaving three spots for Brasier, Kelly and Mills — all of whom already are on the 40-man roster. Kaleb Ort is another name to watch.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell
Previous Article

Former Celtics Player Reportedly Draws Interest For College Coaching Job

Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner
Next Article

Justin Turner Praises ‘First Class’ Red Sox After Scary Injury

Picked For You