Plumbing the depth chart

With opening day almost upon us and the 25 players who will make up the initial roster all but decided, it’s worth taking a look at the Red Sox depth chart.

Stephen Drew will start the season on the 7 day disabled list with concussion symptoms that the newly acquired shortstop has found hard to shake.  Drew, considered the bridge to either Jose Iglesias or Xander Bogaerts in 2014, will be the starting shortstop but his DL stint gives Jose Iglesias a chance to start the season in the Majors.  Last seasons Yankee killer Pedro Ciriaco will function as the utility player on the roster, probably seeing time at short as well providing cover for third and second base.  In all likelihood Iglesias ends up in Triple A when Drew returns.

At first base, if Mike Napoli was be out for an extended period the duo of Daniel Nava and Mike Carp would provide serviceable numbers, with Carp having the highest potential upside.  Carp hasn’t seen a lot of at bats in Spring but with a few more repetitions added to the change of scenery he could provide more than replacement level value.

Nava is also slated to cover left field for the duo of Jonny Gomes and Jackie Bradley Jr as well as providing cover for Shane Victorino in right.  Bradley has become a fan favourite with his Spring performance, which has seemingly earned him a spot on the opening day roster. Gomes, who will DH while David Ortiz is on the DL with his heel issues, will likely become the starting left fielder again when Ortiz returns.  So it’s currently unclear if Bradley will be around for long but unless his torrid Spring numbers continue it’ll be an easy decision to send him to Triple A to get his service time issues out of the way.

With new additions Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara added to Andrew Bailey and last seasons success stories Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa the bullpen appears to be a solid unit.

The bulging disc problems that have beset Franklin Morales are a blow and he’s expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list along with the impressive Craig Breslow who has left shoulder inflammation.

So while the bullpen already appears strong it should look even better with the return of Morales and Breslow.

The starting rotation contains 4 All Stars who’ve all finished 6th or better in Cy Young voting, 2 of whom have thrown no-hitters and combined they have 38 years of Major League pitching experience.

Lester and Buchholz led all pitchers in Spring training with sub 1.00 earned run averages, which if nothing else shows both pitcher are healthy and should begin the year with confidence .  Ryan Dempster has the chance to get off to a good start with Boston fans when he makes his Red Sox debut against the Yankees on Thursday. The fourth starter will be Felix Doubront who’ll be looking to build on his first full season and John Lackey will round out the rotation, starting fifth to stay in Fort Myers a little longer and make one extra start as he  continues to come back from having Tommy John surgery in 2011.

I’m largely positive for this team and while I doubt they can win what is a very tough division, I think they will be in contention for a wildcard spot as the end of the season approaches.  This season won’t be another 2012.



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