With 60 games now in the books for 2021, it’s clear that the Red Sox overachieving is no fluke. After a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees, the improving Red Sox find themselves with the second-best record in the American League and only one and one half a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place as of June 9th. The rotation has been much more consistent than last year and the offense has improved thanks to some bounce back performances from guys like J.D. Martinez. What should scare the rest of the AL is that for as good as the Red Sox are playing, they are only going to improve even more.
This week Chris Sale started throwing off the mound at Fenway. The lefty threw 25 pitches. He also told the media that he fully plans on pitching in 2021. Best case scenario for Boston, Sale returns to form and they can either roll with a six-man rotation or send E-Rod or Richards to the bullpen. Worst case scenario, Sale struggles and Boston shuts him down early. Even then, Boston would still have five solid starters for the rest of the season.
On the offensive side, Boston has been looking for a third outfielder to play everyday alongside Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe. Franchy Cordero, Enrique Hernandez, and Danny Santana have all failed to secure that spot, whether due to poor performance or injury. Luckily Boston has a prospect in waiting who has the potential to be an everyday outfield in Jarren Duran.
In 18 games for Worchester, Duran has hit seven home runs to go along with a .278 batting average and .991 OPS. He has also yet to commit an error in the outfield. The 29th ranked prospect according to Baseball America also went 7 for 19 while playing for Team USA this summer. Unless somebody on the roster can hit at a respectable rate, the door may be wide open for Duran to take the spot.
Improving Red Sox Not Done Yet
While a trade is always an option to improve this team, it may be in Boston’s best interest to see what this team can do when fully-loaded. Sale is capable of being a top-5 pitcher in the AL and if Duran can hit .250 with some power, it would be an improvement over what Boston is currently sending out as their third outfielder. Boston could be really scary come late July.