The Boston Red Sox face a challenging division in the American League East. Talent and surround competition will meet the Red Sox as the 2024 season begins for a team that looks to avoid a third-consecutive last-place finish in the division.

Boston’s season rests on a number of veterans who seek bounce-back campaigns in addition to the emergence. In order to turn heads within the division and improve on recent disappointments, these three trends need to come to fruition for the Red Sox.

The starting rotation stays healthy
The Red Sox were in contention for a wild-card spot for the majority of last season until the health of the starting rotation fell apart over the summer. July featured stretches where Brayan Bello, James Paxton and Kutter Crawford.

Lucas Giolito had been brought in as an innings-eater before suffering a season-ending elbow injury during spring training. Now, a quintet of returning right-handers in Bello, Crawford, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck take on the responsibility to consistently take the ball and pitch deep into games. That may just be Boston’s biggest need this season after posting the fourth-fewest innings in baseball in 2023.

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All five making 30 or more starts is probably unlikely. If the rotation can make at least 20 starts each, the Red Sox can give other strengths, such as the bullpen and lineup, to carry the team forward.

Trevor Story and Ceddanne Rafaela solidify the defense
The Red Sox tied with the Oakland A’s for the most errors (102) in the American League during the 2023 season. Luckily for Boston, two excellent defenders will be ready to start the year.

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Trevor Story returned from elbow surgery over the summer and quickly racked up eight defensive runs saved in 43 games. His presence instantly spread through the infield and helped solidify the unit. With a full season as a de facto captain of the infield, Story’s abilities will change the game from the start.

In the outfield, Rafaela has the potential to be a generational defender in center field for the Red Sox. As long as his swing decisions continue to improve at the plate, which they have through spring training, the 23-year-old covers plenty of ground with a solid arm to patrol one of the most important spots on the field.

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Wilyer Abreu deepens lineup
Story and Masataka Yoshida will look to put together resurgent seasons while Rafael Devers and Triston Casas will be major run-producers in the middle of the order. From there, Boston needs one of their younger bats to step up and lengthen the order.

From the message of the staff, it appears Wilyer Abreu will be counted on to be that guy.

Alex Cora raved about his swing decisions down the stretch as the young outfielder gets ready to take over in right field. Abreu post a .862 OPS in 28 games. The power may take a step forward. If Abreu can find consistency throughout the season, he adds a needed depth to the later part of the Red Sox order.

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