The Boston Red Sox have obstacles to face in 2024, from a daunting division to the reliance on young players to immediately step up.

Despite the uphill outlook, the Red Sox can make a statement out of the gate. While wins and losses are never the focus in spring training, individual players have reason to stand out and prove their worth ahead of the season.

If the Red Sox are going to stay in the race in 2024, that process starts as spring training games begin. Boston needs to find trust in several players whose ability to elevate their game is imperative to the season outlook.

Like any other team, the Red Sox could benefit from any remaining moves, especially after moves such as the recent addition of an impact reliever for later in the season. For now, Boston needs to see a sense of purpose from returning players with something to prove.

Story continues below advertisement

Specifically, these three trends would allow the Red Sox to jump out of the gate with some momentum:

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

1. Quality at-bats from Wilyer Abreu and Vaughn Grissom
Among the young players who have to rise for the Red Sox in 2024, Abreu and Grissom stand out as two players who could be playing for future roles.

Abreu was impressive last season in 28 games, hitting .316 with a .862 OPS with sound decisions at the plate. All things considered, that’s a pretty small sample size. As the young outfielder gets ready to take over a starting role for a full season, continued plate discipline and in-zone damage can set Abreu up for an impactful season.

Story continues below advertisement

Grissom’s growth is equally as important as the Red Sox look for stability at second base, something they have not had since Dustin Pedroia last started for a full season. Grissom comes to Boston after the Chris Sale trade this winter with six years of team control. If he produces, the Red Sox find a long-awaited answer.

Grissom arrives to spring training fresh off of an impressive 2023 campaign, hitting .330 with a .921 OPS in 102 games in Triple-A. There’s still development needed for the 23-year-old, though his offseason work with Trevor Story and raw potential presents an interesting case for the Red Sox.

2. Boston finds its No. 5 starter with conviction
Barring any further rotation additions that would greatly impact Boston’s 2024 outlook, the Red Sox seem to have rotation locks in Brayan Bello, Lucas Giolito, Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford.

For the final spot, Boston has a number of stretched-out candidates in Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, Cooper Criswell and Josh Winckowski to compete. Based on fits and production, the best-case scenario is that Houck earns that spot. Whitlock and Winckowski thrive as relievers while Criswell has thrown less than 40 innings in the majors.

Story continues below advertisement

The Red Sox don’t just need Houck to win the No. 5 spot. They need him to win the job without a doubt. If the 27-year-old can stretch his quality stuff across deep starts, the entire pitching staff benefits the Red Sox.

3. Key contributors from the 2023 lineup show bounce-back potential
The Red Sox have a number of veteran bats that have to set the tone for the discussed young players to grow. Specifically, that falls on Story and Masataka Yoshida.

It may seem strange to say that about Yoshida, who hit .289 and got Rookie of the Year votes in 2023. After a second-half regression from a long year of baseball that began with the World Baseball Classic, Yoshida needs to do continued damage with visible durability to empower the lineup.

As for Story, his limited time in the lineup after returning from elbow surgery never allowed him to restore his timing at the plate. In 2024, the Red Sox may not get the Silver Slugger production Story had with the Colorado Rockies. Nonetheless, his bat is essential for winning in 2024. If he can provide some extra power between Rafael Devers and Triston Casas with speed on the base paths, Boston’s lineup gets an extra layer.

Story continues below advertisement

The Red Sox will also look for signs of stability from Jarren Duran, who returns to the leadoff spot after a season-ending toe surgery. If he can replicate his sparkplug abilities to start the offense, Boston’s comfort level with the offense will take a step up.

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images